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COMPANY NAME, CITY, STATE: 1800Anytyme Plumbing, Heating, A/C and Electrical, Vista, Calif.
HOW LONG IN BUSINESS: 10 years
BIGGEST CHANGE TO THE BUSINESS: “The Internet has turned the direction of our marketing efforts upside down,” said Montano. “Five years ago, we began to concentrate on getting leads from the Internet using Internet marketing strategies SEO and PPC, and more recently social networking and online reputation management.”
In addition, for the past year a toll-free number (1-800anytyme) has been augmenting the other marketing strategies. “For years we used to depend almost 100 percent on Yellow Pages to deliver our message in its simplest form to potential customers.” These contracts can get expensive, he said, “but in the past year it also has become cost ineffective to market our company this way. As the technologies were changing, so were the customers, the way they searched for solutions to their problems, how they evaluated the businesses they chose, and the comparisons that they drew between the businesses.
“We developed a thorough Internet marketing program to assist the sales. We learned about all of the vital components of today’s Internet marketing world.” Since the program’s implementation, the contractor determined that it now gets 60 percent of its customers through online marketing.
KEY MARKETS: Home plumbing, HVAC, and electrical services in San Diego County, Riverside County, and South Orange County.
ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS: Member of Nexstar® Network
HOW DO THESE AFFILIATIONS HELP YOU: “Perhaps the most-important facet has been the ability to network and learn from other companies in our industry, both the success stories and the painful mistakes,” Montano said.
BIGGEST CURRENT HURDLE TO OVERCOME: That hurdle is customers’ tendencies to turn to uninsured, unlicensed service providers who may literally work out of their garages. Other hurdles, which most contractors will be familiar with, are keeping busy during the slow season, and dealing with undercutting competitors.
COMPANY STATISTICS (number of employees in field, service, installation, office; number of trucks):
Employees in the field:16
Employees in service: 12
Employees in installation: 4
Employees in the office: 8
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE INDUSTRY: Montano said his favorite thing is “working with good, honest, fun-loving people.” Moreover, “Operating an HVAC business gives me an opportunity to become a very well-rounded entrepreneur. The challenges we face daily force us to learn on our feet about completely diverse issues, which ultimately add to our value as managers.”
SUMMING IT UP: “Undoubtedly, the past year has been challenging in many respects. But we believe those challenges have forced many companies to think and perform creatively, come up with extraordinary solutions to survive and grow in this extraordinary business environment.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity to share our experiences and lessons with other businesses in our industry, and learn from the issues they faced and the solutions they found.”
- by B. Checket-Hanks
Publication date: 09/27/2010