How one Pearl Contractor team leveraged Pearl to take their business to greater heights
Whether it’s their top-notch service, high-quality work, or exceeding expectations, Jay Best and Green Team LI strive to be the “best of the best.” But despite their overall success, they faced major challenges. The Pearl Contractor Network helped take their business to the next level.
ABOUT JAY BEST & GREEN TEAM LI
Prior to co-founding Green Team LI, Best worked in a variety of environmentally focused jobs. “I’ve always been interested in contributing to a better planet,” he said. Around 2008, he came across the energy efficiency and retrofitting industry. “It was a great area of opportunity because there were lots of old Long Island homes that needed that kind of work,” he said. Plus it fit well with his environmental background.
Best dove in and soon founded his own company, Green Audit USA. In May 2018, he merged with Green Home Solutions, founded by his now partner Al Lopez, to form Green Team LI. Since then, the company has become the leader in whole-home energy efficiency on Long Island.
All businesses face challenges. Despite their overall success, Best and his team struggled to combat certain industry issues. The biggest one? A lack of understanding around the real, quantifiable value their work adds to the home.
“Many homeowners don’t realize the value that improved energy efficiency brings to the home,” Best said. Dealing with customer objections based on this lack of knowledge was a major pain point.
“Additionally, Real Estate Professionals and homeowners often don’t understand that, just like a new kitchen adds value to a home, energy efficiency updates increase a home’s resale value as well,” Best said. Since energy efficiency projects don’t have the same “sizzle” as kitchen remodels, this is a tough hurdle. “A lot of it comes down to the need for education throughout the entire industry—including the real estate agents, mortgage brokers and appraisers who are part of the ecosystem of valuing houses,” he said.
Best and his team worked hard to tackle these challenges. But there was only so much they could do on their own. If they wanted to break through major industry barriers, they were going to need additional support.
THE SOLUTION: PEARL CONTRACTOR NETWORK
Fortunately, Best found a solution before it was too late. About three years ago at a National Home Performance Conference and Trade Show, Best, a BPI Gold Star Contractor, saw Pearl co-founder Robin LeBaron give a talk about [home] certifications and the value of energy retrofits to improve salability. “I was so excited to hear [LeBaron] saying the same things we’d been saying for so long,” said Best. “I instantly saw a benefit to Pearl’s approach,” he adds, explaining that he was immediately interested in the idea of working with a third-party certifier to help validate and elevate his work.
“We’d been providing our own certificate of improvement for a while, but its effectiveness was limited because there was no third-party muster behind it,” Best said. “Now, with Pearl, we could have the added weight and credibility of third-party certification.”
Best didn’t wait long to join the Pearl Contractor Network. He signed up as Green Audit USA and started producing certifications by early 2018. When the company merged into Green Team LI, there was no question about staying with the Pearl Contractor Network. To date, Best and his team have certified more than 800 homes with Pearl. “There’s a line item on all our contracts that includes Pearl certifications—it’s standard procedure on all projects at Green Team LI,” said Best.
With the support of Pearl, in just two years, Best and his team have seen tremendous business results, including:
- Increased revenues, reaching close to $10 million in business this year.
- Company growth, reaching about 50 staff members doing everything from install and service to sales and marketing.
- Upcoming expansion into New York City and Westchester.
- Numerous prestigious industry awards–including being honored as a 2020 ENERGY STAR Contractor of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy.
“The value of Pearl is extremely evident to us. It’s providing that validation customers want,” said Best, adding, “The fact that Pearl can provide hard data showing actual improvement in a home’s value, nicely designed and professional-looking reports, marketing materials and more—these are all things that add credibility and help set us apart in the industry.”
Green Team leverages Pearl in their sales process, too. “Pearl has been invaluable for our salespeople because it helps them respond to homeowners’ objections with confidence,” Best said. Now, when a homeowner says, “I’m getting ready to move” or “I don’t think I’ll get the payback from it” the sales team can respond with: “Oh, you’re planning to move? That’s great! That’s why we have a Pearl Certification.” Or if they say, “The savings isn’t that much,” the sales team can reply with: “Well, it’s not just about savings, it’s also about the value of your home—and one of the ways we help with that is by providing a Pearl Certification.”
Pearl helps homeowners feel better about their decision by looking at it as an investment versus an expense. “Rather than focusing on how much it’s going to cost, we explain that this is really an investment in their most important asset, their home—and Pearl is how we make sure they get the value they should from that investment,” said Best, explaining that at that point, customers ‘get it,’ and they’re much more receptive from then on … And that’s how you win projects with Pearl.
True to Pearl Contractor form, Green Team LI continues to strive for improvement—both for their business and the industry as a whole. “I think we’re at the beginning of an energy revolution in many ways, including how we heat our homes,” said Best. And while he admits there are some downsides to playing this early in the game, he’s excited by the opportunity to get in front of an important industry trend and “show them how it can be done.”
It’s in this broader context that Best sees perhaps the greatest potential for Pearl too. “Ultimately, I hope even more contractors join Pearl, so it becomes more widely recognized as the highest standard for service, quality and value,” he said. When that kind of market penetration occurs, Best explains, we’ll really get to see the importance and “power of Pearl” for this industry.
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