As I was looking through my world-class stack of business cards the other day, I came across a company with an interesting moniker. The Service Company (TSC) is located in Greer, S.C. The company president is Larry Sinn. Under the company name is the slogan "Where Customers Send Their Friends."

Sinn founded the company in 1984 as a retail service business. He added air conditioning in 1987. He hired Howard Klinetop as his first service tech. Klinetop is still with the company as the technical services manager.

What's In A Name?

I contacted Sinn and asked him a few questions about The Service Company and how he and his employees were able to live up to that name every day. My first question was the origin of the company name.

"I started with TSC Inc.," Sinn said. "It was fine while we were doing construction, but when we started into service, everyone wanted to know what it meant. About '89 I made a list of 20 things that TSC could mean, and The Service Company sounded the best. About a year later, we had it on all of the trucks."

When Sinn decided to expand out beyond HVAC, he didn't have to think of a new name.

"Having a name with service that was nonspecific has helped as we have moved into plumbing and electrical service because we did not have to change the name as we added," he said. "It is also a problem because people say that they have heard of The Service Company but don't know what we do."

With service in his company's name, Sinn makes sure his employees live up to high ideals when it comes to customer care. Like many companies, TSC has a mission statement. It reads, "We serve by creating the most effective environment in the world. We further use this statement in our meetings and training sessions to challenge our employees to live up to the standard of The Service Company."

He displays the name proudly on his company vehicles and television and print advertising. Sinn also hosts a Web site at The informative site points out the value of service agreements and the value of "comfort" to the visitors who think that A/C only cools and furnaces only heat.

Sinn is always striving to make the Internet experience more meaningful. "The Web site is just an excuse for our communication needs," he said. "We are in the process of updating this site and changing the name to"

The Service Company employs 50 people and serves Greenville-Spartanburg and surrounding areas in upstate South Carolina. In 2003, revenue was $5.25 million. Sinn said he is on track for revenues of $6.5 million in 2004.

Sinn and his company can point to a long list of awards and recognitions, including an award for Small Business of the Month for April 2004 presented by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.

In February 2004 TSC was named the No. 1 Lennox dealer for the Charlotte District, which includes the Carolinas and parts of Virginia and Tennessee, for the sales and installation of the Dave Lennox Signature Series heating and air conditioning equipment.

Sinn has also been recognized for his contributions to the HVACR trade by two leading independent contractor organizations, Nexstar and International Service Leadership (ISL).

I'd say that the company has been living up to its name.

John Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 248-244-1294, 248-362-0317 (fax), or

Publication date: 05/17/2004