When Eric and Amy Pace were first approached about buying an Aire Serv® franchise they were skeptical. At first, the Paces were wary of how becoming a franchise would impact their family’s small business. However, since acquiring the Aire Serv of Fort Bend name in 2009, Eric and Amy Pace now see their HVAC business in a different light.
“You’ve built this business, you’ve built this baby and you don’t want someone coming in and tearing it apart,” Amy said. “But I think that The Dwyer Group® and Aire Serv teach you how to work smarter. They teach you how to be a business person and how to be proactive and not reactive in your business.”
Based in Houston, Eric and Amy were high school sweethearts. Eric worked for his father’s HVAC business for 18 years before he and Amy decided to start their own HVAC company. When they first started, Amy took customer calls, and Eric was in the field going to job sites.
“Before we started Aire Serv, I was in the office and he was out in the truck on the tools all day, everyday. I think what has happened is that Aire Serv taught us that in order to be a business owner that has to change,” said Amy.
By taking a proactive stance in managing their business, the Paces began to move forward in achieving their goals. They have come a long way with Aire Serv in four years. Today, the Paces operate an HVAC business that employs eight full-time staff with five technicians and three trucks on the road. As their operation has grown, the Paces can have a more balanced lifestyle.
“We recently hired a person to answer phones after hours. Before then I was tied to a phone 24/7. It’s kinda weird to be at home and I can leave my phone somewhere and it’s not a big deal,” said Eric.
Eric and Amy now work in the office together with their desks facing each other. Amy jokes that Eric has time now to take her out to lunch.
Beyond a work life balance, the Paces say the greatest value that Aire Serv has brought to their business is the network of support that an HVAC franchise provides. They attend annual training events, and maintain close contact with their Franchise Consultant.
“There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. It all works, but it takes time,” said Amy. “I think that’s where the help of the Franchise Consultant comes in. They help you figure out what’s going to be your next step.”
The Paces have also found support from other franchisees, as well. The couple says they reach out to other Aire Serv owners and use them as a sounding board for new ideas or for implementing a new system with their staff.
“Sometimes employees will push back when there is change. I will say there is a business just up the road doing the same thing and seeing results. We know it’s proven. We know it’s working everyday,” Eric said.
Amy added, “Normally, A/C guys that own companies don’t talk to each other and they don’t help each other. But the beauty about Aire Serv is, yes, there are other Aire Servs around here, but we aren’t competitors. We’re all in it together. That has been our greatest value, the camaraderie and being able to bounce ideas off each other.”
Eric and Amy Pace have been with Aire Serv since 2009. The pair has three teenage boys who all have a role in the family business. The Paces are also leaders actively involved in their community. For nine years, Eric has been a Scout Master for Boy Scouts of America. The family is also actively involved with their church.
Londa and her oldest daughter Carie didn’t plan on working together in the family business. In fact, Carie had a 17-year career working outside the HVAC industry, but when the heating and air conditioning company needed a manager for its second location, Carie saw it as an opportunity to be closer to her parents.
Working together in the business has given Carie and Londa a new perspective on their relationship. They learn from each other and have forged a deep feeling of mutual respect for the role each of them plays.
“When she goes out she can represent herself, she can represent the business and she can represent the family. She communicates very well. I didn’t realize that growing up or working elsewhere. I have to work on that. I don’t know if it comes naturally for her, but it appears that it does!” Carie said.
Londa has also learned from her daughter and recognizes what Carie has brought to their family business.
“Carie has a real knack in dealing with people and a real heart for people. Almost too much so! She cares about whether they are uncomfortable. For example, if she hears of an elderly person that is without heat, she will make sure that portable heaters are taken over there,” said Londa. “I think being older, I am a little more impatient. But what she does really pays off. We hear it back from the customer—how much they appreciate the service. They’ll sing her praises.”
Communication Is Key
As mother and daughter team, Londa and Carie look out for each other. They know each other so well that they can easily tell when the other is having a bad day, is overloaded or isn’t feeling well. They work together to share responsibilities.
“We’ve been around each other enough to know when to say, ‘You don’t feel good today, do you?’ and we are able to say that. We can be considerate of each other in that way,” said Carie.
Both Londa and Carie agree that their family bond has positively impacted their business as a whole.
“There are moments of tension, but there is also an understanding that is very deep, and that carries over to the people who work here. The communication is good,” Londa said. “It works very well. We have two other people in the office and it’s the same with them.”
For some, working with family members can be tough. If a slightly stressful moments between the two, they communicate by asking clarifying questions, and Londa treats her daughter as she would any other staff member.
“Sure in our business there can be a lot of tension, something didn’t get done right, someone hasn’t paid us; we would like to have everything running smoothly. But I think we make a great team for working through things,” Londa said.
Each Aire Serv location has a unique story, as all Aire Serv franchises are independently owned and operated. To learn more about turning your HVAC business into an Aire Serv, check out www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com or leave us a comment using the form in the right column of this page.
In 2012, Dina Dwyer-Owens, Chairwoman and CEO of the Dwyer Group®, donned a cap, a wig, and a set of pearls to go undercover in her very own company. Faith Brown, Dina’s undercover alias, was an ordinary office assistant who was ready to trade-in her desk for a drill to get hands-on experience as a technician. As Dina received hands-on training in four different branches of her franchise, she not only received valuable insight into the front-line operations of her company, but also met some of the extraordinary people who make The Dwyer Group a leader in the service industry.
Deeply dedicated to her employees, her father’s vision, and a strong advocate for the company’s Code of Values®, Dina continuously demonstrates the qualities of an “epic boss” even after her experiences on the original episode. As such, Dina is scheduled to appear on a special episode of “Undercover Boss: Epic Bosses” airing nationally at 8 p.m. EST, Friday, May 17 on CBS.
Be sure to tune in with Dina as she reflects on the impact of her experiences as Faith Brown, and how The Dwyer Group has grown since last year. In the meantime, Dina shares her wisdom and experience for being an epic boss.
“The best tips I have for being a great boss is to focus on the 3 things that help a boss be great,” says Dina.
- Be your Best Authentic Self- in my case it’s living my faith and leading the company by living R.I.C.H.:
- Customer focus
- Having fun in the process
- Surround yourself with a great team, both professionally and personally.
- Have clear systems for success and train to those systems.
To learn how to apply systems for success, recruit a strong team, and implement the Code of Values® into your current business visit www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com or call 1 (866) 656-1504 for more information.
This Veterans Day, we at The Dwyer Group are choosing to celebrate new hope for returning veterans amidst discouraging veteran unemployment numbers, particularly young and female populations. Rather than focus on the negative, we’re proud to join with the International Franchise Association and fellow member companies in recognizing veteran success stories– bold men and women who have been able to find business opportunities, franchise opportunities, and new careers in the face of obstacles, economic or otherwise.
Rowley Mayo, Mr. Appliance owner in Twin Cities area of Minneapolis, is one such individual. After serving in the Marine Corps from 1970 to 1974, Mayo entered into a corporate career as an executive in finance and IT. However, in the August of 2009, like many other Americans he found that his position had been eliminated. Late in his career, wtih lots of experience and higher salary requirements, he knew that it would be difficult to find a comparable position, so he decided to open a business. Read more
Holiday season is right around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing for the upcoming hectic months. As frenzied as they may be, this is a rare time when friends and family and can all get together in one place. Before you sit down for some quality family time, do know if your home is as ready as you are for the holidays?
It is never too early to begin preparations for possible house guests. Aside from the normal end-of-the- year cleaning and decking the halls with lights and festive trinkets, there are several things that you can do to make sure that your holiday plans go off without a hitch.
At The Dwyer Group’s Annual Reunion in Sept. 2012, Aire Serv® announced its franchisee awards in conjunction with its 20th anniversary celebration. The top honor recognized Elton and Anna Stewart, of the Aire Serv of Shreveport franchise, as the Aire Serv Franchisee of the Year. Aire Serv presents this award to the franchisee that has consistently grown through proper training and has a consistently high level of success through quality and professional service.
Even though the economy “wasn’t the best” when they opened their Aire Serv franchise five years ago, the Stewarts report that their business has “grown dramatically because of what Aire Serv has told us to do and implementing the systems that we have.” Read more
When providing world-class heating and air conditioning service to your customers, do you also take the time to provide a world-class experience if the customer needs groceries taken into their house, a flat tire changed or the batteries in their smoke detectors replaced? Do your employees take the initiative to show customers how the Code of Values® affects them?
At the Aire Serv® of Mid-Michigan, Dennis and Carol Wissner have worked on training their team to take the customer experience to the next level. That flat tire? Their home comfort designer Mike Russell, and two-time service professional of the year, Travis VanAlstine, took time out of their schedule to fix a customer’s tire and acquired an “extremely thankful and enamored customer.”
Of course, implementing the World Class Frontline Service System, weekly team training and “wrapping their heads” around the financial systems took time. Read more
At last count, Neal DiSanti had more than 70 reviews for his Aire Serv® of N. Dallas Metroplex franchise on Angie’s List®. From maintenance to replacement leads, DiSanti claims that the reviews have been pivotal to gaining new customers driving sales.
Before opening his Aire Serv franchise, however, DiSanti admits that his previous company had flat-lined. As a general maintenance company, he was using similar systems to the Aire Serv worldclass frontline service system and understood the importance of creating value in the customer experience. However, increasing prices and managing a team were new concepts to him. Read more
In today’s age of mobile phones, email, and texting, there’s still nothing better than a face-to-face conversation, especially when it could change your life and your business in a huge way. One great way that you can find out more about our concepts is by meeting up with our team at an industry trade show. Most trade shows that we attend will have not only a corporate representative available to talk to you, but current franchise owners much like you who have recently gone through the process of opening one of our franchises. You can arrange a meeting ahead of time by contacting our franchise development team before an event. Here are some upcoming trade shows and special events that you can meet us at. We hope to see you there!