Like small businesses worldwide, many solar businesses are looking for ways to contain costs in order to continue to operate successfully and take care of their employees through any COVID-19-related economic ups and downs.
Here are three simple strategies for potential savings.
Audit Software Subscriptions and Save Hundreds Each Month
Operating a solar business requires many sophisticated software tools to enable essential functions from business development and sales to project design and engineering. Because the renewable energy industry has been in rapid growth mode, the number of software tools available have multiplied exponentially in recent years, both improving in quality and diversifying in capability. If it has been a year or more since you surveyed the software landscape, you may be able to save significantly by consolidating your existing subscriptions into an all-in-one solution, or by switching to a software solution that is more competitively priced.
Consider the PVComplete platform, for example. Not only are the integrated PVSketch sales software and PVCAD engineering software among the best software values in the industry, PVCAD also comes bundled with AutoCAD LT, eliminating the need for a separate AutoCAD license. On average, individual solar software subscriptions cost upwards of $200/month. By contrast, you can get started with PVSketch for $40/month, or license the entire PVSketch+PVCAD all-in-one solution that enables every step in the solar sales, site assessment, design, and construction life cycle for only $190/month.
Leverage Flexible Staffing to Explore New Markets and Opportunities
In many circumstances today, outsourcing project design and engineering to a trusted third party can allow you to continue to grow your business while mitigating risk.
Maybe your project load is increasing but you don’t yet have the project volume to pay for an addition to your headcount. Or, perhaps you are a residential installer who wants to diversify into commercial projects to guard against residential sector slowdown, but are nervous that you don’t have commercial experience. Or, maybe you’re a roofer who has never done any solar before, but sees an opportunity to cross sell solar to your customer base. Any of these situations are perfectly suited to an outsourced staffing model.
PVComplete’s design services team includes experienced solar engineers based in Oakland, California who are available to take on the full range of project engineering and documentation requirements for residential, commercial and utility-scale projects, delivering exactly what you need, when you need it. You can dial up or down the level of support you require as your pipeline demands without investing significant resources up front. And if you are testing the waters in new markets, you can move forward confidently without having to immediately bring on new expertise in-house.
Cast a Wider, More Personalized Net to Improve Lead Gen
During this time of social distancing, it’s a great idea to focus on business development and lead generation to best position your business to move forward quickly as soon as restrictions are lifted. Solar design software can play an integral role in your remote sales strategy, allowing you to cast a wide net for less than the cost of many traditional sales and marketing activities.
Just as print advertising gave way to more effective digital targeting via social media and search advertising, businesses across industries are now reallocating their advertising dollars in personalized, one-to-one marketing efforts to reduce spend and realize greater ROI.
Using PVSketch, for example, you can target entire neighborhoods on a house-by-house basis by mailing customized rooftop solar designs to every homeowner with an invitation to learn more. Instead of a blanket offer, each homeowner receives a personalized communication that allows them to see clearly how solar would be installed on their home and the energy savings they would enjoy as a result.
Beginning with only a prospective customer’s street address, site imagery is automatically downloaded from Google Maps. PVSketch’s simple design tools makes it possible to draw the individual roof site plans in minutes. No software is faster at completing rooftop designs, making it possible to target large areas and disseminate hundreds of proposals to prospective customers within days. When time is money and personalization the key to realizing superior lead generation, you create high quality, customized proposals in minutes.
Visit PVComplete.com to start saving hundreds each month.
— Solar Builder magazine