When HVAC contractors consider advertising for their business, it might be safe to assume that driving around the city in brightly colored, zebra-print service vehicles would not be their first option. Not at Air Pros — they take pride in standing out.
What started as a one-truck, one-technician Florida-based business in 2017 grew organically to a $10 million dollar company by 2019. Air Pros Founder Anthony Perera said after he and his father exited a construction business they worked at, his father decided to start an HVAC company and requested his help.
STAND OUT: Founder Anthony Perera stands next to one of Air Pros’ brightly colored, zebra-striped service vehicles. (Courtesy of Air Pros)
“Jokingly and begrudgingly, I agreed to open up a company to kind of help him get his own business going. He's been doing HVAC since 1981, without actually owning a business,” Perera recalled.
After the business started on its pathway to success, they began to make acquisitions such as One Source Home Service in Colorado and Hansen Heating and Air in Alabama. They also expanded outside of Florida and now have offices in Texas, Colorado, Washington, and Georgia. About 95% of their business focuses on residential services.
Perera said Air Pros runs on the core concept of “Our customers are our business.” He explains that the term “customer” in this sense is not exclusive to external, paying customers, but rather the internal customers as well, which are the employees. Servicing both versions of the customer is crucial to the success of the business. Operating in different markets, Air Pros’ service and product offerings are solution-based. Rather than focusing on selling a single product, the company looks at the functionality of the whole home.
“I’d rather serve the customer to the furthest degree by providing them an entire home solution,” explained Perera.
He noted that while some businesses might invest in search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-clicks (PPC), a lot of them don’t know if they’re advertising to the right client. Every year at Air Pros, Perera said the company identifies its customer avatar based on the history of its customer base. With that information — who the customers are, where they're spending dollars, what radio stations they’re listening to, etc. — they build their marketing strategy.
Field supervisor, Air Pros
If there’s anything Air Pros believes in, it’s the concept of continuous improvement. Luis Mejia joined the company three years ago as a field supervisor after working in the automotive repair industry. He used to service a lot of company vehicles, and after getting into conversations with some HVAC professionals, he decided to make the switch.
“You're not stuck in one place. There was the ability to promote yourself through your hard work; there was endless opportunities and growth compared to where I was at,” said Mejia.
At Air Pros, Mejia is constantly learning and growing. He said every morning at 7:30 a.m., the technicians go through real-life training situations with sample air conditioners at the office. According to Mejia, the training staff will sabotage the machines and the techs would have to fix them, which helps train them for issues they might face on the job. Additionally, the company encourages the supplementation of their training through NATE certifications or similar qualifications. Staying on top of the newest technologies and practices is key to consistent growth.
Even though the early mornings can get tiring, Air Pros keeps morale up with regular field staff breakfasts. Almost every Friday, everyone gets together to grill, eat, and catch up with each other. Sometimes, Mejia said the company will provide a large lunch spread if there’s downtime between service calls.
“Honestly, I never thought that I would be so excited and so happy to go to work every day. I've never really considered it a company — I consider it a family,” shared Mejia.
This family environment is what makes Air Pros’ workers willing to do anything for the good of the company. Whether it’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive to check the Miami office or hopping on a flight to train techs in Colorado, Mejia said he’s flexible when the company needs him to be.
Everybody’s heard of a win-win situation, but Roscoe Brister, acting general manager of Air Pros Colorado and national director of integrations, said their company philosophy includes an extra win. He explained that the one who always has to win is the customer, then the employees, and finally the company.
“Every single manager, every single technician in the business has to understand that win-win-win philosophy and that without our customers, we wouldn't be here,” said Brister.
Although he comes from an HVAC background, Brister said the training at Air Pros is unique because whether someone is just starting out or they’re a seasoned tech, everyone is trained from the ground up in all of the company’s practices. The initial training period itself might be three to four months, but the learning never stops at Air Pros.
Air Pros also emphasizes soft skills like customer interaction. Brister said despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to keep everybody safe and healthy, focusing on the human side of the HVAC business has been crucial. As Brister explained, people tend to buy things from people they like, so at the end of the day, building trust and solid relationships between their customers and employees has helped the business grow.
“If you want to go somewhere quick, you go alone. If you want to go somewhere far, you take the right people with you. I truly feel like everybody at Air Pros makes you feel like you're the right person every single day,” said Brister.