Competition in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry is currently facing a slow recovery from COVID-19 restrictions which affected the worldwide economy. All industries are grappling with inflation and having to work harder for the same or even less money. Some have fallen into the trap of undercutting prices to win contracts for quick profits. “Throughout the building and construction industry,” says Barney Richardson, Director of the South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA), “there is this serious competition and it’s tough. You need to be competitive but efficient.” How can you set yourself apart from the pack?
Although your business structure is a private matter, Richardson adds that SARACCA members, especially emerging contractors, are encouraged to pay attention to their overhead structure. “Careful thought should be given to your hidden costs and labour practice.” For instance, have you factored in travel costs and time into your quotation? Are you offering fair wages? Addressing these areas can define you from your competitors and contribute to your long-term success in the market. SARACCA’s regular communication and meetings also provide members with invaluable support by highlighting the latest industry standards and regulations which enables you to offer high-quality and compliant services to your client.
SARACCA has authorised training providers that aim to arm practitioners with sufficient knowledge and skills that make them key industry players. SARACCA provides a subsidy to members for the training of site staff in duct erection, refrigeration, air conditioning, project management via short courses that follow SAQA approved unit standards. The aim is to continually strive to improve the image and standards of the industry, which enables you to deliver quality service every time, propelling you ahead of the competition.
The Competition Act No.89 of 1998 restrains trade practices which undermine a competitive economy. SARACCA upholds this by never interfering in the competition that takes place within the industry. Members cannot expect to be assisted in eliminating the competition to have all practitioners on an equal level. SARACCA gives members skills and knowledge allowing them to be successful in the field, not “market” them as practitioners or generate business for them.
“Give man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for life.”
– Chinese Proverb
SARACCA participates in several forums where industry-wide issues and requirements are discussed so that all members are able to appropriately participate in a competitive market. These include the Master Builders South Africa (MBSA), Contractual and Legal Committee (CLC), the Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) on contracts, the Pressure Equipment Regulations Forum (PERF) and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) on duct manufacturing, installation, and refrigeration. SARRACA is not involved in their member’s sales process and does not condone any form of collusion or corruption.