If we atThe Newsare doing our job, you have been able to pocket some ideas on how to run your business a little better, thanks to contractor features.

While we are more than halfway through 1999 and contractors continue to tell us their success stories, let’s pause for a moment and reflect on some of their recipes for success. There certainly is no shortage of ideas.

  •  Scott Getschzman rented out a room in his rural Fremont, Neb. business to national distributor Pameco. He had access to the parts as long as he kept track. (Maybe there’s a local hardware store that might loan you a key to their building for after-hours emergencies.)

  •  Frank Karoly wanted to attract attention to his business in urban St. Louis, but local sign ordinances were very restrictive. He put up a mannequin in the second-story window and continually changed its attire, attracting onlookers. (Maybe a snappier sign or some extra illumination might perk up your storefront, too.)

  •  Jackie Rainwater asked his service technicians to complete a 33-point quality checklist after completing each job. The Atlanta-area contractor then rewarded his crews if there was no callback within 30 days.

  •  Jim and Bob Weisser promoted their duct-cleaning business in Fort Collins, Colo., with a “duck” mascot. The mascot was used in parades and community events and became an identifiable fixture in the market.

  •  Gil Maness doesn’t have a problem finding help at his Greensboro, N.C., location. He treats his workers like friends and goes into the trenches with them when he is needed. (How many eyebrows would be raised if you picked up a tool and rode along with one of your techs?)

  •  Aaron York has a very simple philosophy. The Indianapolis contractor is from the “old school” and greets all visitors with a hearty handshake and friendly greeting.

  •  John and Patty Greiner have a monthly employee breakfast meeting where they dispense “award envelopes” to employees of their Dixon, Calif., business. Employees are given gift certificates for selling maintenance agreements and add-on equipment.

Now it’s your turn. Share your success story. If we publish your idea, we’ll send you a News travel mug. (Don’t forget to send us a “mug shot” of yourself — get it?)