During an interactive educational session at Solar Power International, solar installers participated in roundtable discussions on the pain points they feel in their business. The session, titled “Getting Out of the Race to the Bottom: Best Practices for Running a Profitable Solar Contracting Business” and moderated by Chaolysti’s Pamela Cargill, gathered a laundry list of common difficulties most residential and commercial solar installers experience.
The list of discussed pain points included: customer acquisition, performance analysis, warranty response time, finding qualified personnel and retaining them, delivering on proposal promises, training, market uncertainty due to regulations and handling low-price and low-quality competitors.
Session speakers included Vincent Battaglia, founder and CEO of Renova Solar; Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Spice Solar; Boaz Soifer, CEO of BayWa r.e Solar Systems; and Peter Troast, CEO of Energy Circle.
With such a lively discussion among solar installer participants, there was a shortened timeframe for the speakers to provide advice on the specific pain points, but each tried to speak on their experiences in the industry to get companies to the point of thriving, not just surviving.
With branding becoming increasingly important in the solar market, Battaglia suggested all companies buy the “.solar” URL option for their websites. That can quickly bring in more online traffic when consumers search for solar in their areas.
He also said it was important to focus on solar and not the bells and whistles of other flashy services.
“Stay focused on solar, ” Battaglia said. “Become what you are. You are an energy company; own it. Get out of the alarm business.”
On the topic of hiring, Soifer said an engaged team makes for a more worthwhile business. It’s always more beneficial to hire people who support your workplace values.
“Hire for value is hire for culture,” he said. “Get serious about engaging your team in running a more efficient business. It gives them something to do that they really support.”