Solar Pool Heating Competition
Let’s come right out and say it. Our business was officially started in 2014. That makes us a young company by most definitions. Our competition would like you to think that we are inexperienced and don’t have the credentials to install your solar pool heater. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
So how do we stack up against our competition’s years in business? Read on to find out why you should choose us for your solar pool heating needs.
One of the biggest scare tactics used by our competition is how your warranty will be serviced.
Our competition would like for you to think that their years in business somehow gives you more warranty assurance. That could not be further from the truth. Warranties for solar pool heaters are from the manufacturer of the product. Period. Local dealers supply warranty services for the manufacturer and are compensated accordingly. If your local dealer changes brands, they will no longer service your panels under warranty. The new dealer that represents that manufacturer will provide you with warranty services.
The dealer’s years in business has nothing to do with the warranty on your solar panels. If you are concerned about warranty, look into the stability of the manufacturer. Our panels are manufactured by Solar Hydronics Corporation, founded in 1997, which was spun off from Solar City, Inc., a pioneer in the industry since 1979.
For what it’s worth, as a dealer, we supply a supplemental warranty to cover parts of your system not specifically covered by the manufacturer. That’s another scare tactic used by competitors to make you think that “parts” are in need of additional coverage. The parts in question are things that either don’t break or cost next to nothing to replace.
Old School vs. New School
Depending on the context, “old school” can be a great thing. Longevity means a company must have done something right. They probably have some defining feature that makes them successful. A good product, good customer service, or being a price leader can result in longevity. Old school can also mean a company is resting on its laurels, stagnant in technology, and content to have merely somewhat satisfied customers.
“New school” sometimes conjures up questions about the commitment and capability of a company. Sometimes things don’t need changing, and the old way of doing it is perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, new ideas can bring innovation in technology and modern approach to sales and customer service. New school embraces the idea that things can be done better and faster, bringing value to the process and client.
Where We Fit Into The Market
We (Jason and Dominick) started working for the longest established solar pool heating dealer in Southwest Florida in 2009. Having previously owned separate successful businesses in other fields, we were ready for a new challenge. Jason had prior technical and practical experience with solar electricity. Dominick had a strong interest in the new energy economy with a background in sales and customer service. We found out over time that we complemented each other’s skills perfectly. We went to work and learned every aspect of the solar pool heating industry, rising to the top of the company and the local marketplace in skill, knowledge, and success.
But there was something missing.
We set out to do things better when Florida Solar Design Group was formed. There were issues with both product, processes, and personnel that plagued the local industry. We consciously identified key factors related to customer satisfaction (initial and long-term). Quickly we realized that we could beat the competition in just about every aspect of solar pool heating performance and customer satisfaction. The one area we couldn’t win was “years in business.” But that did not deter us.
Our Sales Approach
Our business began with a “new school” approach to sales. We insisted on a consultative approach to solar sales. Education is key in an industry where prospective customers don’t know much about how our product works, or what they could expect in terms of performance and results. The old school approach was, “if you can’t convince them, confuse them.” The new school approach is to inquire and inform. We learn about our clients needs and then help them make an informed decision.
We combine old school values of honesty and integrity with new school ideas about how people want to be treated during the sales process. As invited guests in the homes of our clients, we know that they don’t want pushy sales reps. The old days of “sign here right now” are gone. Clients today are better educated with many sources of information. We help cut through the massive amounts of data and explain what’s important when making a decision. Then we leave the decision to you!
Deposits for solar pool heating systems are not required. We have the financial standing to maintain adequate inventory and front the cost of installations. We collect when the job is complete. That’s your assurance that you will get exactly what you pay for – no surprises – no change orders. We have concise written contracts and maintain integrity throughout the contracting process.
We are the only solar contractor in Southwest Florida that does not use independent commissioned sales reps!
The Best Products
Next, we knew that we had to have the best product at a fair price. A consultative approach only works if your product is truly the best. So we went out and found it.
You might ask why the best product wasn’t already being sold here. Previously there were essentially three major brands available in Southwest Florida. These brands were represented by dealers that had been in business for at least three decades each. Based on the established competition, the barrier to entry was truly staggering.
The brand we represent is made right here in Florida. Like other brands, the company who manufactures it has been in business for decades. However, our particular panel design has only been around since the 1990s. They, too, realized that it was possible to “build a better mousetrap.” They took the best features of the competing brands, used the best materials, and came up with a solar pool heating panel that crushes the competition in terms of performance and durability. And then they followed through with a culture of continuous innovation and made it better with experience. It is now unquestionably the best manufactured panel on the newest manufacturing line. That’s a new school benefit.
The Best Products Address Top Complaints
By selecting the best materials we addressed the top complaints with products, which were:
- Repeated panel leaks
- Performance issues with flow and heating
- System longevity (not just panels).
We don’t have the cheapest product on the market. But we do offer a fair price by keeping our overhead costs low. We believe strongly that we offer the best value by far.
Our clients’ top mentioned concerns are the integrity of their roof and the solar panel attachments. We addressed these issues in several ways. We are the ONLY local dealer to use:
- The foam set tile method on tile roofs, adding strength to your tile attachment with Dow Tilebond™ or equivalent foam roofing adhesive specifically designed for the application.
- Aluminum flashings to ensure permanent watertight fastening of systems to shingle roofs.
- Clamps with raised plumbing spacers to protect shingle and metal roofs from abrasion by PVC pipe.
- Aluminum rub plates to prevent abrasion at key roof locations.
- Factory trained solar installers.
- A licensed primary qualifying contractor (Jason) that actually gets on roofs frequently to participate in training and installations.
We didn’t start installing solar panels recently. We identified problems with competitors’ systems over years of study and applied new installation methods to correct them.
Students of The Industry
Dominick and Jason have a ravenous appetite to learn about the industry’s best products, practices, processes, people, and players (the five P’s). Never content to rest on our laurels, we are constantly improving. We have a culture of excellence that extends to every employee.
Dominick is unquestionably the most knowledgeable solar pool heating consultant in the area. He not only knows our products inside and out, but our competitors’ products, too. He knows all of the scare tactics, one of which is the subject of this article. Dominick learns everything he can about every person and product to provide the best experience.
Jason takes the proper installation of every single solar panel seriously and personally. It’s his responsibility to ensure satisfaction in the integrity of the design and performance. Having achieved a near perfect score on his state certified contractors licensing exam shows that he is a student of the trade (the initial test pass rate is about half). He is highly engaged in the technical aspects of the industry and keeps up to date on related pool equipment. He shares feedback with manufacturers who in turn provide the best engineering and products possible.
Success is Proof
We have enjoyed tremendous success since our inception. We have carved out our share of the market, and continue to increase our market share at a fantastic pace. It’s very hard to compete initially with incumbents that have been in power for decades. Internet search results, household name recognition, customer referrals, and branding take a long time to achieve. However, we have proven from the start that we have unquestioned customer satisfaction, performance, and integrity. We have happy clients in just about every community in Southwest Florida.
Look at our online reviews. They are real. You will see the same thing over and over. We provide a great experience from start to finish.
Look at our pictures and videos. We love to showcase our work with aerial video (Jason is also a licensed FAA drone pilot).
Florida Solar Design Group doesn’t do this as a side business or a hobby. We didn’t add this product line onto an existing pool store, spa store, or solar electricity business. We are 100% committed to our solar pool heating roots, engaged as owners, available on our personal cell phones, and absolutely obsessed with customer satisfaction in every respect.
Don’t let years in business be a defining or determining factor in your search for the best solar pool heating installer. Let us prove to you that we have the experience and attitude necessary to produce fantastic results. One day we will be one of those guys with decades of history, but we will never lose our modern approach to the five P’s.