As 2022 comes to a close, The ACHR NEWS is looking back at the past year in the HVAC industry. To do that, we are highlighting four HVAC NEWSmakers that have made headlines in the last 12 months.
This past year, hardly a day has gone by without news of yet another HVAC contractor — or manufacturer — making an acquisition. Air Pros USA, a Hollywood, Florida-based company, had sent The ACHR NEWS eight press releases in 2022 alone about its acquisitions. Although the business first opened its doors in 2017, its growth has been incredibly rapid, thanks to Anthony Perera, founder and CGO of Air Pros, and his team.
“We've been super busy on the M&A front this year and [we’re] really excited about our growth trajectory heading into the next few years,” said Perera.
From the Ground Up
Air Pros itself might be relatively new, but Perera’s history with HVAC is not. He said his father had been working in HVAC since 1981, though he had never owned his own business. After working as a construction manager for Perera’s old restaurant business, his father suggested that they open an HVAC business together. Perera said they launched Air Pros with one truck and one technician nearly six years ago, and now the company has locations in Florida, Texas, Colorado, Washington, and Georgia.
After growing organically for the first couple years, making about $15 million in revenue in the Florida market, Perera said he started to think about expanding through different M&A strategies. Since he lacked outside capital, he began to make creative deals and buy customer lists, along with closed-down company phone numbers, and managed to grow the business to $40 million in revenue. Once the business reached that point, Perera began to debate looking for an equity partner or taking on outside capital.
“A little unique in our industry, we're still one of the only — I use the word privately held, it's maybe the wrong term — non-equity sponsored HVAC platforms. So we control the majority of the business,” he explained.
He added that a year and a half ago, the company had raised $50 million from Peak Rock Capital in Austin, Texas to grow the business through more acquisitions. In 2022, Air Pros acquired eight businesses, the last one announced in early December, which Perera said was a “pretty big one.” The company now has roughly 1,000 employees and generates just over $200 million in revenue, he said.
Founder and CGO, Air Pros USA
Integration = Growth
When it comes to growing a business, Perera noted that acquiring a company is one thing, but integrating it into the existing company culture is what makes all the difference.
“When I say integrate, I mean every facet of the organization — I want everybody speaking the same language, albeit a different dialect, but it's all the same kind of core values,” he said.
Perera added that for Air Pros, the goal is not to negatively impact or affect the integrity of the existing culture at an acquired company, but rather to create a unified environment. The backbone of any company are the customers, he said, noting that employees are considered internal customers. If the customers are unhappy, the company will not grow, which is why having the same core ethos across all business locations is key, he explained.
Another strategy for growth this past year has been Air Pros’ addition of a professional management team. Perera has also stepped down from his role of president and welcomed Robert DiPietro, former managing director of HomeServe USA, in his place. Having never run a business the size of Air Pros, Perera said this year had been a “moment of self-awareness” for him.
“It was like, ‘What skill sets do I not have as a leader that I can have in the future?’ and I think watching people like Rob on our executive team operate the business, it's really been kind of inspiring for me as a leader,” he said.
Perera mentioned that he has big plans for Air Pros moving forward, both in terms of acquisitions and potential partnerships with other organizations. He also noted that the company’s goal for next year is to generate $500 million in revenue.