May all - or at least the majority - of the following items become reality for you in 2004.

  • All of your technicians become NATE certified.

  • That you have more leads than you can handle all year long.

  • Your health insurance premiums - health, property, liability, and workers' compensation - are lower.

  • That you have employees who are focused, energetic, have great attitudes, and don't whine.

  • Customers that ask you for accessories.

  • You join an industry group.

  • As part of their normal routine at a home, your techs check for carbon monoxide.

  • A closing ratio of 90 percent on all your sales calls.

  • You give flat-rate pricing a try. (Yes, try it. You may just like it.)

  • Know that your family comes first.

  • Your son or daughter gets into the business.

  • A Yellow Pages rep asks you to reduce your spending in their book.

  • You understand the usage for flexible ducts.

  • May it be a bitter winter and a sizzling summer. (It's good for business, right?)

  • You get involved in the community. (It will pay off.)

  • Teach a class at your local vocational school.

  • Service technicians who fill out paperwork, neatly, timely, and accurately.

  • Do not be afraid to charge what you need to charge.

  • Suppliers that do not run out of equipment when you have already made the sale.

  • A local television station selects your firm to provide HVACR tips for homeowners.

  • "Dateline" does a story on a contractor who quickly and correctly diagnoses the problem and charges the little old lady fairly.

  • All of the positive economic predictions do come true in 2004.

  • A four-letter word (m-o-l-d) goes away.

  • Share the books with employees.

  • All your customers call to thank you for being there when it was their emergency.

  • Enough profits to give every employee double the planned bonuses.

  • You get that desired competitive edge.

  • No natural disasters.

  • Perfect health.

  • Listen to customers.

  • You enter The News' "Best Contractor To Work For" contest in 2004. (You can't win if you do not enter. Look for the entry form next fall.)

  • Hire more women into the field.

  • Be prompt.

  • Be professional.

    Here's hoping that 2004 is even better than 2003 for you.

    Happy New Year!

    Mark Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446, 248-362-0317 (fax), or

    Publication date: 12/29/2003