Featured Contractor - Bill Clark with Energy Solutions

Posted By DEMILEC || 2-Mar-2011

Demilec: Why did you get into spray foam Bill?

Bill: Well back in 1999 or ’98 I saw something on “This Old House” about spray foam insulation and it was one of those things that stayed in the back of my mind and gnawed at me. Then back in 2002 when I was looking to start my own business, the spray foam kept coming to mind so I starting looking it to it. I thought it was a great product and a good line of work to get in to.

Demilec: Awesome. About what percentage of your business is retrofit and where do you see the retrofit market going in the future?

Bill: Right now, our retrofit business is about 20% of our work. Here in California, because of our relatively mild climate, a lot of homes have no insulation at all. Recently, there has been a big push out here with the BPI (Building Performance Institute) towards home performance. 3 years ago you couldn’t find a Home Performance contractor and now they’re sprouting up all over. I believe re-insulating existing homes will continue to be a growing market.

Demilec: We definitely agree with that. You mentioned a little about challenges in California. Most people know that it is more difficult to run ANY kind of business in California. What are some of the unique challenges that you face in California and how have you been able to handle those?

Bill: The biggest problem in California, besides taxes which are going up everywhere, is that there are a lot of regulatory bodies in place that require you to do a lot of extra things. Out here, we have the Title 24 system which basically tells you what is allowed to be in your house as far as heating, cooling and insulation. The system is set up for traditional insulation and doesn’t really take spray foam into account. We have had a lot of difficulty getting spray foam accepted out here. We spent a lot of time calling and writing chief building officials. As of the beginning of 2011, California finally adopted the International Residential Code which recognizes unvented attics as an approved building application. One of the biggest impediments to spray foam in California has also been the fact that it’s not really used by any production builders out here. This causes people to look at Fiberglass vs. Spray foam in terms of direct product cost without looking at the long term savings and everything else that goes with it.

Demilec: I noticed that your YouTube video has 272,138 hits as of this interview today. How has the success that you have had online translated to your real world business?

Bill: I think our online presence has a lot to do with our success. It gives us a lot of credibility since our stuff comes up early in the searches. You can tell people stuff, but a picture is worth a thousand words. We use the Demilec videos and we also had an outfit in Silicon Valley that does video work for Google actually make our own spray foam video for us.

Demilec: What advice would you give to other contractors looking to drum up some business using free online marketing tools such as YouTube?

Bill: With YouTube, I think part of our success is that we were there early. After you have a video that has a lot of hits, you will continue to get a lot of hits. A lot of our hits are from way outside our service area though. Everyone should make sure that when they set up marketing for their websites they geo-target the ads to their specific location. If you service New Jersey, your ads shouldn’t show up in California. I think a problem with the web is that there is so much information out there that it is hard to be visible. It’s difficult, but I think it’s important to have yourself out there so you can point your potential clients back towards the web content to add to your credibility. Just throwing up a website and hoping someone will come across it and give you a call is difficult unless you have a deep pile of money to work with.

Demilec: The geo-targeting is definitely great advice. Ok one last question: Why do you choose to use Demilec products on your Spray Foam jobs?

Bill: You know, we started spraying foam with Demilec. Over the years we have looked at other products but what we have decided it comes down to is finding the best bang for your buck. With Demilec, we get good, trouble-free foam, it’s got some of the best yields of any product we’ve seen, it’s easy to spray and it’s got that price/performance target nailed.

Demilec: Well that’s great to hear. Thanks for the interview and we look forward to continuing to do business together into the future.

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