J&M Electrical Supply of Cambridge, Ohio has doubled the
business it does annually in energy efficiency sales over the past two years,
necessitating a 14% increase in the 32-year-old company’s staff.
Recently, the company hired an energy efficiency specialist,
boosting its staff to eight people.
“It’s strange for us,” said Brad Jarvis, owner. “The man we
hired can’t tell you what 12-2 is, but we don’t need him to know that. We created
the position to work with all of the companies that can take advantage of the <a href="http://www.gridsmartohio.com/” target=”_blank”>GridSmart program here.”
With traditional market niches stagnant, J&M gained its
sales edge by approaching small manufacturers and OEMs in its service area. The
GridSmart rebate, from local utility American Electric Power, figures
prominently in the discussions and computations.
With the rebate numbers on a sheet of paper, said Bill Jarvis,
Brad’s son and company sales manager, these companies are biting now on the energy
efficiency project proposals, where perhaps they were previously reluctant.
“These smaller manufacturers are looking for an edge,” Bill
explained. “With the GridSmart incentives, it’s easier to show them a great
ROI. We’re able to walk in and say to them, ‘here’s an opportunity for you to
get an incentive from the power company.’”
Another big advantage that J&M may have here is that, at
least up until recently, many energy efficiency marketers bypassed smaller
energy users. But the GridSmart program is structured to incentivize smaller
Bill Jarvis said, the recent realization of the
opportunities still out there in even smaller companies—the “mom and pop” retailers,
he called them—led the company to hire the new energy specialist.
“If anything, GridSmart is even more generous to the ‘mom-and-pop’
companies,” Bill said. “We’re not talking big energy users here. Some have
electric bills on the order of $300/month. But the way the program is
structured, it’s possible for these companies to get an energy retrofit, save
money and have as much as 90% of the cost (including installation) picked up by
If anything the process of developing proposals for
customers has become easier in recent months, Bill Jarvis said. For one thing,
he has an iPad that he uses during a walk-through of a customer’s facility. For
another, J&M has taken advantage of NAED’s <a href="http://www.naed.org/energyauditsolution/” target=”_blank”>Energy Audit Solution software.
According to NAED.org, “The goal of the solution is to increase distributor
sales and productivity by reducing the time and effort necessary to develop a
comprehensive sales proposal.”
These advances came in place of Bill making hand-written
notes during a walk-through and entering the information later in an Excel
With a chance that business could soon get better on the
non-efficiency front, Bill Jarvis said, he’ll return (at least in part) to his
original responsibilities as an outside electrical salesman. With the new
specialist in place, he added, the company will still be helping OEMs, small
manufacturers, mom-and-pop stores and even municipalities save energy.