International Comfort Products of Nashville, TN, has drawn attention to contractors in North Carolina and Tennessee for their involvement in various dealer alliance programs.

Gentry Air Inc. of Greensboro, NC, uses the Comfortmaker Comfort Plus program. Key to Lanny and Kathy Gentry is the training available and the fact that the staff can attend that training locally. "We think it is well worth the money," said Kathy Gentry. "The options are worth the dues each year."

Comfort Plus program includes business insurance, consulting services, payroll services, office equipment discounts, an Internet presence, consumer financing, and advertising support.

Comfort Engineered Systems of Nolensville, TN, use the Heil Pro-Link program.

To Bruce Wollaber of CES, the biggest attraction was training and health insurance.

"We are dedicated to having employees trained, so there was a definite payback for us in the training available." Regarding health insurance, he said, "We've switched over from our former carrier to the dealer alliance carrier. That saved us some money."

The CES package includes a flat-rate service program with a discounted rate through Heil Pro-Link. Wollaber said his company decided to move from a combination flat/hourly concept to strictly flat rate. "The flat rate system gives us a way of standardizing across the board, so all techs are charging the same thing for the same repair."

Part of the package includes enrollment in a two-day business management seminar as soon as a contractor signs up. The contractor leaves the seminar with a written business plan. Another aspect is a retirement plan for employees that is funded by a contribution based on the dealer's purchases of Heil equipment.

Publication date: 06/27/2001