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Hardest of the Hard-To-Reach Markets

The hard-to-crack markets: small businesses and small multifamily. You see them unassumingly saddled on the street corner, the mom-and-pop store next to the chain giant, the suburban four-to-eight unit apartment building, or the row of boutiques lining your main downtown block.

And while no two businesses are created equal, they all share the same challenge of stretching their investment dollar as far as it can go. Modest, hardworking, cost-effective, oftentimes family-owned businesses where time is money − and money is scrutinized down to the penny.

Beyond the barrier of their valued time and money, these markets can literally be hard to reach. Nestled between rural highways, hidden in suburban neighborhoods or submerged deep in the urban grid, these tucked-away diamonds can often be missed by utility programs.

The overarching hurdles for reaching this hard-to-reach customer base include:

  • Lack of energy efficiency knowledge
  • Limited time to learn about energy efficiency opportunities or complete rebate forms
  • Limited capital to invest in energy efficiency projects
  • Lower pursuit by trade allies

Because Experience Matters

Through Franklin Energy's twenty-plus years of designing and delivering energy efficiency programs, we understand how important these customers are to fully rounding out a utility’s commercial and industrial program portfolio, and have developed a number of solutions to close the gap. Here are two that have helped contribute to industry-leading success. 

The Price is Right with Fixed Fees

Our model of trade ally installed measures establishes a trusted network for all of our utility’s ranging market needs. But, just as no two businesses are alike – our Trade Ally engagement methodology and mechanisms are just as unique.

We’ve turned the obstacle of budget into a win-win opportunity for both the Trade Ally and customers. How? Fixed-fee pricing. This ensures all customers receive the same price per fixture from all participating trade allies. Customers can afford the same low co-pay. Trade Allies know they will be compensated fairly for their business, taking the guesswork out of transactions. 

One specific example of our success with fixed-fee pricing for the small multifamily market is through our common area lighting package (CALP). Trade Allies offer installation of any combination of specific lighting products to small multifamily properties at an advertised customer co-pay. No strings attached promotion to draw more business. Low-cost upgrade to cinch customers’ decisions. And no customer paperwork to ensure satisfaction. In its first full implementation year, the CALP approach saved one client’s customers over 26 million kWhs, roughly 30% of its savings goal.

Meet Them All the Way with Energy Efficiency Kits

As aforementioned, it can literally be difficult to “reach” rural or even the smallest-of-the-small urban commercial business customers – from setting the appointments to making trips all the way to their location. One way we’ve made these targets worthwhile for utilities is through energy efficiency kits. Our design experts create a variety of energy efficiency kits for these small business customers. The kits are customized to the business type, free of charge, and easily accessible and clearly outlined on our clients’ websites.

The right kits are sent directly to the right business customers, free of charge. For example, a small restaurant would receive faucet aerators for their bathrooms, LED lamps for their offices and dining areas, and a pre-rinse sprayer valve for their kitchen. It is important for utilities to have solutions for customers who have a harder time accessing the benefits of energy efficiency programs because these customers, just like the rest, pay into the energy efficiency program funds. These same customers receive a JD Power questionnaire, with a utility goal of continued improvement in customer satisfaction. We know the importance in spending time and effort with these particular customers.

To hear more about how we’re solving for these hard-to-reach markets, visit our website at www.franklinenergy.com or schedule a one-on-one by contacting inquiries@franklinenergy.com.

Fred Dreher
Written by Fred Dreher

Vice President of Small and Mid-Sized Business Strategy
Fred Dreher knows how to make a big impact in small businesses. He draws upon his vast industry experience to identify ways to improve Franklin Energy’s approach to the small and mid-sized business sector. This includes developing new products that achieve more effective approaches to program implementation. In addition to his role at Franklin Energy, Fred is a former chair and a founding member of the advisory board for the development of UW-Platteville’s Sustainability and Renewable Energy Systems (SRES) degree, a founder of Wisconsin’s SE2 Award (now USGBC Wisconsin’s Building Performance Award), and a former chair of the Association of Energy Services Professionals’ (AESP) Innovations in Tools and Technology Topic Committee. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from UW-Platteville.

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