There are few traditions quite like creating a New Year’s resolution. Losing weight, eating better, spending more time with family — the ideas are endless. Statistics show that around 45 percent of Americans come up with some form of goal prior to the next calendar year.
The results of these resolutions aren’t always quite as encouraging as the potential. Only around 8 percent of New Year’s resolutions actually last permanently, and 64 percent of resolutions are broken in less than a month. Approximately 46 percent survive at least six months.
However, HVAC contractors have clear plans for 2017, and their realistic resolutions look to defy the odds. Across the country, contractors have crafted strong targets and goals to achieve in the coming year.
Technician training, servicing ability, and job happiness are all areas contractors are almost universally looking to improve.
Put quite simply, Gregg D’Attile, CEO and owner of Art Plumbing AC & Electric in Coral Springs, Florida, said his company’s HVAC resolution is to focus on training its HVAC service technicians, installers, and sales teams to be highly skilled and efficient, both technically and in regards to customer service.
For Travis Smith, president of Sky Heating & Air Conditioning in Portland, Oregon, one important resolution is to have parity amongst all installers and service technicians, creating a defined plan on how to move up with pay ranges for each level of installer/technician. “This will allow employees to progress at their own pace and decide how fast they want to grow within the company. It will also ensure that all techs are paid fairly amongst their peers,” said Smith.
Technician-related resolutions extend beyond those already on the payroll as contractors have frequently cited the need to bring young, eager, qualified technicians into the industry. The numbers here are well known, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimating that the number of HVACR mechanic and installer jobs will increase by 21 percent through 2022, which equates to nearly twice the growth of overall employment, per the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation.
Accordingly, the Social Security Administration estimates 22 percent of the U.S. workforce will retire during this time, and it is estimated that 115,000 new HVACR workers must be trained by 2022 to meet the anticipated demand, making resolutions like the one proposed by Hank Bloom, owner, Environmental Conditioning Systems, Mentor, Ohio, all the more essential.
“My resolution is to try and figure out a way to find younger technicians and installers for the HVAC industry,” said Bloom. “We need to make it sexier to drum up interest in our field.”
Outside of technician betterment, contractors have a never-ending goal to improve profit-margins and show year-to-year growth, and many are particularly optimistic about their 2017 outlooks.
“I think a New Year’s resolution would be the same as a 2017 goal, so, in my opinion, they are both one in the same,” said Smith. “We want to increase service labor efficiency as this will help keep our prices low and profits high. We see this as a win-win-win. It’s a win for our customers because a lower labor efficiency ultimately costs them more, so this helps keep their prices down; it’s a win for our employees because they have better drive schedules and less headaches when we keep them properly stocked and take care of the paperwork for them as technicians hate paperwork; and it’s a win for Sky Heating because we can bill more in the same eight-hour day than the year prior. We also want to create a brag book that shows customers why others have chosen Sky Heating over our competitors, so getting this done is a resolution.”
At Fire & Ice Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, owner Scott Merritt has a New Year’s resolution to find new ways to sell his company to potential recruits.
Robert Wilkos, business leader, Roussos Air Conditioning, Lynn Haven, Florida, has lofty goals for 2017. “Now that we’ve moved into our new facility, 2017’s focus will be to continue to grow our customer base and earn double-digit net profits,” he said.
As estimated in a report from RnR Market Research, the overall U.S. HVAC market is looking at 5 percent growth in 2017, which is slightly slower than the 11 percent growth that was estimated in 2016.
“The U.S. economy continues to expand amid a weak global economy, and, despite risks to the construction industry, nonresidential spending should expand 3.5 percent in 2017,” said Anirban Basu, chief economist, Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. “For more than two years, the Federal Reserve has been able to focus heavily on stimulating economic growth and moving the nation toward full employment. However, as commodity prices, including energy prices, firm up and labor costs march higher, the Federal Reserve will need to be more concerned about rising inflation expectations going forward. Associated increases in interest rates could have significantly negative impacts on certain asset prices, including stocks, bonds, commercial real estate, and apartment buildings.”
Company-wide initiatives are not the only goals contractors are putting in place for the New Year. In fact, finding ways for personal growth and improvement are at the top of the list for many business leaders.
“I resolve to make fewer mistakes and screw-ups and to spend more time on the job as mayor of the HVACR/plumbing ‘Go Serve’ ecosystem,” said Jerry Grendahl, CEO of Grendahl Mechanical Inc. in Minneapolis.
Michael Rosenberg, president of Rosenberg Indoor Comfort in San Antonio, said his resolution is to keep a positive attitude all the time, even when things seem tough.
Steve Moon, owner of Moon Air Inc. in Elkton, Maryland, has a unique resolution for 2017, with plans to get in touch with his “inner wolf.”
“I will be fast, capturing every opportunity,” he said. “I’ll be brave, not afraid of change or success; I’ll be wise, setting goals and having risk/rewards in place; and I’ll be sure, tracking and monitoring my progress all the way.”
Publication date: 1/16/2017