2014 Dealer of the Year: Excellence in Innovative Thinking

California Energy Consultant Service recognized for innovative thinking
October 27, 2014
SPECIAL FEATURES | Close-Ups

EXCELLENCE in

INNOVATIVE THINKING

        

CALIFORNIA ENERGY CONSULTANT SERVICES

COMPANY LEADERSHIP: Phil Isaacs, owner

LOCATION: Rancho Cordova, Calif.

SALES VOLUME: $4.4 million, 68% of which represents window sales

EMPLOYEES: 12

PRODUCTS: Simonton, Ply Gem, Milgard and Marvin Windows

In 2005, Phil Isaacs bought a then-24-year-old window and door retail business and took it in a new direction. “We made a paradigm shift,” he says. “It was a serious investment.” Isaacs immediately added siding to the existing window and door product offering and after about three years, added heating and air conditioning services as well. “I was betting on the future,” he explains. Determined to learn all he could about building and home performance, he became Building Performance Institute certified, allowing his company to be able to work with local utilities and offer “fantastic financing and rebates,” which in turn, helped bring in substantial window projects.

 
 The crew at California Energy Consultant Services. Owner Phil Isaacs says, “We made a paradigm shift. It was a serious investment.”

Typically, the company will get a window lead, and instead of focusing solely on window size, shape, and number, the salesperson will ask questions to find out if the homeowner is a candidate for some of California Energy’s other services like heating and air conditioning. “If they need both [of those] services, they’re really good candidates,” Isaacs says. “Then we ask if they’d be interested in learning more about getting substantial rebates from utility companies.” This opens the door for the salesperson to talk about the home’s existing systems and about getting an energy assessment. Isaacs contracts out to a third party for the energy assessment and the California Energy team goes in after the assessment to show the homeowners that “if we do A, B, and C, they can save ‘X’ amount. We show them the benefits and the rebates they’ll get if they do the improvements,” Isaacs says.

California Energy takes “home performance very seriously and always tries to convert each window job into a SMUD [Sacramento Municipal Utility District] home performance job,” says Moe Sifri, quality control program manager at Efficiency First California in Oakland. “Their sales process is different from others because they offer the whole energy efficiency project support and information package to their customers: from energy assessment, to explaining the scope of work to the homeowners, to providing all available financing options in the marketplace and helping their customers choose the best option that fits their needs. And finally, they validate their improvement with testing after they have completed the project.”

It took Isaacs’ team a while to successfully convert these discussions into sales, but now they are consistently doing it four or five times a month for large projects. “Many times, we’ll walk away from a heating and air lead with a $40,000 contract for not only HVAC but for windows and a few miscellaneous items as well,” Isaacs says.

Isaacs credits the success to “fantastic sales guys” who are able to establish trust with clients. Because of the company’s affiliation with BPI and its accreditation with local utilities, California Energy is able to access rebates for its clients. For example, SMUD only gives leads to certified home performance contractors. “If we weren’t part of home performance, we wouldn’t even get a window lead,”
Isaacs says. The same holds true for California Home Financing Authority, which offers consumers loans for energy retrofitting.

“Once you get the credentials, utilize them to the fullest,” Isaacs advises. “Make sure you’re connected with every local portal, utility company, financing company—anything associated with energy efficiency—so you can be knowledgeable about offering rebates.”