Astrum Solar – Bridgewater, NJ
System Designers will work throughout New Jersey AND Eastern Pennsylvania. Once trained, System Designers are able to work remotely. Qualifications… Astrum Solar
Astrum Solar – Bridgewater, NJ
• In-home/office sales of residential and light commercial solar systems: calling warm prospects generated from the company or self, scheduling and… Astrum Solar
Astrum Solar Photos
- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Astrum Solar full-time (less than an year)Pros
People were very relaxed and easy to get along with. Everyone was a phone call or email away if I ever had any questions, unless they elect not to respond after 5:00 p.m.
System Design Specialist (surveyor) is a good entry-level position for people with little or no solar background.
Surveyors do get promoted eventually. I recall seeing two of my coworkers getting promoted to different roles within the company: one became a sales consultant after 3 years as a System Design Specialist and the other became a Solar Engineer I after 2 years.
The Regional Sales Manager in MA goes way out of his way to encourage surveyors and create a better environment for them. Senior Manager of System Designs told me no when I asked if I could attend a solar conference; Regional Sales Manager of MA told me to come talk to him directly next time I see a similar opportunity. He's just more personable and resourceful. He's one of the few people that made me think twice about leaving this company sooner.Cons
My experience and opinion come from being a System Design Specialist in Hopkinton, MA office from Feb to Sep of 2014, so this may not apply to everyone and everything. Please read it with a grain of salt. None of the items are new--they are all existing problems that the company has heard from multiple past surveyors.
Astrum Solar feels like a company run by a group of sales consultants who just happen to sell solar systems, not by a group of people who are knowledgeable and/or passionate about green energy. There are some, just not as many as I hope there would be in a solar company. As Astrum Solar becomes a part of Direct Energy and plans to increase in size, I'm afraid it will lose the personal touch that comes with being a small company. More resources will be allocated to hire more people and automate processes. So.. inevitably, Astrum Solar will try to do what SolarCity, Sun Run, and other solar companies do, just differently enough to avoid legal troubles..?
Astrum Solar really needs a separate department for the surveyors, in which surveyors report to one manager, not three. Scheduling can be more efficient and preferably done by someone with surveying background. The sales coordinators really deserve managerial positions and/or at least a raise. Imagine how much they have to put up with once Astrum Solar really doubles in size, aka 70+ surveyors. I would pay not to be in their shoes, as would anyone who reads this review.
Frequent feedback is essential to monitoring the efficiency and quality of surveys and designs. Having one manager and two senior surveyors from coast to coast is not enough. There has to be a senior surveyor/designer per branch location. Having the physical presence of a local senior member is beneficial on so many levels. The Senior Manager of System Designs feels like an online class professor: available through phone and emails only because he's 3,000 miles away and 3 hours behind. I can only imagine how busy he is, but he is busy from 3,000 miles away and 3 hours behind.
I have come across dozens of surveys and designs in which I would have to re-visit the property or fix designs that are done by other surveyors. If sale is made, it goes under the original surveyor's name. It's teamwork if it happens once or twice; this is a common practice that has been going on for years. This created an environment in which surveyors are better off doing the best they can to avoid getting on steeper surfaces and just complete as many designs as possible because someone else will climb it. This is the kind of environment in which you'll be more successful if you just get molded into a certain idea of surveyor, rather than constantly pushing yourself to do more.
As of September 2014, surveyors are still not required to tie in after getting on roofs. The company is probably looking to get by without implementing it for as long as possible, probably until someone actually falls and gets hurt.
Minimum wage is $15 in some places. I believe surveyors deserve more than flipping burgers or deep frying french fries. Wish all the remaining surveyors at Astrum Solar best of luck. Don't fall. Take care of yourselves. During the exit interview, I was told a bunch stuff about how things are going to get better soon, none with dates. Hope it's because all of them are already happening.Advice to ManagementAdvice
Congratulations on getting acquired by Direct Energy. Some say 3 out of 4 start ups fail, so clearly you guys know what you're doing and have some smart people working with you. Please facilitate in creating a separate department for System Design Specialists (surveyors) ASAP. Senior Manager of System Designs (or the sales manager of CA? What exactly is he now?) really needs a new phone. My exit interview was conducted over the phone and the line dropped more than seven times in 30-45 minutes.Doesn't RecommendPositive OutlookNo opinion of CEO