Christmas is just a few short days away, and even if you don’t celebrate the holidays, it’s hard to deny there’s something in the air. People are nicer, happier, more generous, and much more willing to go the extra mile for their friends, families, and even strangers. It’s my favorite time of year for that reason, and I wish that spirit of giving would last all year long. Luckily, for you and your customers, it can.

Giving Back

For many contractors, the holidays are a time to give back to their employees, customers, and communities. At Oliver Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical in Morton, Pennsylvania, giving back to families in need is a company-wide affair.

“Right after Christmas, we do the Heat for the Holidays program,” said Shanna Reimer, marketing coordinator at Oliver. “We started taking nominations back in September for local families who need a new heating system and can’t afford one. Once they’re selected, we install [the system] absolutely free of charge, and the work is done by employees who are donating their time.”

But the holidays aren’t the only time Oliver gives back to the community, and there are numerous other HVAC businesses across the U.S. that make it a point to donate their time, energy, and resources to those in need all year long.

Earlier this year, Goettl Good Guys Air Conditioning in Tempe, Arizona, helped replace five damaged air conditioning units at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Phoenix. In September, Winters Home Services, Cambridge, Massachusetts, sponsored the 126-mile Harbor to the Bay charity bike ride, which raised funds to support the fight against HIV. Uniweld Products Inc. employees in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, donated blood to OneBlood in October. And Luxaire, a brand of Johnson Controls Inc., has donated more than $3 million to Make-A-Wish throughout its 13-year sponsorship. There are numerous companies out there that keep the spirit of giving alive all year; to read about some of them, scroll through our Newsline section at

The Extra Mile

Generosity and kindness does not necessarily require a grandiose gesture, however. For some, small acts of kindness can leave a lasting impression.

I was talking with The NEWS’ 2014 Best Instructor winner Brian Forbes, who is an HVACR instructor at Manatee Technical Institute in Bradenton, Florida. At Manatee, Forbes’ class is the last class future HVACR techs take before graduating, and he runs them through the ringer to make sure their technical skills and critical thinking abilities are well developed. But, he also takes the time to make sure their soft skills are up to par, too. He tells them to be on time, courteous, well-dressed, and professional — but it doesn’t stop there. Equally as important, he said, is to go the extra mile for the customer.

“I always like to use the garden hose scenario,” Forbes said. “You go to someone’s home and as you reach for the garden hose, you find it all wadded up and knotted in the corner. You take three minutes and you unwind it, and you get out the knots and you stretch it. Then, you go clean out the condensing unit as best you can. When you’re done with the garden hose, what do you do with it? You throw it back in the corner? No, you don’t — you coil it up nice and neatly.”

It’s the small things that mean the most. So, however you celebrate the holidays this year, be sure to hang on to that spirit of giving into 2015 and beyond.

Publication date: 12/22/2014

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