SANTA FE, TX — The father-son team of Don and Brent Ballard of Affordable Air & Heat in Santa Fe, TX, has a simple philosophy for success: pay as you go.

As last year’s leading seller of Heil products for Pameco-Southwest Division in the Gulf Coast region (according to the Heil Dealer Link newsletter), Brent Ballard pointed out the key to their business success — paying for everything as he buys it. “What happens to a lot of businesses is they have a lot of overhead, and the bills are hard to make every month,” he said in Dealer Link. “That is one thing I have avoided.”


“I have a little place that’s a real blessing on Highway 6 here in Santa Fe,” Ballard added. “It’s located in the City Hall building. Customers walk into City Hall to pull permits, and then walk next door and bring me their plans.

“My office has a big window facing Highway 6 with our name on it. Just the advertising on the window is worth more than what I pay for rent.”

Besides the window advertising, Affordable depends on Yellow Pages advertising for the local market.

“I’ve gone bigger in my local books to limit my drive time on the job and to stay in our county,” Ballard added. One Yellow Pages ad costs Affordable $1,800 per month.

Additionally, Affordable designs and installs custom HVAC systems for homes ranging up to $3 million. Ballard said that many speculative builders don’t want to install the top-of-the-line equipment that he does.

“We use 12+ SEER or better on everything — with expansion valves to increase efficiency,” he said. “I try to get customers the best job for the money they are spending. We use all FCX fan coils. We usually install 80+ AFUE furnaces since there is not much winter here.”

Publication date: 09/16/2002