Quality and Personal Service in Small HVAC Businesses

As owner of a small mom and pop a/c business, I felt compelled to respond to the [Nov. 20] “Survival of the Smallest” article in The NEWS. It was refreshing and inspiring to read about these hands-on contractors in a business world where we are encouraged to get out of the field, into the office, and grow the business. Although there are those who would look down upon a small, owner-operated company, I feel that individuals who believe in their own skill and knowledge, who are passionate about personal service and uncompromised quality, and who just happen to love what they do should be commended for personifying the true spirit of this country. I think we need more of them!

Although I’m the only full-time employee at our company, we have successfully enlisted the help of off-duty firefighters, police officers, et al who have worked with us part-time on jobs such as changeouts and maintenance. My wife handles the phone and most of the office work and my son works with me sometimes. We also have two or three associates in the business who take our calls when we are away. It all works extremely well.

I guess with age comes wisdom and an appreciation of the finer things in life, like sleeping well at the end of a good day’s work, working directly with customers who really appreciate what you’re doing, the blessing of working and creating with your own hands, and living a life where making more and more money is not the primary objective. It all makes for a good, good life!

Bruce Dix
Dix Air Cond. & Htg. Inc.
Bradenton, Fla.

Stick With Who You Trust

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to John R. Hall’s column “How Important Is Loyalty to Your HVACR Supplier?” Nov 6.]

After a long time in this business (at an HVACR distributor), I can see both sides of the loyalty issue. Sorry, there is no easy answer. Our customers regard us as the “good distributor” that has taken care of them for years by offering great service, above and beyond what we would have to do. On the other hand, the entire marketplace (the greater Chicago area) is overfull of competitive pressures. Many contractors want cheap, cheap, cheap. Therefore, we have to be on the lookout for better deals. We try to be loyal to our suppliers, but occasionally we have no choice but to change vendors.

What the contractor has to ask himself is what is his lowest cost, not just what is the cheapest. It is our position that his lowest cost is to continue to buy from someone he trusts to always stand by him, providing warranty, technical, and engineering service along with great delivery and good inventories. If the contractor is only interested in the cheap answer, we can usually look forward to his bankruptcy sale.

Dennis Gibbs, Senior Engineer
Mid-Way Supply Inc., Zion, Ill.

Honoring Industry Teachers

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the Best Instructors articles in the Nov. 13 issue.]

Thank you for your articles recognizing HVAC teachers. I retired from teaching in 2002. During the 30 years I taught HVAC, nobody in the industry gave us any support. Many thanks for your support of the teachers. Please keep up the good work.

Roland Boucher
Mendon, Mass.

Send correspondence via e-mail to letters@achrnews.com.

Publication date: 01/08/2007