3 Reasons Fultech Solutions Will Remember 2009
A new commercial division, new showroom and new recurring revenues make 2009 memorable for Fultech Solutions.
“We can show people how little interaction is needed with our building management system. We can integrate a lot of their existing systems, make it much easier to use and save them energy.”
Fultech’s green showroom came about despite the fact that “I’m not a tree hugger,” Fulmer jokes. “This is a resource management issue. We’re going to have 9 billion people [on the planet] next year. We had 5 billion when I was born. It’s about the need for things to be as efficient as possible.”
Fulmer, who sits on the Consumer Electronics Association TechHome Division board, says it’s also important to set an example. “I wanted to show that a business can be green while using electronics.”
As if implementing a commercial division and building a showroom weren’t enough, Fultech also rolled out its Premium Service Contracts during 2009. Basically, clients can choose to pay $1,695 per year in return for as-needed service visits, two “well visits” per year (basically system checkups) that include necessary firmware updates and 15 percent discounts on most products (certain low-margin products are excluded) and services.
The operative word in service contract, though, is “contract,” Fulmer points out. The company had been dealing with lawyers and tweaking the wording in the contract for months before it was finalized in January. Originally, Fulmer wanted the contracts to promise more service and charge less money than what is promised in the final iteration. “Over time that thought was eroded by the facts of business. You need to offer value, but if you promise too much, contractually it can easily be misinterpreted — and you will be obligated.”
- Location: Jacksonville, Fla.
- Principals: Dan Fulmer, CEO and chairman
- Revenues (2008): $1.2 million
- Years in Business: 15
- Number of employees: 5 full-time, 2 part-time, 2 installer subs
- Residential/Commercial Split: 50%/50%
- Specialty: High-end custom residential and commercial systems; Integrating sub-systems of homes and businesses
- Top 5 Brands: Crestron, Klipsch, Extron, Scala, Runco
- FYI: Keep on keeping on even in the toughest times.
The result, though, allows Fultech to deliver more service than the clients expected, thus facilitating referrals and hopefully renewal of the annual contracts (that will have to be proven in 2010).
So far Fultech clients are gobbling up the service contracts, Fulmer says. Whenever clients call for service — resulting from blackouts, cable guy mishaps, something not working, whatever — they are told about the service contracts. Fulmer says Fultech “has been 100 percent successful with any clients who call for service” and “we have about 10 percent of our total client base on the program now.”
The program is far less popular with new clients because Fultech includes a two-year warranty with all its systems. However, the company makes a policy of calling up people as their warranties are set to expire to let them know about the service contracts.
Beyond getting $1,695 per year from 10 percent of its client base, Fulmer says the real benefit for Fultech has been keeping in touch with its clients. The company is contractually obligated to the two “well visits” per year. Those provide opportunities to nip in the bud any issues with their systems, initiate updates, educate clients about any applicable system upgrades and more.
Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org
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