It looks like they are getting the HVAC band back together.
I’m talking about Jim Abrams and Terry Nicholson, who made quite a mark on the industry before cashing in their chips when they sold Clockwork Home Services — the parent company of One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning — to Direct Energy for $183 million almost six years ago.
Abrams has founded, or been involved as an executive of, eight nationally recognized companies over the last four decades. Some of our older readers will recognize organizations like Home Energy Savers/AirExperts, Contractors Success Group, and Buy Max.
“He is the Dale Carnegie of HVAC success,” Nicholson said.
And Nicholson should know, as he’s been Abrams’ right-hand man for much of this journey. He started off his HVAC career as a commission salesperson for AirExperts and eventually led all the franchise brands at Clockwork Home Services. Many of today’s trainers have been trained by Nicholson, who has been mentored by Abrams for 23 years.
NEW CONTRACTOR GROUP
Being the Type-A personalities that they are, retirement is not really in the vocabulary of Abrams and Nicholson. So, shortly after their non-compete agreements from the Clockwork Home Services sales were complete, the duo was at it again.
This time they focused on the smaller HVAC contractor. According to their research, 62 percent of HVAC contractors consist of four employees or less while 18 percent have between five and 10 employees. Only 8.5 percent of HVAC contractors employ more than 20 people.
Nicholson believes every market has three or four contractors that fit the “large contractor” description.
“Small contractors battle for market supremacy against large contractors,” Nicholson said. “They lack the resources to train, advertise, and market like large contractors. This creates many obstacles for small contractors that threatens their ability to survive and makes it difficult to grow.”
Abrams and Nicholson are launching PRAXIS S-10 with Jimmy Hiller, owner of Nashville, Tennessee-based Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric. Hiller has grown his company from one truck to 12 locations in three states. They describe the group as a “success college for contractors.” Being a part of this group means you will also have access to the model they are calling PriceFixer.
Nicholson said members would receive four major components, including PRAXIS S-10, PriceFixer, savings on purchases, and training solutions.
“This is an innovative business model that is going to rock the HVAC world,” Nicholson said. “Larger contractors will not be able to apply it to their existing businesses.”
Like any good salesperson, Nicholson was noticeably vague when it came to specifics on the four components. He is the master at giving you enough to get you interested but not so much that you won’t still show up at his event, call his organization, etc.
At times I felt like Chuck Todd trying to get Donald Trump to give an answer other than, “It will be great.” Of course, the big difference is that Nicholson has a track record of accomplishing great things in this arena. He seems confident this organization will offer the right recipe for small HVAC contractors.
Whether this is going to “rock the HVAC industry” or if the secret sauce is as transparent as that of the McDonald’s Big Mac (it is just Thousand Island dressing) will be answered by the marketplace.
But, either way, it is motivating to talk with someone so passionate about the HVAC industry and educating contractors. These men could spend the rest of their days drinking cocktails on the beach, but they have chosen to get back in the game. I respect that.
At the end of the day, the HVAC industry can’t be hurt by more education among its members.
If you are interested in this new group, visit www.staysmallearn200K.com.
Publication date: 8/1/2016