GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The gathering was informal — the Western Michigan ACCA Chapter’s 2000 HVACR Suppliers’ Show on February 22. Approximately 200 contractors and employees visited 33 vendor booths.

While contractors attended a steak dinner, they were given a brief questionnaire to fill out and turn in at the end of the evening. Here is what they gave answers to.

Choose 3 things from the following list that are most important to your business:

  • Adequate training
  • Advertising/marketing
  • Competitive pricing
  • Consolidator competition
  • Customer retention
  • Lack of qualified help
  • Utility competition
  • Other

There were 24 responses and here are the results:

  • Lack of qualified help — 19;
  • Adequate training — 18;
  • Customer retention — 15;
  • Competitive pricing — 7;
  • Utility competition — 4;
  • Advertising/marketing — 4.


  • Employee retention;
  • Employee satisfaction;
  • Not enough education;
  • Self-satisfaction.
  • Get high school kids involved.

Although the total number of responses was low, they provided a good measuring stick for what contractors in this part of the country are thinking. The majority of the responses included concerns about employees — finding them and keeping them happy.

One subject that was conspicuous by its zero response was consolidator competition, despite the presence of consolidated contractors in western Michigan.

This is a small sampling but in your opinion, does it reflect your community and the national hvac trade? Let us know what you think. Encourage your local chapter, whether it is ACCA, SMACNA, PHCC, or any other organization, to take a poll and send it in to us. Or, let us know how you feel on an individual basis.

E-mail John R. Hall at, and let’s see if your community has the same concerns as this ACCA chapter.