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There's a market opportunity that is coming that I don't see anyone talking about and that is the coming retrofit market.

So something I haven't seen a lot on LinkedIn, I haven't seen it in any of the news periodicals, is a discussion about the coming retrofit market.

Now it's no surprise and it shouldn't be a surprise that a lot of folks in the 50 to 60-year-old age range are starting to retire and a lot of the folks who are starting to retire and leave the operational side of building automation are the folks who are maintaining legacy building automation systems.

You know what legacy systems are.

These are the systems you can't buy anymore, that are held together by baling wire, that use the old green screens that sit in a broom closet somewhere and you don't wanna touch the machine 'cause you're like oh crap it's gonna blow up and the system's not gonna work anymore.

Yeah, those systems.

And there's this opportunity with these folks leaving for those of you who are paying attention, for those of you who are tied into your customers, to have retrofit opportunities.

I remember in 2008 when the economy was collapsing everywhere, folks were getting let go, businesses were downsizing, and yet my service team and I were up to our elbows in retrofit work. We had found that we could go to customers that had legacy systems that were having to collapse their budgets and using energy dollars at the time, we could assist them in retrofitting their buildings.

Well we're also seeing a retrofit market now

Here's what you need to look for.

Tip number one, focus on your existing owners and your existing accounts

Look at which customers and potential customers have legacy systems, even if they're not a system type that you necessarily service, just make a note that they have a legacy system. Because if that system can no longer be purchased and can only be serviced by the operator who's on-site, then guess what, that's a prime opportunity for retrofit.

Tip number two, understand that retrofits are no different than regular design-build construction work

I know, this gets people so tied up. They hear the word retrofit and they start to cringe. They feel as if they are stuck. In their heads they don't know how to estimate retrofit projects and they don't know how to scope the work.

They're panicking a little internally when in reality, a lot of retrofit work, especially legacy retrofit work, is often just rip and replace work. Let's be honest, while there are some drivers that you can use to pull in legacy building automation systems, most of the time the most predictable way to do a quality retrofit work for a customer is to at least rip and replace the field controllers and sometimes the IO too if the I/O is specific to a manufacturer.

So, don't freak out. Often you can estimate retrofit work just like you would any other project.

If you're curious how the retrofit process works listen to this podcast episode.

Tip number three, even if you don't have a service team, you can execute retrofit work with your construction team

That's the beauty of retrofit projects. They are often owner direct projects but they are still structured in such a way that they are essentially a construction project. So, if you're thinking to yourself, well I don't have a service team how am I going to do that?

Well, guess what, even though you don't have a service team you can still run this through your construction team. So, there's really no reason why you should not be at least at a minimum, keeping a log of your owner accounts and what legacy systems they have in place.

Ask your customers "What legacy systems do you have and how do you plan to maintain them?"

For you sales folks out there that should be a discovery question that you're asking. . You should make sure that you know this because as soon as someone leaves who that system is dependent on, that is a prime opportunity for you to get involved in an operational budget or into a capital budget to discuss a retrofit opportunity.

There you have it, those are three tips focused on taking advantage of this upcoming retrofit market. Mark my words, this is going to happen and those of you who are prepared are going to find yourselves having a lot of revenue entering your business.

Make sure you pay attention to this.

As always, I'd love to discuss this topic with you in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

And if you're looking to develop your team so that your team can execute this upcoming retrofit work or maybe you're a salesperson and you need to learn how to scope and estimate work so that you can effectively go and price up this work when it becomes available to you, definitely reach out to us. Our online training programs are there to train you 24/7 a day and we look forward to working with you.

Phil Zito

Written by Phil Zito

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