As I scrolled through the nice (*and some not so nice*) Facebook comments one morning, I came across a post by Chad Engle. It said he’s been using CompanyCam for two years and believes it’s a must for all air duct companies. He went so far as to say, CompanyCam has been a “game-changer” for his business (can you blame him?). Needless to say, interviewing Chad was a no-brainer.
Follow along to see how Chad, a senior technician at a family-owned air duct company, gets the most out of his CoCam app.
What are some of the problems you see in the air duct cleaning industry in regards to photo reporting or documentation, or lack thereof?
Yeah, most of it is a lack thereof. There are unscrupulous companies out there taking advantage of customers and that’s why we went with CompanyCam. We try to be upfront and honest with our customers. If at all possible, we like to take the customer to the furnace and show them the vacuum sucking dirt up and things. I’ve had customers hold the flashlight just so I can have both hands free and they see what’s getting pulled out of their system. It’s usually the wife who hires us and the husband who says, “These guys are scam artists.” So getting the husband to hold the flashlight and see everything getting sucked out of the return duct, they realize, “This is beneficial, not just a scam.”
We try to take as many before and after pictures as we can — usually three to five per vent at a time. If they have 25 vents, then we are taking a hundred photos. This way everything is documented. If we nick a wall or don’t nick a wall, and our guys take a picture of it, then when the customer calls back saying, “Your guy nicked a hole in the wall,” we’ve got a picture of it before you guys did the walkthrough. CompanyCam saves us a lot of money from going back and forth with the customer, driving to a call 45 minutes away, and then finding out we’ve got to do this and that.
I tell other contractors about it all the time because it saves us money, time, energy, and headaches. CompanyCam is one of those things you just have to try.
As the techs are taking pictures out in the field, our office can see it right away. And then if there’s an issue, they can jump right on it and get it corrected immediately, instead of playing phone tag, running around, and trying to find the right people. CompanyCam has saved us money and headaches. The customers like seeing before and after pictures, and now that you guys have added video, that’s helped on a couple of issues as well. I’ve gone out and done some drive-ins recently, and their dryer squealed and rattled. They called me afterward saying, “The dryer never sounded like this before.” I said, “Well, we’ve got this video.” They said, “Oh, should we call it dryer tech, then?” I said, “Yeah.” And then we’re done with them.
That’s great. Video is useful for capturing many angles and recording audio. I’m glad you’re using that feature!
I went to a lady’s house and she wanted me to clean her vents (that went down underneath her floor and back out the other side). It was against code, so I couldn’t clean it. But I told her it wasn’t drying right, so I showed her the video of it. You could hear the water gurgling inside her dryer duct so I said, “It’s full of water down the crawlspace.” It helped sell her on the reason that she needs to bring it up to code. In that way, the video helped.
So then, what initially brought you to CompanyCam, and what intrigued you to download the free trial?
My cousin and boss, Clay, found it online. Clay thought my team should try it out first since we are the guinea pig for the heating and cooling company. We started using CompanyCam and then Clay realized that the heating and cooling side of the company could be taking pictures out in the field too and using it to address issues. We’ve always been taking photos. My grandpa started with a Polaroid camera. Then we went to digital cameras so we’d have to bring the SD card back to the office, download all the pictures, and then try to figure out which pictures went to what place. So CompanyCam has made it a whole lot easier for us to file pictures and get them out to customers quicker.
Wow, a Polaroid? That’s wild. Times have really changed. So tell me about an “aha” moment you had when you realized CompanyCam was going to be a game-changer?
Well, it all goes back to having that proof. For example, showing proof that we cleaned for a customer or that the carpet was already ruined before we even got there. Sometimes they try to blame us — they try to get us to pay for a new carpet in their home, but we’ve got pictures. Sometimes at the end of the day, they’ll say, “Hey, we waited around all day long, and nobody ever showed up.” But, we’ve got pictures of our tech out in front of their house at that time.
I assumed it was, at least, $30 to $50 per person. Brian said, “Oh, no!” It’s $19 per user.
CompanyCam has just saved us so much money over time that it’s a no brainer. From going from the Polaroid to digital cameras to now CompanyCam it’s so much easier for us. It was just kind of a no brainer. And taking before and after pictures proves to our customers that what we’re doing is legit.
Do you know how much money or time CompanyCam has saved you?
I would say it probably saves us at least a thousand dollars a month. Every time a truck leaves our parking lot, we need to make at least $150 to pay for that tech, the fuel, the insurance, and all that stuff on the truck. So because we’ve already got everything documented on the CompanyCam app, it saves us a 40 – 45 minute trip to look at damaged drywall or something similar. CompanyCam allows for unlimited storage so we take as many pictures and videos as we can out in the field. It’s saving us at least a thousand dollars per tech and per truck out there.
I met Brian (one of CompanyCam’s sales team members) at a cleaners network event. I talked to him about CompanyCam and I didn’t know how much it was to have users. I assumed it was, at least, $30 to $50 per person. Brian said, “Oh, no!” It’s $19 per user.
It’s saving us at least a thousand dollars per tech and per truck out there.
I’ve tried selling CompanyCam to one of our builders here in the Indianapolis area recently. I went out to give them a bid on a 14,000 square feet house with five furnaces. I was taking pictures and he called his son from the basement and said “Look at this app! We need to look into this.” Later I told him, “It saves us so much money.” And he said, “Yeah, we need to look into it.”
Thanks for spreading the word, Chad! What’s your favorite feature on CompanyCam?
I like being able to draw on the pictures, take notes, and add tags. As a field manager, I can’t remember everything from every project. If I can tag the photos with our company, techs, people, training, then I can look back months later to prepare for a meeting. I don’t have to remember all that stuff anymore. Now, I can just type in “training” and all those pictures pop up. When my guys are out on a job, I look at their live pictures and give feedback on what needs to get done. That saves us money and time right there. I can go through a procedure, do a job, and then a month later, all my notes and photos are available when we have a meeting.
What would you say to companies that are on the fence about using CompanyCam?
During the first year, it can be hard to get anybody to do things differently. So I encourage them to just try it, and if they don’t like it, then they don’t have to use it anymore. But, they might try it and realize it benefits your company. Then they’ll say, “Well, I should have been using this sooner,” or “everybody in my company needs to be using this!” It’s easy for me to tell somebody about CompanyCam because I believe in it. I tell other contractors about it all the time because it saves us money, time, energy, and headaches. CompanyCam is one of those things you just have to try.
Finish the sentence, “CompanyCam is [blank].”
Honestly, CompanyCam is just awesome. Like I’ve said — it saves us time, money, energy, and headaches. It goes hand-in-hand with our industry. We get into attics and crawl spaces a lot. A lot of homeowners can’t or won’t get into those spaces. If you take pictures for them, you can show them when you get out. You can then better inform your customer and recommend whether a plumber’s or electrician’s assistance would be best.
For some of the new builds we go into, we tell them to have CompanyCam on their roster to save money. That way the foreman doesn’t have to come out and then the builders later. Now, it’s already there. Just share it with the next guy, so when he comes out, all the notes are there. I don’t miss the paperwork. CompanyCam is a game-changer for us.
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Chad works for a family-owned and operated air duct cleaning company named Mite-E-Ducts. Mite-E-Ducts was established in 1995 and they provide dryer vent cleaning, air duct treatment, and much more. Chad has been working at Mite-E-Ducts for 18 years. Mite-E-Ducts is located in Zionsville, Indiana. They serve a statewide customer base including residential and commercial customers in Brownsburg, Carmel, Fishers, Greenwood, Noblesville, Zionsville, and the greater Indianapolis area. Mite-E-Ducts is a branch off of Chad’s uncle’s HVAC company, Control Tech Heating and Cooling.
Learn more at their website.