NASHVILLE — Twenty-five years ago, the Dwyer Group of Waco, Texas, launched Aire Serv™ as one of the earliest HVAC franchise opportunities for contractors. Today, approximately 200 Aire Serv contractors, who refer to themselves as “Aire Serv Nation,” belong to the larger Dwyer Group family of more than 2,700 franchisees offering 16 brands.
Aire Serv Nation welcomed 175 members from the U.S. and Canada to the Hilton Nashville Downtown in February to celebrate a homecoming event that not only marked the franchise’s 25th anniversary, but also served as a springboard for the new Neighborly™ umbrella brand program for all Dwyer Group brands.
“The concept of a one-stop shop for homeowners has always been appealing, but Dwyer Group had not leveraged this in the past,” said Steve Truett, president, Aire Serv. “With Neighborly, 13 of the Dwyer Group brands will be working together under one umbrella brand to leverage the power of all.”
The purpose of the new umbrella brand, which can be found at www.getneighborly.com, is to provide a unifying platform to help cross-marketing efforts and drive consumer sales. It will enable all Dwyer Group brands to more effectively compete with market disruptors and enhance the value proposition of all franchisee members.
WHY AIRE SERV?
In an age when HVAC contractors often join organizations or even franchises for just a few short years, supposedly to learn the system and then shuck it aside, Aire Serv franchisees evidence a common glue that perhaps holds them together somewhat more purposefully.
Richard Ciresi independently owns and operates three Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning locations in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, and Greenville, South Carolina. After 16 years as an Aire Serv franchisee, one might think he knows enough to make a break for it on his own.
“Aire Serv is on the cutting edge all the time,” Ciresi said. “They find the right marketing programs that I like and stay abreast of new technologies. I’ve learned not to waste my time when others are already better at parts of the business than I am.
“I had built a commercial HVAC contracting business without knowing squat about running a business,” continued Ciresi. “When I had the opportunity to add a residential business element, I knew better than to try that again. So, I enlisted with Aire Serv. When the 2008-2009 recession came along, my commercial division busted but my Aire Serv franchise grew more than 20 percent two years in a row. We haven’t slowed down since.”
When pressed about his loyalty to Aire Serv, Ciresi mentioned two things: “You don’t really see a McDonald’s turn into a Joe’s Burger, do you? There is a reason they stay the course,” he said. “Our unique position is the Code of Values® that every Aire Serv operates by. I became an Aire Serv franchisee because of that, and that’s why I stay a part of it.”
The Code of Values at Aire Serv is a 15-point list that was mentioned by several franchisees during the Nashville Homecoming meeting as critical to their personal involvement. The Code of Values, in a shortened form, is an acronym for Respect, Integrity, Customer focus, and Having fun in the process (RICH). Ciresi prints the entire 15 points on the back of his business cards.
James Nance, owner of Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning in Denver, recently left an engineering position with a local consulting engineering firm to purchase a residential HVAC business. After studying several options for franchise or other organizational membership, he chose Aire Serv.
“The marketing and business programs are certainly important to me, but the Code of Values is what really moved me in this direction,” he said.
Scott Taylor, owner of Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning in Huntsville, Alabama, left a large HVAC firm in Atlanta to open his Aire Serv. Again, the Code of Values came up during discussion of why someone with years of executive experience with a professionally managed HVAC firm would go down the franchise route.
“I like the people,” he said. “I like what they stand for. I want to work with people like that, and it doesn’t hurt that they are really on top of everything.”
THE NEIGHBORLY PROGRAM
Only a handful of Dwyer Group franchisees own multiple brands, and it has been rare for the franchise brands to exchange customer lists in local markets. The low cross-utilization of brands and lack of awareness that brands are even connected presents a tremendous opportunity for Dwyer Group to use Neighborly to drive business with existing customers.
“We are launching local cross-marketing to leverage 13 brands,” said Mary Kennedy Thompson, COO at Dwyer Group. “We have nearly 2,500 franchisees in North America, six Dwyer Group offices, and more than $1.4 billion in total system sales. That is a lot of power.”
The Neighborly™ Program officially launched on March 27.
Thompson, a Marine veteran, connected well with the audience during a breakout presentation about leadership.
“One of my favorite quotes related to leadership came from Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England,” she said. “She once said, ‘Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.’ Similarly, leaders should not have to tell someone they are a leader; they should act it out every day.”
Thompson practices the Management by Walking Around style, which allows her to check in with employees every day. She shared a military experience that taught her the value of talking to the people she worked with. Once on a Christmas Eve/Christmas Day work duty assignment, she was faced with the reality that she “wasn’t going to be home for Christmas, Santa wasn’t going to find her, and she was going to be alone on Christmas.”
As a Lieutenant, she succumbed to the little girl in her and was awash with self-indulgence.
The “old man” (the Colonel) surprised her by bringing her breakfast on Christmas morning.
“The Colonel left his own family on Christmas morning to bring me breakfast and talk to me,” she said. “He sat down with me and asked how many of the Marines also on duty had I talked to. I had completed my reports and checked the status on each of them, but I had to admit that I had not talked to any of them on a personal level. He taught me that morning that leadership requires giving of one’s self.”
Several exhibitors showed up to support the Aire Serv meeting. Among them was Tom Jackson, CEO, Jackson Systems LLC. “This is one of the better organizations that we work with,” said Jackson. About the moment Jackson uttered these words, Ciresi walked up and entered an order for zone control equipment — no wonder why Jackson likes Aire Serv.
Future Aire Serv meetings include the Sales Champions Conference in April at the Daytona Beach Florida Hilton and the Dwyer Group Reunion in September at the Rosen Shingle Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
The Dwyer Group is a values-guided leader of franchise brands focused on repairing, maintaining, and enhancing customers’ homes and businesses.
Its vision: To be a world-class company admired for the excellence that customers, franchisees, and associates experience with Dwyer Group. Its mission: To teach its principles and systems of personal and business success so that all people it touches live happier and more successful lives.
Code of Values® We Live Our Code of Values by...
• Treating others as we would like to be treated;
• Listening with the intent to understand what is being said and acknowledging that what is said is important to the speaker;
• Responding in a timely fashion;
• Speaking calmly and respectfully without profanity or sarcasm; and
• Acknowledging everyone as right from their own perspective.
• Making only agreements we are willing, able, and intend to keep;
• Communicating any potentially broken agreements at the first appropriate opportunity to all parties concerned;
• Looking to the system for correction and proposing all possible solutions if something is not working;
• Operating in a responsible manner; “above the line;”
• Communicating honestly and with purpose;
• Asking clarifying questions if we disagree or do not understand; and
• Never saying anything about anyone that we would not say to him or her.
• Continuously striving to maximize internal and external customer loyalty; and
• Making our best effort to understand and appreciate the customer’s needs in every situation.
Having Fun in the Process!
Publication date: 4/3/2017