CENTRAL FLORIDA — More Florida homeowners and businesses have been installing generators in recent years as hurricanes have repeatedly knocked out power to millions. But now the threat of the coronavirus has added additional urgency as the 2020 hurricane season approaches.
James Dicks, CEO of DIX Generators, a Generac brand dealer in central Florida, says his company’s web site has been busy providing automated price estimates for potential residential and commercial businesses.
“We’re getting probably 10 to 15 ‘quick quotes’ out per day right now,” Dicks said, adding that the surge is unusual in that “we haven’t even hit the selling season yet, because traditionally that doesn’t even hit until around the end of May.” The official hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
The company’s automated online quote system enables homeowners or business owners to get accurate, customized pricing information without the need to have a person visit the home or office. That’s a definite benefit during the statewide coronavirus stay-at-home-advisory, which calls for people to minimize personal contact as much as possible to avoid exposure to the virus.
“We do have to go to your house for the installation,” Dicks said, “but even then, you don’t need to sign anything, we’ll just do our thing outside your house. So our system speeds up the entire process by weeks or maybe even months, from what the traditional process takes.”
About 18 percent of single family homes nationwide have generators, according to a 2015 American Housing Survey, by the U.S. Census Department. In Florida, almost 20 percent of homeowners surveyed had generators, in the 2017 survey. But most of those are smaller units from retailers such as hardware stores. Generac, one of the leading international brands, has larger and more sophisticated units that can handle everything from homes and estates to commercial buildings, with built-in automated safety features.
Dicks said his company, for example, is currently installing emergency generator backup for a 10,000 square foot commercial building in LakeMary.
DIX Generators, a disabled veteran-owned small business, is bracing for a huge increase in orders before June 1, and Dicks said it typically takes about four to six weeks to install a system, from start to finish.