Have you ever done something while on the job and shrugged it off, saying, “Oh well, they’ll never notice it” or “It was always like this, why should I change it now?” I remember several years ago when I was a delivery/setup man for a baby/kids’ furniture company. It was my job to deliver and set up baby cribs, dressers, children’s beds, rockers, etc. That was one of the most fun jobs I ever had because I was often entering homes of first-time expectant parents or young children getting their first “grown-up” bedroom set. Heck, I was even filmed by some people doing the historic setups. It was important to leave a very positive impression and I was very cognizant of that.

On one particular night I didn’t have my “A” game. I was carrying a bed frame up a winding staircase in a very expensive home and somehow brushed against the very decorative wall covering. I could barely see the blemish I made and it almost disappeared into the elaborate design. But the homeowner had memorized every square inch on that wall and phoned my boss the next day to complain.

The result was a very large repair bill to replace the wall covering. What I thought was a little thing that would go unnoticed became a very big thing. It did matter.


I could have been delivering the bed to a low-income family in a rundown home, and it really wouldn’t have made a difference. It was my job then - as it is your job now - to show no preferential treatment when it comes to doing everything right in someone’s home. Your techs should always bring their “A” game because everything does matter.

If your policy is to wear booties in the home, vacuum up after yourselves, or leave a fragrant scent on the filter you just changed, you will find that the small investment in these procedures will pay you back several-fold. Imagine if your tech took the time to spread a small rug runner on a carpeted area of a customer’s home, even if his or her shoes were clean and dry. Do you think that customer might tell a neighbor about the care your tech took? And what if the tech’s work shoes were clean and polished as opposed to being dirty (and smelly) tennis shoes? That would make an impression, too.

Sometimes customers train their eyes on one thing - as most humans do - and can’t get that image out of their mind. So if your tech has a clean shirt on but very dirty tennis shoes, the latter will negate the former.

Call it a culture, if you will. An HVAC contractor should have a company culture that states that everyone must represent the business in a professional manner whether they are dealing with customers, suppliers, or people on the street. Do it right the first time because many times you never get the chance to do it again.


The last point I want to make takes me back to my days working for the baby/kids’ furniture company and my not being able to choose which customers to deliver to and give fair treatment to.

I went on a delivery to a bad neighborhood, where most deliveries from any company were usually made during daylight hours. The homeowner had ordered one of the most expensive cribs in our inventory, more than double the price of most of our well-made cribs.

As I carried the boxes up the well-worn stairs with my partner, I noticed a dish on top of the television set in the living room. It contained several rocks of crack cocaine.

I knew I was either in a dealer’s home or a user’s home. But my job was to deliver and set up that crib to the best of my training. And I did.

The owner paid the bill, amounting to several hundred dollars, in five-dollar bills - the street price for a rock. He was grateful and we were thankful, mainly to be exiting the home. But I’ll say this; my boss got a phone call of appreciation from that customer and likely a few recommendations to friends about our good service. I treated that customer like anyone else: professionally.

It mattered to our customer and to my boss. And your techs should have that same attitude.

Publication date:05/21/2007