Home Improvement Consultant
Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service
Required Education, Credentials, and Licenses
- High school diploma or GED
Preferred Education and Credentials
- Knowledge of HVAC/R products
- Driver’s license
- Energetic and positive
- Build strong relationships
- Customer service
- Schedule appointments
- Extended standing
Home improvement consultants provide advisory services to customers looking to undertake remodeling projects or upgrade mechanical systems in their homes, including HVAC/R systems. They provide information to consumers about home improvement products to generate sales of these products and related services. In the HVAC/R field, workers need a basic understanding of different types of heating and cooling equipment, including fossil fuel-based systems; clean energy technologies such as variable refrigerant flow systems, ducted or ductless air source heat pumps, and ground source heat pumps; and IT-enabled building automation or smart systems.
Successful home improvement consultants approach and greet new customers with energy and a positive attitude. They are self-starters who use strong interpersonal skills to generate sales leads and attract prospective customers. It is necessary for home improvement consultants to communicate well when engaging with clients – both listening attentively to understand their needs and conveying ideas clearly to educate customers about products and promotions and conduct sales presentations.
Home improvement consultants selling HVAC/R parts, systems, and services must have sufficient technical skills and knowledge of the products to speak intelligibly about them and instill confidence in potential clients. They may assist in project planning and may recommend specific products and design solutions based on each individual customer’s needs. As modern electricity-based systems such as heat pumps become more common, home improvement consultants need to be able to explain their benefits – which can be environmental (e.g., lower carbon emissions), economic (i.e., cost savings), and related to personal comfort. Home improvement consultants follow up with sales leads via phone and are responsible for setting appointments for prospective customers to receive an at-home price estimate; home visits may be done by home improvement consultants themselves or another member of the sales team.
Having strong customer service skills is essential to establish and maintain good client relationships and contribute to meeting the employer’s sales goals.
Home improvement consultants generally work indoors. Employees who work at retail locations or showrooms will be required to stand on the sales floor for long hours; other workers may be based in offices and primarily perform their job duties over the phone. Many home improvement consultants work full-time, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.
According to the New York State Department of Labor, there are approximately 61,300 home improvement consultants and other workers in New York State who sell services (non-financial, advertising, or travel). Opportunities for employment are expected to be very favorable through 2028 – they project an increase of 8,470 service-focused sales representative jobs between 2018 and 2028 (across all industries).
Entering the Field
Some employers may hire home improvement consultants without a formal education or prior experience, but most require applicants to have a minimum of a high school-level education; the majority of people working as service-related sales representatives in New York State have taken at least some college courses. Employers typically look to hire home improvement consultants with several years of experience and knowledge of HVAC/R products and services (which may include electricity-based systems), a background in construction, or education or prior work in sales. Sales personnel often receive on-the-job training from their employer and may be provided with a script to guide their customer interactions, but they will need the ability to adjust their sales pitch to meet each customer’s needs.
Home improvement businesses may need to be licensed and, if a home improvement consultant’s job duties require them to perform some construction work, they may be required to obtain an individual contractor’s license. In New York City, for example, home improvement contractors are required to obtain licensure by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs. Home improvement salespersons, however, are not required to be licensed by the city. Check local government requirements for more information regarding working as a home improvement consultant.
Home improvement consultants whose job duties include visiting customers’ homes may be required to have a driver’s license.
In New York State, the median wage for home improvement consultants (and other workers who sell services) is approximately $74,100. Entry-level workers earn about $42,100 and experienced workers earn about $111,200.
Annual Wage (Q1 2021 dollars, rounded to 100s) – Statewide and by Labor Market Region
|New York State||$42,100||$74,100||$111,200|
|Central New York||$34,700||$59,200||$86,100|
|New York City||$48,400||$81,700||$121,000|
|Western New York||$35,000||$54,300||$77,400|
Source: New York State Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey, SOC Code 41-3091 (Sales Representatives of Services, Except Advertising, Insurance, Financial Services, and Travel)
Home improvement consultants who sell HVAC/R products, systems, and services are likely to be employed by home improvement stores, department stores with a home improvement division, and contractors that specialize in building equipment (including boilers and HVAC/R systems). These jobs may also be advertised with the titles “sales representative” or “sales consultant.” Those job titles and keywords such as “home improvement,” “HVAC,” “heating,” “cooling,” “ventilation, or “sales” can be used when searching job advertisements online for opportunities to work as a home improvement consultant.
Check with local HVAC/R product and service providers or contractors for additional opportunities to gain employment as a home improvement consultant.
Workers in sales-related occupations have low rates of unionization; those who are members of a union may belong to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) or the larger United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which RWDSU is part of. Check with local communities to see if these unions or others have active local chapters whose members work as home improvement consultants in the HVAC/R field.
Education and Training Programs
Educational attainment beyond high school is typically not required to work as a home improvement consultant but it can be advantageous when workers are searching for a job or looking to continue advancing in their careers. Schools throughout New York State offer programs that prepare people to work as home improvement consultants – either with coursework in construction, technical training in the HVAC/R field, or degrees in retail marketing or management. (Schools offering degrees specifically in retail marketing are listed in the table. Other schools may offer general marketing degrees or business degrees with a concentration in marketing. Check with local educational institutions for program availability.)
Some industry organizations also offer training opportunities targeted to sales professionals. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America Association, Inc. (ACCA) offers online and virtual courses intended to teach customer service skills, improve communication with clients, and provide an overview of basic HVAC/R system and business operations (including definitions for commonly used terms, energy efficiency ratings, and differences between furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps).
|Columbia Greene Community College||Construction Technology||•Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Hudson Valley Community College||Applied Technologies||No||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Central New York|
|Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES||Certificate Programs||•Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES||Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration||•Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Monroe Community College||Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning||•Yes||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Dutchess Community College||Business, Aviation, and Construction||•Yes||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Electrical Training Center||Electrical & HVAC/R||•Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Nassau Community College||Marketing||No||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Suffolk County Community College||Heating, Ventilation, AC and Refrigeration Technology||•Yes||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Suffolk County Community College||Business||•Yes||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Fulton-Montgomery Community College||Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology||•Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Mohawk Valley Community College||School of STEM||•Yes||•Yes||No||No||No|
|New York City|
|Apex Technical School||Trade Programs||•Yes||No||No||No||No|
|New York City College of Technology (CUNY)||Environmental Control Technology||No||•Yes||No||No||No|
|SUNY College of Technology at Canton||Canino School of Engineering Technology||No||•Yes||No||No||No|
|SUNY at Delhi||School of Applied Technologies||No||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Western New York|
|Erie 1 BOCES||HVAC||•Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Erie Community College||Manufacturing, Construction, and Trades & STEM Programs||•||•Yes||No||No||No|
|Niagara County Community College||Business & STEM||No||•Yes||No||No||No|
|SUNY at Alfred||Building Trades||No||•Yes||No||No||No|