Here are some nifty iPad and smartphone apps for sales presentations, quotes and billing, calculations and conversions on the go.
ComfortConsultant is an HVAC sales consultation app for the iPad ($499.99, available from the iTunes App Store) that supports direct customer interactivity during the Residential Replacement sales presentation. The app, which comes in several manufacturer-specific versions, is preloaded with all the equipment from the manufacturer and also includes Honeywell and AprilAire IAQ and control equipment.
The contractor prepares the app for use with customers by entering information about the company and the salesperson and then enters the flat-rate pricing for each of the units and IAQ (indoor air quality) products that will be shown to the homeowner. The app also allows the contractor to enter any rebates and special incentives for which each unit may qualify.
After the contractor information is entered, the app is ready to build a custom proposal for each customer. The contractor assesses the ductwork or other aspects of the installation, specifies system type, unit size and flow configuration, and then hands the iPad to the customer.
The customer is presented with a series of six questions about what features, capabilities, and level of efficiency is desired from a new HVAC system, with the answers helping determine which units will be recommended for that customer. For example, on the screen titled "What should your new system do?" the homeowner chooses between the following options: perform the same as the current system; provide more even temperatures; provide more even temperatures and better airflow; and make the biggest improvement possible. Customers can "slide" selections to more or less efficient systems according to their particular needs.
Based on the customer responses, the app will show the customer a recommended system and the installed price of that system. If the customer wants to see other options, he or she can scroll from one unit to the next and the system and the price automatically update and the customer gets a real-time quote. The contractor offering the app can make recommendations that add value to the installation both from the customer's and the contractor's perspective. According to the developer of the app, the time required for a typical sales call is substantially reduced, from about two hours to about 45 minutes. Versions are available to support sales presentations for numerous brands, including Maytag, Westinghouse, Tappan, NuTone, Frigidaire, and Broan. The app does not require the Internet.
A similar app, Add2Cart, www.Add2Cart.net, is also available in the Apple App Store ($449 per user; one-time charge with no subscription fees or charges for updates) with versions that support Lennox, Goodman, Amana, and Carrier, as well as a private label version.
Quotes & Billing, www.multieducator.net, available in the App Store (free demo available), enables contractors to provide quotes to customers on the spot, seamlessly turn those quotes into active orders, and track customer payments directly on an iPhone or iPad. After generating a quote, the contractor can save it, print it on the spot, e-mail it to the customer, or otherwise export it. If the quote is accepted by the customer, it can be converted into an order with a single click. The app will track customer terms of payment, including automatic early payment discounts for both “Net” and “End of Month” accounts.
Report options include customer statements, inventory (quantity on order and on hand), open orders, open quotes, receivables, sales, supplier orders, taxes, and transactions. The app can also optionally handle inventory management.
Air Lite Psychrometric Calcsfor Android by Cold Means Mobile Software LLC, downloadable free at http://www.appszoom.com/android_applications/productivity/air-lite-psychrometric-calcs_zrnj.html,is a psychrometic calculator for HVAC professionals that, using altitude and dry bulb temperature input and either wet bulb temperature, relative humidity or dew point temperature, calculates wet bulb temperature, relative humidity, dew point temperature, atmospheric pressure, barometric pressure, enthalpy, humidity ratio, density, specific volume, and vapor pressure. Calculations are made using the ASHRAE Fundamentals 2009 ideal gas equations.
A pro version, Air Pro by Cold Means Mobile Software LLC, downloadable for $2.99 at http://www.appszoom.com/android_applications/productivity/air-pro-psychrometric-calcs_bwixg.html?nav=related,does all the same calculations as the free Air Lite version but also includes a mixed air calculator and allows the user to search for other city air properties. When starting new calculations, all of the air properties are already filled in onscreen because Air Pro will look up your current local weather conditions based on your last known location and calculate all of your local air properties, adjusted for local altitude. That feature is handy for checking outdoor air sensors or the weather or for determining what mode a building system should be in.
KoolApp Refrigerant Slider for iPhone and Android by Danfoss, www.danfoss.com/koolapp, based on the Danfoss Refrigerant Slider, enables HVAC installers to utilize a smartphone for quick pressure-to-temperature conversions for 48 different refrigerants, including both "natural" and "traditional" refrigerants. The app, which enables users to obtain precise, accurate conversions based on the NIST Refrigerant Properties and uses the Antoine equations for the conversion, produces dew-points and bubble-points for refrigerants with glide. On the respective refrigerants, users can also see Global Warming Potential (GWP) and Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP).
Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. They can be reached at [email protected].