Bell Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning were recognized as the Replacement Company of The Year.

SAN DIEGO - Four-hundred independent HVAC contractor owners, managers, sales reps, and technicians spent four full days in sessions on business building tools and strategies at AirTime 500’s semi-annual expo. These sessions, coupled with the warm California sun in San Diego, made the expo theme aptly fit - It’s Perfect Weather for Profit.

The first three days focused on executive perspectives with sessions such as Pricing for Prosperity or Poverty, Power Phone Talk, Financial Formatting, Blue Chip Recruiting, Training Superstars, Residential Replacement Sales Principles, and Using Your Membership on a Daily Basis.

The expo continued with an entire day focused on strategies that the most successful AirTime 500 members are using to grow their companies. The day’s events kicked off with a motivational talk delivered by Terry Nicholson, president of Success Group International. Called “Dream IQ: The Mental Mindset of Achievement,” Nicholson’s presentation reminded the audience that each of them had an “untapped reservoir of talent” and that all great achievements “start with a dream.”

According to Nicholson, the dream IQ is made up of seven parts: giving yourself permission to dream, conquering fear, engaging in “yes, you can” self talk, committing to the dream, designing a plan, executing the plan, and remaining dedicated to achieving the dream.


Time was also set aside to recognize the top performing sales representatives from AirTime 500’s member companies. The organization annually recognizes salespeople that have over $1 million in sales as Crown Champions. According to Nicholson, 321 individuals have been recognized since the program began in 2002.

In 2009, 75 members achieved this status and each was recognized onstage and presented an award. Bell Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, a contractor from Elk Grove, Calif., dominated the festivities by having six of its salespeople earn Crown Champion status. Mike Mendick of Horizon Services, located in Wilmington, Del., achieved top status by selling over $3 million in replacement sales.

Two AirTime 500 contractors were also honored for outstanding sales, service, and marketing achievements in 2009, and both credited much of their success to lessons learned from their involvement in AirTime 500.

Bell Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning again took to the spotlight as Ken and Jerry Bell’s company was recognized as the Replacement Company of The Year. Bell Brothers has been an AirTime 500 member since 2005 and has grown from $3 million to $17 million in annual sales. In 2009, its replacement business grew over 70 percent. Bell Brothers implemented a totally new product delivery system based on the system of a fellow member from Delaware, and Jerry Bell claimed his labor costs have gone down significantly as a result.

The top award given by the AirTime group - Service Company of the Year and Business Professional of the Year - was given to Thompson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling of Cincinnati. Wesley Holm, president, and Lee Brooks, operations manager, were recognized for their company’s revenue growth of 60 percent in 2009.

Additionally, Thompson’s service business was up almost 30 percent. Holm informed the group that the company gradually moved to offering service seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The service crews are rotated so that everyone is on a five-day work schedule. He also shared that Sunday sales accounted for $1 million of the company sales in 2009.

Holm also credited another member for his company’s mission statement, which is “Satisfy every client guaranteed, create lasting relationships, and have fun doing it.”


One of the meeting highlights was the keynote address from Jim Abrams, founder and CEO of Clockwork Home Services, AirTime 500’s parent company. Abrams shared some of the lessons he learned in the last 12 months and explained that contractors can use them to “remain in the black regardless of what’s happening in housing and the economy.”

Abrams reassured the group the great recession of 2008 to 2010 is not unique. Many of the same economic circumstances occurred in the late ’70s and early ’80s with savings and loan failures, mortgage crises, high unemployment, and even the government bailout of a major car company (Chrysler). He pointed out the economy survived before and it will survive again, and he emphasized the importance of attitude.

“Some things you control and some things you don’t, and you need to know the difference,” Abrams said. Things that are beyond control include competitor pricing, the weather, the economy, and unemployment.

However, Abrams said, a contractor can control his attitude and he can invest his time and effort in planning and charting the company’s course for the future, which he referred to as “the GPS for your business.”

Publication date:05/31/2010