19 Mysteries of HVAC

July 10, 2015
Network. Attend Comfortech. Hire and train well. These are just a few practices that will grow your HVAC business.

Matt Michel, CEO of The Service Roundtable dons his detective gear and asks about certain "mysteries," of HVAC. They all have to do with contractors'/business owners' missed opportunities.

It would be great to become part of an excellent team like they have at Morris-Jenkins, Charlotte, NC.
Couldn't we train more than 15 minutes in a service meeting?
'For What It's Worth,' by Brandon Jacobs — value your business correctly before you sell it.
'The Power of Positive Pricing,' presents pricing as a marketing weapon and profit maximizer.
The plain white truck. Lots of messaging here, eh?
'HVAC Spells Wealth,' by Ron Smith is THE book on running an HVAC company.

1. Why do so many contractors price at sustenance levels? Don’t they realize they’re subsidizing customers by pricing below the level needed to offer good service and make a fair profit? Do customers need your subsidy?
Why isn’t every contractor flat rate? No matter what you charge on an hourly basis, it will seem too high to consumers who have no clue what it costs to put a fully stocked truck with a well-trained professional technician at their door in a timely manner.
3. Why don’t more people enter the HVAC industry as technicians, given the necessity of heating and air conditioning, the ready jobs available for any technician, and the growth potential for the field? What happened to the notion of having a trade to fall back on?
Why do some contractors run negative ads directed at their competitors? Don’t they know that this kind of advertising tarnishes the entire industry? Do they think consumers will believe they are the only honest contractor in an industry full of crooks?
5. Worse than negative ads, why do contractors help “gotcha” journalists sting other contractors? Stings do not elevate one contractor over another They tear down the industry across the board.
6. Why do contractors let themselves become dependent on third parties for leads? Don’t they know this is the business equivalent of a drug addiction? Once you’re hooked, you will do just about anything for the next fix of leads.
7. Why don’t contractors network? Few contractors are members of service clubs like Rotary, Lion’s, Kiwanis, or Optimist. Few belong to leads groups like BNI, Le Tip, or Netweavers. Don’t they know that business is built on relationships and these clubs help build relationships with community centers of influence? Centers of influence are the people others ask for a recommendation when looking for a good contractors.
8. Why is it a good idea to let the government mandate efficiency levels where the savings will never be paid back within the life of the equipment? A 20-year payback on a product with a 15-year life is a stupid investment. Maybe we can’t stop an out-of-control government, but we can fight it and speak out against it. People are smart enough to make their own choices.
9. Why do we train so little? Think about how much performers train, whether athletes or artists. Couldn’t we train more than 15 minutes in a service meeting, once a week?
10. Why don’t contractors hire for attitude and utilize the industry’s excellent third party training programs to develop technical skills (often faster than many believe is possible)? Sure it costs money, but how much does an idle truck cost?
11. Why do some contractors resent, attack, and envy the most successful practitioners in the field? Don’t envy successful contractors, emulate them.
12. Why do so many contractors drive white trucks with small logos? A strong truck ID program is a contractor’s single greatest advertising opportunity.
13. Why don’t more contractors pay for performance? You get what you pay for. Pay for hours on the clock and you’ll get hours on the clock. Pay for results and you’ll get results.
14. Why doesn’t every contractor join a buying group? Do they like paying more?
15. Why doesn’t every contractor read “HVAC Spells Wealth” by Contracting Business Hall of Fame member, Ron Smith? It’s the definitive book on running an HVAC service and replacement company by the guy who virtually invented the modern service company.
16. Why doesn’t every contractor read “For What It’s Worth,” by Brandon Jacobs or “The Power of Positive Pricing,” by yours truly? Brandon’s book is the how-to guide for maximizing the value of your business prior to selling it. “The Power of Positive Pricing,” may be the only contractor focused book on pricing as a marketing weapon and profit maximizer.
17. Why doesn’t every contractor attend Comfortech? It’s the best contractor business focused educational opportunity left this year.
18. Why don’t contractors build their own brands exclusively? Don’t they know that putting money in someone else’s brand is like depositing money in someone else’s bank account? You can’t access the equity in someone else’s bank account.
19. Why are contractors more passionate about their NFL team than their business? Why not get passionate about the pursuit of your dreams and become a multimillionaire in your own right?

To buy the books by Ron Smith, Brandon Jacobs, or Matt Michel, visit

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.