GALVESTON, TX — Arguing that the hvacr contracting industry should not allow itself to be defined by its lowest common denominator, the chief elected officer of a nationally recognized contracting association challenged the industry to “Stand up to the unscrupulous contractors who would rather steal a quick buck than build a business relationship.”
In candid remarks before the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association (TACCA) Annual Conference, Larry Taylor, 2001-02 national president of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), issued a three-pronged challenge to America’s hvacr contractors, urging them to remember that small businesses are the foundation of the nation’s freedom.
“We still believe in the American dream because we see it come true every day,” Taylor said. “The notion that one person can one day open a business and grow it, prosper in it, just because he or she wants to and is determined to see it succeed — that is a notion foreign to the terrorists and many other countries of the world.
“It is the notion that makes America what it is today. It is the notion that will make America what it is in the future.”
Contractors must “reverse the process” in which they find their industry losing credibility with the buying public, Taylor said.
“There are some contractors out there who do not deserve to be in business,” he said. “They lie to their customers. They inflate their prices. They provide unnecessary services and claim to have provided some services that they have not.
“I am not surprising any of you with this admission,” Taylor said. “It is also true that these contractors are the minority. That is no surprise to you, either. However, like any industry, we are all judged based on the actions of the lowest common denominator among us.”
To counter the potential loss of credibility, contractors should embrace a solution that “has been right in front of us for a long time,” Taylor said.
“Some people complain about the quality of training, or its accessibility. They have valid concerns. But the answer is not to throw up our hands and wait for good, accessible training to come along. We must take charge of it and create programs that meet our needs.”
Taylor continued, “We must embrace NATE certification. It is not enough to certify one of your technicians. If we are to convince the homeowners and facility managers of America that our technicians are professionals, then we have to prove it. Show that they are [certified] professionals who meet the quality standards of the industry nationwide.”
Finally, Taylor urged reputable contractors nationwide to “Embrace ACCA membership. I mean ‘one ACCA’ — the ACCA that exists in local chapters, state chapters, and the national organization.
“My business is better today because of what I have learned from other members nationwide,” he said. “I serve my customers better today because of what I have learned from ACCA. And I make more money today because of my membership.
“While we must provide training for our technicians, we must also get training ourselves — not only through formalized education but, sometimes more valuably, from the informal mentoring and knowledge sharing of ACCA.”
According to Taylor, if all reputable contractors embraced these initiatives and acted on them, “then we would go a long way toward restoring our credibility,” he said.
“It is incumbent on those of us who believe in this industry, and who take seriously our responsibilities to the public and to our customers, to ... force the lowest common denominator to either rise up to our standards of service, or drive them out of business.”
Taylor concluded, “Just like this great country, when we stand up together, united, there is nothing we can’t do. There is too much talent, too much wisdom, too much determination in the hvacr contracting industry, to allow room for failure. All we have to do is act.”
Publication date: 11/05/2001