There’s a “new kid on the block.” And it’s very clear that this new organization made up of hvacr contractors is labeled with the “new” moniker.

Bill Efird, president of the newly formed International Service Leadership, Inc. (ISL), is pretty adamant about the roots of his new organization. He makes it clear that ISL is not a rehash of the recently dissolved Contractors Success Group (CSG), a contractor group owned by Service Experts/Lennox.

“ISL is different from any prior groups in vision, mission, and programs,” he said. “But it is not another version with a name change. We absolutely shut CSG down.”

“There is a dire need for technician training in our industry as well as leadership training,” added Efird. “ISL wants to make this training available in ways that the entire industry can benefit.”

Efird believes that there is a need for groups like ISL who can bring programs to contractors. “There is a profound need in our industry for groups like ours to bring real-world solutions to problems that contractors face today. Our program is designed for contractors by contractors, which will help them be more profitable and successful.”

Despite the fact that ISL is owned by Service Experts, the majority of its members will be independent contractors who have no desire to sell their businesses. Efird added that groups such as ISL have traditionally been good alternatives to the consolidation movement because business owners want to remain independent, yet still belong to a group that can help them grow profitably.

“People were scared of consolidators for a while,” he said. “They felt they needed to be on a team to fight them. Our energies are focused on helping the independent contractors.”

Member Benefits

In May, ISL is developing a “performance planning” retreat, which Efird said will include a motivational meeting and skill-enhancing meeting. “We are also going to break into teams and create a specific plan for the summer season,” he said.

“We will be having all types of training for owners, general managers, sales techs, and customer service, including leadership skills and financial training.

“We are in the process of announcing regional institutes across the U.S. and Canada, leading to NATE testing for our technicians. And, we are creating ISL certification, which will be higher than any requirements of any other group. There will be standards that individuals will have to meet and maintain — that’s where we are raising the bar.”

Efird wants these new standards to be part of the overall selling package to homeowners. He wants ISL contractor customers to be educated on the value standards so they will insist that the technician performs at the highest level.

“Our membership is limited by quantity,” he said. “It is based on the ability of our infrastructure to handle the size. Our first plateau will be 500 members. After that, we probably will jump in increments of 250.

“Theoretically our growth is unlimited, but practically speaking, it really [is limited] if nothing else by the size of our conference facilities.”

“We are developing cutting-edge programs, including retaining and training technicians; training in financial competence; leadership; and sales training with the focus on leadership.

“Our goal is to be the biggest and most effective organization, helping contractors thrive in a time of hyper-change.”

Publication date: 04/09/2001