Don’t give us the brush-off

I must take issue with John Hall concerning a statement he wrote in the “Views and Opinions” section in the article “It’s Time to Shine, not Give Shiners,” April 24, 2000.

Hall wrote that “Contractors are constantly fighting against the garage and back-of-the-van businesses that lowball them and give them a bad name.” I own a “garage” business, I take pride in it, and I am proud to own my company. I was not born rich, and therefore was not “given” a business. I worked hard to get the money needed to start my company. I do very high-quality work, and I am able to do it at lower prices than the “brick-and-mortar” business because of my low overhead.

I actually get many calls from people that have had bad experiences with the brick-and-mortar businesses and I am constantly lowballing them and taking their customers. I will continue to do this as long as I can.

So, please don’t paint all garage businesses with such a broad brush.

Perry Walters


Houston, TX

Questioning Mini-Splits

I have read the article [“Calculating Cost Per Workhour,” July 3, 2000, page 1] by John R. Hall. Due to the fact that I have been in heating and a/c for only six years, I cannot figure out how the ductless system can be better than central a/c.

I have to wonder how can you cool down a room when my kids close their door for privacy. Or, for a matter of fact, how can the cool air get to and around corners and through doorways. I feel that central is more efficient than the ductless type. I also have to say that there is a great need for the ductless system, i.e., A-frames, summer homes, additions, restaurants, etc.

Stephen Lozar

Service Tech

Regional Oil

Port Jervis, NY

Reaching out to drum up techs

Just read [Peter Powell’s] latest article on the tech shortage and he hit it on the nose. I’m a community college a/c instructor and have had a problem getting students for the program. I recently went to several high schools and talked to the counselors about our program, and they said they had no idea of our program. We need to recruit at the high school level and raise the entry-level pay. My son just started a street construction job at $18/hr with no experience.

Advertisement of our programs is a must. High school counselors have finally admitted that we need to get students into our programs and not everyone is academic material for four-year institutions. However, now I need to learn advertising tips or we reach out to the counselors to do just that.

Contractors call to place students but I have few for them. They need to help us recruit the students before we can help the industry.

Vic Cafarchia

HVAC&R Instructor

El Camino College

Torrance, CA

Try flicks tix

After reading John Hall’s article in the July 10News, it made good sense to thank your customers. However, some small contractors do not have the revenue for season passes.

Here may be a good idea that worked when I had my own personal business. Check out the local theatres. Most of them will allow you to buy “movie passes” at a discount price. They usually can be used at first-run shows. This will show your appreciation and also allow the customer to have a good night out. Just a thought.

Jeff Williamson

Engineering Manager

Mammoth, Inc.

Holland, MI