Increase earning potential in your radon business
Radon testing and mitigation are great businesses to be involved in. Many in the industry enjoy the fact that you get to experience something new every day.
Some days you may be installing an exterior radon mitigation system on a single family home in the city and another day you may be running an interior system on a home in the mountains. One of the resounding reasons why many folks in the industry do what they do is because they believe that they are helping save lives through increased awareness and reduced exposure to deadly radon gas. This is the great thing about this business, you get to be involved in something bigger, something more than just a job. While this is noble (no pun intended,) you have to make sure you are profitable so that you can stay in business, pay your bills and continue to sustain the business that helps people reduce lung cancer risk.
Unfortunately, the radon industry has suffered from a miscommunication of what the value of radon mitigation and testing is. There are still published price levels from the early 90’s on many public radon reference guides and websites. These price levels make it seem that a radon system is a radon system anywhere you go and in any home style there is. When a person is considering hiring a radon contractor and they stumble across this data, they expect to pay that price for the services. When you give them a bid that includes a scope of work specific to the unique characteristics of their home, additional work to seal the crawlspace, the additional piping to add a second suction point plus the 20 years worth of inflation to your adjusted price, their jaws drop. This is easy to explain until a competitor comes in and just throws out a low number oftentimes without even looking at the property. The prospect likely doesn’t know the ins-and-outs of the radon industry and just seeing the price difference plus the published price margin, they assume that you are trying to pull a fast one on them. Little do they know that radon mitigation systems need to be fine tuned for each individual home, the foundations and the soil types that they are built upon. This happens all over the country in many different markets. The sad thing is that it causes the price wars and when you drop your price too, it devalues your hard work and service. This also continues the notion that a radon mitigation system is something that falls within a specific price range. Although through hard work, education and determination, the perceived price point of radon mitigation and testing services can be changed, it doesn’t happen overnight and the price wars will continue as long as businesses continue.
How can you increase your earning potential in the radon testing and mitigation business?
The easy answer is to do more work. Do more jobs and you will make more money right? Well there are several things to consider when doing more jobs. Depending on your market, you may have to travel further to increase the number of prospects that need your services this will cost you more in time and fuel so your bids will have to adjust for that. You are only capable of installing a certain number of systems yourself, so you will have to hire helpers or another proficient radon technician to help with the extra work. Adding workers means you have to buy another vehicle, purchase more tools and add expensive workers comp policies. Sometimes more isn’t always better for your bottom line.
Three ways to do more:
- Market to a larger area and be willing to travel further and work more hours. There are only a certain number of jobs available in local markets based upon radon probability, population, construction styles, awareness and real estate trends. Sometimes you need to be willing to go further to stay constantly busy.
- Try to double down on your bids. Offer a discount if they can get a nearby friend, family or neighbor to also have a the work done that same day.
- Some people are offering free radon testing to increase the number of jobs. While there is an increase in the amount of jobs to be acquired by doing this it can be problematic. It devalues the service of providing accurate radon measurements plus the customer acquisition costs are high and profitability goes down when you factor in the time and travel to place and retrieve tests that may or may not result in a mitigation job.
Another way to increase your earning potential is to do less. Not by cutting corners, not by doing fewer jobs, but by being more efficient in how you operate.
Three ways to do less:
- Decrease the amount of service calls you do. It is inevitable that some jobs will be more tricky than others and you will have some amount of service work involved in your business and under warranty. You can decrease the amount of service calls by doing more design build radon mitigation estimates rather than phone quotes. This way you are able to see the property, possibly perform diagnostics and design a system according to the characteristics of that particular home. You can plan for the best radon mitigation fan and number of suction points prior to the day of the installation.
- Spend less money on your radon mitigation supplies. Many of the radon manufacturers are located far away from radon markets, especially in the west. You can save a huge amount of money on shipping by ordering from radon fan distributors closer to your markets.
- Reduce your marketing overhead by working on your organic SEO, partnering with local referral companies, taking control of your Adwords account rather than having it handled by a third party. In some markets, pay-per-click campaigns are costing $10-$20 per click and part of the problem is that everybody is trying to outbid each other. You can make sure to get the most out of your budget by making sure that you aren’t paying for clicks on keywords that aren’t relevant to your service. For instance, if you are a radon testing only company it may not be very beneficial for you to have click advertising on the keyword “radon repair” and if you are a mitigation only company, the keyword “radon lung cancer” probably won’t get you many qualified leads.
Lastly you can upsell, you can offer upgrades or consider offering additional services to your business. Radon testing and mitigation work parallels many other industries like, mold testing and remediation, asbestos abatement, waterproofing, weatherproofing and others. Sometimes you can offer additional work that your radon clients may be interested in.
Three ways to upsell:
- Upgrade your system. Offer add-ons to your radon mitigation system. Audible alarms, painted radon systems, radon monitors, hidden system, fan covers, trim rings, thicker crawlspace membranes than the standard and better sealants all can be used to upgrade the price, quality and performance of the radon mitigation system. You can also sell more DIY radon test kits.
- Generate recurring revenue. You can consider offering service packages to your radon testing or mitigation projects. The plumbing and HVAC industry have been doing it for years. If you are a mitigator, you can extend your warranty by adding an annual system check-up. This will not only increase the longevity of the radon fan but will likely improve the performance of the system over time. If you are a measurement provider, consider offering an ongoing, long-term radon monitoring program to schools, government and commercial clients in your area as part of their risk reduction plans.
- Add another service to your job. If you are a mitigation provider you can consider also installing new and back-up sump pumps for your clients. You have to seal the sump anyway, you might as well put in a new pump. This will also help reduce that nightmare phone call that someone's basement flooded after you seal the sump pit. Another good additional service is the service of sealing foundation cracks. This is a waterproofing technique of injecting cracks to stop water leaks but it also helps reduce lateral radon entry through foundation wall cracks.
The radon industry is full of challenges but it is a rewarding career for the thousands of people involved in it across the country. New radon companies are entering the market every year and thankfully customer demand is increasing as the awareness grows. You have built a business that helps people, you deserve to have a business that also helps you build a solid financial future and a legacy.
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