Check out my Forty Under 40 article published in the Dec. 17, 2010 edition of the Nashville Business Journal.
NBJ's "Forty Under 40" recognizes business leaders under the age of 40 who've made an impact in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee business communities. I was lucky to be able to represent Comfort Supply in 2010.
Let me know what you think of the article.
Check out my Forty Under 40 article published in the Dec. 17, 2010 edition of the Nashville Business Journal.
Hey everyone, join us this morning (Wednesday, December 22) at all Comfort Supply locations for our holiday breakfast. We have biscuits and gravy, coffee and juice, etc. The breakfast is from 7 to 10 a.m.
See you there.
UPDATED: Check out the photos from the Nashville branch's breakfast, posted on our Facebook page.
by Comfort Supply Blog
The latest iteration of rankings by U.S. News & World Reports puts HVAC technicians on the list of "The 50 Best Careers of 2011." The Dec. 6 article explains that HVAC technicians are new to the list this year "largely because of [the field's] high expected job growth."
According to the experts and economists, our industry should expect to "increase by 86,600 jobs, or 28 percent, between 2008 and 2018."
In layman's terms: Business will be booming.
Read the full article here.
Happy (early) weekend everyone!
It case you missed this great article about Total HVAC and our Green Contractor Program, check it out here. The article was published on the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS Web site in October. If you would like to get involved in the program, learn more on our Web site.
Just respond to this post if you have any questions.
Back by popular demand, our Pick-A-Trip program began November 1 and will run through April 30, 2011.
Are you a relatively small operation? This program is great for smaller contractors because even the lowest investment level earns your some fantastic trips. Spend four days aboard a Carnival or Norwegian cruise ship. Or, take your dream sports vacation, complete with two tickets to the NFL, MLB, MBA, NHL or NASCAR event of your choice.
Check out our Web site for the complete list of prize packages, and ask your Comfort Supply sales rep to explain the program's rules.
It's getting cold and dark outside, what better time to plan your summer 2011 vacation. Bahamas anyone?
The pace of business slows for HVAC contractors during the milder months of the fall, and in moderate climates like Middle Tennessee’s this can make for a couple of seemingly long months. By offering service contracts, HVAC contractor customers can keep business coming in during the slower times of the year. If a customer has set up a service contract, they can schedule routine maintenance during the slow fall months and keep their crews busy. Usually service contracts include priority treatment for customers and a discount for the homeowner when a repair needs to be done.
By offering service contracts, HVAC contractor customers can keep business coming in during the slower times of the year. If a customer has set up a service contract, they can schedule routine maintenance during the slow fall months and keep their crews busy.
Usually service contracts include priority treatment for customers and a discount for the homeowner when a repair needs to be done.The homeowner benefits from having a clean, energy efficient HVAC system, and the contractor benefits from the steady income.
The best way to sell a service contract is to be honest – tell the homeowner that preventative maintenance cuts down on repair costs and can reduce their utility bills. Mention to them the full cost of repairs for a list of HVAC replacement parts if they were not covered by a service contract when the repairs needed to be done.
It is next to impossible to find someone whose life has not been somehow impacted by cancer. The Minnie Pearl Foundation, a non-profit headquartered in Nashville, aims to educate all adults on cancer prevention and serve as a resource for education, treatment and support. The work that they do there is truly inspiring. You can find more about the foundation here: www.minniepearl.org
Please help us to support the important work that they do:
Car Wash to Benefit the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation
Saturday, October 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Hughes Supply Incorporated
1460 Ashland City Rd
100% of the proceeds from our car wash will be donated to the Minnie Pearl Foundation. Please come out and show your support in Clarksville this Saturday.
by Comfort Supply Blog
Ruud offers discounts of at least 25% on Protection Plus ESAs on systems installed during 2010. Visit https://www.protectionplusonline.com/ or call 877-276-4294 for details.
From Oct. 1 through the end of the year, contractors who buy selected Ruud systems will receive an instant rebate of up to $250. See your local Comfort Supply store for details.
by Comfort Supply Blog
More often than not, when a tech answers a service call, it will be a woman on the other side of the door. It is likely that the woman of the house will be responsible for household decisions and so you need to be prepared. Want to ensure that you’ll never hear from that customer again? Here are some tips for making women uncomfortable in their own homes.
DON’T identify yourself right away. I mean, the name of the company is on the truck, right? You’ve got a clipboard, what else do you need?
Of course handing her a business card and introducing yourself will put everyone at ease and let her know who will be in her house… but that’s not your problem, right?
DON’T be respectful. You’re the professional. She’s just a customer. She needs you way more than the other way around. Talk down to her. Let her know who’s really in charge and you’ll never have to come back there again.
Making eye contact, being polite and showing concern for the problem will only lead to repeat business and referrals. Who wants that?
DO use the hard sell. There is nothing quite like intimidation, double talk and pushing a customer to buy something that they don’t think they really need
And there’s nothing like it for killing repeat business, referrals and your professional reputation.
DO be dismissive of her input. She made the call to get you out here. Her job is done. Now step aside and let a professional tell her what the problem is.
She’s been living with this problem and her insights will make it easier to diagnose. Listening and asking questions will increase your understanding and make the fix go more quickly. But if you wanted an easy job, you wouldn’t have gotten into the HVAC business.
DON’T finish the job quickly and move on. Nothing will make her more uncomfortable than you sitting in your truck in front of her house waiting on your next service call. Hey, everyone needs a break.
Hanging around after the job is done will undermine her confidence in the work you did. Is he really done? Is there something wrong? Why is he still here? Having a stranger in your home creates stress. Having a stranger hanging out in front of your house can turn stress into anxiety.
DO burn your bridges. What do you care if you never see this person again? You’ve got your check and another service call to get to.
Cleaning up your mess, explaining to her what you did, demonstrating that the work is complete and thanking her for calling you? That’s for people looking for repeat business. You’re company is big enough already, right?
I received this message from the Heating Airconditioning Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI)
HARDI has created and launched a new website for the entire HVAC industry focused exclusively on securing an extension of the $1,500 25c residential tax credits before they expire at the end of this year. Below is the press release issued this evening about www.savehvacjobs.com . The website provides an easy-to-use tool for sending letters to your elected officials urging an extension of the tax credits, and HVAC companies are invited to show their support for extension by adding their company name or logo to the page. Soon you'll also be able to add testimonials of how the tax credits have helped your business employ or keep employed HVAC professionals. HARDI distributors are urged and encouraged to do the following as soon as possible to help lead the effort in getting these tax credits extended:
- Go to www.savehvacjobs.com and use the simple tool to send letters to your representatives
- Forward the website to your entire company so every employee is sending letters too
- Forward the website to all contractor customers encouraging them to sign on and send letters
- Forward the website to all vendors encouraging them to sign on and send letters
- Promote and link to the website on your own company websites
- Set weekly reminders to employees, customers, and vendors to send more letters
For Immediate Release:
September 9, 2010
Contact: Talbot Gee
HARDI Launches Industry-Wide, National Effort to Extend $1,500 Tax Credits
Columbus, OH- Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) launched today a new website, www.savehvacjobs.com. The new site is for the entire HVAC industry to use to promote and facilitate an nation-wide grassroots movement to extend the expiring 25c, $1,500 residential tax credits for the installation of high efficiency HVAC systems. From this new website, HVAC contractors, distributors, manufacturers, manufacturer representatives, and service providers can quickly and easily personalize a pre-drafted letter or compose their own letter to their federal legislators urging the immediate extension of these important tax credits before they expire at the end of 2010.
HVAC businesses can also send their company name or logo to firstname.lastname@example.org to show their support for 25c extension. “Our goal is to have a page with so many HVAC company names and logos on it that the page appears to scroll forever,” said HARDI’s Executive Vice President & COO, Donald Frendberg. “The idea started with Riley Sales, a distributor member outside Philadelphia, PA, who had created an online petition for their employees and contractor customers to sign and send to their representatives calling for a tax credit extension. It was such a fantastic idea that we asked if we should do something similar on a national level.”
HARDI is encouraging all of its over 400 U.S. distributor member companies to show their support on the site and more importantly to urge all of their thousands contractor customers to use the site several times a week until their representatives get these tax credits extended. “We know from many testimonials which we’ll start to post on this new website soon that many HVAC distributor jobs were in fact saved or created by the sales boost this tax credit provided,” stated HARDI Vice President, Talbot Gee. “We can only imagine the positive employment impact the tax credits have had on the tens of thousands of professional contractors out there, and of course the manufacturers of the qualifying equipment. We hope this provides the industry with a central portal for companies of all types to come together and speak as one massive and loud unified voice until we get these tax credits extended.”
HARDI has repeatedly expressed serious concerns of a regression in 2011 of the modest recovery experienced so far in 2010 if the $1,500 tax credits are not extended before they expire this December. “New units still aren’t flying off the shelf like we hoped despite the heat and the tax credits this year, but the mix of high-efficiency units being installed is keeping a lot of HVAC businesses going these days,” said Gee. “I don’t want to think about a 2011 without the benefit of these tax credits so we’re urging every HVAC business to do everything they can in the next three months to help us get these tax credits extended.”
The Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) represents more than 400 wholesale companies, more than 300 manufacturing associates and nearly 140 manufacturer representatives. HARDI members represent an estimated 85 percent of the dollar value of the HVACR products sold through distribution. # # #
by Comfort Supply Blog
Blevins Inc. and Comfort Supply recently sponsored the Blevins East Nashville Tomato 5K in support of the Tomato Arts Festival, the Margaret Maddox YWCA and Y-Cap. Blevins has called East Nashville home for nearly 40 years and we've seen this event grow from a small gathering supporting the local arts community into a major event.
We want to thank everyone who participated and look forward to seeing you all again next year.
by Comfort Supply Blog
If you’ve spent any amount of time in the HVAC industry, then you know that there is a lot of competition out there for customers. Successful companies are the ones who build solid relationships with their customers and therefore get, not only repeat business, but also referrals to neighbors and friends.
There is nothing in the world as effective at building your business than having customers recommend you to people they know. Word-of-mouth is king. But there is more to it than just asking your customers to recommend you to their friends. Here are some tips on establishing a word-of-mouth campaign.
First and foremost, you should earn that referral. That means providing stellar service: being on time for appointments, resolving issues quickly and communicating effectively with your customer.
What’s in it for me?
There is an old saying in marketing: A customer who has a good experience may tell one person, but a customer who has a bad one will tell a dozen. You can reverse that axiom by providing incentives to your customers for referrals. Maybe it’s cash, movie tickets or a discount on an upcoming service call. If you give your customers a reason to tell their friends about your business, you’ll see better results.
It’s not just words
To truly implement a word-of-mouth campaign, you’ll need a way to track referrals back to their source. For example, if your business card has a place for your customer to sign his name before passing it along to a friend, you can easily figure out whom to thank for the extra business.
No matter what incentive you use to get your customers talking about your business, you can extend that good feeling with a simple follow up. Let your referring customers know you appreciate their efforts – a phone call or a card will give them an extra push to keep the word-of-mouth going.
Comfort Supply received communication from Ruud about a technical issue involving “N” coils with “C” TEV. Ruud has received reports that some of these valves are sticking in the open position and as a result, will be replacing the defective parts in our inventory. For those who have already installed a defective TEV, Ruud has implemented a $300 labor/material allowance for replacing them within the first year. The affected TEVs are any “N-design” indoor R-410A coil with the letter C as the 12th character in the part number. Example: RCFL-HM4824CC.
We at Comfort Supply apologize for any problems associated with this quality issue and would like to offer these special promotions for our customers to thank you for your continued loyalty.
Also, Comfort Supply will host a free Samsung product training class, 8-11 a.m., August 25th at the Lane Motor Museum, 702 Murfreesboro Pike, in Nashville. Please call Crissy at 244-0920 to reserve your spot.
I wanted to let everyone know about another financing option available for contractors. It’s called the Wells Fargo Home Projects Visa Program. Here is what it takes to qualify:
Your company must:
- Have $1 million in sales.
- Have been in business for at least two years.
- Have experience selling financing solutions.
- Agree to send $100,000 in business to Wells Fargo in the first year.
You can get details by calling 1 (800) 694-0259 and speaking to a representative.
The Nashville Business Journal published a story announcing that Metro has issued 2,100 permits for the rebuilding of homes damaged in the recent flooding. This means more business for contractors, which is great.
However, contractors looking to pick up some new business, should take care not to get overexposed financially.
Take steps to protect yourself and your business when dealing with flood recovery.
HVAC contractors are seeing an up tick in business as homeowners look to repair or replace flood-damaged HVAC units. However, contractors should take special care not to get overexposed financially during this phase of recovery.
We’ve heard from contractors who installed a new HVAC system on the promise of an insurance settlement that never appeared, or they started an installation on a house only to find out it was going to be razed. These are just a couple of examples of how HVAC contractors may not get paid when dealing with flood recovery situations.
Contractors should work on a “payment-on-delivery” basis for the immediate future in order to protect themselves from fraud or misinformation.
Everyone is scrambling to take care of more business during the recovery. As a result, contactors may compromise with a homeowner on payment terms in order to get the job, but it is also easy to get stuck with a bill if there is something wrong with the insurance settlement. Unless you personally know and trust who you are dealing with, your best bet is payment up front.
We also recommend checking with the local code inspectors to see if homes in the area are scheduled for demolition or if the homeowner has had an inspection of the property.
Occasionally a homeowner may find out that it will cost too much to bring an older property up to code or that the damage is too extensive to rebuild. You don’t want to be in the middle of installing a new unit on a house that’s going to be razed in a few weeks.
WKRN, the local ABC affiliate, ran a segment last night on the importance of replacing flood-damaged HVAC units. The reporter interviewed Comfort Supply customer Eloy Saban of Temp Control LLC.
Check it out.
Last week we held open houses at all four Comfort Supply locations. It was good to see everyone and we plan on continuing this tradition. The week of open houses culminated in a mini trade show at our Nashville home office. We invited our customers to come have lunch and meet with reps from our vendors and suppliers.
Below are photos from the event.
Charles Lampley, Air Comfort; Wayne Dube, Comfort Supply; David Blunkall, Air Comfort
Susan and Terry Lackey, Terry’s HVAC Services; Clay Blevins, Comfort Supply
John Mastin, Inman Sales & Marketing; Billy Jobe, Comfort Supply;
Ed Burkhart, Mueller Industries
Brett Merrick, Coleman Russell; Jim Lestorick, Greyflex; Ogden Ratliff, Comfort Supply
As Middle Tennessee experiences the highest floodwater in recent memory, washed out homeowners have a lot to deal with. The approaching summer will mean a very hot recovery and unfortunately, a flooded basement usually means a flooded HVAC unit.
If a unit was submerged, it is likely destroyed. The electric components will have been ruined, so it will have to be replaced. Homeowners should take some precautions before leaving the property, such as turning off power and gas to the unit.
Once the floodwaters recede, an HVAC technician will need to inspect the unit to confirm the damage so the insurance company can make a final determination..
Currently, the federal government is offering a $1500.00 rebate to homeowners who replace their HVAC units with high efficiency systems. This program was recently extended through December of 2010.
Between a homeowner's insurance settlement, the federal rebate and consumer promotions such as the Ruud Consumer Rebate program, this is an opportune time to be replacing an HVAC unit. Also, you'll need a service technician to inspect ductwork as well. If the unit has been submerged, you most likely will have water and muck in the ducts which will have to be cleaned or replaced
RUUD'S OFFICIAL FLOOD PUBLIC STATEMENT FLOOD DAMAGED HVAC EQUIPMENT
(INDOOR or OUTDOOR)
Ruud Air Conditioning Division is cautioning residents of the areas impacted by recent flooding to promptly call a trained, professional contractor to inspect all heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment before resuming operation.
Flooding or partial to full submersion of HVAC equipment can damage safety features within the unit and the controls. Consumers, whose units may have been subjected to flooding , are advised to immediately contact a trained professional service contractor to assess the equipment. The Ruud Air Conditioning Division recommends that any HVAC equipment subjected to flooding be replaced and scrapped to avoid any risk of injury or harm.
PLEASE NOTE: IMMERSION BY FLOOD WATER COMPROMISES THE OPERATIONAL COMPONENTS OF HVAC PRODUCTS AND WILL VOID WARRANTY ON SUCH PRODUCTS.
Comfort Supply looks forward to partnering with our contractors to repair Middle Tennessee. As your business helps restore our area, Comfort Supply will be here for your expanding needs. This horrific flood invaded during a stressful economic period. Homeowners now suffer the added expenses of major renovations. During this challenging time, Comfort Supply suggests collecting payment at the time you provide the service. Doing this obviously protects you. It also prevents the homeowner from acquiring debt and encourages them to prioritize the most important repairs. We wish you the best and thank you for working to rebuild our community.
We just got word about a summer promotion from Kwik Comfort Financing and GE Money. Fund a sale between May 1 and June 30 using financed over six months with deferred interest and the dealer fee will be reduced from 5 to 2.75 percent.
You can call Merchant Service at 800-330-5189 for details.
This week Supply House Times posted a story about Comfort Supply's new Green Contractor recognition program. We've started a program where contractors can earn points for earth-friendly practices both on the job site and in their shops. Those who are certified will receive a decal for their trucks, patches for their uniforms and will be listed on our website, blog and Facebook page.
We have a lot of great promotions coming up at Comfort Supply . . .
First, Comfort Supply has issued its first catalog. You can download a PDF of it here. It contains selected products from our full line and should make it easier for our customers to find the parts they need. We’re sending them out to our customers now, so look for them in the mail soon.
Second, The Ruud Consumer Rebate will run between now and Nov. 15. Purchase any Ruud qualifying equipment and receive a cash rebate of up to $1,000. Contact your salesman for details.
Third, between now and the end of May (while supplies last), if you buy three Black Max Coil cleaners, you’ll get a fourth free.
Fourth, beginning in May, we’ll be running a Samsung Mini Split promotion. For every qualifying Samsung Mini Split you buy from our stock between May 1 and July 31, you will receive your choice of a $50 gift card from either Wal-Mart or Bass Pro Shops. Ask your salesman for details.
In other industry news, I recently saw where HVACBusiness Magazine has started a new service for HVAC contractors called SocialTract.com. This is a social networking content service. That means if you join, Social Tract will set up a personalized blog and accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They blog for you and use the other sites to drive readers to the blog. It’s a little pricy at $500 a month, but to learn more click here.
Comfort Supply is opening a fourth location in Clarksville. The new warehouse/showroom at 1460 New Ashland City Road will be open for business on April 12. This will be our fourth location: Nashville, Murfreesboro, Cookeville and Clarksville.
The 8,000-square-foot Clarksville location will offer everything that residential and commercial contractors need to install and service HVAC equipment. We will host an open house for contractors at the new location on Wednesday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Clarksville is a particularly good location for Comfort Supply because the residential construction industry has fared much better here than in most other Tennessee cities during the economic downturn,” said Jimmy Shelton, sales consultant for the new store. “We see a great potential for growth in this market.”
In November of last year, CNNMoney.com ranked Clarksville fourth in the nation in terms of mid-sized cities in which to start up a new business. The article cited an influx of manufacturing jobs, including the new Hemlock Semiconductor plant, which is expected to employ up to 800 people.
We have been wanting to expand to Clarksville for a some time now, and we look forward to working with the contractors in the community and being a part of this great city.
Like Clarksville, Comfort Supply has grown at a rapid rate in recent years, expanding from one location to four within fours years. We opened the Murfreesboro store in 2006 and the Cookeville location in 2008. The company’s revenue has grown at an annual rate of approximately 15 percent for the past four years.
We are grateful to have experienced success during these challenging times. People will choose to do business with you, we believe, if you provide great service and an outstanding product at a fair price. This is what we have built our business on, and we look forward to bringing the same customer-focused approach to our Clarksville store.
As you know, buying a new HVAC system is a major decision for any homeowner. Ensuring that you have a qualified professional contractor can help alleviate any misgivings when it comes to closing the deal.
The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program is a non-profit organization that certifies the only testing that is accepted by the entire HVAC industry. Having your NATE certification means something not just to you, but your customers.
Comfort Supply can help you and your crew get NATE certified. You can take your tests at our Nashville location by calling Crissy Bond at (615) 244-0920 to schedule your NATE certification or recertification testing.
We can test on every certification NATE offers. You can download free training materials from their web site (www.natex.org). An NATE certification means peace of mind for your customers and demonstrates that you are a professional, educated and qualified technician.
Comfort Supply has teamed up with Standex, maker of air distribution products, to give valuable prizes to our customers, based on the increase in sales of Standex products between March and June.
We have three levels of prizes to give away based on sales volume increase over 2009 purchases of Standex products.
- Increase sales by $2,000 and receive a digital camera.
- Increase sales by $3,000 and get a Blu-Ray DVD player.
- Increase sales by $4,000 and win a GPS system
You can contact your Comfort Supply sales consultant to find out your sales target and good luck.
by Comfort Supply Blog
by Comfort Supply Blog
by Comfort Supply Blog