Many office buildings have been fairly empty since the pandemic started two years ago. That’s not the case for the headquarters for Peterman Brothers. The Greenwood, Indiana, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical firm is busting at the seams and adding a lot more square footage.

Peterman Brothers moved into its current 23,000-square-feet building in May 2020. Co-owner Chad Peterman said he and his brother Tyler started to notice space was becoming tight by the end of that year. Like many HVAC contractors, the Petermans’ business thrived as consumers shifted their attention to their homes.

The Petermans purchased an additional 11 acres that sat behind the three they already owned in the Greenwood industrial park. Peterman said the land had been owned by another company that planned to develop it, but instead decided to deploy that capital in another way. This gave the firm a lot of open space to develop in any way.

The Petermans decided the best use was a combination training center and warehouse. The finished building will be 54,000 square feet, more than doubling the amount of space the firm currently occupies. It will create a centralized parts location for Peterman Brothers’ five satellite offices.


Learning from Supply Shortage

“In our industry, that’s something we never had to deal with. If I wanted a furnace, I just had to call up my supplier and I got a furnace.”
Chad Peterman
Co-owner, Peterman Brothers

Logistics is key for the firm’s success, Chad Peterman said. The parts and equipment shortages of the past year have made that more clear than ever. It was a definite learning experience, he said.

“In our industry, that’s something we never had to deal with,” Peterman said. “If I wanted a furnace, I just had to call up my supplier and I got a furnace.”

Peterman Brothers reduced the number of SKUs it offers last year. Peterman said they used to let their salespeople sell whatever the customer wanted. Now it’s down mostly to four basic systems. This helped Peterman Brothers’ main supplier, since the firm is such a large customer.

Having a warehouse will allow parts runners to go straight from there to the job site. This will cut down on driving and reduce fuel costs, another expense that skyrocketed in the past year.

Training classes will move to the new facility once it is completed. The firm operates its Top Tech Academy, a program for people just coming into the trades. Peterman Brothers currently conducts these classes at its former headquarters a few miles down the road.


Tax Break Provides Savings

The Top Tech Academy just graduated a class of 17. The next class of 30 students is scheduled to start training in April, Peterman said. The firm added electrical services in 2021, and plans on adding classes for that trade. In addition, Peterman said the expanded space allows them to formalize the HVAC installation program.

The Petermans worked with Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance to get a $220,000 tax break from the city of Greenwood for the project. Aspire works with governments in Johnson County to draw businesses to the area and improve economic development.

Peterman said the firm would have gone ahead with the expansion without the tax break. The overall cost of construction is in the millions. However, it allows them to maximize the investment. The Petermans will now be able to re-invest those savings in the company.

The current financial environment made this a good time to invest in a new facility, Peterman said. Funding was relatively inexpensive and available. The same cannot be said for the parts and material being used in the construction. Peterman said he and his brother had to work with their contractor to make several changes on the fly due to price fluctuations.

The Petermans hope to move into the new building by the end of the year. Peterman said the move could be as early as the fall if they’re lucky. It should prove a quicker transition than when they moved all their offices two years ago.