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Play ball! The infield dust has settled. The News has selected 18 major league residential contracting companies, nine each from the new construction and replacement/add-on camps.
As the nominations and the financial figures started to roll in to News headquarters this summer, one thing immediately became clear: The respective 2004 teams were not going to be exact duplicates of last year's first-ever 2003 News All-Stars.
The companies are ranked according to their 2003 total sales volume, but there were other qualification requirements, including:
The editorial team surveyed and contacted hundreds of candidates, plus asked for possible nominees via fax, phone, and from our Web site (www.achrnews.com).
As a result, what we have here is a true major league lineup. (For the complete listing of The News' respective All-Star New Construction and Replacement/Add-On teams, click on the link at the top of this story for a PDF of the scorecard charts).
New Construction LeaderFor the second straight year, Chas Roberts Air Conditioning Co., Phoenix, is the lead hitter in The News' Residential New Construction All-Stars. President and CEO Sissie Roberts Shank reported total residential sales of $130 million in 2002, with $123.5 million of that recorded via residential new construction.
In 2003, Chas Roberts' annual sales grew to $144 million, with 93.5 percent of that total derived from residential new construction.
"We are proud to be a family owned business ... we operate on a simple premise: provide quality products at fair prices," said Shank.
Taking the No. 2 spot in the batting order is newcomer Beutler Corp., Sacramento, Calif. While Beutler may be a newcomer to The News' All-Star cast, it is no stranger to Northern California homebuilders. The company operates four facilities in the area, and employs more than 1,000 workers.
For the record, Beutler reported a total income of $137 million in 2003, with over $128 million coming in residential sales. From there, it breaks down to $117,189,800 in residential new construction for 2003. (For more on Beutler, see the story "Beutler Thrives In New Construction Market" in this issue.)
Tempo Mechanical, Irving, Texas, remains No. 3 on the 2004 new construction scorecard. Last year was a very good season for President and CEO Steve Saunders. Tempo Mechanical recorded over $20 million in total sales, with over $15 million in residential new construction. Both figures are up from 2002's $16 million-plus in overall sales and nearly $14 million in new construction.
As it states on the company's Web site (www.tempair.com), Tempo Mechanical promises homeowners that its employees will "arrive when promised, complete in one trip, be available during emergencies," and "provide fair pricing."
Meanwhile, Saunders' team promises builders that it will complete every job "on time, every time." The company also promises "swift problem resolution" and "competitive pricing."
Going around the horn, the company offers suppliers "long-term relationships, timely payment," and "win-win solutions." And, finally, it offers partners, employees, and owners "outstanding career opportunities, security (financial and professional)," and "personal and professional growth."
In the cleanup position on this year's News All-Star team - and moving up eight spots from last year's new construction batting order - is North Texas Airco Inc., Lewisville, Texas.
The contracting company, headed by Dennis Bond, ranked No. 12 in the first-ever News All-Star team. Thanks to a power-hitting 2003, in which the company earned $13.45 million in total sales (with nearly $13 million in residential new construction), North Texas Airco made the biggest leap in The News' standings from 2003 to this year.
That's not bad for a company that has only been in business since 2001.
With a good reputation and partnerships with builders like Centex, Ryland, and Landstar Homes, Bond said his company is committed to keeping customers happy and maintaining the relationships "that have helped make North Texas Airco one of the premier residential companies in north Texas."
Rounding out the new construction batting order is:
Replacement/Add-OnMore than half of The News' 2004 Residential Replacement/Add-On All-Stars made the "big leagues" for the second straight season. Familiar faces from last year include the one-two punch of American Home Maintenance, Tempe, Ariz., and Cropp-Metcalfe, Fairfax, Va. While the two placed second and third overall in 2003, the two rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for 2004.
It was a very good 2003 for American Home Maintenance owners Jordy Tessler, president, and Ron Shuman, vice president. The company earned $20.6 million in total residential sales, breaking that down into $17.5 million in replacement/add-on.
Shuman proved to be correct when he told The News last year at this time that the company, which started in 1993 in Mesa, Ariz., was "on pace for 50-percent growth - over $20 million - in 2003."
Meanwhile, Mitchell Cropp, president of Cropp-Metcalfe, could not complain about his team's growth over a 12-month span. In 2002, his team's total-earned income was $14 million. Last year, it jumped to over $19 million, with nearly $17 million attributed to replacement/add-on work.
In Cropp's estimation, if you show a customer the true value of your service, they will stay loyal to you forever.
"We have always striven to find ways to give the customer as much value as possible," said Cropp.
In fact, the company recently established a special voice box - which Cropp refers to as "The President's Line" - where customers can leave comments and suggestions. Cropp said he promises to respond "to every call personally."
"Our future growth and service to [customers], depends upon us meeting [their] needs," said Cropp. "We welcome comments and suggestions. ... At Cropp-Metcalfe, â€˜Customers for Life' is not only our goal, it's our promise."
No. 4 Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., Rochester, N.Y., and No. 3 United Air Temp (UAT), Lorton, Va., earned the next two slots in the replacement/add-on order. Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning recorded over $15 million in residential sales this past year, of which nearly $10 million is attributed to replacement/add-on.
Meanwhile, UAT did a shade better, finishing with nearly $18 million in overall sales in 2003, of which 61 percent can be attributed to replacement/add-on projects.
"Our company was built on and continues to provide high quality service, products, and complete customer satisfaction since 1931," said Air Temp president Gabe Ivanescu.
"We now have tens of thousands of systems under contract. More than 80 percent of our residential contract customers renew every year. Each year thousands of new customers looking for the best service available choose United Air Temp. Our technicians stay up-to-date by completing 40 or more hours of UAT Academy and factory training annually." (For more information regarding United Air Temp, see the story "It's Another Stop To Lorton, Va." in this issue.)
Placing fifth in the voting is Coolray Heating and Air Conditioning of Marietta, Ga. President Ken Haines is all smiles, too, knowing his team beat 2002's overall sales totals by $1 million in 2003. Breaking that down, that means replacement/add-on numbers were nearly $650,000 over 2002's $8.4 million mark.
As president of Coolray, Haines said he is focused on creating a "customer-centered" culture that takes advantage of the company's long heritage of serving families in the greater Atlanta area.
He said he is committed to 100-percent customer satisfaction, while expanding the reach, products and services offered by Coolray "to meet the increasing consumer demand for quality heating, cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality products."
Since his affiliation with Coolray beginning in 1998, Haines has been active in all aspects of developing a professional service organization by building a team of,
what he believes to be, "top-notch professionals" and implementing "best practices" and rigorous customer service training to back up the company's "100-percent guarantees."
Meanwhile, Brothers Air and Heat Inc., Rock Hill, S.C., made the biggest leap from 2003 to 2004. While the active company placed 13th in The News' 2003 rankings, owners Roger and Donald Costner's team finished sixth this season.
Brothers followed the footsteps of its fellow All-Stars by improving its total sales figures - from recording nearly $6 million in total sales in 2002 to pushing past the $6 million mark in 2003.
The Costner brothers placed their "simple policy and philosophy" on the company's Web site: "We take care of our customers."
In other words, if a customer has a problem, Brothers wants that homeowner to call, as "we will work with you to solve it as quickly and fairly as possible."
Newcomers round out the replacement/add-on dream team. They are:
Sidebar: 2005 All StarsCan your company crack next year's lineup? The News will publish its listing of the 2005 Residential All Stars in the Sept. 12, 2005 issue. If you would like The News to consider your company for inclusion in next year's issue, please contact Editor-in-Chief Mark Skaer at 248-244-6446 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication date: 08/30/2004