Page 1

Education Takes to the Road By Pete Grasso 5

Have a Profitably Busy Summer By Ruth King 8

Increase Service Technician Revenue By James Leichter 16

Engage Your Technicians By Jim Baston 19

Boomers vs Millennials By Vicki LaPlant 20

Build a Brand with Storytelling By Ken Goodrich 21

JUNE 2018 / VOL.13 / NO.6


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ALSO INSIDE » Featured Entrepreneur: Jeff Tauzin, Doug’s Refrigeration & Air Conditioning ................. 6 Product Focus: Fleet Equipment ................................ 23

Business Insights: Franchising .................................. 24 20 Questions with James Kester Owner of Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air .............. 26

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JUNE 2018 / VOL.13 / NO.6




Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest This year’s winners — Air Max A/C & Heating; Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air; and Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort — have taken boldness in fleet graphics to a new level and are well on the road to success. By Pete Grasso



Editor’s Notebook


Featured Entrepreneur

Increase Your Service Technician Revenue Raising revenue isn’t so much about selling as it is doing what is best for your customer. By James Leichter






Seven Ways to Have a Profitably Busy Summer These seven procedures help you have a profitably busy summer so that you have cash to survive the slower times of the year. By Ruth King


Engage Your Technicians in Promoting Your Services


Engaging your technicians in business development activities can increase the value to the overall service your company provides. By Jim Baston


Boomers or Millennials — Where to Spend Your Marketing Dollars Boomers have lost the position as the largest generation but, remember, this generation still holds the purchasing clout. By Vicki LaPlant

Build a Brand Through Storytelling Stories tell the customer what you stand for and why they should choose you. By Ken Goodrich

Training opportunities abound in this industry, and many manufacturers take to the road to educate you close to home. By Pete Grasso Jeff Tauzin, vice president team leader of Doug’s Refrigeration & Air Conditioning in Thibodaux, La.

Product Focus Fleet Equipment

Business Insights Franchising

20 Questions with James Kester Owner of Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air

M A R K E T WAT C H Stock Index: The HVACR Business Stock index rose 20.97 points, or 1.37 percent, and closed at 1555.28. To read this month’s analysis, visit

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HVACRbus_32218.indd 1

3/22/18 7:25 PM


BY PETE GRASSO THE HVACR MANAGEMENT MAGAZINE TERRY Tanker Publisher PETE Grasso Editor JIM McDermott Editorial Advisor MEGAN LaSalla Art Director BRUCE Sprague Circulation Manager BARBARA Kerr Executive Assistant

ADVERTISING STAFF EAST COAST/SOUTHEAST JIM Clifford Regional Sales Manager Tel 201-362-5561 Fax 201-334-9186 MIDWEST ERIC Hagerman Regional Sales Manager Tel 216-409-3246 Fax 440-731-8750 WEST COAST TERRY Tanker Publisher Tel 440-731-8600 Fax 440-731-8750

HVACR Business, founded January 1981, is a monthly national trade magazine serving contractors, mechanical engineers, manufacturers, manufacturer representatives, wholesalers, distributors, trade associations, and others in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry primarily in the U.S. The editorial focus and mission of HVACR Business is to provide business owners and managers with the very best business management concepts available. Critical topics covered include leadership, management, strategy, finance, sales, marketing, training, education, staffing, operations, human resources, legal issues, customer service and more. We are dedicated to helping contractors master these key management skills and provide them with the resources necessary to build strong, profitable companies. Every effort is made to provide accurate information, however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for accuracy of submitted advertising and editorial information. Copyright©2018 by JFT Properties LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Subscription Rates: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified persons may subscribe at the following rates: U.S. and possessions: 1 year $48; 2 years $75; 3 years $96; Canadian and foreign, 1-year $108 U.S. funds only. Single copies $8. Subscriptions are prepaid, and check or money orders only. Subscriber Services: To order a subscription or change your address, write to HVACR Business, 31674 Center Ridge Road, Suite 104, North Ridgeville, OH 44039 or call (440) 731-8600; or visit our Web site at For questions regarding your subscription, please contact HVACR Business (ISSN 2153-2877) Published monthly by JFT Properties LLC., 31674 Center Ridge Road, Suite 104, North Ridgeville, OH 44039. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to HVACR Business, 31674 Center Ridge Road, Suite 104, North Ridgeville, OH 44039. Periodicals postage paid at Cleveland, OH and additional mailing offices. (USPS 025-431)

31674 Center Ridge Road, Suite 104 North Ridgeville, OH 44039 Tel: (440) 731-8600 Fax: (440) 731-8750 Web site: (ISSN: 2153-2877)

Manufacturers Take Education on the Road


ecently, Parker Sporlan wrapped up an eight-month roadshow tour that showcased its innovative ZoomLock flame-free refrigerant fittings. During the past eight months, the ZoomLock Roadshow visited 43 states with 293 stops along the way.

“Eaton is committed to helping our customers understand how energy efficient controls can help them work smarter, cut costs, increase energy efficiency and keep them safe,” says Tom Neuberger, commercial marketing manager for Eaton’s controls and protection division.

The only press-to-connect technology approved for HVACR operating pressures up to 700 psi, ZoomLock’s patented design works without brazing, using specially designed crimping tools to cut the time and cost of copper pipe assemblies by 40 to 60 percent.

This unique mobile tour first debuted in 2017 at the AHR Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada and visited more than 20 cities last year. Visit for additional information.

I was lucky enough to experience the roadshow firsthand earlier this year, as one of the stops was the 2018 AHR Expo in Chicago. I, along with all visitors to the ZoomLock Roadshow, was able to watch a live pressure test of a ZoomLock fitting they crimped.

Early last month, Daikin Applied launched its new Innovation Roadshow. Bringing the Daikin story to life and into customers’ hands, the interactive tour stops at Daikin sales representative offices across the country to deliver the next generation of HVAC innovation.

Many local manufacturer sales reps and distributors host a variety of education classes throughout the year.

“Parker ZoomLock technology works in both residential and commercial applications such as supermarkets, hospitals and data centers where flame can be a problem,” said Jeff Hirsch, ZoomLock product manager. “Where multiple leak-free joints must be made quickly and cleanly, this groundbreaking technology has no equal, as the more than two million flame-free ZoomLock fittings already successfully installed indicate.”

Though this year’s roadshow is now complete, you can certainly learn more about this groundbreaking technology by visiting Parker Sporlan’s successful journey across the country got me thinking about just how lucky we are that industry manufacturers put forth such a great effort to educate contractors. A while back, Danfoss launched a mobile training unit for CO₂ applications. The CO₂ solutions presented in the mobile training unit ranged from simple gas-bypass systems to more complex parallel compression solutions with or without heat reclaim. In February, Eaton set off from Phoenix on a 27-city tour that ends in Chicago this November. The Industrial Controls in Motion Tour showcases simulations of real-world control solutions for your application. Contractors are exposed to 40 feet of the latest in Eaton innovations in fully functional, real-world environments. The demonstrations are built to simulate some of the day-today challenges that users face and provide a variety of options for fixing them.

Contractors are invited to attend the event at one of the 38 stops, where there will be demonstrations and educational sessions with industry experts to highlight developments and trends in HVACR and building systems.

Daikin Applied boasts a state-of-the-art trailer, featuring hydraulic “wings” that spread to create an on-the-go showroom filled with hands-on technology and product displays, as well as “build your own” stations. “Our roadshow transports our most advanced and innovative technology to each of our representative’s doorsteps, demonstrating how we can help boost customer building efficiency and business performance,” says Kirk Thorne, EVP sales, marketing and aftermarket, Daikin Applied. “The roadshow also helps us meet our customers where they stand, understand their challenges, so we can continue delivering technology and solutions that help them drive their businesses.” For additional information and to register, visit Of course, these are just a few examples of how manufacturers are doing their best to bring education right to your doorstep — making it easier than ever to get your technicians training on the latest and greatest industry equipment. Many of your local manufacturer sales reps and distributors host a variety of education classes throughout the year. And, for even more information on industry education opportunities, be sure to check out our annual Education Supplement, which will be mailed along with your August issue of HVACR Business magazine. u HVACR BUSINESS JUNE 2018




Learning from Experience BY PETE GRASSO


eff Tauzin was born in the small town of Thibodaux, La. and grew up very active in athletics and grew up riding motorcycles. As a child, it wasn’t really his plan to run an HVACR contracting company. “My passion was always for motocross,” Jeff says. “My childhood dream was to be a professional motocross racer.” But of course, things change. His grandfather, Lloyd Tauzin, owned Tauzin’s Refrigeration where his father and brothers worked — and where he also got his start in this industry.

JEFF TAUZIN Title: Vice President Team Leader Company: Doug’s Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Website: Year Founded: 1988 Headquarters: Thibodaux, La. Work Performed: Residential HVACR, Plumbing, Electrical & Light Commercial No. of Employees: 22 Annual Revenue: $4 million Vendor-Partners: Carrier Enterprise, Coburns, Johnstone Supply Affiliations: Service Roundtable, Service Nation Alliance Certifications: EPA, National Comfort Institute (NCI), North American Technician Excellence (NATE)

“I can remember going on service calls with my grandpa early on as a kid handing him tools,” he says. “In the mid 80s, my dad and grandpa had a falling out and my dad ended up working in the maintenance department at a manufacturing plant in Thibodaux.” During that time, Jeff ’s father did some HVACR work on the weekends and he would go along to help and make extra money. Toward the end of the 80s, his dad decided to start his own business. Jeff was still in high school and, like many who started in this business, continued to work with him part time when he could. “After I graduated high school, I went to school for mechanical engineering, but I never earned my degree,” Jeff recalls. “My dad was basically running a two-truck company and I decided I had enough of college and wanted to go all in with his HVACR business.” In 2004, Jeff committed himself fully to both the business and the industry. As a self-learner, Jeff spent as much time as he could reading books and online articles, attending training classes and doing whatever he could to get better. “Unfortunately, the best education I received was my hands on attempt at actually becoming a manager,” he says. “I say ‘unfortunately’ because learning through experience comes with the pain of making many mistakes.” Nevertheless, Jeff learned from his mistakes and continued to grow in his role with the company as a manager. Doug’s Refrigeration & Air Conditioning prides itself as a customer service, sales and marketing company first. Its primary focus is residential, but in recent years they’ve expanded the commercial side of the business. He quickly learned that to say “no” to a given job might mean the possibility of losing out on other projects that customer might have.



JUNE 2018

“We do plumbing, refrigeration, HVAC, electrical, generators and everything in between,” Jeff says. “We’re in such a small market, it’s really difficult to say no to someone.” As Jeff grew into his role, his father made the unique decision to continue to work as a service technician while leaving Jeff to manage the company. And, his learning has continued. Jeff ’s focus is on learning all he can from other top contractors and implementing those best practices at Doug’s. “It seems to have worked out well for the both of us,” Jeff says. “My dad gets to fix stuff and I’m able to grow the company with a great group of people along the way.” Harkening back to his childhood dreams of racing motocross, Jeff is competitive by nature. He likes to win. “Exceeding goals is always rewarding,” he says. “The everyday challenges are probably the most rewarding thing about running a company. I thrive on overcoming adversity.” Those everyday challenges are constantly changing, which is no surprise to anyone who runs a business. The one thing that stays consistent, however, is the struggle to keep growing. When Jeff went through a divorce, he allowed the company to fall into financial crisis. “I remember trying to pay $400,000 in bills with $100,000,” he says. “That experience made me a better manager and business owner.” Doug’s was on the verge of looking for outside capital or filling for bankruptcy, which made Jeff realize just how fragile things can be and that you always have to keep your finger on the pulse of the business. Jeff believes addressing industry challenges is a lot like hitting a baseball. “You have to study the pitcher’s tendencies and practice hitting all the pitches,” he says. “You have to be ready to react and take action in an exponentially changing marketplace. What worked well last month may not work well next quarter.” Today, the business is thriving. In five years, Jeff believes the company will branch out with satellite locations in South Louisiana and generate gross revenue of $10 million per year or more. u Pete Grasso is the editor of HVACR Business magazine. Email him at

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Seven Ways to Have a Profitably Busy Summer


ummer is the time to plan for winter. But, if it’s hot, then you will probably be busy.

Here are seven ways to ensure that you are profitably busy.

1. Enroll new maintenance plan customers.

Summer time is the time to raise your flat rate pricing. Increasing it $25 per hour means that a repair that takes 30 minutes costs $12.50 more. Customers won’t notice it. Your bottom line will.

Don’t shy away from them because you’re busy. Emphasize this with your technicians who are usually reticent to enroll in the summer because they think they’re too busy to perform maintenance and they don’t want to do it.

This is the time when people get sloppy and don’t follow procedures. I walked into a contractor’s office at the end of a very busy summer. On his desk was the financing paperwork for several jobs that had been installed 45 to 60 days prior. His excuse: “I didn’t have time to go back to get it signed.” He was so busy that he didn’t notice the missing cash flow.

Like commercial companies enrolling commercial maintenance plans, there is usually a quote to bring the equipment up to maintainable standards and the maintenance quote. Remember, the more maintenance plans you have, the busier you will be in the slower seasons.

7. Save all of your maintenance agreement enrollment dollars.

2. Advertise.

This is the time to get new customers. Use SEO and pay per clicks. Send out a postcard or letter. This is the time people are searching. This is the time they’re paying attention.

3. Make sure you have profitable pricing.

Don’t be like the contractor who told me after enrolling in my pricing class, “You hit me between the eyes. I realized that all my busy, hard work this summer was wasted. All the cash I generated went to pay bills. I was busy but not profitably busy.” Summer time is the time to raise your flat rate pricing. Increasing it $25 per hour means that a repair that takes 30 minutes



This is the number of billable hours divided by total payroll hours. There should be very little unbillable time. Technicians should be routed from their homes and have little time between service calls. Installation crews should be in the shop for 15 minutes or less. Their equipment and materials should be pulled for them and loaded on their trucks. All they need to do is get quick instructions about the job and drive to the job.

6. Make sure you bill and account for all the revenue.

Remind the customers that their first maintenance will be a heating maintenance. If their system needs to be cleaned, then charge regular rates, less the discount, to get it done.

Yes, this is counter-intuitive. If you’re doing your maintenances properly, your maintenance clients won’t call you because their systems are working, even on the hottest days of the year.

5. Track your billable hour percentages.

costs $12.50 more. Customers won’t notice it. Your bottom line will. Part of profitable pricing is to make sure you’re earning the net profit per hour you desire. Many contractors have a lower desired net profit per hour during the slower seasons and a higher desired net profit per hour in the busy seasons. If you increase it $25 per hour, that’s $200 for an 8-hour day. Most customers won’t notice. This is the time of year that customers may make a buying decision on when their new system can be installed rather than on price.

4. Watch your inventory.

Being busy could lull you into a false sense of security — you have the cash to pay for the inventory. You also might be stuck with a lot of unused inventory at the end of a busy

summer — and you still have to pay for it. Make sure the procedures in place in slower times of the year are in place in busy times of the year. Use purchase orders. Make sure you match packing slips to the purchase orders. Check the deliveries and ensure you received the right equipment/materials. Your suppliers and distributors are busy too — they can make more mistakes when they get busy. Running to the supply house to exchange the wrong piece of equipment, for a filter, or a small part kills you at this time of the year. You really can’t afford it at any time. In the summer, however, it is doubly painful because you know that you are being taken away from your revenue producing work.

This is the time of year you should NOT need the maintenance cash to fund operations. Start the habit of putting it in a separate savings account. You will probably be surprised at the end of the summer with the amount in that savings account. Keep it there. You might need it to fund operations in the slower months. These procedures will help you have a profitably busy summer so that you have cash to survive the slower times of the year. u

Ruth King is president of HVAC Channel TV and holds a Class II (unrestricted) contractors license in Georgia. She has more than 25 years of experience in the HVACR industry, working with contractors, distributors and manufacturers to help grow their companies. Contact her at





leet vehicles remain the main source of advertising for many service companies, and standing out is becoming more and more competitive. Gone are the days of simply relying on word of mouth — today’s HVACR contractor has to put forth an image that is both professional and memorable. Since we first started our annual Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest back in 2007, the submissions have gotten more sophisticated — making our panel of judges’ job more difficult.

“It’s great, especially when a potential customer comes up and asks for a business card and tell us they like our logo.” – Mike Waszak, Air Max A/C & Heating One thing we always look for in a winning design is the immediate impact it makes upon first glance. Is it bold? Is it memorable? Does it tell you what this company is all about?




These are all qualities you want in your rolling billboards, and one way to emphasize those qualities is through the use of color. “The winners in this year’s Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest have one shared and resounding quality: Boldness,” says Joe Kalinowski, creative director for the Content Marketing Institute. “The use of deep red makes their vehicles stand out

against both urban and suburban scenery.” It’s not uncommon for HVACR companies to use variations of red and blue, hot and cold. But to really stand out, you have to rise above and look at color in a new way. Emphasizing one color over another is a great way to be seen and using a different shade of red can be just the thing that separates you from the competition. This year’s winners — Air Max A/C & Heating; Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air; and Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort — have taken boldness in fleet graphics to a new level and are well on the road to success.


Air Max A/C & Heating Roselle, Ill. 3 vehicles

when he first saw the design.

“We’re already a great company, but now we put forth an image of professionalism that makes us known to the community.”

“That stopped me at first, because we expected to use the typical red and blue,” Kester says. “This has a more orange-red feel and I had no idea that that was the right choice. But once it was on the vans it made a world of difference.”

MIKE WASZAK, OWNER Located just outside Chicago in the village of Roselle, Ill., Air Max A/C & Heating faces a lot of competition, so it was more important than ever to stand out. To make sure his company didn’t go unnoticed in the crowded marketplace, Mike Waszak, owner of Air Max A/C & Heating, decided to maximize the use of advertising space on his trucks. He wanted something simple, yet eye-catching. “I worked with a graphics company, bouncing ideas back and forth until we came up with the design,” Waszak says. “I’m sure I could change a lot more, but you have to be done with it some time.” The finished design is bold and bright and definitely stands out. Kalinowski says the use of colors alongside the custom illustration of the technician mascot really makes a statement. “The beams of light emanating off of their mascot also draws the eye in making the van very recognizable,” he says.

– James Kester, Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air initial investment of $10k, Waszak is confident he’ll soon see a tremendous return thanks to the increase in business from Air Max’s high visibility.


Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air Colonial Heights, Va. 25 vehicles

“Having the Minuteman illustrated in a confident stance, holding a pipe wrench instead of a musket is a win,” he says. “But what’s even more eye-catching is how the soldier sets off the juxtaposition of the solid red and the blue star pattern.” The red and the blue aren’t the typical shades you see on most HVACR vehicles, and it was a bit of an adjustment for Kester

As a smaller company, Kester believed it was time to invest in his fleet — and overall marketing — to compete with the larger companies and national franchises moving into the area. “We’re already a great company,” Kester says, “but now we put forth an image of professionalism that makes us known to the community.” continued on page 12

JAMES KESTER, OWNER It’s not difficult to figure out where Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air drew inspiration for the branding on it’s fleet of vehicles. The company is located in central Virginia, which already has a colonial theme to it, in a city called Colonial Heights.

The design was first implemented last March and so far, Waszak says, they’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from customers.

“You add all of that together and it makes sense for us to use the image of a Colonial Minuteman,” says James Kester, owner of Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air. “Plus, it stands for someone who is quick to respond — and that’s us.”

“They like it better than a plain white van,” Waszak says. “It’s great, especially when a potential customer comes up and asks for a business card and tell us they like our logo.”

So it wasn’t too big of a leap to take when Kester began working with a marketing company to design their new look. The result is a design that is as unique as it is memorable.

Although Waszak has only wrapped one van so far, he plans to soon wrap the other two vehicles in his fleet. With an

Kalinowski particularly likes Colonial’s use of bold color, custom illustration and pattern work that makes the fleet

immediately recognizable.



“I went back and forth with the marketing company on six or seven different designs, but nothing was really popping for us,” he says. “Then, I was in Seattle for business when I had an idea.” Sitting at the airport, Cunningham noticed all the Seattle Seahawks gear, particularly the way the bright green popped against the dark blue and gray. He took that back to the designer and the result was HVAC Unlimited’s new look.

continued from page 11

Not only has the investment paid off in additional customers, but also Kester says he regularly gets calls from experienced technicians who want to come work for him now. “That is a benefit I didn’t expect,” he says. “So we’re running with it and extending our branding campaign to the local high school and vocational programs.”


Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort Rancho Cordova, Calif. 60 vehicles JASON HANSON, PRESIDENT When Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort began wrapping it’s fleet about four years ago, it was pretty clear what color they were going to use for the new design.

“Customers know us and remember us. We’re highly recognized across town and it’s been great.” – Jason Hanson, Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort design of their seal seems to bounce off the side of their vehicles,” he says. The use of the color red and the slogan became the company’s mantra. “The concept is simple; just make everything red and say it repeatedly every time you see us,” Hanson says. “So it became a part of the logo and is used on everything.” From print ads to direct mail to the vehicle wraps, Sierra Pacific has become known around town as ‘The Guys in the Big Red Trucks’ — and it’s paid off. “Customers know us and remember us,” Hanson says. “And we’re highly

recognized across town. It’s been great.”


HVAC Unlimited Lorton, Va. 13 vehicles

“I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t sure about the green, but everyone else really liked it,” Cunningham says. “I get comments on the look every day … I feel like we went from having a name to having a brand.” The other thing Cunningham really wanted from his branding was a timeless look. He felt the best way to do that was through the badge logo. “We needed to find good balance there,” he says. “We didn’t want to look like we’re too heavy on the residential side, and we didn’t want to look like we’re too heavy on the commercial side. I think that the badge style really does that for us.”


As far as a return on his investment, Cunningham has already seen an uptick thanks to this bold look with the pop of bright green.

Sometimes, inspiration comes from an unlikely source. Such was the case for John Cunningham, president of HVAC Unlimited, when he decided to refresh his fleet and his marketing.

“We have a lot more walk-ins now than we’ve ever had,” he says. “Our install department is booked out five weeks right now. I don’t think we’ve ever had that before.”

Back in the 1990s, the company had a number of red trucks and it became common for customers to tell them, “We recognize you; you’re the guys in the big red trucks.” “We used that in our radio advertising for a while, but then it faded away for a while,” says Jason Hanson, president of Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort. “When we began to refresh our marketing, we discovered that the phrase, ‘The Guys in the Big Red Trucks’ tested very well.” Indeed, the big red trucks are immediately recognizable. Kalinowski applauds their ability to be incredibly bold while staying simple. “While Sierra Pacific mainly works in two colors — red and white — the simple




Reitmeier Court Tualatin, Ore. 26 vehicles JEFF NUSZ, OWNER For a commercial company, vehicle branding is a different ballgame than it is for residential service companies. “We used to put everything on our trucks,” says Jeff Nusz, owner of Reitmeier. “For 34 years, we had blue trucks and with white bubble lettering and straight lines underneath … it was very masculine; very mechanical.” So, when Nusz decided it was time for a rebrand, he did some research. What they discovered, ultimately led to the look and feel of the company’s finished design. “We realized that 85 percent of our clients were commercial property managers and of that, 75 percent were female,” he says. “So, we wanted a mark that would appeal to that female property manger instead of big, bad, boys, in-yourface mechanical company look.” The other major thing Nusz did was drop ‘mechanical’ from Reitmeier Mechanical, simply going by the name Reitmeier, which now lends itself to other divisions he can open up.

On top of the new design of the wrapped vehicles, Reitmeier invested nearly $750,000 upgrading the fleet itself. “The old fleet was failing due to age … gas consumption was awful,” Nusz says. “We went with the Ford Cutaway with an all aluminum body, which gives us two things: more payload and a sustainable material.”

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So far, fuel usage is down 30 percent and Nusz says they’re experiencing a savings of $20 to $60k annually — not including the soft ROI of increased visibility in their market.


Shaw’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

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St. Michaels, Md. | 11 vehicles DAVID SHAW, OWNER When David Shaw, owner of Shaw’s Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, decided it was time to rebrand his company, he wanted to make sure he embraced the local community in his small town around the Chesapeake Bay. continued on page 14

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FLE ST ET DE SIGN CONTE continued from page 13

“This whole area is built around the blue crab industry,” he says. “So, I brought that idea to the marketing firm and they just ran with it.” The result is not only a friendly, memorable character logo, but also an overall design that fits in well with the area. From the light blue backdrop representing the sky to the deep blue representing the Bay and the sandy beige stripe symbolizing the shoreline, Shaw’s fleet looks like home. “Almost everyone in our market lives on or near the Bay with a dock,” Shaw says. “We wanted to put forth a professional image while still showing our local roots and we couldn’t be happier with the finished design.” As part of the rebranding launch, the company held a ‘Name the Crab Mascot’ contest and received many submissions from customers. The winner, which took into account Shaw’s longtime company slogan, “That’s a Keeper,” was Keeper. “Everything about this process has created a morale boost within the company,” Shaw says. “It’s let our employees know we’re taking steps for the future, which is something I never considered when we started this.” Since Shaw’s first implemented the new design, Shaw has already noticed a few other service companies who have debuted wrapped vehicles, but takes pride in being the first and only HVACR company in the area.


Rogers Heating & Cooling Halifax County, Va. 6 vehicles

run without any kind of branding, relying purely on word of mouth. Then, Joseph Rogers joined his father’s company in 2016 with a vision for growth and to become the leading HVACR contractor in the community. “We knew to do that we had to make an impact visually and we couldn’t think of a better way to do it than our van,” he says. “I’ve seen other branded vans in other areas that were eye-catching and I wanted our brand to be just as eye-catching for our customers.” Once Rogers set a plan for growth, they began doing research and found a marketing company to help them design their new look. “We didn’t have any brand recognition whatsoever and they were able to talk us through the process,” Rogers says. “We let them know we wanted to do this as a stepby-step process and not a huge roll out.”

Speedtown Comfort Heating and Cooling Speedway, Ind. 2 vehicles JERRY WILSON, OWNER Just outside Indianapolis, and a stone’s throw from the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, sits the town of Speedway, Ind. And with close to 36,000 motor sports employees in the area, it’s no secret who Speedtown Comfort Heating and Cooling is targeting. “We can never take care of 36,000

When Wilson started the company with his father, he had a vision for the look he wanted for his trucks. He sketched out his ideas and sent them to a local graphics company, who refined it and came up with the final design. “Even before I had the logos on my truck, just our black, red and white striping and scheme made people stop and ask me about the company,” he says. “The racers to whom we market … they all think it’s just the coolest thing ever.” As a small, two-man operation that recently hired it’s third employee, Speedtown Comfort doesn’t have a large marketing budget. What money Wilson continued on page 22

“To roll it out and get to a financial position to do so took about two years of planning,” Rogers says. “Once we did, it was really worth it to put that much time and effort into it for the end result.”

JOSEPH ROGERS, OWNER Rogers Heating & Cooling was founded in 1996 and, for nearly 20 years, was

“That is definitely top priority at the moment,” he says. “As a contractor, you



people,” says Jerry Wilson, owner of Speedtown Comfort. “But if I get 1,500 of those, over the next however many years of us building this business, and keep them, we’ll never need for customers.”

The marketing firm was in line with that plan and Rogers knew they were a good fit. That’s when they decided to get the ball rolling.

The next step for Rogers is a big one — something essential to doing business in this day and age — a company website.


either have to make the investment to hire somebody that has that skillset or find a outside source that has that skillset that can make your vision come to life.”








Raising revenue isn’t so much about selling as it is doing what is best for your customer.





here are a number of ways to increase technician productivity and revenue, but you should first be aware of a few key performance indicators used to judge service technician output.

Residential service technicians should produce at least $250,000 in annual sales with a 63 percent or higher gross profit margin. A better way to measure technician output is by annual gross profit dollars.

That number is $157,500 annually, or $630 gross profit dollars per man each day. Technicians should run an average of four service calls per day with an average retail invoice amount of $250 each.

SUPERCHARGE DIAGNOSTICS One of the fastest ways to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction is to detect additional legitimate service work.

Technicians should think and work like aircraft mechanics. These highly trained and regulated technicians replace parts before they fail, and the public should agree with that philosophy. When technicians are allowed to sell equipment change-outs, those numbers need to be adjusted to consider the potential reduction in repair revenue and the increased revenue from the replacement sale. It gets a bit tricky to assess the performance of a technician who does both service work and installation work. Installers should produce $825 gross profit dollars per day. A two-person crew should produce $1,400 gross profit dollars per day. You will need to consider both types of work independently when assessing their performance. Now that you have a benchmark, here are some of the most significant ways to increase technician revenue.



This is done through high-level diagnostics. Implement a weekly training program to teach technicians the finer points of diagnostics and pre-emptive failure detection. Technicians should think and work like aircraft mechanics. These highly trained and regulated technicians replace parts before they fail, and the public should agree with that philosophy. After all, no one wants an aircraft mechanic to wait until an aircraft part fails before they replace it. Your technicians should have sophisticated instruments such as megohmmeter, combustion analyzers, anemometers, digital manifold gauges and more. These tools should be thought of as an investment. They will pay for themselves

over and over again. Of course, training will be necessary to assure that they are being used properly.

REDUCE UNBILLABLE TIME Unbillable time includes labor hours paid to the technicians but not billed to a customer. You should keep unbillable time under 25 percent. Reduce efficiency crushing trips to suppliers by creating and maintaining a customized inventory list for each technician. Consider performance-based compen-

GIVE TECHNICIANS TIME This might require a change in culture. Technicians need to take their time. They should be able to run three to five service calls a day. Anything more than that might mean that they are hurrying through their work or that they need additional training. It is better to charge a customer $600 for a single service call than it is to charge them $300 each, for two separate service calls. When you need two service calls to repair a system, your customer will always wonder which service call wasn’t necessary

the technician assess the pros and cons of repair versus replacement. This worksheet should be filled out in the customer’s home and a copy should be printed or emailed for future consideration. A replacement lead may not count towards annual technician revenue, but it should factor into your annual assessment of their production.

SELLING EQUIPMENT Service technicians are in a unique position to sell equipment upgrades and

replacements. Customers see them as experts and are often less defensive than they might be with a salesperson. Think about it like this. Would you rather talk to an auto mechanic about the need and cost of replacing your truck’s transmission or with a salesperson? Sir, you are going to need a transmission replacement. Wait here while I get our transmission salesperson to speak to you. Technicians will need product training, continued on page 18

Service agreements should be considered accessories too. Technicians should be able to sell one service agreement for every six service calls where there is no service agreement coverage. sation that pays technicians far more per hour for billable time than unbillable time. Improve service call management by implementing an integrated business management software system that includes a strong mobile software app and GPS tracking.

REDUCE CALLBACKS Callbacks reduce billable time and kill profitability. They also hurt your customer satisfaction scores. A callback can be defined as the following: “Any repeat service call that is unbillable, for any reason, within 30 days of the original call.” Callbacks should be less than 5 percent (1 percent is considered best in class). Sometimes technicians simply don’t have the correct tools for the job. Create a Required Tool List for each job function and train your technicians on how to use the lists. Sometimes a callback isn’t really a callback, but you have no choice but to work for free. Often it is simply due to the fact that the technician did not properly document what they may have very well told the customer. Thorough documentation will help reduce callbacks. Mobile apps can make this process easier through a database of prewritten repair descriptions and voice recognition.

and they will resent paying for it.

SELLING ACCESSORIES Families want cleaner, healthier and more comfortable living conditions, but they rarely realize they have so many options. Technicians should sell one accessory for every 12 service calls they run. Accessories might include whole house dehumidification systems, air filtrations systems and water treatment systems. They can also include UV air treatments and Wi-Fi thermostats. Service agreements should be considered accessories too. Technicians should be able to sell one service agreement for every six service calls where there is no service agreement coverage.

GENERATING SALES LEADS You may not wish to have every service technician sell replacements, but all service technicians should be working to create solid sales leads. Technicians should be able to produce one good sales lead for every 12 demand (non-maintenance) service calls they run. Obviously, this depends on your customer base and average age and condition of their equipment. Technicians should be educated on the various signs that a system may need to be replaced. A Replacement Decision Worksheet can be a useful tool in helping



continued from page 17

basic sales skills and complete cookbook pricing for all common replacement scenarios. Let service technicians sell if you believe they have the skills required to do so; otherwise, they can help the team by creating quality sales opportunities for someone else.

ENCOURAGE TECHNICIANS TO SELL Technicians should certainly sell equipment replacements, because selling is a natural part of being a service technician. As long as they have the desire and the ability, service technicians should be allowed and encouraged to sell equipment change-outs. Often, technicians don’t believe it’s proper for them to sell equipment. Many believe it’s a conflict of interest for a service technician to sell replacements. But, you wouldn’t take your children to a doctor who refused to sell X-rays,

Service technicians are in a unique position to sell equipment upgrades and replacements. Customers see them as experts and are often less defensive than they might be with a salesperson. physical therapy, an MRI or other medical services. You’d expect the doctor to recommend whatever was proper and necessary for the wellbeing of the patient. The same is true when it comes to HVACR service. Technicians will become more comfortable with selling once they have been introduced to some basic selling tools and techniques. The word “selling” has something to do with the apprehension that some feel when talking about system replacements. Again, go back to the doctor-patient metaphor. Reiterate that it isn’t so much about selling as it is doing what is best for your customer. You’re simply asking them to give customers options and recommend what they believe is best.

Digital, not Analog One line for all AC / refrigeration systems.

Many technicians are proud of their ability to “fix anything.” That’s noble, but it may not be in the customer’s best interest. Training is the key here. You’ll need to provide your service technicians with high quality training and ongoing encouragement. Show them how to calculate energy savings based on EER and AFUE increases. Teach them concepts such as cost of ownership, return on investment, the cost of future breakdowns, enhanced comfort, the value of peace of mind and so forth. Remind your technicians that they are a customer, but they are not their customer. Just because they have certain feelings and opinions does not mean that they should impose them on their customers.

One final point to make with your service technicians is this: you never know if someone can or cannot afford to properly repair or replace their system. Many poor people may look rich and many rich people may look poor. You cannot always tell someone’s economic state by the clothes they wear, the car they drive, or the house they live in. Do what’s right. Passionately explain your recommendations and let customers decide for themselves. u

James Leichter is president and CEO of software company Aptora Corp., owner of Mr. HVAC LLC and majority partner at RA Tax and Accounting Inc. James is also a faculty member of EGIA Contractor University. Visit, or to learn more about service technician communication and selling — and download a FREE resource and training package complete with powerful tools, templates and educational videos, please visit

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Engage Your Technicians in Promoting Your Services


ngaging your technicians in business development activities can increase the value to the overall service your company provides. An important factor is recognizing that the proactive efforts of your technicians is a service. Imagine you’re about to launch a new service — something you’ve never offered before. Now, consider the steps you’ll take to make it successful. What will they be? In all probability, you’ll clearly define the specific steps the technicians will take to deliver the service properly. You will likely provide training for your technicians to master the skills of the service. You will work hard to get buyin from other divisions or groups within your organization that contribute to your ability to deliver the service effectively. You’ll talk about the new service at your service and safety meetings and promote it to your customers and get them to agree to at least consider using the service. If business promotion by your technicians is a service, doesn’t it make sense to support it in the same manner that you would any other service that you chose to offer? 1. Define the specific steps of product promotion. Through this step you specifically define what you expect the field service technician to do. This will include steps that they will take to explore for opportunities — for example, asking questions on arrival on site or after the service is completed. It will also include what you want them to do when they have a recommendation. This could include discussing it with the customer and facilitating a follow-up visit with someone from sales or management. 2. Provide training to support the technician’s efforts. Some technicians may be uncomfortable in engaging the customer in conversation about products and services. You can overcome this by providing training and supporting the technician through coaching. The training should include how to present the recommendation in a manner

Your language impacts your business culture and by using a “service” language you’ll be continually reinforcing your efforts to engage the technicians. u

Provide training to your technicians on promoting new services, much like you would provide training on mastering service and maintenance. that communicates its value to the customer and what to do if the customer hesitates or says no. 3. Educate your team on your organization’s capabilities. This is directly related to the previous step and one that is often overlooked. Make sure that your field service team has a working knowledge of everything your organization does that can directly benefit the customer. If they are not aware of a capability, then they will not recognize an opportunity to recommend. If they do know but are not conversant, then they may be reluctant to discuss it with the customer. 4. Get buy-in from the other divisions or groups within your organization that you’ll depend upon to deliver the service. Chances are your field service team will find opportunities that will need to be handed off to another group like sales or projects and these groups may not be within your direct control. It’s important that these groups work with you seamlessly or else your efforts may be frustrating. Your technicians will soon tire of making recommendations that are not followed up in a timely manner for example. 5. Talk the talk. You’ve decided to offer the proactive efforts of your field service team as a service, so it’s critical that you use language that supports this. At your service meetings, it’s only natural to talk about the success of the initiative. In doing this, however, it’s important to avoid talking about the technicians’ proactive efforts as selling.

For example, if a customer purchased a product from you because of the recommendation of a technician, be careful not to talk about it as a sale as in, “Technician A sold product B to this customer.” Instead, talk about the service that technician A was able to provide to the customer by recommending product B to solve a particular problem. SPEAKERS Service World Expo offers a variety of speakers and breakout options from within the HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical Industries, as well as keynotes and speakers from “the outside” to keep our information fresh, relevant, and focused on hot topics. NETWORKING Between the trade show, meals, and parties that are open access to all attendees and exhibitors, there are plenty of ways to network with like-minded professionals, consultants, and thought leaders! EXHIBITORS Find cutting edge products and services that will help you innovate, automate, and compete in an everchanging world in our exhibit hall. Want to Exhibit? Exhibit@ 877.350.2348

Editor’s Note: For a bonus technique to help your technicians promote your services, visit

Jim Baston is president of BBA Consulting Group Inc., a firm dedicated to helping technical service firms leverage the untapped potential in their business-development efforts. For additional information, visit


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Boomers or Millennials — Where to Spend Your Marketing Dollars


am a Baby Boomer so, yes, I bring that perspective to this column. And yes, this column totally ignores Gen Xers. Sorry guys, there just aren’t enough of you. Blame it on Baby Boomer parents who were too busy working to have children! But before we get into where you should spend your marketing dollars, let’s look at the facts.

BABY BOOMERS Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and are between the ages of 54 and 72. Depending on which research is used, there are currently between 76 and 79 million Baby Boomers in the

U.S. today. As of 2017, 50 percent of the population was over 50 years old.

80 percent of Baby Boomers own their homes.

Boomers control 70 percent of the disposable income in the U.S. and will inherit approximately $15 trillion more over the next 20 years. They have $2.4 trillion in spending power each year.


Boomers spend the most across all product categories, but only 5 to 10 percent of advertising is directed to Boomers. Also, 82.3 percent of Baby Boomers belong to a social media site. The vast majority use Facebook, but have insignificant representation on Twitter or Instagram as well. Finally,

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1997 and are between the ages of 21 and 37. Again, depending upon the source, there are currently between 79 and 83 million Millennials in the U.S. today. Millennials have about $1.3 trillion in spending power a year, but only 13 percent own their homes.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Recently, at an industry conference, a panel of contracting business owners and equipment manufacturers were asked to comment on the future of our industry. As expected, part of that discussion was about social media and Internet marketing. Of the six people on the panel, all but two of us were younger than 40. The younger members of the panel focused on social media marketing being the best way to reach Millennials who represent the largest segment of the U.S. population.


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All of what these Millennials said was true, but it didn’t take into account a number of facts listed above. As an owner of a business that focuses on selling equipment and home upgrades costing thousands of dollars to homeowners and with limited marketing dollars to spend, where should you focus your marketing dollars? Focus on a large population whom other product marketers are ignoring, who own homes and have a lot of discretionary income to spend. Conclusion: Baby Boomers.

for marketing, target those consumers who are 50+ years old, whether buying and boosting ads on Facebook or buying a mailing list. And, be sure to use pictures of people who are 50+ on your direct mail and Facebook ads. 3. Facebook ads should always direct the Boomer back to your website. Boomers may use social media, but they use the Internet to do research. 4. If affordable, advertise on local cable. Boomers watch 174 hours of TV a month (63 percent more than Millennials). 5. Use coupons. Both Millennials and Boomers want coupons. 6. Design your ads and website with more visuals, larger fonts and with lots of white space, making it easier to read even for the Millennials approaching 40. 7. The first credit card was introduced in 1950. Boomers have never known a world where financing wasn’t available. Easy financing must be part of your marketing message to this group. 8. With Boomers, your marketing message can’t solely rely on social media. Boomers still want a personal relationship with your company. Yes, Boomers have lost the position as the largest generation, but when identifying who and how to sell HVACR and plumbing products, this generation still holds the purchasing clout. u

So how do you do that? Here are eight ways you can target this still relevant market segment.

Vicki LaPlant is the owner of Vital Learning

1. Don’t call Boomers “old, older, senior or elderly.” Instead, give Boomers the “Because you’ve still got it” discount.

for more than 20 years. She has trained

2. When choosing a targeted age group

information, visit

Experiences and has been a leading consultant to the HVACR and plumbing industry countless contractor owners on how to run efficient, profitable businesses. For additional



Build a Brand Through Storytelling


wo years. That’s how long it took Goettl Air Conditioning to be become a dominant residential HVAC provider in Las Vegas. One of the reasons for our rapid success — besides always doing things the right way, not the easy way with customers and putting the right people in the right seats — is a robust marketing and branding strategy. In Las Vegas, and elsewhere, people have embraced our brand. They remember our name when they need us, they believe in our mission and our story. How did we get here?

STORYTELLING We tell stories about the values that were taught to me, the values I lead my team with. Simple stories: about when I was a 10-year-old boy holding a flashlight for my dad while he was working on dark nights. Stories about how my dad taught me to treat customers the right way and not do things just the easy way. Stories about when my dad assigned me the task of making sure every screw was tight and to replace all missing screws, and how I hold my team to making sure each job is “picture perfect.” Our stories are also about my dog, Sadie, and how new employees must be “Sadie Certified” before they join our company. They are simple, honest stories that people can relate to. They tell people who we are, what we do and why we do it. We tell these stories in radio commercials, on billboards, on our website and through social media. We tell these stories all year long, not just during peak season. We tell these stories to the mass audience through a high frequency, high listenership radio schedule. We tell the customer what we stand for and why they should choose us.

GIVE BACK We give back a lot in the communities

we serve and regularly donate to causes that are near and dear to our hearts: pets, seniors and veterans. We donate HVACR systems, plumbing services and water purity systems to those in need or who can’t afford them.

needs to be fixed, or a dark night that needs some light, our simple branding efforts will offer help when it’s needed most. It’s real and it’s smart marketing. u

Ken Goodrich is owner and CEO of Las Vegas-based Goettl Air Conditioning. For additional information, visit

We let people know we are not only a business in the community, but residents and community supporters. Our actions with our customers and our actions with our community tell our story. We have built brand loyalty and mystique about an air conditioning company. Our advertising campaigns don’t try and sell anything or tout products or services. In our radio ads, I’m always telling the story. I do all the radio commercials and I do it because I want people to get to know me, our company values and build trust with our customers. We’ve found marketing and business success — 500 percent growth in three years alone — using creative marketing techniques that are real, genuine and personable. We have also found that our marketing and branding strategy allows customers to engage with us using a host of platforms and technologies, such as online, on social media and by calling our service centers.

COMPANY VALUES We’ve established systems and processes to guide every aspect of our business and customer engagement is a part of those systems. Every interaction is consistent, personalized and reviewed to make sure each consumer touch-point matches our company values and mission. We reinforce our flashlight story by giving away thousands of branded flashlights each year. Regularly, when our trucks are in neighborhoods taking care of customers, people — children and adults alike — will come and ask for a flashlight and every customer is offered a flashlight as well. Whether it’s an HVACR system that HVACR BUSINESS JUNE 2018


continued from page 14

does spend on marketing is all focused on the motor sports arena.


“The overall design and logo has helped us become familiar and recognized by the motor sports community in central Indiana,” Wilson says. “We have had people become customers just from seeing our van or truck on the road or in customer’s driveway.” Wilson also takes great pride when he pulls into the supply house and gets comments from other technicians who say they wish their employers put as much thought and effort into looking professional.


Viking Air Mechanical Miami, Fla. 4 vehicles MIKE GRANOBLES, OWNER As a self-taught graphic designer, Mike Granobles knew he wanted something

from Viking Air Mechanical’s employees. “They feel very prideful that they are driving the van and working for our company and are oftentimes complemented on the design,” Granobles says. “They love it!” that stood out and had clear contrast to be able to see all the text clearly on his commercial company’s vans. “I used colors I liked and often times see in this industry,” Granobles, owner of Viking Air Mechanical, says. “It’s definitely a change from the norm in my region, where every square inch of space is filled with some sort of air handler, condenser and text all over.”

The striking Viking logo against the black van with white and blue accents certainly stands out in Miami, Fla., and it’s paying off for Granobles. “We’ve received a lot of calls strictly off just our vans,” he says. “I haven’t gotten a response like this in any other form of advertisement.”

When all is said and done, Granobles is happy with the way it turned out and wouldn’t change a thing. u

Pete Grasso is the editor of HVACR Business magazine. To download an entry form for the 2019 Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest, visit

An added benefit of the new look, implemented nearly a year ago, is the buy-in

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Fleet Equipment




HVACR technicians need to work in nearly every condition — on rooftops, in basements and everywhere inbetween. Adrian Steel designs the perfect upfit packages for your job that include shelving, bins, partitions and other useful items.

Say goodbye to crawling around in the back of your cargo van endlessly searching for tools, parts and equipment. The KUV creates optimized organization for the technician, dividing the storage space into manageable compartments that are externally accessible from either side of the body. The technician pulls up to the jobsite, exits the cab and immediately has quick access to the tools and parts they need without having to crawl into the cargo area.

Use the Quartix system to track your vehicles and drivers in real time, anytime, using any internetconnected device. There is no need for additional software – everything is accessed over the web. Daily fleet tracking logs are presented in a clear, easy-to-read format.

These packages will help you be more organized and efficient at your job. The Plumbing, Heating & AC Repair Package features ADseries shelving with drawer units, door kits, utility hooks, dividers, a welded tank rack and a vice mount.

A.R.E. A.R.E. DCU’s offer an array of options to fit your specific needs. DCUs feature STRATTEC lock cylinders in our folding T-handles on all doors. Options to customize your DCU include: a selection of door sizes and window options, various toolbox configurations and roof ladder racks. With optional rear and side door configurations, roof racks, toolboxes and LED lighting you can fully customize this cap to be just what you need. With more than 200 variations to choose from, contractors can create the perfect cap to fit their work needs. A.R.E.’s rugged, fully welded frame construction offers years of durable service, no matter what the weather or job.

GPS INSIGHT GPS Insight is a top technology provider of GPS fleet tracking software for HVAC businesses. Using the GPS Insight Vehicle & Asset Tracking Solutions, customers realize a significant increase in efficiency and gain insight into all aspects of their fleet operations.

Dedicated conduit chutes enable the technician to store longer items without cluttering the floor of the oversized cargo area. Knapheide’s KUV is constructed of rugged galvanneal steel so the technician can have confidence it will provide years of reliable service.

MASTERACK Masterack’s Smartspace is an innovative, modular cargo management system that offers a variety of shelves, drawers and accessories that slide into upright panels for infinite storage possibilities. Made from structural foam and aluminum materials, this system provides weight savings over comparable steel interiors of up to 35 percent. These quiet, composite shelves will hold as much weight as steel, with heavyduty grade-8 fasteners to secure the system to the vehicle.

RAM A Best-in-Class cargo capacity of 131.7 cubic feet on Tradesman Cargo Van models accommodates almost anything you want to carry, and with a Best-inClass cargo width between wheel wells, 9 of 48.4 inches, you can even fit pallets on the floor of your van. The uninterrupted rear cargo floor and nearly vertical side panels provide lots of room to upfit your van for your business needs. With a Best-in-Class payload, you can load up anything you need into the Ram ProMaster City Tradesman — it can handle it.



The NexTraq Fleet Tracking System is a cloudbased, comprehensive fleet tracking solution with a number of features that increase productivity, reduce costs and simplify fleet and business operations.

Businesses both small and large work with GPS Insight to solve their unique fleet challenges through increased revenue, reduced costs, and reduced risk. GPS Insight provides highly flexible solutions, which include a wide range of customized reports, alerts, and other innovative features that can be tailored to meet specific customer requirements and ensure maximum return on investment.

Included is the NexTraq Job Schedule Board, which shows all pending jobs and appointments as well as employees’ availability and status of their current jobs. Immediately contact teams in the field to clock work hours, assign jobs, and find the easiest route to your customers via NexTraq Connect, a downloadable app that makes both office and field employees more efficient in daily business activities.

The day is split into separate trips and the level of detail in the report can be specified for each vehicle. Stops with the ignition on and short movements around a site can either be shown or filtered out. Quartix can tell you more than just where your vehicles have been–driving style analysis reports also tell you how fast your drivers were getting there, plus their braking and acceleration scores.

Verizon Telematics announces the availability of ELD-ready bundles that address the needs of fleets requiring an Electronic Logging Device solution. The Verizon Telematics ELD-ready bundles are designed to conform to certain technical specifications and serve as a one-stop shop for customers who need to meet the ELD mandate requirements before the deadline. Customers can choose from a number of different bundles for hardware, and monthly software subscription pricing that include what drivers and fleets need to comply with the new rules.





Accelerated Growth and Profitability When you become a One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® franchisee, you have a proven system in which to grow and prosper DALE WEBB


fter working as a technician for a local contracting company for nearly 20 years, Dale Webb was ready to make the leap to owning his own business in 2014.

“I finally made the decision to try it and really haven’t looked back,” Webb says. “We started with about eight employees and we’re up to 24 now.” Early last year, Webb was looking for a way to really grow his business and had heard about Clockwork, Inc., a Direct Energy® company. Not sure if it was right for him, he began looking into them.

Franchisee, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning Ashland, Ky.

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Did you have any concerns before you started your research?

“I had researched it enough to know that it sounded good, but I didn’t really know if it was a good fit,” he says. “We made the trip down to Sarasota and got to tour some of the franchises down there and learn more about them.”

One of my biggest concerns was making sure that we could afford to be able to join up with One Hour and Mister Sparky also. Could I afford to give them a percentage of my sales? Of course, the answer was yes. It’s been such a great decision, we really haven’t looked back.

After talking to more people and visiting more One Hour franchises, Webb decided it was time to jump in and fully embraced the One Hour franchise model.

Tell us about the Conversion Incentive Program.

Last summer, Webb took advantage of One Hour Franchising, LLC’s Conversion Incentive Program and became a One Hour and Mister Sparky® electrical services franchisee. “They’ve already got a proven system,” he says. “And, when you’ve bought into it and try your best, you’ll make great strides towards where you need to be as a business.” Recently, at the Northeast Kentucky Small Business Awards, Webb accepted the 2018 Emerging Business of the Year award. Air Extreme/One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning was one of only three businesses in Carter County to achieve this honor. HVACR Business spoke with Webb about growing his business as a One Hour franchisee.



That program is actually the whole reason we were able to make the jump to join. It allowed us to do all of the things people take for granted. We had everything in place immediately … stuff as small as business cards, brochures and forms, not to mention our signage, our advertising and our vans and trucks. That was a biggie. It helped tremendously with the financial part of it.

What is the biggest benefit as a franchisee? The guidance and the support the One Hour and Mister Sparky® franchises offer … there’s no comparison. Anytime we need anything, I just pick up the phone or email whoever I need to. And, it’s not like I have to wait a day or two to get a response — most of the time, they have

an answer right away. It’s not a big hassle to try to get to the right person, to try to get to whom you need to talk to. If we don’t get in touch with the right person immediately, whoever answers gets us to the right person. From day number one, we’ve never been misled on anything. The support is second to none.

How has One Hour helped with your brand recognition? It’s been tremendous, not only with advertising, but also with the bright yellow trucks we now have. People come up to me all the time and ask how many vehicles we have because they see them in every direction from our shop. When I tell them we only have 11 vehicles, they’re amazed because the yellow vans stick out so well that it seems like we have double that amount. When people pass them on the road, they remember it.

Why did you decide to also add the Mister Sparky franchise? We saw a need for electrical service in this area. There’s just not a good residential electrical service around. Because we’re now a part of the Clockwork family, it was fairly easy to add that extra business. To add an entire electrical business on our own would have taken a lot more time and money. u


When we considered something bigger... We weren’t satisfied, but we weren’t sure we could do it alone—grow our business even more. We knew that growth was possible, but it needed to be managed properly. We needed information, needed assurances and patience. We hooked up with One Hour and we talked it through. And it all started with just a conversation...Shouldn’t you be talking? 866.370.8302

The information presented in this advertisement is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for general information purposes only. An offer is made only through delivery of a Franchise Disclosure Document that has been registered with and approved by the appropriate agency in your state, if your state requires such registration (unless an exemption applies). If you are a resident of, or wish to acquire a franchise to be located in a state requiring registration, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your state. One Hour Air Conditioning Franchising, L.L.C., 12 Greenway Plaza, Suite 250, Houston, TX 77046. Call 1-866-370-8302. ©2018 Clockwork IP, LLC. All rights reserved.

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4/13/18 11:34 AM



We sat down with James Kester, owner of Colonial Plumbing, Heating and Air, a 2018 Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest winner. Kester discussed memorable design, starting his own company and learning to be a successful business owner. 1. Can you tell us a little about your background? I grew up in a single-parent home. I didn’t know the difference between a hammer and a hacksaw as a teenager. In high school, a math teacher mentioned trade work. I put it in the back of my head and went off to college for a year. My mother had paid the money. But on the way home from school, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

9. What did your branding look like before? There was no standard. As a plumber who thought he was a graphic designer, I would put something together here and there, but there was no cohesion. It was always just a spur of the moment, always using the same brush script font, but otherwise no logo or brand to identify us. The vans were white with our name in it. That’s it.

13. Did you do anything special to role out the new design? We had a Spot-the-New-Vehicles Contest when we first rolled them out, and did that on Facebook and received all kinds of great comments … people saying they chased us down to take a picture of the vehicle. It was a good way to introduce it to the community.

2. So you left college? Yes. I applied for a plumber’s helper position in the local town, got hired and quit college. My mother didn’t kill me … she supported me the whole way.

10. Who came up with ‘Service that’s Revolutionary’? That was actually internal. We’d been using that slogan for about 10 years, but never really blended it with everything. It wasn’t on our vans … we may throw it in a newspaper ad, but more often than not, we didn’t. Now, it’s something our customers expect to see.

14. What kind of reaction have you gotten? We have not had a negative reaction yet. All of our customers have been very enthusiastic.

11. What made you decide to embark on this branding journey? We did some brainstorming and research and found Dan Antonelli at Kick Charge Creative. We really liked a lot of the designs he’s done for other companies, so we set up a meeting with him.

16. Do you track leads based off your trucks? We should. We never had that comment, never in 30 years before. So we should be tracking it. I would say there are dozens of people who have said, “Hey, I saw your truck.” But we haven’t counted them.

3. So you started as an apprentice? I went through the process of learning the trade and going to trade school. I ended up working as a plumbing leader at our local Army base. But also I was trying to help friends, and family and neighbors in the evening. After a while, I quit the government job and went into business for myself. 4. What is the learning curve to owning a business? It’s been a 30-year learning curve. [laughs] I enjoy reading and going to either trade shows and learning from manufacturers or seminar speakers. It’s important never to stop learning. 5. What challenges have you faced? One has been controlling the growth in a manner that leaves us profitable and still gives us the quality product we’re known for. We can’t just grab people off the street and assume they’re going to do things the way we want them to be done. We’ve got to slowly work them into our system, make sure our customers are pleased and we’re offering what we need to offer to be a profitable company. 6. What is your business mix? Fifty percent of our business is commercial plumbing installation. We don’t do any commercial HVACR. The rest is 25 percent service plumbing and 25 percent service HVACR and retrofit installations. 7. How have you grown since 1983? HVACR is growing, but it will always lag behind in the percent of our plumbing work. We try to control the growth, making sure we only grow as fast as we want it to. We had two employees back in 1983 and it has steadily grown since then. We’ve leveled off right now at 50 employees. 8. How did you come up with your winning truck design? We’re located in central Virginia, which of course has a Colonial theme to it anyway, and then the name of the city that we’re located in is Colonial Heights. You add all of that together and it made sense for us to use the image a Colonial Minuteman … somebody who’s quick to respond.



12. What was it like working with Kick Charge Creative? At first, the Minuteman was a bit cartoony, but the more we worked together with him, the more my wife and I liked what he came up with. Once he presented us with the serious, confident looking Minuteman, we were really pleased. It says we’re serious about taking care of you as a customer. Dan picked all the colors and we were surprised with just how much we liked it.

15. Do you use GPS in your vehicles? We were early on with a company called At Road, which is now owned by Trimble. We’ve been with them for at least 10 years.

17. What kind of ROI have you seen so far? After putting the 11 newly designed vehicles on the road we have seen an increase in the mention of our new vehicles on social media sites. We can tell that the vehicles are doing a great job of being a driving billboard for us as well because we have stayed extremely busy even during times that used to be a bit slow for us. 18. Has this new look helped with recruitment? Yes, that’s one area that we were really surprised (and pleased) to see a return on the new fleet was on the increase in the number of applicants for technicians. The vehicles look so professional and we are so excited that other technicians in the area want to join our team! 19. Do your technicians wear three-corner hats? [Laughs] Not yet. Although, last week I was looking online to see about buying a mascot uniform for things like football games, parades and other local events. 20. Does your background make you more apt to hire less-experienced people? Yes. Whether I’m at a high school speaking with students or at church speaking with youth, I look for people who have the personality or the desire to learn. They don’t have to be from any kind of technical background for me to be interested. I just have to see they have that desire to learn. And it’s worked out well. We’re partnering with the local high school to put our logo on a banner in what is a brand new vocational program at school, in their shop ... kind of a sponsor type of thing. So these kids will see that new logo every day they’re in class.

Paper is dead.

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2/13/18 11:41 AM

UEi HUB Wireless Probe Kits

Download Free App “UEi HUB”






WHP1: Wireless Hygrometer

WPP1: Wireless Pressure Probe

WPC1: Temperature Pipe Clamp

Magnets secure to plenum putting probe in optimum air stream path.

Pass thru port hook up, no hoses or adapters needed.

Narrow head for tight spaces with easy opening spring design.




Copyright © 2018 Kane USA Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Patents pending

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4/16/18 11:43 AM

HVACR Business June 2018  
HVACR Business June 2018