Imagine a workplace environment where everyone absolutely loves coming to work every day? Such is the case at Classic Air’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning in Virginia Beach, Virginia. With a motivational work environment, positive reinforcement from superiors, and an overall feeling of “family,” employees come to work a job, but end up developing a career.
“One Hour changes peoples’ lives,” said Jay Jordan, field supervisor. “You can come here with nothing and go from living with your parents to buying a home and getting your first car.”
Owner Todd Kletz started the business 38 years ago knowing nothing about the HVAC industry but has since morphed it into a successful, well-oiled machine that motivates employees to stick around for the long haul.
Classic Air’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, The NEWS’ 2016 Best Contractor to Work For in the East, salutes its staff for its ongoing success.
Tale of the Tape: Classic Air's One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning
LOCATIONS: Virginia Beach, Virginia
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 37
BULK OF MARKET: Residential
TOTAL SALES FOR 2016: $14.5 Million
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 70-plus
TOTAL SERVICE TECHNICIANS AND INSTALLERS: 45
AVERAGE HOURS EMPLOYEES SPEND IN TRAINING: 130
BENEFITS BEYOND MEDICAL/DENTAL INSURANCE: Life Insurance, disability insurance (short and long term), workers’ compensation, 401K (with company match), paid vacation, holiday pay, paid birthday and work anniversary days, education allowance, and various contest prizes.
INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION & CONTRACTOR GROUP MEMBERS: ACCA and Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC).
THE NEWS SELECTED THIS CONTRACTOR BECAUSE: The company is dedicated to improving the HVAC industry as a whole and is committed to setting the standard in Hampton Roads for professional, on-time service. For 37 years, the company has capitalized on the power of a 60-minute repair or a brief client phone call behind a kind, caring, and respectable leader.
Employees at One Hour feel cherished due to management’s ability to help them evolve personally and professionally under the tutelage of Kletz. There are ongoing trainings available for all staff members, constant contests for contractors to stimulate growth, and daily staff meetings to keep everyone on par with their goals.
For Kletz, employee progression is an integral part of owning and operating a successful business.
“In order to retain people, you have to create growth opportunities for them. The best way to do that is to grow your business. In a stagnant business, there is no room for employee growth. By growing, you enable people to use their skill sets in different ways. If you encourage them to find something they are good at, they eventually move into leadership positions to train others,” said Kletz.
Alisha Lawrence, client care manager, recalled one situation where Kletz creatively turned a negative occurrence into a win-win situation.
“My husband got transferred from Virginia Beach to Ohio, and I was in tears and so sad to leave,” Lawrence said. “it’s a rare thing to find a job you enjoy — one that makes you excited about your future. When I told Todd, he said, ‘Let’s look at this; maybe you can work remotely.’ Now, I work from home and come into the office for one week out of every month. He went above and beyond for me to be a productive member of the team, even though the position didn’t fit the company mold.”
With a family-like mentality in mind, Kletz doesn’t view workers as employees, but rather as coworkers; everyone works together to continue to cultivate the business into a success. To encourage and stimulate development, ongoing trainings and contests are always occurring, and staff members are rewarded for their hard work.
“We consistently have contests going,” Lawrence said. “For example, in the summer months, when we’re challenged by a high volume of calls, Todd’s way of saying thank you to those who didn’t take time off was by giving them a 55-inch flat-screen television. Right now, we have a contest going that recognizes outstanding behavior on a service call. Selected techs get the opportunity to draw from a bin of $100 bills and $50 gift cards. It isn’t just one thing; it’s constant. Todd’s always reinventing ways to make people happy. You never feel like a tool. He takes your results very personally, and you can feel that as a member of this team.”
“Every summer, I can earn a free week of vacation time by working hard during our busiest season,” said Jordan.
Their employees certainly appreciate Kletz giving back to them, and, as a result, end up feeling not only rewarded but honored to work for him.
And, Kletz charitable efforts are not limited to his employees. He is very involved in his community and prefers to support smaller, under-the-radar charities. A few years ago, he created onehourcares.com, where people can vote which charity One Hour should support.
“Various groups nominate themselves, and, at the end of the month, we choose three groups. Then, we put the word out that the more ‘likes’ they have on Facebook, the better their chances are of winning. It’s then a lotto-type drawing, and we donate $5,000 to the winner. Since 2012, we’ve given $61,000 back to the community’s smaller charitable groups. But, it’s not only money that we given, we do advertising extensively, so we’re getting them on the radio, in the newspapers, and in other publications. We visit these groups over the course of the month and try to get involved, and our team members enjoy it, and they support the charities,” he said.
It’s the way that Kletz truly cares about his customers and his employees that makes him an exceptional boss and leader. His employees love his passion for customer service and respect that he doesn’t look at people and see dollar signs; rather, he sees people in need of help.
“We put people before profit,” said Jordan. “It’s because of Todd’s attitude about our performance that I really respect him. We have a job to do, and we get it done, no matter the circumstances. We truly work to achieve 100 percent customer satisfaction.”
This positive passion also extends to his employees, as his goal is to be transparent with his staff. To Kletz, it isn’t just his business, it’s the entire staff’s business.
“It’s a common cause,” he said. “Everyone is on board, and I want everyone to see it [the business] as ours, not mine. It’s those people that make it worthwhile and keep the fire lit. They didn’t nominate my business, it’s our business and their business.”
Kletz does a great deal to ensure everyone is included in the ins and outs of the company. It’s this teamwork mentality that has retained his employees over time and continues to be a driving force in his staff’s satisfaction.
“He shares his goals and successes with his team, and that is why we have so many celebrations because he asks you to buy in with him,” Lawrence said. “Todd is so transparent with his goals that it’s contagious, and he shares that success. That is why I will always work here. I like knowing I’m in an environment that is constantly evolving. Todd clearly knows what he is doing, and I feel good being on his team,” said Lawrence.
One Hour has no signs of stopping any time soon. While Kletz jokes that his long-term goal is to “get the hell out of there,” he loves what he does and plans on eventually passing the business on to his son and son-in-law. He’s confident in their abilities to continue One Hour’s success.
“They’ve been here a great period of time, have watched the company grow, and are invested in it,” he said.
So, why is Todd Kletz the best contractor to work for?
“He’s not just passionate about his successful business but he really wants the people that work with him to succeed, to be successful, and to be as comfortable in their lives as they can. He views each person individually,” said Jordan.
His staff has spoken: They are proud to be led by someone whose prowess not only in business, but in people, is honorable.
Publication date: 1/30/2017