Relationships are a big part of human life.

As people, most of us enjoy interacting with other human beings. It’s natural. At the end of the day, we all want to be loved by someone, right? Isn’t that what The Beatles sang about in their early years?

That’s what makes human life so interesting. No day is the same, whether you’re plugging away at a keyboard like myself, or installing air conditioners, such as yourself. The relationships we form, cultivate, and sometimes even mend are our backbone.

I’ve personally spent the last three years cultivating a relationship of my own, which we celebrated through marriage just a few weeks ago. Enduring such a big life change, I’ve really examined what relationships mean to me, and how they affect how we humans operate.

It was during this time that I began to reflect on my job, as well, thinking a lot about how my world now revolves around the HVAC industry. I feel like I have a blooming relationship with HVAC, too. And, I’m noticing that as important as our personal, human relationships are, business relationships can be just as important.

There’s No ‘I’ in ‘Team’

The HVAC world has certainly seen its fair share of new, cultivated business relationships in the past 12 months.

During the last year, the HVAC industry has welcomed a variety of mergers, partnerships, memorandums of understanding, etc. From Daikin’s acquisition of Goodman late last year, to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and RESNET signing an MOU a few months ago, to a recent announcement that ACCA and Building Performance Institute Inc. (BPI) are exploring opportunities on behalf of the home-performance contracting industry.

It seems like partnerships are all the rage right now in the industry.

Just like human relationships, business partnerships can end up with fantastic, storybook endings just as quickly as they can head south.

Relationships are often best served when both parties are compatible. Businesses that complement each other make a great case as partners. That’s why the partnership with ACCA and RESNET makes sense. It’s two sides who can greatly benefit from the other party’s expertise. The partnership affords ACCA a further foothold in home performance, which is becoming a bigger deal by the day, and for RESNET, it grants them access to thousands of HVAC contractors to team with their HERS raters. It just makes sense. And regarding the aforementioned BPI and ACCA partnership, the sky’s the limit!


But how do you know if you’ve picked the right partner? Simple. It takes due diligence. Just like you’d never rush headfirst into a marriage (at least, I hope you wouldn’t), you shouldn’t marry your company to another without ensuring it’s a proper fit. Take your time and find out what makes them tick, how they do business, what their strengths and faults are, and how they treat clients and customers. Similarly, you’ll want to be on your best behavior during this honeymoon phase as well. Be sure to show how you do business and why a potential long-term partnership makes sense, because if it doesn’t make sense, it’s never going to make dollars.

The big key is not to rush it.

Similarly, when you’re vetting a potential relationship, don’t be afraid to run for the hills. After all, your business is your business for a reason. Success is achieved through positive, strong business decisions. If a potential partner scares you, repeatedly does something dumb, or just won’t change for the better, break it off. You don’t want to risk your neck for a company that doesn’t have the same regard for you.

Now, I’ll admit to being a bit of a control freak myself. I sometimes like to do things a certain way, or be in control of a situation (I’d rather drive 12 straight hours than hand over the wheel to someone who I think isn’t very good at driving), so, for me, partnerships require a great deal of trust. As a business owner, perhaps you feel the same way.

Both personal and business relationships can be great. You just have to make sure you are making the right choices for the right reasons. We are all constantly looking for ways to better ourselves (and/or our business) and forming functional, compatible relationships is a steadfast method to achieving your goals. As long as you do your due diligence, chances are you won’t be burned.

And let me tell you, there’s no better feeling than when a good plan comes together. I’m a lucky guy and I’m confident this honeymoon will last for years to come.

Publication date: 10/7/2013

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