As a homeowner, unexpected repairs and replacements to HVAC and plumbing systems are often a giant headache. These issues are almost always unplanned and therefore not budgeted. Or, they are aware of an issue and delay the necessary repairs because of the significant cost.

Plumbing and HVAC contractors can help alleviate financial worries by offering multiple financing options. By providing choices, contractors can empower customers to choose a payment plan that best suits their financial situation. The flexibility makes it easier for customers to address issues promptly, preventing further damage and expenses, and helps the contractor close more sales. A win-win for both parties.

Many local banks and credit unions will partner with home service contractors to offer financing options for consumers, but there are also national companies specializing in plumbing and HVAC financing, such as Synchrony Financial and Greensky. My own HVAC upgrade was financed through Greensky — personally, I liked the good, better and best replacement options provided by my contractor (thank you, Thornton & Grooms).

However, I recently learned about another company offering a unique program for HVAC and plumbing upgrades. Instead of financing the purchase of new equipment, Service 1st Financial offers “worry-free home comfort” through its Premier Program. Essentially, the homeowner “leases” the equipment through the firm and makes monthly payments. This may appeal more to the millennial generation of homeowners, as they are used to paying monthly subscriptions from everything from streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu to delivery services like Amazon Prime to health and workout apps like Peloton. They even have pet subscriptions — Chewy and Barkbox — for our furry family members.

The Premier Program is attractive to customers because it includes not only the installation but no additional charges for annual system maintenance, covered repairs including parts and labor, trip charges or diagnostic fees. Plus air filter replacements and UV bulb replacements are also included. They get it all for one monthly price. In return, the contractor secures that relationship with that customer for at least 10 years — the life of the equipment — and is paid directly by Service 1st Financial within 48 hours after submitting the invoice.

Another advantage for contractors is the Premier Program does not limit equipment or dictate the company’s pricing. It’s a pretty unique way to think about the plumbing and HVAC industries — something we haven’t really seen too much in the United States as of yet. But I can see this model gaining popularity over the next few years.

The bottom line is that offering financing options to customers benefits your company’s bottom line. In today’s competitive market, staying ahead of the curve is essential for success. Potential customers are more likely to choose a contractor that offers financial flexibility over one that does not. Providing diverse and unique financing solutions helps plumbing and HVAC contractors differentiate themselves from their competitors while building lasting customer relationships. In the end, it's a smart business strategy that benefits both contractors and the communities they serve.