Continuous improvement: The HVAC service brand adapts with the times

One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning has been looking after houses across the country for hours. Today, when we reflect on the tumultuous year companies have operated across the board, we are reminded of the importance of adapting to consumer needs and new market trends

For us, this means remaining flexible, developing customer offers, introducing innovative technologies and improving the in-home experience. We have continuously adapted our business model over the past 18 years. This was the key to our success. That’s why we’ve been number one HVAC company on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list for the past 6 years. However, as we ponder our growth, it is important to remember where we came from and what hard work it took to get where we are today.

The company started out as an affinity group called the Contractor Success Group. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC installers across the country shared best practices and worked together to strengthen their independent businesses, which ultimately led to the creation of an organized franchise group called Clockwork in 1998. Later known as Clockwork Home Services, the company’s portfolio that included Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, and Mister Sparky. I joined the company in 2004 working my way from trainer to manager and now to vice president of operations. The transformation I’ve seen over the past 16 years has been incredible and now that we’re part of the Authority Brands family, our journey is only accelerating.

Previously, our training was primarily focused on helping the owner learn the answering machine and properly communicate with a prospect. Now we’re teaching our owners how to run a business, focusing on areas like finance, effective leadership, sales tactics, management, team building, and more. We also have a strong focus on reputation management, promoting individual businesses through social media, interactive websites, and supporting public relations. Our marketing efforts have come a long way when getting an ad in the Yellow Pages was a key tactic.

In addition, the technology that we have implemented in our business has advanced rapidly. To stay relevant, adopting innovative technologies must be a priority for all businesses. Almost 95 percent of our system work on iPads. We can use these tablets to give homeowners presentations of potential work, view the appointment history and even accept payments. We have also started offering advanced smart home technology that monitors a home’s HVAC levels 24/7. If a problem is detected, an alert will be sent to our technicians immediately and an appointment will be made. While we’re thrilled to have introduced this type of technology, the company can’t do all of the credit. Our best ideas and innovations come from the contributions of our franchisees as we truly consider our relationship with them as partners, and not just as franchisees and franchisors.

The bond we have forged with our network of franchisees is the main reason we have continued to be successful. Our franchisees have adhered to our five core values: professionalism, honesty, understanding, accountability and fun. The unwavering belief that we are improving the lives of the customers we serve and the unwavering trust that is built with every visit have allowed us to remain an integral part of the daily lives of homeowners. Regardless of the operational changes the brand has made over time, we have maintained an exemplary level of service, kept our promise to be on time, and continued to be committed to providing quality products and warranties. As you stay true to yourself, you make a greater impact on those you serve.

As we look ahead, we need to remember never to be complacent. The work doesn’t stop there if you succeed. In fact, I am suggesting the exact opposite. We need to work harder and ask ourselves important questions such as: How can we help increase ROI for our franchisees? How can we improve the bottom line? How can we better serve as leaders? What tools do we need to make our services more effective?

This is how we stay at the forefront of the HVAC industry and build on an even bigger future. One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning achieved so much during his tenure and I look forward to the next 10 years.

Lance Sinclair is Vice President of Operations at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Mister Sparky.

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