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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Great North
    Posts
    7

    Stove Repair Business in WNY (help)

    Folks,

    Last year I acquired my NFI Pellet Stove certification. For about 2 years prior to this I was working on all kinds of pellet/corn stoves. So I figured I would get certified. I have since then purchased 4 different kinds of stoves and learned how they operate. I have also created binders for each type of stove, including manuals/skematics and my own drawings.

    I have also made a list of what stoves use which motors/fans ignitors etc.. I know this list is not complete but it is a start.

    I have identified at least 10 places that sell stoves in my area and do not suppor them. I was wondering what the best way to get in contact with the people that have stoves and eventually will need service. I currently have about 10-15 solid customers that call me first. I would like to increase this if at all possible.

    Any ideas?

    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    392
    Getting your name out there is the hardest part of starting your own business. Introduce yourself to the owners of these places that sell the products, but don't have their own service staff. I am sure that they are looking for qualified service people that actually know how to repair them. Since the business is very seasonal, there are many more service calls than there are service people to go around.

    Try to attend different hearth functions and shows. You will meet lots of nice people there that will be more than happy to guide you in the direction that you wish to go. Just be careful of talking with your near by competition........they will not want you to take business away from them and may be less than friendly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    356
    After you do that, you'll get work from them on a regular basis, Send over some Pizza's for lunch from time to time along with a stack of your business cards

    What else do you do besides pellets?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    I would make up some cards and include the NFI logo on it. I think you can get their logo for cards from their site someplace. Go and talk to some people at the local shops that have no service team. Just let them know if they have any pellet customers call in with service needs you would be happy to help them. If you give them a good pile of cards and they have no one else to refer people to it should be quite easy to get calls. You might want to wait till next burn season though so you are fresh in their minds when the calls come rolling in during the first cold week.

    I don't see how a shop that sells pellet units could survive without a service person. What happens if the stove breaks under warranty? Does the manager go fix it? Or I suppose they send the installers out, who know how to put the venting in, and have no clue how to fix it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    392
    Hey jtp, I do work for a business that has several locations and NO service staff. That is the void that we private service guys fill !!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Great North
    Posts
    7
    Thanks for the input! It appears that there would probably never be enough work in my area to work full time. I guess I will remain doing this as side work.


    I actually had stickers made up with my name and phone numbers that I put on the back of all the pellet stoves that I service. I also put them into the front cover of the owners manuals when I see them. I also got in touch with some of the major manufacturers and they have given me some business.


    thanks

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny1720 View Post
    Thanks for the input! It appears that there would probably never be enough work in my area to work full time. I guess I will remain doing this as side work.


    I actually had stickers made up with my name and phone numbers that I put on the back of all the pellet stoves that I service. I also put them into the front cover of the owners manuals when I see them. I also got in touch with some of the major manufacturers and they have given me some business.


    thanks

    John

    John,


    WHY DON'T YOU CONSIDER BRANCHING OUT TO REPAIRING AND MAINTAINING GAS STOVES AND GAS LOG SETS?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Great North
    Posts
    7
    Seems simple enough but I have no experience in this area. And I dont know how to go about obtaining experience in the gas area. I know I could go and get the GAS NFI certification but that wouldnt teach me enough about the trade!

    Any advice?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    392
    If you were to take the NFI gas course, that would teach you about 75% of what you need to know, but the rest comes from on the job training. I was blessed with the chance to work for someone that has 12 years in the gas fireplace business and shared the little tricks that he has stumbled across in his 1000's of service calls. I've done several thousand service calls and I still run across a head scratcher or two that I've never seen before.

    Maybe you could spend a week or two as an apprentice with a company that services gas units?

    Hummmmmm......I could use some training on pellet stoves......

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Great North
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by logdoc_rob View Post
    If you were to take the NFI gas course, that would teach you about 75% of what you need to know, but the rest comes from on the job training. I was blessed with the chance to work for someone that has 12 years in the gas fireplace business and shared the little tricks that he has stumbled across in his 1000's of service calls. I've done several thousand service calls and I still run across a head scratcher or two that I've never seen before.

    Maybe you could spend a week or two as an apprentice with a company that services gas units?

    Hummmmmm......I could use some training on pellet stoves......
    I have actually purchased 6 different brands of stoves and tore them apart and learned from them. I was thinking I would do the same thing with the gas stoves but I am a little afraid of gas! But if we did an apprenticeship with each other I am sure we could both benifit.

    Somthing to think about!

    johnny

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