Anyone have any good marketing strategies, specifically how all of you have structured your pricing and packages? I'm curious if there is a kind of industry consensus, or if it really varies.....I'm leaning towards doing it a certain way - but wanted to start the discussion so I can get some feedback on if it makes sense to those of you who have been doing this a while. Thx...

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The energy audit industry could use marketing efforts by it's contractors to create awareness. Competition also creates awareness and actually increases demand for services. The key to success is fair competition. Our services are valuable, we have a significant investment in training and equipment and if there is no or little cost the consumer perceives little value.
I wholeheartedly support any such marketing effort and a agreement on fair and equatable pricing structures. It's time to eliminate the competitive barriers and begin to work together for the good of all. Thanks

Thanks for the response Paul.....interesting thoughts. I was hoping more would share how they've structured their packages or priced their services. I'm just starting my business and trying to do all of it myself, so I thought some specific examples would be helpful.....

Josh, I was in your shoes not too long ago. I made the decision to operate on the lean and mean out the gate. I performed audits at a huge discount to convert leads into projects, etc. I started in my area by hitting the streets and looking for one yes in a hundred.

A simple and memorable flyer was key.

What services do you intend to offer?

Patrick - that gives me hope since distributing a simple flyer is what I plan to do for the time being. I see Paul's point about not doing it "too cheap"  - which could hinder a prospective customer from appreciating the true value inherent in our services......but I think that as a fresh start up company - I need to appeal to the clients pocketbook, at least for now. Especially in this economy here in the heart of the Midwest, where the majority of people are already very sensible and budget conscious. Maybe after doing this for a year I can raise my prices - but in order to compete with the other 'energy auditors' in my area who have been established for awhile, I'll need to entice potential buyers with a killer deal. Also to help distinguish myself, I am marketing Ecologika as not only an energy auditing company, but one who focuses on the health and safety of the occupants and the home itself. That's why I plan to offer cursory identification of mold, radon, asbestos and lead - (and lab testing for the mold and radon) but WILL NOT be doing any remediation of these items.

I guess at the end of the day, one factor that determines what we charge comes down to how much we need to bring in to make ends meet (within reason - ie; not so cheap that it tarnishes our credibility or expertise). This sounds like this is a fine line to balance.

To answer your question Patrick, I am in the process of rethinking my package structure, but here are the services I offer (up to 3000SF as Paul mentions) :

FYI - basic building envelope analysis (insulation, condensation, etc) utility bill assessment and the blower door test and IR scanning are included in both of the following......

Comfort & Efficiency Package - $250 (CAZ diagnostics: +$50)

Only exclusions are duct, draft testing & CAZ. Includes all the basic energy assessment / diagnostics

Health & Safety Package - $350

Excludes duct testing, but includes all the basics, plus draft and CAZ testing, CO and combustible gas leak detection, initial mold and radon identification and lab testing, asbestos and lead identification if present or suspected

I am eventually going to offer duct work testing, but want to get some additional training first

We need to keep in mind that a big key to all of this is that I may have to adapt and adjust my pricing / packages offered based on the feedback I receive from customers - as I'm sure most of you already know. I may find that in the interest of customer commitment, a different combination of my services works better than others.

Well, thanks everyone for the feedback and for furthering the discussion!

As always, many good points have been made. 

I offer a $250 audit as well. CAZ testing included. My Report is now a template, which saves a whole lot of time. I spend 3-4 hours at a house, and make a second call if necessary.

I'll go hourly beyond this.

Making a few bucks on light bulbs and shower heads has always seemed like good sense to me.

Catch one house with a cracked heat exchanger and word will travel (in a very good way).

As for duct testing, I too want to offer that soon. I also need more experience with it. Looking for training opportunities with a pro.

If I were one of you pure auditors (God bless you), I would charge $400 for an audit, and $500 for the whole boat with a great report and a plan of action for the HOs to consider. Team up with contractors, and keep your fingers crossed.
Lean and mean is tempting, however our audit services have value and it is up to us to convey the value to the consumer base. It is easy to lower prices and difficult to increase them. keeping in mind all markets are different and the cost of living can very, but I will through this price structure out for consideration and discussion. Base Audit (all electric, no combustion zone, no duct-work) includes utility bill analysis, physical evaluation, blower door and zonal diagnostics, IR Scan, full report and works-cope. $300.00 Add $75 for CAZ diagnostics. Add $75 for Duct work diagnostics add 10 cents per sq. foot for every sq. ft over 3000 Lets start talking. We all win by entering the discussion and ultimately coming to a reasonable consensus.
Just one thought. If you go into the corner grocery store and ask for a Hershey bar the price is the price we take it or leave it. If the price were negotiable wee would never be sure if we were getting the best price and we may doubt the value of the product. Best to establish a price that we can live with, stick to it and with out shame include in our marketing efforts.
Good Luck

I was taught that the first thing to consider is Health and Safety. This leads me to wonder why you would not include the CAZ testing on every package. Call me cynical, but I have no intentions of providing income opportunities to ambulance chasers; not to mention the basic "first, do no harm" aspect of life.

CAZ testing may be a yawner in terms of sellability, until that homeowner sees that you caught a dangerous situation. 

As far as getting the word out and creating contacts, have you considered doing work for Habitat for Humanity? It is something I plan to look into as it may offer the chance to build relationships with contractors. 

Good point to consider Bruce.....I agree health and safety are priority. I've done some work with Habitat for Humanity in the past and may look into it again  - not only for networking opportunities, but just because it's a good cause. Thanks all.....

Not all home are equiped with combustion appliances. 

by all means homes equiped with combustion appliances must be tested and priced acordingly.

http://alagbs.com/energy-efficiency-audits that has three of our packages & the pricing associated with them (I need to do some cleanup as we used to have four). I also know a few around here that will do it for X cents per SF with a minimum charge

Marketing is an all together different beast & rarely is pricing on it - in many cases the only time pricing is involved is if you offer a special rate for the month of July lets say. (Just remember it isn't a special price if the offer is ongoing or it is your regular price)

Word of mouth is your best marketing, but having door hangers or a brochure is a good start & something that can be handed out or left with others to hand out 

Hi Joshua, 

Good topic for discussion.  I have encountered several flavors of audit packages out there:

  • DIY audit with auditor analysis (~$100 to $150) 
  • Envelope inspection, blower door, IR camera and report ($200 to $500)
  • Indoor air quality assessment (add ~$100 to $200) 
  • Electricity audit and report (~$400)

In general, I think packages can be a powerful way to present your pricing info.  Any time you can simplify the sales process, the higher conversion rates you'll have.  

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