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cloudy myths

Self-Destructive Myths HVAC Contractors Tell Themselves, Pt.2

Oct. 3, 2018
'Better to be a small company' — 'Investments are too expensive' — these and other myths can destroy HVAC companies. Part 2 of 2

Why are some contractors self-made millionaire and others are not? The opportunity is the same for everyone. The difference often lies in the myths contractors tell themselves.

See Myths 1-4 HERE

Myths 5-8:

5. No One Wants to Work

It’s true that we have a shortage of skilled labor affecting the industry. Many millennials also have different attitudes about work than previous generations. Guess what? This affects every trade, but not every company.

You can still find people who are willing to work if you are open to them and look for them. Your ability to put butts in trucks constrains the growth opportunities for your business.  This is why the best contractors spend 30% of their time recruiting.

You also need to be open to new approaches, including new sources of people, offering better benefits, different benefits, and different training.  Hard workers want to work in growth oriented, progressive companies.  It’s relatives who want to work in static operations.

6. It’s Better to Be Small

A substantial number of contractors do not want to grow.  They have convinced themselves they make more money being small.  They think employees are problems they can avoid by staying small.

Smallness is seductive.  When I ran a one man show, I was pretty happy.  I could take off anytime I wanted, just not for very long.  When I wasn’t on the clock, the clock didn’t run.  I thought I was independent, but I was lying to myself.  I was a slave to the company.  I worked for it, not the other way around.

Building a business that can run without you is the most empowering action a contractor can make.  It allows the contractor to not only work on the business, but work on the things he enjoys.  Hire people to do the things you do not enjoy.

A business that can run without you is a business you can escape when you want to pursue your dream hunting trips or family vacations anywhere in the world.  You can afford the time off and you can afford the cost of the trips.

A business that can run without you is a business with a legacy.  It can survive beyond you.  It can be passed along to heirs or sold to a third party.  It is not just a source of wealth.  It is wealth.

7. Investments are Too Expensive

Many contractors balk at business related investments.  These might be the investment to bring in a consultant.  It might be the investment necessary for new software.  It might be the investment to join a business alliance, the investment necessary for a top-shelf flat rate pricing system, or even the investment to attend Service World.

The thing about investments is they generate returns. Contractors who make good investments make more money in the future.  For them, it is not the investment that’s expensive.  It’s missing out on the returns that costs.

One of the reasons contractors cite for not making an investment is the lack of time.  In truth, the lack of time is an excuse, not a reason.  The real reason is fear. 

Overcome the fear by asking what’s the worst that can happen?  Chances are good that you can handle the worst.  Then ask, what’s the best outcome if things go really well?  The future probably lies closer to the best outcome than the worst.

8. The Quality of My Work Speaks For Itself

Some contractors do not believe they need to market, wrap their trucks, or network (in-person or through social media).  The believe reputation and referrals are enough.  Hogwash.

Your work may speak for itself, but it doesn’t speak to a very wide audience.  Marketing does.  Networking does.  This is why the most successful contractors market and network.

If you tried marketing and it didn’t work, you did something wrong. You probably didn’t stick with it. Make it a cost of doing business and build that cost into your pricing.

Take the time to network or hire someone to network on your behalf if you do not enjoy it.  Many contractors hire brand ambassadors who join organizations, manage social media, and get out in the community representing the company.

The opportunities in the HVAC industry are too good to live a life of sustenance. You should live a life of prosperity. It is unlikely that the industry’s self-made millionaires are smarter than you, harder working than you, or luckier than you. It is likely that they are more brutally honest with themselves.

Stop telling yourself self-destructive myths and prosperity can be yours.

A good first step on the way to prosperity is to invest $50 a month in the Service Roundtable. Learn more at or call 877.262.3341.

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.