Tips to Sell Customers on a Local PV Installer Instead of National Chains

What sets local photovoltaic installers apart from national solar chains, and who offers their customers the best value? Until recently, big chain PV installers secured 59% of the residential market. That changed in the first quarter of 2018 when national PV installers’ collective market share dropped to just 33%. Understanding the value you provide your customers can help you obtain your share of the remaining 67% that’s still up for grabs.

A big chain PV installer is limited by what they can offer. Each project must conform to its corporate offerings and often have fixed pricing and financing. You don’t have those constraints when you bid on new solar installation projects. As a local installer, you’re able to design the system to your customers’ specifications, using the best technology available. As a member of the community you serve, you care deeply about delivering quality solutions. Solerus will be with you to help you get the best possible price on solar equipment, as well as design services that will help you deliver above expectations.

Deliver Top Customer Service

A 2017 study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory showed that national installers’ prices are 10% higher compared to smaller installers.

Source: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/wp-content/uploads/content/dam/rew/onlinearticles/2017/05/REW_StudyShowsNational2.jpg)

The report lists several reasons why customers may accept higher rates from large installers. One of the chief reasons mentioned is that consumers believe these installers are more trustworthy. But, as John Adams said, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” You live in the community you serve; you invest in its wellbeing.

In addition to being nimble and delivering customized solutions to each project, you’re also able to give each customer the attention needed to make them comfortable with the process. This additional attention reaps the benefit of more word of mouth referrals.

Delivering top-notch service, however, is just part of the equation. The other part is community involvement. If you’re like many of us, perhaps you feel squeamish about touting the work you do to benefit others. As a local solar installer, however, showing your neighbors that you care about how your actions impact the community will help overcome this trust barrier. National chains have the benefit of name recognition and the perception of quality. Your work in the community is your opportunity to counter that false notion.

Provide High-quality equipment

Another reason the NREL report cites for customers agreeing to higher prices from national installers is that customers believe these national chains offer higher quality. On this point, be honest with your customers. The national chains do deliver good quality equipment, but not necessarily the best. Or perhaps not the technology best suited for your client’s installation.

National installers often buy equipment in bulk, and their ability to customize installations suffers from this. If you partner with a wholesale distributor, not only will you be able to get the latest technology that best fits your customers’ needs, but you’ll also get deeply discounted contractor pricing. Your ability to get the latest tech best suited for the job at rock bottom prices is one of your key selling points.

As the study makes clear, you already have the ability to deliver competitive prices. But the study also outlines the areas you need to address to win projects. In addition to low prices, you must:

  • Deliver exceptional service;
  • Provide the latest, high-quality equipment;
  • And, be an active member of the community so that your customers trust you to be there should they have any problems

Expert Advice

The last, best advantage you have over national chains is your knowledge of local requirements. Because of this, you add efficiency to each project. Partnering with a wholesaler that provides all the documentation needed for permits will supercharge this advantage.

Similarly, unlike the national chains, which generally provide one-size-fits-all financing, you are more flexible. Your customers have a lot of options to finance their projects. You owe it to your customers to become an expert in solar finance so that you can advise them on the best method to fund their project.

Deliver on What You Promise

The stranglehold national chains once held on the residential solar installation market is weakening. At the same time, prices for solar panels are dropping. Now more than ever, you have the opportunity to grasp a much larger portion of a growing trend toward residential solar.

As a local PV Installer, you have the advantage of expertise and customer service. Let Solerus help you get the best prices on high-quality equipment to make your installation a success. When you work with Solerus Energy, we provide design services to help you streamline your processes and get the project permits, so your installations move smoothly and efficiently.

Solerus is a trusted solar energy equipment supplier, empowering contractors to develop agile solutions for commercial and residential clients. We provide a range of best-in-class solar products that are backed by an industry-leading 25-year warranty, designed to provide you with unparalleled peace of mind.

To learn more about government solar incentives and the equipment you’ll need to have happy customers at a price that you’ll love, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable specialists today!