I've been reading many of the posts made over the past month or so, and I see a trend. Times are getting tougher for auditors, and little relief is in sight...well, quite frankly, it appears that the consensus is that no relief is in sight.
I want to address the debate about auditors being just auditors first. The first auditor I ever met was pretty much an auditor and an auditor only. He had struggled to keep up his home energy auditing business for years, and mentioned that the only way he did this was by teaming up with local contractors whom he would charge a small commission to for work he passed their way. So, does this make him an auditor who does more than just audit?
Let's start at this point, and then I will continue to push my own agenda here once I hear back from y'all on this.
A working relationship with as many contractors as possible can still leave you functioning as an independent, but able to offer the home owners a total package of sorts. Once that relationship involves a commission, you now have a profit motive which may be interrupted by some as a bias. Maybe foam would do a particular job as well or better than cellulose, but you are in bed with the cellulose guy so did you recommend cellulose because you wanted the commission or did you actually think it was the better option? It becomes a gray area, but not an impossible one as integrity in any business is something you build over time.
As for funds drying up, I still believe this is a business that one should be able to market without home owners waiting for the next giveaway. If I were a professor assigning a subject for you to write up in a marketing class, I wouldn't give you this one, too easy. The problem with 90% of the energy auditors out there is they want to be energy auditors and either can't or don't want to be business owners. The more successful people in this trade will be 20% energy auditor and 80% business manager. What they don't know about auditing they can hire out. A 100% energy auditor is dead before he got started.
As for creating an alliance with other contractors, it is an approach, but be careful that they aren't just using you while they send one of their carpenters off to school. You need relationships that will last.
Just my opinion
Thanks Bud. I really do appreciate your input.
Of course, you've tipped your hand a bit with that title, but I'll sort of play along, by adding an idea.
What if pure auditors (no commission, but a customer-driven commitment from the selected retrofitter) came back to do quality assurance? Same rate, so $fee x 2 and a customer ready to do word of mouth.
David, I think your idea has real legs to it. The more I think about it the more I like the idea.
I have an idea on how to implement such a scheme.
Based on what I've experienced while working for the State of Massachusetts' residential EE programs, it is an idea well-worth pursuing.
We are def on the same page here. I have been actively trying to build a partnership with a local HVAC company in my area (a company with many years in the business, a really good reputation, and a participant in a bunch of Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs).
I would like to do the same for the business I am still active with in Massachusetts. Know of any quality HVAC outfits in southeastern Mass?