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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cash for Appliances - A Quick Primer

Given the recent publicity from different channels regarding the "Cash for Appliances" programs, there is a definite possibility of confusion regarding what actually constitutes the program and what appliances are eligible.

Unlike the prior automotive Cash for Clunkers, this program is administered by the individual states resulting in a wide variance of dates, criteria, model eligibility, and procedures depending upon where your customer lives. Being properly informed on the particulars of your state's program will help you better take care of your customers' needs - before and after the sale. There is also a good resource database here.

Each state received funding in proportion to its population. Some states such as Kansas and Delaware ran out of money much sooner than expected. If possible, stay up to date on how much money is left in your state's program and keep your sales staff informed (New York still had nearly $11 million left in its program as of 2/16).

Additionally, make sure to show your customers how to file for their rebate (and any deadlines) as well as providing any forms for haul away and recycling of the old unit. A few minutes of review with your delivery teams on these important topics can avoid any customer misunderstandings.

Finally, check for any additional energy or recycling programs available that can be added to the federal rebate (New Jersey and California are examples of this). There is a potential for increased sales by utilizing the availability of these programs.

Here are some highlights from a few states:

California - Program begins April 22, 2010 with $35.2 million allocated. Appliances included are washers, refrigerators, and room air conditioners. The rebates will be in addition to existing California energy initiatives. Click here for more info.

New York - Program started Feb. 12th and is currently slated to end on Feb. 21st with applications having to be postmarked by March 15th. Appliances included are refrigerators, washers, and freezers with a extra rebate for providing proof of recycling the old unit. There is also an option for an appliance bundle purchase that has a $500 base rebate plus an extra $55 for recycling. Click here for more info.

New Jersey - Program will be part of NJ's existing Clean Energy Program which already offers rebates on selected Energy Star products. The national program will not start until April (probably around Earth Day), and details have not been posted yet. Click here for updates.

With the amount of local publicity accompanying each new roll out, there will be expected spikes in business. However, the better informed your sales and delivery staffs are, the better positioned you will be to take advantage and generate additional immediate sales as well as future repeat customers.

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