Aire Serv president Doyle James.

LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - There was a lot of optimism and enthusiasm in the air in snowy Lake Tahoe as Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning franchisees convened for the group’s annual meeting in late January. Aire Serv President Doyle James and Dwyer Group President Mike Bidwell had encouraging words for business owners. (The Dwyer Group is the parent company of Aire Serv).

In his welcoming speech, James gave a history lesson of where Aire Serv was 10 years ago and where it is today. “We were a small organization then and we shared our administrative team with another Dwyer company, Mr. Electric,” he said. “Today we have our own dedicated marketing team, franchise system manager, and franchise system specialists. The organization has grown and evolved to the point where now we have also added Peer Accountability Commitment Teams (PACT).”

James said the big changes are also a challenge - meaning controlling Aire Serv’s growth. But he added, “Our size makes us very attractive as national accounts for major vendors.” The franchise group added 50 locations in 2007, bringing the total to over 160 franchisees nationwide. It also has franchises in Canada and the United Kingdom. James’ goal is to become a $1 billion “comfort solutions company.” He said it is not unrealistic to accomplish that goal with 500 locations averaging $2 million in sales.

He challenged the attendees to imagine where the company will be in 10 years and asked questions such as, “How will we maximize the strengths of our growing company? How can we be flexible and innovative being the small company that we are?”

James also asked franchisees some more specific questions to consider, including:

What do you do today that your customer doesn’t know about?

What are the biggest complaints that customers have today about the HVAC trade?

What would a company de-signed by the customer look like?

What are the trends today that will shape tomorrow?

If time and money were not an issue, what could you do?
“Successful businesses should rely on being different or the opposite of what their competition is,” James said.

Dwyer Group president Mike Bidwell.


Bidwell told franchisees, “Our business is recession resistant. But we have to remain positive and make sure any recession does not impact our business.”

He said the Dwyer Group recognizes four “legs” of growth:

1.Franchise sales;

2.Same store sales (organic growth);

3.International growth (now targeting Western Europe and Australia); and

4.Acquisitions (new business opportunities available in next 2-3 years).

Bidwell gave some results of a recent Dwyer Group survey of the company’s franchisees, including Aire Serv. He reported that 48 percent of respondents felt the company’s training and support was excellent or very good. Another 63 percent of respondents felt the company’s quality of products and services was excellent or very good.

Bidwell was very proud of the response to the question about The Dwyer Group’s honesty and business ethics. Ninety percent of respondents felt both was excellent or very good.

These statistics bode well for upcoming growth and Bidwell said his company has some ambitious plans in 2008 and beyond. “We have just over 1,000 franchises in the Dwyer Group and we are budgeted for 300 more this year, including 50 Aire Serv franchises,” he said. “We expect to be a billion dollar service company by the end of 2010.”

Publication Date:02/25/2008