How many of you remember the old argument you used on your parents when you couldn’t get your way: “Well, everybody else is doing it!”

Then your parents would come back with another golden oldie, “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?” The imaginative kid would say, “Sure, I’ve got a parachute!”

So what is your company’s parachute? When times get lean, do you have a good plan to keep your business growing? And will your parachute be big enough to float you to safety?

Many businesses — not necessarily hvacr contractors — are ensuring a safe landing by backing up their bricks-and-mortar business with an Internet presence, namely having a company website. It’s not enough in today’s e-commerce world to rely on past business models.

Your competitors don’t.

One might argue that the best advertising/marketing medium is word-of-mouth or keeping a slew of repeat customers, who not only sing your praises but who also provide a steady revenue stream for your business. That’s fine as long as everyone else is doing the same thing.

But they’re not.

I could produce a multitude of reasons why hvacr contractors should utilize the Web to promote their business. If you’re a faithful reader of this space, you know that I’ve dropped the hint more than once in the past.

This week, though, I’m not going to harp on using the Web for advertising or marketing. Instead, I’m going to talk about it for recruiting.

Online Recruiting

With over 30 websites devoted entirely to hvacr employee recruiting (those that feature employees seeking jobs and employers posting job openings), it is no wonder that the contractors are hopping on the proverbial bandwagon calledWeb recruiting.

Let’s take a typical scenario. And, let’s say you don’t have a website.

You are looking for a project manager. So you go to a site like and search for employees who match your qualifications. You are fortunate enough to find a couple of candidates that look promising. You e-mail them with a letter of inquiry.

They e-mail you back, wanting to know more about your company. Darn, you’ve got an appointment. You put the inquiry off.

They e-mail you again. Still busy, you suggest that they call your office to obtain more information about the company.

They call the office and talk to one of your managers. This procedure takes 10 to 15 minutes of your manager’s time — if he has time to talk at all. After all, he has to visit a customer with a proposal and is running late.

So he has to cut your prospect’s inquiries short. Your potential employee is frustrated, not able to comprehend your company’s lack of high tech prowess.

If only you had a website.


With a website, you could have directed your prospect to your site to learn more about your company, your employees, and your customers (who contributed a few testimonials for your site). You could project some semblance of “high tech-ness.” This wouldn’t tie up your time or your employees’. It would cost you nothing except a moment to return an e-mail. So maybe you want to keep off the Internet, sans a few e-mails here and there. After all, you have your customers and traditional means of adding more. Who needs a website? You. Yes, my friends, everyone else is doing it.

Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 734-542-6214; 734-542-6215 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 03/26/2001