David Richardson/NCI
Interior Hvac Diagram
David Richardson/NCI
If you know what to look for, a visual inspection provides clues to unsafe operation. It's never good for one package unit to exhaust into the economizer of an adjacent unit.
National Comfort Institute
Before you jump on the heat pump bashing bandwagon, look at your duct installation practices first.
Contracting Business/Kelly L Faloon
Ahr2023 Succession

Attributes of Quality HVAC Companies

May 15, 2020
Basically, you will find that the best HVACR companies are rarely in 'rest' mode.

They retain employees
I believe that employees are more valuable than customers. Any single service technician or salesperson will bring you infinitely more income than any single customer, and the longer they stay with you, the more valuable they become.

It costs a good $100,000 to recruit a new employee, so the longer you hang onto your good employees, the more money you save and the better the company runs.

When I visit a company, people judge me, which they should. What they don't know is that I'm judging them as well. I can tell just about everything I need to know about a company by whether or not it can retain employees. If every time I visit a company there's a whole new group of technicians, I stop come back. 

They're constantly recruiting
My old boss said that 60% of a contractor's time and efforts should be on recruiting. I know for a fact that the recruited constantly. He didn't wait until the busy season to start recruiting.

He never stated this, but it was obvious that his philosophy was to overstaff. Made sense to me. Not everyone is going to last, and the new recruit may be a superior hire to the people you already have on staff anyway.

Much of his recruiting was from outside of the industry. If someone who performed a service impressed him, he offered them a job. 

The company runs itself
Most of the contractors I know spend nearly all of their time working in the company. Despite the fact that recruiting is arguably the most important job a contractor can have, it's usually regarded as a necessary evil, a hassle, and a hurried process that they barely have time for.

The owner of the company I worked for could spend so much time recruiting because the company ran by itself. In fact, he once made the statement that the company seemed to run better when he wasn't there. 

The reason the company ran by itself was because he hired the right people. He didn't micromanage. He didn't even want his management team micromanaging. He gave everyone ownership of their responsibilities and left it up to them to get it done. Frankly, when I worked for him, I kind of felt like I owned the company because no one bossed me around and I was allowed to do whatever I felt was the most responsible, most productive thing I could be doing.

They get positive reviews
Yes, positive reviews are important for sales, but they're equally as important for recruiting.

Attracting good technicians is at least as important as attracting customers, if not more so. Quality people will only work for a quality company, and want quality co-workers.

I did all of the recruiting for a local friend as he built his company. 100% of my recruiting was through craigslist. Contractors always ask for the text of the ad I placed, as if the wording of the ad that makes all the difference. You can tell they're hoping I have some magical text that attracts myriads of quality techs to their doorstep. They usually don't like my answer. I tell them that my ads were very simple, that I had no standard text, and that it was different every time. I found that they wording of the ad made no difference in the number of respondents. 

My old boss said 60% of a contractor's time and efforts should be on recruiting. I know for a fact that he recruited constantly. He didn't wait until the busy season to start.

What did make a difference was in the number and quality of positive online reviews we got. Here's the thing, if someone is responding to your online job classified ad, the one thing you know about them is that they're online. If you were thinking about applying for a job at an HVAC service company, and you were already online, don't you think it would be a good idea to check their online reviews before you even applied there? 

The company I'm talking about opened in the early days of online reviews, before the company owner realized the weight they'd carry. He actually responded online rudely to a few reviewers he felt were being unfair. 

Like most HVAC service and replacement companies, we were having difficulty recruiting. Some of the potential recruits mentioned our negative reviews. As a company, we started focusing on generating positive reviews, and responding positively to negative comments. That had an almost overnight effect on my ability to recruit quality people. 

Eventually, I reached the point where we were only hiring one in twenty applicants in a market area of 1.3M people.

They're a member of a peer group
There is hardly a better thing to do than to join a group of about a dozen contractors, that are similar to yours, that are in different market areas. You'll get so many good ideas and good advice from these groups that you'll hardly be able to stand yourself. 

They're members of at least one trade organization
Don't live in isolation. Don't try to come up with all the ways to run a successful business by yourself. The more people you meet in the business, the more you're going to learn about how to operate a successful business, and the people who join and participate in these trade organizations tend to be the go-getters that are going somewhere with their companies. That's also where you're going to meet the people who'll be in your peer group. You definitely want to attend their annual or semi-annual get-togethers.

They're active in the community
For instance, coach, or at least sponsor, children's sports teams. Bring cold bottled water to the practices and attend the games. Become a booster. Get to know the parents. You get a couple of systems per year out of it and it's paid for itself.

Donate a furnace to a poor or elderly person once in a while and, even though it's been said that if you don't do charity in silence, the charity is you, let the local press know about it. 

Charlie Greer was recently voted "Industry Favorite Sales Trainer," was named the "HVAC Consultant-of-the-Year" twice, and has been inducted into the "HVAC Hall of Fame." For information on Charlie's sales training, call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822), or visit him on the web at www.hvacprofitboosters.com. Email you comments on this column or your questions on salesmanship to [email protected]

About the Author

Charlie Greer | Owner

Charlie Greer was voted “Favorite Industry Sales Trainer” in 2019 and is the creator of “Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD,” the video training course that provides you with a year’s worth of weekly sales meetings. For more information on Charlie’s products and services, go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). Email your comments or sales questions to [email protected].