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Trade Ally Network Northwest

Virtual Service: The Trade Ally Experience

June 16, 2020 | Trade Ally Network NW

Recently, we talked with several of you to learn what you’ve been doing to keep your businesses moving forward. Once again, our Northwest trade allies are true champs – you’re entrepreneurial, hard-working and creative in how you overcome obstacles to serve customers and watch out for employees. Read more from your fellow trade allies.

“We’ve used this time to complete our NXT Level 2 certification and pivot to serve customers in new ways. In addition to our lighting work, we formed a new business, GEL Safety Solutions, to provide safety equipment for our commercial and industrial customers. We sourced a supplier and warehouse and built a new revenue stream selling disinfectant sprays, hand sanitizer, masks, UV light boxes and other UV light technology. Current customers appreciate the resource and referrals have enabled us to make connections with new potential customers. Being nimble allows us to adapt to changing conditions and keep our staff employed. “

— Charlie Gerwe, GEL Energy Solutions, Central Oregon

“The commercial side of the business has been quiet since most buildings have been closed for the past several weeks. We’ve stayed in touch with these customers to remind them we’re here as things begin to reopen. On the residential side, we’ve expanded our service territory and have been willing to travel farther than we did before to accommodate more customers. Plus, we’ve launched virtual sales calls and meetings for people who aren’t comfortable with us coming to their home. We have an initial meeting on Zoom and then discuss what information and photographs we need to scope the project. This has been a great addition to our business and has made things more efficient both for us and our customers.”

— Jeremy Kliemann, Kliemann Brothers, Puget Sound, Washington

“We’re not doing any field installation right now, other than emergency repair work or lighting projects related to safety issues. Any project not started prior to the stay-at-home order is on hold. We have stayed active with prospecting of new work and conducting field audits. One plus we’ve seen is that facilities are taking advantage of this downtime to explore projects without disrupting the work environment. We’ve been able to work on projects during the day that might otherwise have been done in the evening, which helps us be more efficient. If no one is around, we’re more comfortable going on-site where we can maintain the proper social distance.”

— Pete Botting, Georgina Energy Solutions, Northwest Washington

“We’re using collaboration tools more efficiently than before which has been very effective. Video conference has reduced traditional face-to-face meetings for many project development milestones with our customers. We’ve never stopped working; we’ve just adjusted our practices to be more flexible and cognizant of social distancing guidelines.

— Neil Schilling, Sales, North Coast Electric, Southwest Washington

“We’re a family-owned business with two locations and haven’t slowed down yet. We’re working triple-time to serve existing customers and submit proposals to new customers. We’re hitting our numbers, but it involves more footwork and follow-up. We’re fortunate to have several projects in the decision-making mode right now. Some companies pushed projects through before the shutdown and others are hurrying projects through while facilities are closed. I anticipate a potential slowdown in the future, but we’ll watch the trends and bridge it with extra hard work.”

— Dave Bennett, D&S Electric Supply, Idaho

“Our Bend branch has been able to stay open with a skeleton crew at the store, while the rest of us work remotely. We’re using all the communication avenues we can to stay close to customers; we use whatever it takes to connect with the customer and then bird dog the project. Depending on the installation, we still do audits on-site while practicing social distancing. Many customers are pushing projects forward because they aren’t as busy, and it makes installation happen more quickly. Because we’re in a small community, we work closely with contractors and can gather quite a bit of information without having to go to the job site. For now, we’ll continue to work remotely, but we do look forward to being back on the road to track down projects. “

— Chris Winters, North Coast Electric, Central Oregon

“We’re concentrating on helping customers look ahead and plan for the future. One of our niches is Design-Build so we help customers look for ways to improve efficiencies once their businesses re-open. This is keeping our project managers busy and the pipeline full. We’ve done plenty of virtual job walks and no-contact on-site visits to keep projects moving. And, knowing it is a lot easier to maintain a relationship than create a new one, we’ve stayed in close contact with past customers to make sure they know we’re still here to serve.”

— Jordon Dixon, Accurate Electric Unlimited, Inc., Southwest Washington

Our strategy has been to help residential and business customers find the most robust products to improve indoor air quality and efficiency, all in one upgrade. We’ve offered both ducted and ductless systems at discounted rates and reduced costs for installation. We want people to know we’re here, we’re open, and ready to help as businesses get ready to reopen.

— Garrett Bush, Airrow Heating, Central Oregon Coast