HVAC contractors are a funny breed. They are very protective of confidential company information like sales revenues and best practices, to name a couple. Having spent years trying to wean some of this information from these businesspeople has made me a little wary to ask questions that might, in some way, compromise the reporter-subject privilege that I enjoy.

Fortunately, many of the contractors I’ve met and interviewed have been happy to share some of this information with me and NEWS’readers because they are proud of their achievements and want other (usually noncompetitive) HVAC contractors to get some good ideas about their business. The ultimate goal of this spirit of cooperation is to raise the professionalism of the HVAC contracting trade. Everybody wins.

With that in mind,The NEWSis rolling out a new promotion that will ensure several winners.



THE BEST BUSINESS TIPS

Our promotion - the Best Business Tips (BBT) - debuts in this Aug. 13 issue (see ad on page 17) and entries will be accepted until Sept. 30. The winner will be announced in our Nov. 12 issue. The contest is open to all U.S. and Canadian HVAC contractors, regardless of size of market served. We want contractors who would like to share their very best business tips with us.

Specifically, the business tip could encompass many things with very few limitations. One example of a business tip would be an employee recruitment program or an employee retention program. What are you doing to find and keep your good employees? Another example may be a new tool that your service techs are using to save time and reduce potential callbacks.

Yet another tip could be a new software program that allows for better tracking of invoices and customer records. And don’t forget the networking idea about customer mailing lists that you picked up from a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting.

There are many different ways that a business owner can improve his or her business model and I would guess that the ultimate goal is to improve the bottom line, whether it comes from a more efficient office procedure or better customer follow-up program. A good business tip will ultimately end in a more profitable business, at least that is what we are hoping will happen as a result of our BBT promotion.

The judging, byThe NEWS’editorial staff, will be subjective. The business tip could be very out-of-the-box or it could be something very average and yet one that provides great results. If it stands out from the rest and results in more business efficiency, productivity, and/or profitability, you could be the winner. Contractors can enter as many tips as they would like. Entry forms are available in our ad on page 17 or you can e-mail your information to me at johnhall@achrnews.com.



MONEY AND FAME TO THE WINNERS

It wouldn’t be fair to have a contest without some sort of incentive to enter, and the BBT is no exception. The first place prize winner will receive $500; second place $300; third place $100.

In addition, I just might drop in on the winning contractor. In any case, I will write a feature story about his or her business for an upcoming issue. The article will feature the winning tip and the person(s) responsible for implementing the successful tip into the business. The second and third place winners will also be featured inThe NEWS,too.

I think that all contractors will benefit from this promotion because it will generate a lot of great ideas from contractors who have already ‘test drove’ the ideas and proved that they work. If we get enough good, useable ideas (and I believe we will), we may publish all of them in a separate publication at a later date.

So here is my challenge to allNEWS’ readers: Send us your best business tip and help raise the bar of professionalism in our trade while raising the profit picture for many of your peers.

Publication Date:08/13/2007