The heat is on and summer is almost here, and managing the flood of service calls for air condition repair can be as extreme as the heat. To make the most of the cooling season, follow these tips from Aire Serv® Franchise Consultant Tommy Dutton to help keep your business running smoothly, your customers happy and your technicians productive and safe.
“It seems like [the customers] all call on the same day or in the same week, and if an owner hasn’t done their job… it’s a real challenge from day one,” Tommy said.
Tommy recommends recruiting technicians year-round. This ensures you will always have someone you can call when you’re looking to hire. Don’t wait until the last minute to hire someone for the busy season; good technicians will have already found a job by then. Rather, change your approach to hiring.
“What owners really need to be doing is recruiting year-round. You need to have a file of people you’ve talked to,” Tommy said. “Have that reserved list of people ready to go, that helps a lot.”
During the slow season reach out to those technicians you’ve had your eye on, invite them to your shop to have a conversation about your business and to explore what you have to offer each other. When the time is right, you will feel comfortable calling that person in for a job interview. This keeps you in control of the hiring process.
You may have your trucks cleaned and stocked, and inventory ready to go in the warehouse, but without customers, it’s not going to make a difference. The customer service representative is one of the most important members on your team during the busy season.
“Even though the owner may have done a great job in getting the technicians out, if you don’t have the right people answering the phones you’re going to lose business before you even have the chance to get into the customer’s home,” Tommy said.
Make certain that your call center is well staffed and representatives are trained to handle a large volume of calls. The customer service representative is the face of your company.
Additionally, avoid the temptation to schedule too many jobs during the busy months. The added business may end up costing you more in staff resources in the long run.
“Probably the biggest thing for the technician and the owner is to fight the temptation to rush through jobs,” said Tommy.
Technicians should focus on quality over quantity. Tommy recommends allowing 4-5 calls per day per technician. This helps ensure the job is done right the first time, increases the quality of your customers’ experiences, and increases the likelihood that you will have a repeat customer. Businesses that make mistakes due to overbooking and rushed jobs damage their reputation with current and future customers.
In addition to your customers, keep your team members in mind during the busy season.
“When it gets really hot most air conditioning company’s can easily work 24/7 and not stop until they drop, so to speak. You’ve got to be conscious of people’s time and their need to rest and recuperate,” said Tommy.
Put the health and well being of your employees first because happy employees make happy customers.
With a little bit of foresight and planning, your business will make it through the summer busy season smoothly.
Aire Serv employs innovative and established methods to build a strong foundation for a successful HVAC business. Those interested in learning more about Aire Serv’s business systems should visit www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com or call 1 (866) 696-1504.
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.
For Jared Teague, working in a heating and air conditioning environment is no stranger to him. His stepdad started Metal Craft in 1963. Metal Craft handled sheet metal work, heating and cooling and design and installs. Teague grew up around the business and has worked in HVAC from a young age.
Teague, and his sister, Carla McMullan, bought Metal Craft about 10 years ago. In 2009, Teague received a phone call about an opportunity to be an Aire Serv franchise. He listened to what they had to say and realized he was already implementing many of the Aire Serv systems. He really enjoyed the benefits Aire Serv had to offer Read more
As February drew to a close last week, The Dwyer Group® celebrated a milestone, the largest-ever orientation of future franchisees at its headquarters in Waco, Texas. The dynamic group of 45 outgrew the company’s Training Lodge and had to move over to the nearby Hilton in downtown Waco.
CEO and Chairwoman Dina Dwyer-Owens commented on the successful event, “Our service brands’ growth and achievements speak volumes in today’s economy that the right team and the right systems are in place. In the state of our economy, more and more people are looking at franchise ownership and our service brands have stood out as the right choice. Already serving the U.S. and Canada with more than 1,300 franchise locations, our growing number of franchisees is proof of the positive impact that The Dwyer Group can make. The 45 future franchisees that we greeted last week is a testament to that.”
Several of the participants in last week’s orientation took a few moments to reflect on their journey in the franchising process that had brought them to The Dwyer Group’s door, and shared some of their reactions to the orientation event.
We believe that The Dwyer Group service brands attract franchisees because of our commitment to our mission, vision and Code of Values, which in turn create a family business atmosphere.
Every franchisee has a story. Each new franchise owner brings a host of skills and leadership abilities to his business that is different from the last.
Future Aire Serv® franchise owner Larry Colley is no exception. Colley joined the Army at the age of 17 and began a 21-year career in the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army Special Forces. With deployments spanning from Somalia to Iraq, Colley received many accolades over his military tenure, including the prestigious Bronze Star. However, Colley had always dreamed with his father of starting his own business.
A TIME article recently highlighted why veterans make excellent entrepreneurs—both are “hard working, dedicated, disciplined, multi-skilled, and self-sufficient… they are strong-willed individuals who put the mission before the man.”
Colley had the leadership skills it takes to own and manage a business: “I’ve spent my entire career leading, teaching, and mentoring,” he says. He also has experience in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry, but didn’t have the tools it took to strike out entirely on his own. After hearing about The Dwyer Group and Aire Serv®, he saw franchising as his solution.
After being approved to open an Aire Serv franchise, the greatest barrier to entry remaining for Colley was the initial franchise fee. Even with his 25% VetFran discount, a daunting figure of over $50,000 still remained. Colley pledged to pay down 20% of the fee, but stumbled across an innovative solution to raise the remaining $42,000.
Boost a Hero is a brand new program powered by startup company Sprigster that allows veterans to raise funds for franchising through crowdfunding, a means of soliciting micro-donations from large groups of people through social media. Through Boost a Hero, Colley will be able to tell his story to a mass audience and will connect with potential donors online.
Boost a Hero’s official fundraising website launched on Saturday, Feb. 11, and is gaining traction online and in the franchising and military communities. Donations start at $1, and result in increasing “perks” as a thank you from The Dwyer Group and Colley personally. For donors, the program allows them to support transitioning veterans in a tangible way. For franchisors, the program helps decrease barriers to entry and in turn, grows their franchise network.
Colley’s wife, Tracy, is also a veteran, and his son, Justin, is currently serving in Afghanistan with plans to return to Florida and join his parents’ new business. Larry Colley’s story as a business owner is just beginning, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him officially to The Dwyer Group family.
To find out more or to make a donation, please visit http://boostahero.com.
By: Leila Roche of the Suffolk News Herald
As the mercury in thermometers is dropping, most people are eager to pull out fall and winter decorations and pull on their boots and gloves.
But homeowners should take the time to ensure their homes and heating systems are just as ready for the change of season.
“You want to make sure your heating system isn’t going to go out at 2 a.m. on a 10-degree night when companies are swamped with calls and you have to wait 10-12 hours to get your heat back on,” said Vinie Copeland, president of Aire Serv of Suffolk franchise. “If you do preventative maintenance now, your chances of that or any other malfunction happening go down.”
Dominion Virginia Power recommends replacing or cleaning filters of forced air furnaces monthly, having your heating system inspected, inspecting your home’s ductwork to ensure no heated air is escaping and sealing up windows and doors with weather stripping or caulk.
“Air leaks are the first thing we look for,” Copeland said. “They can be at the windows, doors and access doors going into an attic. You need to make sure there’s a rubber sweep or something at the bottom of the door and that that your windows are properly sealed. Double pane windows are a good idea.”
If your home isn’t keeping heat like it should, Copeland also recommends taking a look at the insulation in your home. Once the walls are built in a home, it’s hard to do much about insulation, but take a look in your attic.
“Especially if you’ve been living there awhile, your insulation can get moved around while you were getting Christmas decorations or something,” Copeland said. “Either put it back, or put in thicker insulation. It can save homeowners a lot of money over the years.”
One of the most important checkups doesn’t just keep you warm, but it can keep you healthy, as well.
“The emissions from a heater with stress spots or cracks in the heat exchanger can contribute to high levels of carbon monoxide exposure,” Copeland said. “The air we breathe indoors can actually be more dangerous than the air outdoors, so it’s important to check any fuel-burning appliance or heating source to make sure it’s working properly annually.”
While death by carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t common, it can cause less fatal health effects such as headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.
Warning signs that you may have a potential carbon monoxide leak include a gas flame burning orange or yellow instead of blue, sooty stains on heating appliances or around heating registers or a noisy furnace.
Before you turn on the heater for the winter, Aire Serv recommends taking the following precautions:
Install a carbon monoxide detector outside the sleeping quarters on each floor of the home.
Keep generators in a well-ventilated area and away from the house.
Have the furnace and any heating equipment checked by a heating specialist. In addition to cleaning your system, checking refrigerant levels and adjusting your system as needed, your contractor should look for cracks or damage to the heat exchanger.
Remove any clutter around the furnace, particularly flammable items.
Check your furnace air filter monthly and replace as necessary. Air flow can be restricted if the filter is dirty.
Remember that your pets are as attracted to the warm fireplace and heater as you are, so make sure they can’t burn themselves or knock a heat source over.
While it is no secret that beginning your own franchise is challenging, Dina Dwyer-Owens, CEO of The Dwyer Group®, discusses her thoughts on women in the franchise business.
Franchises have a lot of appeal to women. They offer a flexible schedule, perhaps the opportunity to work from home or maybe the chance to go into business with your spouse. Specifically to The Dwyer Group, there are many husband-wife teams in which the women are involved in running the office while the husband is training and inspecting jobs. Some own their own business, keeping in mind that since women are the customers, who better to know what is needed?
But why should women even consider beginning their own franchise? According to Dina, women are naturals when it comes to business. Women are willing to collaborate, organize and hear from a team of people on how to improve.
There are countless women who have founded great franchises, many who have gone unnoticed. “We just can’t ignore that there are great women like Debbi Fields, who started Mrs. Fields® Cookies, one of my favorites. Then there’s Mary Ellen Sheets, a good friend of mine. Her and her daughter, Melanie Bergeron, franchised Two Men and a Truck®. That’s a very nontraditional business for a woman, but you know what? It’s perfect for them because they get what they want from a mover.”
With over 80 industries that are franchising, there are more opportunities to find one geared to a service or product interesting to women. “There are those women who are getting into the very specific-women type businesses. I’ve got some friends who own Young Chefs®. I think women are going toward what attracts them. For some women, it’s not so much that they love plumbing, but they love the idea of making that customer have a wonderful experience with a service provider.”
A great aspect of franchising is that there are businesses to fit all lifestyles. Some, like tutoring or cooking lessons, are more structured for those women who perhaps are looking for that sense of fulfillment or accomplishment during the day when their children are away at school. Others can ask you to devote your day to ensuring the business thrives.
Some words of wisdom from Dina to her female audience:
Think of the opportunities before you anticipate obstacles. There are special programs offered through lending institutions for women getting into business.
One of the most likely hurdles to overcome is the desire to be great at everything; best mother, spouse, business leader. We just have to be happy with letting go or delegating. Try joining IFA, if you are looking for mentorship, where people are so willing to talk and help.
Finally, get clarity about your passions before you get into franchising. Look for what doesn’t feel like work for you. Do your homework, visit the franchise sites and just practice smart business to discover what drives you. It might even be plumbing!
Anyone else noticed how crazy the weather has been this year? Believe it or not at one point this winter there was snow in at least some part of 49 of the 50 states, over 60% of the country blanketed in snow at one time.
Owning your own home service business can be unpredictable, too. At times, there’s too many calls coming in, and there’s no way you can get everything done. Other times, you’re begging for the phone to ring just once. How do you find a balance?
Systems. Plain and simple.
If your business is running on solid systems, like the franchises at Leading the Service Industry, you’ll be better suited to handle variables in the marketplace. Marketing, planning, training and support are just a phone call away.
Keep your customers happy. Keep your staff happy. Find balance with systems.
We have systems in place that easily help you prepare for the unexpected. We can assist you with new technologies, cross marketing, national advertising, an established brand and networking that can help you avoid the dry spells by constantly increasing your customer base.
When times are busy, our customer delivery system, pricing system, and technologies will help ensure that you have the most efficient route, quick and easy pricing and estimates, and technology that will help you and your crew get the job done faster.
Get prepared for whatever storm may come your way.
It’s almost that time again. The grass is starting to get greener, temperatures are starting to get warmer, it means spring is right around the corner and with spring comes spring cleaning. Our franchises focus on getting houses in tip top shape, but have you ever thought about what kind of cleaning up your business needs?
When you join our team we can help you clean up and organize your business so it runs more easily, efficiently and effectively. We have tried and true methods that can help you “clean up” a number of different aspects of your business, including:
- Adding technologies that will improve your customer delivery system, saving you time and money.
- New strategies for recruiting, compensation and retention that can help improve your employee turnover rates, increase your profit margins and help you build a base of loyal customers.
- Assistance with financial management and “keeping up” the books.
- Statistical tracking, research and development to help you better focus your business efforts and marketing campaigns on the groups that will be most profitable.
- Providing you with an already established brand name and reputation as well as free national marketing and a huge network of other franchisees you can cross market with.
Who says spring cleaning can’t be fun? Clean out your business life and start fresh this year. Get the systems. Get the support. Get in gear – your solution is just a click away.
1. Learning From Experience. Leading the Service Industry is about systems. We’ve developed these systems after years of experience in the field with customers. The “front line” of home service. This experience and expertise is immediately at your fingertips. Your franchise coach and other franchise owners are there to help you navigate through day-to-day business with ease.
2. Brand recognition. Your company has a recognizable and respected brand. Years of marketing, national exposure and a history of quality instantly make your business the most trusted service brand in town.
3. Help with Business Functions. Do you know your numbers? Do you know exactly how efficient (or inefficient) your business is operating? Your franchise coach and a team of small business experts are only a phone call or e-mail away. And they’re working every day of the year to research the industry to keep all of our franchise owners on the cutting edge of home service.
4. Training. The cornerstone of a solid business starts with the right training. After becoming a franchisee, you will be part of a world-class initial training course. And throughout the year, there are ongoing training meetings that are regional, online or on-site at your location. We can help you stay ahead of the changing marketplace.
5. High Success Rate. We succeed when you succeed. Year after year, studies and surveys prove franchise businesses have a much higher success rate than independent businesses. That’s because with a franchise, you have a full support team, advice from other franchise owners and much more purchasing power (more on that later).
6. Cross Marketing. You’re not alone in your local market. Because of the different concepts in our franchise network, your customers now have a hometown service team. You can partner with other franchise owners in your market to create a home service powerhouse.
7. Purchasing Power. Buy more. Pay less. It’s simple. Leading the Service Industry partners you with other franchise owners to deliver the best materials for the lowest prices. With so many franchisees, we have negotiated great rates on everything you need to run your business. Discounts and rebates on your favorites – vehicles, insurance, tools, parts, supplies, marketing materials and more. We want to make sure you don’t waste a penny.
8. Improve Your System. Time is money. And fuel is money. Don’t waste anything. Our systems and use of technology can help your company run more efficiently so your technicians aren’t wasting valuable time on service calls. We can help you find the best customers, deliver fast, quality service and be on the cutting edge.
9. Networking. Leading the Service Industry is made up of more than 1,500 franchise owners – their expertise and experience are at your service. Regional meetings and our annual Reunion (in June in San Antonio this year) are a great place to exchange ideas and improve your operations.
10. Prepare for Future Competition. With a stronger, more solid foundation, your company will be well represented in your local market. We’re working every day to help you succeed.