Quick: Think of three projects that your company has completed in the past year. Were the three you thought of a positive or negative experience? If they were positive, congratulations, as you are in the minority of individuals that truly see the glass half full.
You see, the human brain has something the psychology folks call a negative bias. This is the universal tendency that bad events affect us much more than comparable good events. This can certainly be traced back to our ancestors, who were just simply trying to stay alive. It was more important to focus on not eating a poisonous berry than it was to savor the great-tasting berries. As the saying goes, life has to win every day and death only has to win once.
Regrettably, this has infiltrated our media. I am sure you have heard the saying “if it bleeds, it leads.” Bad news equals eyeballs, while good news makes folks change the channel.
As an HVAC business owner, it is important to be aware of this and make sure you don’t get caught up in that line of thinking. It is easy to see all the reports of COVID-19 spiking again, unemployment rates in double digits, and people getting paid more on unemployment than they would receive while working — and feel the desire to throw your hands up. I am not saying these are not legitimate concerns that should be considered as you run your business. They certainly are. But know that there are a lot of contractors out there who are thriving this summer.
Take Gary Marowske and Flame Furnace as an example. Flame is in Metro Detroit, which was one of the areas hardest hit by COVID back in March. This was coming off a mild Michigan winter that had the company falling short of its projections.
Things were bleak at that time. But Flame was able to work with its bank and secured money as part of the Paycheck Protection Program during the first wave. That helped the company weather the storm. They received the money on April 22, and the following Monday, everyone at the company was back at work.
Fast forward to July, and Flame is coming off a June that was its second-best month in the history of the company — and we are talking about a company that has been around for 71 years.
A lot of times, HVAC can be a weather-driven business, and the Metro Detroit area has been seeing its fair share of 90-degree days. As one contractor told me years ago, “an air conditioner can’t break unless it is running.”
But Marowske thinks that it is more than just the weather that is driving the numbers. Their plumbing business is way up also.
“I just think there is a lot of pent-up demand,” Marowske said. “With COVID, people were staying at home and not spending any money. Now they try to turn on their a/c and it is not working right.”
Flame is seeing customers much more willing to replace instead of repair.
“We are in a good place,” he said. “The government has been generous with unemployment and stimulus money. If you are retired, your income hasn’t been affected. People are back to spending money.”
Flame has added around 15 employees during this comeback and is looking to fill five more positions. Marowske said while finding talent is always tough, the company is seeing some higher-quality candidates than they have in the past.
Marowske’s story is not one you will find on the nightly news. And according to the psychologists, even if you did, you probably would not remember it. But keep in mind that there are a lot of Flame Furnace-type success stories around the country, surviving and thriving in the realm of HVAC.
Make your business one of these stories.