Allyn McNaughton welcomes visitors to the Arzel Zoning Technology Inc. booth at the Aire Serv annual meeting.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - The annual meeting of Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. franchisees was marked by record attendance and some major announcements. Aire Serv, the franchise heating and cooling operation under the umbrella of the Dwyer Group, Waco, Texas, is marking its 11th year in existence, and, according to Aire Serv President Doyle James, there are big changes in the offing.

"We have ramped up our sales force and support staff," he said. "We want to fill out the remaining U.S. territories. We can achieve a lot more if we are a national company.

"We need to increase national awareness and a presence among consumers and our own industry. It is now time to make Aire Serv shine and be a model for our industry."

Aire Serv currently has a total of 65 franchisees in North America, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia.

The big news involved the purchase of the Dwyer Group, by the Riverside Company, a private equity firm. (See "Riverside Acquires the Dwyer Group," Nov. 10, 2003.) Under Riverside, Dwyer, which was publicly held, will become a private company.

Doyle James, Aire Serv president, apprised meeting attendees of the company’s future plans and informed them about the acquisition of the Dwyer Group by the Riverside Co.

Changes Outlined

James highlighted some of the changes that have been taking place at Aire Serv and announced some future plans, too.

"We've changed our logo and tag line," he said. "We went from ‘America's Comfort Company' to ‘Your Comfort Company.' This fits our image better, since we are a global company."

James also talked about the advantages of Aire Serv's recent acquisition of Z-Ware business management software. "This gives us software that no one else has," he said. "And it will make our menu guides totally paperless. Z-Ware takes paperwork out of our tech's hands by use of the hand-held [computer]."

James also pointed out the new "sunflake" logo, which will soon be appearing on Aire Serv vans and in marketing materials. The changes may be subtle but are important. "We change things a little bit - all of the time," he said.

Aire Serv is also coming out with new television commercials for regional broadcasts. Last

year the company won a "Telly" award for its creative television commercials featuring family members in individual "bubbles" around the home.

James said that Aire Serv will be introducing a commercial sales and service program. "We are going to stay in this targeted niche because there is money to be made in this market."

Some of the other goals of Aire Serv include:

  • Expanding to over 100 U.S. franchisees.

  • Putting all manuals into CD format.

  • Focusing on "weatherproofing" business by concentrating on IAQ products, service agreements, etc.

    The Fruits Of Labor

    James was proud to report that in 2003, Aire Serv was on track to make a net 10 percent profit - something the company has never achieved before.

    He said that Aire Serv is breaking into never-explored ground in the Dwyer Group family.

    "Aire Serv is the fourth largest operation in the Dwyer Group," he said. "We are on a track to become the third largest.

    "We are refining our business model and positioning ourselves as the heating and cooling experts in the consumer's mind."

    Sidebar: California Contractor Is Aire Serv's First 10-Year Renewal

    CAMARILLO, Calif. - Kevin Nunn wasn't sure what to expect when he answered an advertisement for franchise opportunities with the Dwyer Group 10 years ago. He actually had his mind set on becoming a Rescue Rooter franchisee.

    "But we didn't have a lot of air conditioning guys in our area, so I was told it would be more beneficial to become an Aire Serv franchisee," Nunn said.

    So Nunn, who had been in the plumbing and heating business since 1961, decided to give air conditioning a shot. He opened up Aire Serv of Ventura County and hasn't looked back. He had a lot of learning to do in a short period of time.

    "The first guy I hired for air conditioning work quit after two weeks," he remembered. "I hired another guy from Los Angeles who was experienced in air conditioning, and he helped me to learn the business.

    "One guy worked for me for seven years and wound up with his own Aire Serv franchise in El Paso, Texas."

    Nunn now employs 21 people and his market is mainly residential and light commercial service. He said he intends to expand into more commercial work in the future. He networks with his fellow California Aire Serv franchisees and finds this to be an excellent source for ideas.

    Aire Serv has helped Nunn plan and carry out his budget, something he said that he never did in 30 years prior to becoming a franchisee. That could be one reason why he will renew his 10-year membership in 2004.

    "I have found my association with Aire Serv to be very beneficial," Nunn stated.

    - John R. Hall

    Publication date: 12/22/2003