Solar is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. And it will continue to be for the next decade and possibly far longer. But perhaps you're dissatisfied with the companies you've worked with in the past. You're looking for a more reliable installation company, a better redline, or simply a company that will treat you better than a pawn. After all, a good solar salesperson should be treated like a king or queen because, without the sale, no one is making money. But instead of just looking for another solar sales job, look for a company like ours that will help you build a solar business and a long-term career in solar.
But here's the reality about the solar industry. For decades it's operated the same way. Throw a bunch of people out into neighborhoods to knock on doors and see who will stick it out. Then give those that do a high redline until they prove themselves. Maybe they eventually get a lower redline and at some point can build a team. But if they do build a team, they have to pay the team out of their money. The team smartens up and then starts shopping for a better deal and leaves. It's been a revolving door filled with high turnover and no loyalty from the dealer to the sales team, or the salespeople to the dealer. There is an inherent problem in the solar business model that 90% of solar companies employ.
An Alternative to the Solar Revolving Door
So, if I've aptly described the frustration you've had with a solar sales job, I am very happy to tell you there's an alternative to this carnage. However, it's a sharp turn in a different direction. It's a completely different business model and because you aren't familiar with it, you're going to need to be wide open for change. You've got to realize that a radical change is needed in this industry so that people can build a career in solar and not just jump from company to company largely getting the same result. Isn't that what Albert Einstein labeled as insanity?
What's This New Solar Business Model?
First, I'll share that I have built a team of over 5,500 part-time and full-time solar salespeople around the country. We work with a solar dealer named Apricot Solar. Before we met Apricot Solar they were a door-knocking company only. But Dave Bengel, the Founder, and CEO of Apricot Solar, gave us a shot at implementing the changes we felt were needed. Those changes only affected the team that we built. The rest of Apricot proceeded as they always had. But since have adopted our ideas.
Apricot Solar only works with one installer, Freedom Forever. There are many reasons why. They install solar in 29 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. They are partnered with Sunrun and Everbright for PPAs. Freedom Forever pays the way Apricot pays, no redline. They have a 25-year production guarantee. They DO NOT USE SUBCONTRACTORS. Freedom Forever has branches in every area in which they install. But if you want to learn about Freedom Forever, go to The Solar Disruption Theory. Read the story and watch the video at the bottom of the page. Let me leave it at that for now.
The changes are primarily in 2 areas. The first is that we mainly do remote solar sales through the use of Zoom. It doesn't mean that our solar salespeople can't do in-home sits because they can. But we have proven that we can attract some very talented salespeople who don't want to knock on doors. And we've proven that homeowners are very comfortable with meeting on Zoom. Perhaps even more so than having someone come to their home.
The next big change is that from day one our solar salespeople can start building a team. They don't have to wait for a promotion or until they can train a new person. Our training system trains everyone so why not let people start building a team right away? Through our compensation plan that I discuss below, people can start making bonuses on the sales done by people they bring in right away. And because each new Advisor Trainee has to do 3 sales with their Trainer, Trainers get a large amount of utility bills and leads from these Trainees. I have never had to go out and get leads at all. I work the leads provided by Trainees. More on this below.
Let's Talk Redline
Let's first get into what most people looking for a solar sales job put at the top of the list, commission. The first question I always get is, "What's your redline?" We don't have a redline. How can that be? Well, what we do have is a baseline cost of the system. One difference is that the baseline cost is far lower than a redline. Another is that everyone that makes money on the deal gets paid out above the baseline. The installation company, the dealer, management, etc. all get less if you, the salesperson lower the PPW on a sale. How does that affect you? It means there's more money in the deal for you. Compare that to a redline where if you lower the PPW, the only one that takes less is you. Everyone else, the installer, the dealer, and the management stay whole. What it does is allow you to go and compete for business.
Here's an example. Let's say you're on a $2.25 PPW redline. Your competing with another company or companies for a 10 kW deal in Florida. It could be in any of the 30 states in which we install, but let's use Florida. With your redline at $2.25, if you sell it at $2.25/watt you make nothing. But a Sales Rep from our company COULD sell it at a $2.25 PPW and still make $1,530. I'm not saying that you want to sell deals in Florida at a $2.25 PPW. But it's an example of how everyone in the commission stack takes less so you can still make a commission on a deal if you need to go low.
Sales Commission Overrides
People from other solar companies have told me stories about when they or someone they know introduced a salesperson to their solar company. That new person went out and crushed it earning hundreds of $1,000's. The person who introduced them got nothing more than a thank you from the company. Not with Apricot Solar. When you introduce/recruit someone new into Apricot, you get an Enroller Bonus every time they make a sale equal to 10% of the commission. An example would be if your Recruit sells a 10 kW system in Florida at a $2.80 PPW, you get a bonus of $462. What if your Recruits sold 20 deals like that in a month? You'd earn $9,200. By the way, that bonus does not come out of the commission that the salesperson makes. It's over and above that.
But it gets better! The first position you can be promoted to is Junior Partner. To get to Junior Partner your team must produce 20 installations over 2 months. Once you do that and become a Junior Partner, you now get an override equal to approximately 17% of the commission on EVERY SALE THAT YOUR TEAM DOES! Once again, this does not come out of the salesperson's commission. It is over and above their commission. Using the example of a 10 kW system in Florida at a $2.80 PPW, the Junior Partner override on that deal would be $769.00. What if your team did 20 installations every month?
Recruiting Solar Salespeople
First off let me be clear. You do not need to recruit anyone. If you want to have a solar sales job and just sell, you certainly can. But with the bonuses and overrides that are available that would be a short-sighted decision in my opinion. Assuming that you want to build a solar business and not just have a solar sales job, let's talk about how you can recruit people.
Do you think you might know some people who would like to make a strong income working from home selling solar in 29 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico? I did. They don't even need to live in the U.S. because the selling is all remote via Zoom. The first people that I talked to were real estate agents. Their income was going down because of the market so they jumped on fast. They started building their team, which is my team, and it all grew fast. So, talking to strong sales-minded and business-minded people that you know is job #1.
You can also run job ads. There are many publications where you can do that but I use Craigslist. We have an approved job ad that you can use. I live in Florida and advertised in Los Angeles on Craigslist. I brought in a guy that knows how to recruit. He has built a team of nearly 600 people and counting. And yes, those people are all on my team. The guy I recruited doesn't want to sell. He just wants to make bonuses on the sales that his team does. So guess where all those leads that his new people bring in go until they make 3 sales? Yes, to me!
Those are the 2 primary ways to recruit but because solar is such a hot industry, you can find solar salespeople by just meeting new people and asking them what they do for a living. If they don't sound too enthusiastic about what they're doing, turn them onto Apricot Solar.
Getting Solar Leads
This is another top question I get from experienced solar salespeople. Do you provide leads? Yes and no. Yes, Apricot Solar does have a lead generation system but those leads are handed out to the top producers. So, I wouldn't expect leads anytime soon. So, how can you get leads? You can get solar sales leads any way that you've already gotten them. You can knock on doors, buy leads, go to events, and use digital marketing and social media.
I already described what I do. I build my team and because recruits need to produce 3 sales with their Trainer, which is me in many cases, they have to go get leads. How do they do that? By talking to people that they know who are homeowners. They get utility bills to me. I do the system design and present it to the homeowner with the Trainee, and we split the commission 50/50. You might not think it's a great deal to give up 50% of your commission. I get that. But think about what happens long term. First, if I recruit the Trainee, I get an additional bonus. And because I'm a Junior Partner, I get that override as well. But more importantly, I help someone start their solar sales career and get paid on every future sale that they do! Let that sink in for a while.
Disruption of the Solar Industry
I already recommended that you read an article and watch a video entitled, The Solar Disruption Theory. That is all about Freedom Forever CEO, Brett Bouchy. But that's what we're doing at Apricot Solar too. We're taking a rapidly growing industry and fixing what's wrong with the way that it's always been done. It's better for the homeowner. It's better for the solar salesperson. And, because of those 2 things, it's better for the environment because, with Freedom Forever's ability to scale and our ability to scale, we can increase the number of homes going solar in the U.S. at a much faster pace.
So, if you want to learn more and possibly join us there are several articles on this website about solar sales from home that you can read. If you want to talk with me, go to Book an Appointment to set up a Zoom meeting with me. We'll talk it through and see if this is the right fit for you if you're looking for more than just a solar sales job. Hopefully, it will be and you'll not need to change solar companies ever again.
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