Hidden Costs - Can Make You or Break You

Back in the 80's, the decade of excess, we were told that "Greed is good" and most everyone liked Donald Trump - or at least he didn't receive the same public vitriol he is today.  His first New York Times Bestseller - The Art of the Deal - came out when I was a kid and I remember one part sticking out.  A commerical building he was constructing, with rooms, the bathrooms, stairwells, offices, restrooms, was going to have +/- 1,500 doors.  If he put two $10 hinges per door, instead of three, he'd save $15,000 on that what small detail.

The same advice comes from all sorts of self-help gurus like Robert Kiyosaki and Tony Robbins.  You can hear it a million times, but it never really hits home. "Mind you're own business" is how Kiyosaki puts it.  Essentially you need to increase scrutiny in your own affairs to ultimately be successful.  For Trump and Kiyosaki it seems more financial, with Robbins having a more psychological, and self improving perspective.

When I first got started, I wasn't paying attention to all the "little fees."  Granted most were hidden as well as the additional fees on a phone bill, but still I should have been paying more attention because they were eating me alive.  A point here for the credit card processor, a point here for the gateway used by the credit card processor, a cut for PayPal here, a bank service fee there and pretty soon you were talking about $1,000's of dollars a year.  I don't have to explain to a fellow business owner just what a few thousands can really mean in the first years of business.

It's something that's finally become more second nature with me, although there's always room for improvement.  Even if you're not in the HVAC, or home performance business, there's always something ongoing little expense that's slowly chipping away at your bottom line.  If it's not a consumable, like disposable duct mask or grill seal, then maybe it's where you buy gas for your fleet.  That station may be right down the street, but what if it's 5 cents a gallon higher?  Do your techs in the field just choose what's easiest for them?  Can you really get more website conversions using Bing® or Yahoo® instead of Google® - at half the price?  ( I seem to be able to, for some reason FYI.)

I tell my kids to mind their own business, and I recommend you do too!

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You're one of 69,800,000 - How to stand out! #HVAC

If you enter air conditioning contractor into Google, you get over 69 million results in .58 seconds.  How do you differentiate yourself and get more attention than your competitors?  Without breaking the bank there are a minimum number of items that you should at least make sure you've taken care of.

1.  I am always surprised at the number of "companies" that don't have webpages.  It's 2015!  A search for "cheap website" yields a whopping 373,000,000 results.  I think that Wix.com has a great system, they have a ton of really good looking templates and are adding new abilities all the time.  I think there are better options for e-commerce companies, but HVAC and Home Performance Testing businesses would greatly benefit from their use.

2.  I love all of my customers, especially those that have written glowing testimonials. (hint hint) Putting your name out there to support of me and my products?  That's awesome!  Again there are people a ton of without websites, but some don't even have a logo.  You need to have a brand that people start to recognize.  It doesn't have to be fancy or super creative.  Can't think of anything?  Outsource the job for $5 on Fiverr, (really!) or find a freelance writer from another country on Elance.  There are PhD's in India working for peanuts (relatively speaking).  You have no excuse.  I created the Vent Cap Systems 3D image below, in under 2 minutes, and for free, with Fatbrain.com.  They have their own free logo creator online.

3.  Does Google even know where you are?  Google wants to provide the most relevant results to their customers.  If they don't know where you are, or worse they think you're somewhere else, you won't get recommended.  It's called NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number).  It can be the #1 detractor from your site's credibility rating (ie. Google isn't going to show your page).  You can update your info business info on Google here.

Just like the old adage, "you can't get where you want to go if you don't know where you are now" - if Google doesn't know where you are, you're not going to get where you want to be!