Protecting Your Company’s Assets

Regarding John R. Hall’s article on doing business in troubled urban areas (“The Challenges Facing Urban Contractors,” July 14), I am reminded of a job we did in a tobacco distributor warehouse.

We cover the entire Philadelphia five-county area. The job was in an isolated area and a little “rough.” On the first day, tools were stolen from our locked truck. On the second day, no one touched our truck. I put a damaged coffin with a large lavender bow on it inside the truck — with all of our tools inside. Problem solved.

We also have had German shepherd dogs in our yard — Colonel Klink and Hogan. No one got into the trucks, but one morning we found a man on top of one of our trucks.

Marvin E. Kanze
Marvin E. Kanze Inc.
Havertown, Pa.

The Challenge Of Payment Collection

I work in a family-owned business and, yes, I am in the family. I had developed a system of collections for the branch where I worked. But in a full company meeting one day, I realized that at the other branch, they just simply ignored it. No one wanted the job, so I volunteered. The collection process was tedious at first; some billings were three to five years old. The process forced us to make the decision to be a cash-only service company. This has greatly reduced my load.

The key is having someone in that position that enjoys it. I saw it as a challenge and every dollar I collected was a dollar everyone else complained about, but no one wanted to tackle. It has often required creativity — such as sending someone right now to pick up the money or check. I set up a schedule to call and remind customers each week/month. But when that money goes in the checking account — wow, that feels good.

Even though we basically operate on a cash-only format, there are commercial customers that are still billed. Part of the deal there is learning their ropes — who to mail it to or fax it to, do they require PO numbers, does the local store have to sign and approve the work order, does the local store have to fill out a form to go along with the bill. Making good notes of these types of things means they don’t have my money any longer than they should. And, to be honest, some retail stores change managers so often, I feel like I train them on what to do with my invoice.

Just some thoughts from someone who loves the challenge.

Susan Walker
Stiles Heating & Cooling Inc.
Anderson, S.C.

There Ought To Be A Law Mandating Air Conditioning

[Editor’s note:This letter is in response to John R. Hall’s column, “Mandating Nursing Home A/C,” Aug. 18.]

In the 2001-2002 Michigan legislative session, Senate Bill No. 599 of 2001 was introduced to require air conditioning in nursing homes. The bill is located at

Unfortunately, the bill died in committee with no action. Arguments advanced against the bill included:

“The cost of all nursing home operations would increase and those costs have to be passed on to the patients.”

“Certain nursing homes are able to offer cheaper housing since they don’t have the expense of buying and operating air conditioning systems.”

“Residents have the option of spending more per month in order to stay at a home with better temperature control (and other IAQ considerations).”

Since Michigan’s Senate is nearly all brand new (as a result of term limits), it is possible that a bill introduced in the current session might have a better chance of passing. We would certainly support any legislation that would require air conditioning in nursing homes and other facilities for critical senior citizen housing.

Lynn Briggs
Executive Director
Michigan Chapter — Air Conditioning Contractors of America
Lansing, Mich.

Publication date: 09/01/2003