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Federal Government Programs Aim to Help Business

As the business community adjusts to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, the federal government has announced a number of support programs to assist companies and their employees through the difficult economic times.

The announced measures aim to help Canadian businesses – including HVAC/R and plumbing companies and their supply chain partners – protect the jobs that Canadians depend on, while being able to still pay the company’s bills.

Included in the business-focused programs is a new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will provide funding to eligible financial institutions so that they can provide interest-free loans in the form of lines of credit of up to $40,000 to businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million. A quarter of this loan will be eligible for complete forgiveness, but full program details have yet to be revealed.

Also available through Canadian financial institutions is a co-lending program where eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million.

In addition to the loan programs, the government has also announced an increase of its wage subsidy program for qualifying businesses. Originally introduced as a 10 per cent subsidy up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer, the federal government has now committed to a 75 per cent subsidy for up to 3 months on the first $58,700 earned, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Official details of this program are still pending, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that it will be available to any business with at least a 30 per cent revenue decrease because of COVID-19. How that 30 per cent is determined is still to be disclosed.

Earlier announcements also of interest to business owners include the deferral of GST and HST payments, to June, and an extension of the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program, from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.

For more information about the loan programs, contact your bank or other financial institution. More information about the federal government’s programs for business can be access here.

 

Source : Mechanical Business

The Seven Deadly Bogeymen of HVAC

Unfair Utility Competition

The most consistent threat in HVAC is unfair utility competition. It arises from time to time before receding. Utilities are particularly galling because they find ways to subsidize their HVAC efforts with their utility business. Utility work gets marked up and passed along to the rate base. That means you are forced to pay for a piece of your competitor’s overhead! Worse, the utilities are trying to steal your technicians by offering them better pay and benefits, along with steadier work, better conditions, and so on. How can you fight that? You beat the utilities one customer at a time, with more personal service and greater responsiveness. They will take some customers, but only those you are ill-prepared to serve. On the labor side, you may need to up your game. Charge more to pay more. Charge more to offer better benefits than the utility. Utilities are big, impersonal, and bureaucratic. You can “out-human” them.

 

Franchises

The franchises come and go. To date, none have established enough top-of-mind nationwide to be a threat. Top-of-mind tends to be a local phenomenon. Even if it’s strong, when the 10-year agreement expires and the franchisee exits the program, the next guy to grab the franchised brand is unlikely to be as aggressive. A franchise is just another local competitor.

 

Consolidation

Consolidation was once the big bogeyman. Join a consolidator or get run over, we were promised. Today, independent contractors thrive and the consolidators that survive are shells of their former promise. A new consolidation movement has opened up among private equity firms; it presents an exit strategy for those who want one.

 

Big Boxes

The big boxes were once feared as the major industry threat. We watched as they absorbed an additional point of market share for water heaters each year and were horrified when well known HVAC brands showed up in their end caps. The big box stores are good retailers, not contractors. They cannot do the work. So, they partner with contractors, which is not so bad. They are content to grab the low hanging fruit (for them) and contractors are more than happy to grab the rest.

 

Internet Sales

A looming threat is Internet sales. No one has been able to make it work so far, but someone could. The only certainty is the Internet will result in greater transparency. This means contractors have to do a better job showing prospects what they do and why it matters. Again, up your game. Someday there may be a disruptive HVAC business model featuring the Internet. So far, that day has not arrived.

 

Internet Leads

There was a time when contractors feared the companies driving Internet leads. They had massive budgets, incredible sophistication, and Internet leads looked like black magic. For the most part, all the Internet leads companies manage to achieve is dissatisfaction. Most contractors have wisely decided to make customer acquisition an internal skill and not depend on third parties, even if they use third party lead generators on a marginal cost/marginal revenue basis.

 

Internet Reviews

Reviews are often seen as all important and a mixed blessing. Contractors obsess over bad reviews. Many consumers use this fact to ransom their words unethically to gain forced concessions by the contractor. Review sites suppress good reviews unless contractors pay a version of protection money. The truth is reviews are primarily a factor when a consumer does not know who to call. This means no positive personal experience, no recommendations by friends, neighbors, or co-workers, and no suggestions from social media. Bad reviews hurt, but they are not deadly and can eventually be buried by positive reviews.

 

Work Your Plan

Each of these threats is or was serious. And each proved somewhat ephemeral. The biggest threat of HVAC bogeymen is the threat of taking your eye off of your own business. Build it well and the threats won’t matter.

 

Source : Matt Michel @ Contracting Buiness. 

Enbridge 2020 rebate program

UPDATED REBATES - JANUARY 1, 2020
Please note that Enbridge and Union Gas will be updating their rebates and rebate criteria effective January 1, 2020. 
 
Program criteria :
 
  • Furnace replacement must now be 96% AFUE.  95% AFUE no longer qualifies for a rebate.
  • Furnace rebate has been changed to $500, from $750.  Read further for exciting Limited Time Offer rebates 
  • Any furnace replacement will require TWO additional upgrades.
  • Boiler rebate has increased from $750 to $1000. Only requires ONE additional upgrade.
  
Limited Time Offer Packages:
 
Package 1: Receive $1,600 Rebate + $550 rebate for audit cost (Total $2,150) when you complete the following measures:
Replace existing furnace with 96% AFUE or higher
Attic Insulation* (will be pro-rated based on % completed)
Achieve Air Sealing target or target + 10%
*Rebates are pro-rated based on the total ceiling area percentages upgraded. For example, if 50% of the attic is upgraded, the customer will receive 50% of the $500 attic rebate ($250) for a total of $2050.
 
Package 2: Receive $850 Rebate + $550 rebate for audit cost (Total $1,400) when you complete the following measures:
Attic Insulation** (will be pro-rated based on % completed)
Achieve Air Sealing target or target + 10%
**Rebates are pro-rated based on the total ceiling area percentages upgraded. For example, if 50% of the attic is upgraded, the customer will receive 50% of the $500 attic rebate ($250) for a total of $1050
 
 
Limited Time Offer Terms and Conditions
Limited time offer while funds lasts. Enbridge has the right to cancel promotion at any time
Pre and Post upgrades assessments are required (Enbridge will reimburse customers  $550 for pre and post upgrades assessments)
Total Package Rebates ($2,150, and $1,400) includes $550 assessment rebate reimbursement
Attic insulation rebates are pro-rated based on total % area completed
Homes that complete additional measures on top of packages above will receive additional rebates. For example, a home completing Package 1 and adding a water heater will receive an additional $200 for their water heater and another $250 bonus for the fourth measure upgrade.

Changes to Enbridge Gas' Customer Connection Policy

Effective Nov. 1, 2019 Enbridge Gas’ customer connection policy for Residential Random New and Residential Conversion customers has been revised. (Note: This policy does not apply to any commercial customers or residential customers requiring a main extension. The policy does not apply to legacy Union Gas Limited customer attachments.)
Enbridge will provide and install one service line per civic address at no charge to new customers provided that:
  • The distance between the Owner’s property line and the front wall of house/building is 20 metres or less; and
  • The distance between the front wall of house/building and the selected meter location is 2 metres or less
Service and meter installation in excess of these distances will result in additional charges of $32 per metre (plus applicable taxes). The Enbridge Gas residential service application (e-App) has been revised to reflect the excess length customer attachment policy.
 
What areas are covered
Enbridge Gas’ franchise area is divided into seven areas as shown in the map. Area 10 covers Toronto; Areas 20, 30, 40 and 50 cover the remainder of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA); Area 60 covers Ottawa and the surrounding region; and Area 80 covers the Niagara region.
 

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