However since the beginning of April I have found a very pronounced difference in the market place.
In an informal survey of my customers most of them are fairly busy with a fair bit of work in the pipeline however, most of them especially those who work in the commercial air-conditioning sector are complaining the hardest thing at the moment is getting paid by their customers. Cash flow is always an issue in all businesses but at the moment things seem a little tougher out there than normal.`
In commercial work it’s not unusual to work on 30 or 60 day payment terms which can cause major headaches, in the domestic sector this is not the case.
If you install aircon or a heat pump into someone’s house it is not un-common to pick up the cheque at the end of the job, there is none of this invoicing and waiting 30 days. One very large installer even equips their engineers with handheld visa card readers so the end user can pay before the work starts.
The message is if you want to operate in a sector where cash flow is not such a big issue then domestic is the way forward.
Since the domestic air-conditioning sector is as stubborn as ever at getting started that means domestic heat pumps. I know many installers are wary of entering this new territory due to the number of horror stories doing the rounds.
Heat pumps are not complicated, they are not hard to install and they are not hard to design, all you need is a little free advice and training. Now where can you get that?
Graham Hendra is a heat pump consultant