AHS executives field questions from the audience during the “Contractor Summit.”
DALLAS - It was labeled the "AHS/Contractor Summit" and it turned into an interesting Q&A session between audience members and a panel of American Home Shield (AHS) executives. The event took place during the AHS National Contractor Conference in early October. The conference theme was "Be the AHS Brand."

The panel included Rick Ascolese, executive vice president of operations, Dave Quandt, vice president of service operations, Mark Lightfoot, vice president and legal counsel, and Larry Taylor, advisory council member and the organization's Contractor of the Year. Taylor is also a contractor consultant with The News.

One of the more popular topics of discussion involved insurance costs and how members were supposed to pass along these costs to their customers.

Ascolese said, "We are all struggling with insurance costs. I don't have any easy answers."

Taylor recommended that one way to keep insurance costs down was to keep the insurance modifier number down, which is used to assess a company's safety record.

"For example, the more things you do to show insurance companies that your drivers are well-trained [and have a safe driving record], it may hold your premiums to a manageable level," said Taylor.

One member commented that he would like to see something done to offset the "rising costs of doing business." He was told that AHS parent company, ServiceMaster, was allowing some of its contractor members to increase their fees in 2005, which got a round of applause from all members at the meeting.

Another concern was the problem of getting through to the corporate offices and having one-on-one problem resolution. Ascolese replied that "AHS is working hard to get the wall out of the way and make things more transparent for AHS and its members."

The biggest round of applause came when panelists responded to a request from a member who wanted to buy equipment at the same discount pricing that corporate bought equipment. The panel said it was a reasonable request and they would look into it, setting off a thunderous response.

Another important topic was how AHS was planning to deal with the cost of equipment changeout once the 13 SEER minimum requirements take effect in January 2006.

Publication date: 11/01/2004