November 15, 2021
Randy Young, Marketing & Operations Manager for BriteSwitch – a New Jersey-based company that helps electrical distributors find, estimate, and file rebates for their customers – outlined several overlooked financial opportunities during a recent webinar
1. Put a Rebate Estimate on Every Quote.
It’s a great way to stand out from your competition. “The rebates can typically improve the payback by 20 to 25 percent, so it might get a project that’s out of that sweet spot of payback in 1 to 2 years into that [ideal] area and get the customer to greenlight it,” Young advised. “It also helps you to put the focus on the net cost, not the initial cost, which will protect your margin.”
Taking advantage of available rebates can also stop a potential project from walking out the door over cost. “We did a project where a customer went to a distributor and said they found the same bulb on Amazon for $8.95, asking, ‘Can you offer that bulb to me at that price?’ Without using a rebate, the distributor could only make a mark-up of 43 cents (5%), but there was a $5 rebate. When they took that into account, the distributor was able to have his mark-up go to 40% and the customer ended up paying less for the bulb. So it’s a good way to pad that margin and take the focus off the initial cost,” Young stated.
2. Look for Bonus Programs.
The “bonus programs” typically occur towards the end of the year, when rebate programs that haven’t yet achieved their promised goals start getting desperate for energy savings to hit their targets. These bonus programs offer extra money for a short period of time – it could be 10% or 20% and up to double the rebate.
According to Young, right now 15% of the U.S. has a bonus program available, so it behooves you to find out if there are any your area. Update your quotes to reflect the bonus program and pro-actively send them out to old jobs that didn’t go anywhere. Be sure to mention the bonus program deadline as a call to action. Around this time of year, some companies have extra money that they’re allowed to spend. “Get in touch and show your value,” he said.
3. Conduct a Marketing Campaign. Put your mailing lists (either eblast or physical mail) to work by making your potential clients aware of the rebate savings available for their types of projects. “You can target a specific area and proactively talk about the rebates affecting them,” Young commented. “For example, if you know someone in the ComEd territory of Illinois, send out a mailer saying there is a $5 per tube rebate available and tell them to contact you to learn more about it. Tailor the message to that specific area with a deadline to make it a strong offer. If you are a utility program ally, put in those logos and trademarks if permitted (some programs don’t allow it). The goal is to make the offer look as official and enticing as possible to get people to interact with you.”