Tom Edwards

Following a successful 13-year career with ever-increasing responsibilities at Trane, Tom Edwards joined Ruskin as Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 1993. In 1995, he became President of The Ruskin Group. In addition to managing the extensive line of Ruskin air control products, Edward’s responsibility includes Lau Industries, Ruskin Rooftop Systems, Ruskin Air Management of the UK, and Eastern Sheet Metal. An active member of ASHRAE, AHRI,  Green Building Council, and AMCA, Edwards is a past-President of AMCA. He has a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an M.B.A. from Penn State.


Articles by Edwards, Tom

5 Steps To Connect Messaging to Sales

Use language and concepts that resonate with customers so they see your differentiators as value and won't mind paying a higher price.
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5 Steps To More Effective Mobile Device Demos

The "art" of using mobile demonstrations to close business sales and sell more HVAC equipment and systems.
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5 Corporate Blunders that Cripple Sales Efforts

These are the five most common blunders that cause teams and companies to fail when it comes to working together to make big-ticket sales, and what you can do to fix the problems.
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7 Strategies that Build Your Negotiating Power

Creating a win-win outcome is only possible if you continually accumulate a counter-balancing “negotiating power” throughout the sales cycle.
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How to Avoid 9 Common Sales Call Errors

Use these tactics instead to make the most of your opportunities
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10 Sales Strategies for Uncertain Times

Stay calm, be smart and continue selling while others are giving up.
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5 Ways to Build Sales Partnerships

Benefits could include cost savings and access to new prospects.
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Top 10 Strategic Errors in Your Sales Process

These are the top mistakes made by sales reps with a guide to avoiding them.
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Trademark Basics for Small Business Owners

Understanding the value of your trademark is just the first step: Consult a trademark lawyer and pursue legal registration.
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10 Steps to Setting Up a Payroll System

The Small Business Administration’s guide to payroll, tax and benefit withholding, and reporting.
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Who’s in Charge of the HVACR industry?

Calling manufacturers, distributors, utilities, and contractors to enforce quality and safety standards
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Getting Paid

Review current payment policy recommendations to ensure that getting paid is fast, safe, and simple.
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Overtime: A Key Indicator for Healthy Growth

Discover the right time to hire by rethinking the concept of overtime.
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Maximize Your Mark-Up

Learn to mark-up your mark-ups for lasting profits. Using variable mark-up charts to strategically boost your gross profit margin
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Selling Thermostats that Save Customers Energy and Money

6 steps to ensure you don't miss another opportunity to make add-onn sales.
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Small Businesses, Big Brands

Fleet branding has 2.5 seconds to make an impression on passersby; make every second count
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Disconnected in a Highly Connected World – And What We Can Do About It!

Are you so consumed by our digital interactions that you miss opportunities for real interactions.
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Your Accounts Receivable to Accounts Payable Ratio: Do You Have a Collection Problem?

Use the accounts receivable to accounts payable ratio to determine if you have enough money to pay your bills.
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5 Advantages of Fleet Management

Owning and managing your own fleet keeps you in the drivers seat.
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Avoiding Knee-Jerk Reactions

Anticipate, delegate, train: 3 keys to crisis management for HVACR business owners.
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20 Questions In Memory of Jack Hutchinson

It is with heavy hearts that HVACR Business announces the sudden passing of Jack Hutchinson, Vice President of Sales, on March 13, 2014. HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker collected memories from those who knew him well to create this month’s 20 Questions column.
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Outbound Customer Service: Tools for Success

Susan Hart shares the benefits of a successful outbound customer service program
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Adapting Lean Processes For The HVACR Industry

Inefficiency in construction exists in all areas, including office and management operations, as well as fabrication and field installation. Lean requires a substantial investment to get the return from Lean.
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Adapting Lean Processes For The HVACR Industry

Inefficiency in construction exists in all areas, including office and management operations, as well as fabrication and field installation. Lean requires a substantial investment to get the return from Lean.
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Managing For Innovation

Look into the market - outside of the industry, talk with customers and industry experts, and form an opinion as to where you must improve or change to stay ahead of the evolutionary curve.
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Maintaining Customer Interaction

Contractors should actively seek customer feedback, and develop a deep understanding of the customers’ businesses and what is important to them.
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Updating Your Business Plan? Don’t Forget About Marketing!

The New Year is a good time to revisit and refresh your business plan. In recent years, the economy, technology, and consumer habits have changed rapidly and dramatically, affecting every aspect of your business. That makes it absolutely vital to re-evaluate your short- and long-term strategies. One of the most critical elements of any business plan is your marketing strategy.
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8 Common Website Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When planning an online presence, first have a written plan and design with your marketing goals in mind.
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13 Tips for '13

Ways to Improve Your Workplace Relationships
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13 Tips for '13

Ways to Improve Your Workplace Relationships
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Encouraging Peak Performance From Older Workers


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To Increase Sales, Train Your Team to Say “Yes”

The word “yes” is the launching pad for every transaction, but too many companies don’t seem to get it.
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How to Plan to Succeed

In developing a strategy, creating a new business, or introducing a new product, intensive preplanning can make the difference between success and failure.
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How and When To End Disruptive Disagreements

Disagreements and anger are a reality in the workplace and in life. People react differently under pressure. This behavior quickly reduces productivity. Here's how to call a timeout.
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How to Avoid Meaningless Meetings

Everyone who chairs a business meeting should ask participants this same question at the conclusion of the session. One word of warning: Be prepared for some surprising responses.
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Tell Your Employees: Prepare or Perish

Business opportunities are everywhere, and the Internet makes it possible to always be ready.
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5 Drivers of Successful Mergers, Acquisitions

Due diligence is important, but so is identifying a growth strategy in advance.
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Networking Works

Word-of-mouth advertising is a powerful marketing tool. Networking groups enable you to spread the word even farther.
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Changes Coming To Retirement Plans

If you currently have a retirement plan that allows you to make large contributions, you may want to think about maximizing your contributions this year, as the opportunity may not be available in the future. It's also a good time to discuss personal contributions and 401(k) fee-disclosure rules with your plan investment adviser or broker.
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Overtime Pay?

Whether an employee is labeled "salaried" or "hourly" does not answer whether the employee is entitled to overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act has very specific rules regarding overtime pay, and every employer needs to be familiar with these rules.
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Take Advantage of Estate Tax Benefits

Improvements to the estate tax law in 2011 offer business owners and familyowned businesses some interesting planning opportunities during the next two years.
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Health Insurance: Be Aggressive About Redesigning Plans

Get answers to questions about the new healthcare law.
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Partners Should Plan Ahead For Disability


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Does Your Business Need an Outside Board of Directors?

An advisory board might be a better option for business owners.
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Give Your Section 401(k) Plan a Compliance Check

10 point checklist will tell you if your plan needs an adjustment according to the IRS's latest 401(k) Fix-It Guide
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Immigration-Law Changes Add To Employer Responsibility

Two developments in the immigration law area are causing employers a great deal of concern: the increase in so-called "I-9 Audits” and the Social Security Administration's resumption of the "No-Match" Letter Program.
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How To Plan For Your Extended Absence

Find the best way to plan for your business to succeed whether or not you are present for the daily operations.
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Healthcare reform: Readers’ Questions Answered

Changes coming this fall but recipients won't be taxes on benefits. Readers raise questions about the healthcare reform and we answer.
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Are You Using Contract Labor?

Congress considering changes to address 'worker misclassification' regarding independent contractors.
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Pre-Employment Screening Requires Caution

To find the best people, you need to adopt good hiring practices. Pre-employment screening should be one aspect of these hiring practices. However, you need to be aware that there are important limitations on an employer’s right to pre-screen potential employees.
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Is An ESOP Right For Your Company?

Mike Coyne describes what an employee stock option program is and how it can benefit your company.
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Three Key Processes Driving Your Business

Develop a big picture perspective for long-term and consistent profitability.
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Employee Education and Training: In the End, We All Win

Employee Education and Training: In the End, We All Win. Why should I invest in education and training?
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Selling HVAC Equipment in A Post -Millennium

How to Optimize Your Company Culture for Sales Growth
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Winners and Losers


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Hiring Smart

Hiring Smart! Effective Recruitment and Selection
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Your Acid Test - Do You Have Too Much Inventory?

Your Acid Test - Do You Have Too Much Inventory? Track This Indicator to Get a Clearer Financial Picture
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Copyright Basics for Small Business Owners

Protect Your Intellectual Property with Registered Copyrights
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The Right HVAC/R Tools Can Drive Field Performance

Are you performing as efficiently as possible using the right HVACR tools?
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The Transformational Leader

What it Takes to Move Beyond Transactional Leadership
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5 Telephone Customer Service Tips for HVACR Contractors

Be Prepared to Satisfy Customers When They Call.
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20 Questions with Tony Petrolle

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with Tony Petrolle President of Gaithersburg Cooling & Heating (GAC), Bryant’s 2013 Dealer of the Year award winner. The two discussed acquiring a company, assembling the right team, and the development of a quality assurance team to provide employees with the best work environment and customers with the best products, service and support.
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Managing, Monitoring Sales For Success

By properly managing the sales force, you can be certain that all sales leads are carefully tracked, and promptly pursued— thus bringing more money to the bottom line.
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20 Questions with Mike Reilly, President and Owner, EWC Controls

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker met with Mike Reilly, president and Owner of EWC Controls, to discuss manufacturing, family businesses, and how his company can help provide contractors solutions to customer problems.
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Turning Recovering Refrigerant into Revenue

Safeguarding the Environment, Your Customers, and Your Bottom Line through Smart Refrigerant Recovery.
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Trademark Infringement – The Identity Theft of Businesses

The most important aspect of your business is its identity – its trademark™
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Diagnostic Tools that Will Save You Time and Make You Money

Identifying the Tools You Need to Supercharge Your HVACR Senses
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Do You Have Enough Cash to Pay Your Bills on a Long-Term Basis?

Check Your Liquidity Ratios
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Markets Close First Session in 2014 on a Positive Turn

Wall Street rose up and up to close out 2013, with the Dow industrials hitting their longest winning streak since March, then limped into 2014.
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Your Business Prospectus

Building Value from an Investor’s Perspective
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Common Sense

Common sense – it’s simply knowing the difference between right and wrong. It entails a personal and subjective process of analyzing a situation and finding a solution that works. For most people I think it’s their first instinct, the rational thing they would do without giving the situation a thought. Again, I said for most people.
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20 Questions with Wendy Staso, President and CEO, Huckestein Mechanical Services, Inc.,

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker met with Wendy Staso, President and CEO of Huckestein Mechanical Services, Inc., the only woman-owned mechanical company in western Pennsylvania. The two discussed turning around a troubled company in difficult economic times, building the right team to do the job, rebuilding a brand, and structuring a company to make it profitable.
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Low-Cost Incentives – A New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping

How establishing a culture of appreciation can improve your customer service ratings.
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The Advantages of Variable-Speed Technology

The Advantages of Variable-Speed Technology. Variable-speed technology provides contractors with the opportunity to offer superior solutions to their customers. While single- and two-stage HVAC equipment can be effective, variable-speed technology truly presents consumers with more energy-saving potential and significantly improved home comfort. The term “variable-speed technology” simply refers to the ability of a heat pump or furnace to automatically vary its operating speed.
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The Five-Step, One-Day Strategic Plan

The Five-Step, One-Day Strategic Plan. DIY strategic planning to optimize your business
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Why I Hate KPIs

Comparing KPI ratios to industry standards alone can be a risky move.
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Stocks Fade as Economic News Points to Taper

Stocks Fade as Economic News Points to Taper
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Changing the Way We Change

The world is a busy and crazy place these days… We are inundated with messages to be leaders, to innovate, and to bring new products, services and marketable ideas to the marketplace. We are told to inspire, spin, market, promote, nurture and encourage change. We need to have energy, integrity, enthusiasm, a strong backbone, a clear vision for the future and the ability to learn from the past! And the list goes on…
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Taking Stock of the HVACR Industry

Taking Stock of the HVACR Industry
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The Perils of Traditional Retirement

Study after study indicates that traditional retirement (ceasing to work suddenly, devoting time to ‘leisure activities’) can have a highly negative impact on the physical and mental well-being of men, especially those who are entrepreneurial, self-employed and/or senior leaders in their organizations.
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Dynamics of Success

In order to truly understand and maintain the principals of long-standing success, one must first grasp the fundamental concept that success is not based on individual performance, but rather the commitment to success through teamwork. This is a very easy concept to grasp in theory, but the failing and difficulty for most is in the application of success through teamwork.
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Publishers Page Odds and Ends

Welcomes a New Managing Editor, New Finance Column, Subscription Renewal / Wager, Tops-In-Trucks Fleet Design Contest, and Tragedy.
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20 Questions with Chris Nelson President, Carrier Residential and Commercial Systems North America

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker met with Chris Nelson President, Carrier Residential and Commercial Systems North America, at the AHRI Annual Meeting. The two discussed the military, sales and marketing, operational and strategic planning, innovation and success.
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Finishing and Implementing Your 2014 Three Page Business Plan

In the past two months you’ve created your 2014 goals with your employees and your 2014 marketing plan. This month you’ll complete your three page business plan by estimating your 2014 budget. I’ll end this series with some implementation suggestions so that you make 2014 your best year ever.
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There’s an Expansion Underway for the Construction Industry

Looking at total construction, the pattern of recovery was slow and tenuous early on, with McGraw Hill Construction reporting that total construction starts edged up just 2% in both 2010 and 2011. Multifamily housing was showing signs of life and the stimulus-supported public works sector was moving at a decent clip, but other parts of the industry continued to languish.
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4 Reasons To Document Your Business Processes

The primary benefits to running a business rooted in business and operational processes.
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20 Questions with Mark Lowry, Executive Vice President, RSES

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker met with Mark Lowry Executive Vice President of The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society in Washington D.C. The two discussed improving service technician training, certification, and competence, and what it means for contracting owner’s bottom lines and the industry as a whole.
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Professional Advisors – Friends or Foes?

Finding advisors who will do what’s best for your business
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Four Steps for Developing a One-Page Marketing Activities Plan

How to create page two of your three-page 2014 Business Plan
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PRESS ON

Being on top of your game takes persistence and practice
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The Annual Tax Extenders Dance in Washington

Tax credits on the chopping block that impact your business
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The Four Qualities that Define Purposeful Leaders

Committing to leadership will take your company to the next level
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Make Your Social Media Work for You

How To Properly Leverage These Platforms To Work For Your Business
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Disaster Recovery: Business Continuity Plans

Business leaders understand they are dependent on systems. They realize if something fails they need to be able to get their systems back up.
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9 Steps for Reducing Your Exposure to Employee Injury Fraud

9 Steps for Reducing Your Exposure to Employee Injury Fraud
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20 Questions with Ron & Yvette Farris, Owners of Air Control Corporation, Springvale, AR

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with 2013 Tops-In-Trucks Fleet Design Contest winners Ron and Yvette Farris owners of Air Control Corporation in Springvale, AR. They discussed managing a business together, service agreements, re-branding, sales leads, marketing, delegating responsibility to employees and hot-selling products this year.
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The Legal Liabilities of Electronic Marketing

You need to err on the side of caution when sending customers email. This article reveals how to make sure you’re following the letter of the law.
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Developing Your Digital Marketing Skill Set

You know the technical side of your business, but your marketing skills might need improvement. This article shows how investing time to strengthen your digital marketing skill set can pay off.
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5 Keys for Determining Which Tasks to Outsource

These five keys will help you determine which tasks to outsource as your business grows and you look for support outside the company.
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5 Tips for Handling an Employee with "Attitude"

These five, easy-to-master tips can turn around negative attitudes and allow employers to assume their proper roles in the workplace.
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Why You Need to Sweat the Small Stuff

Five tips for creating a culture and processes that sweat the small stuff for you, freeing you to truly lead your company to success.
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Involve Your Employees in Your 2014 Business Plan

In the first of a three-part series, Ruth King explains why setting goals is the first phase of business planning and why it's important to involved your employees.
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Purposeful Leadership: 4 Strategies for Being Prepared

Here are some strategies that will help you be a prepared, purposeful leader who sets a tone others will model.
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Protecting the Family Business When Owners Get Divorced

The break-up of a marriage in a family-owned business can spell disaster for the business, the employees and even the community. Columnist Lisë Stewart offers six steps that can help ensure the business survives a marriage dissolution.
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Mental Toughness

Publisher Terry Tanker touches on the importance of a positive attitude and being mentally tough.
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4 Steps for Implementing Suggestive Selling and Increasing Your Close Rates

This action plan for implementing suggestive selling into your business model will help you increase close rates.
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4 Steps to an Ideal HVAC Winterization Service Marketing Campaign

Promoting your business during Fall months can generate wintetime sales and revenue
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Strategies for Keeping Your Middle Management Team in Play

This article provides some guidelines for attracting and retaining middle managers.
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How to Handle Embezzlement in the Family Business

This article explains what actions you should take when you think a family member may be embezzling from the business.
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5 Rules for Minimizing Bad Hires

These five rules will help you hire the right people and avoid making bad decisions with potentially negative consequences.
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20 Questions with Lee Rosenberg, Chairman, Rosenberg Indoor Comfort

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with Lee J. Rosenberg, P.E, chairman of Rosenberg Indoor Comfort, San Antonio, TX. they talked about travel, Lee's HVAC career and the challenges of owning a family business.
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How to Double Your Commercial Maintenance Agreements

Here are six actions you can take to increase your commercial maintenance agreement business.
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6 Steps for Increasing the Value of Your Business

Columnist Lisë Stewart offers six steps business owners can take to ensure a fair price if and when they put their business on the market.
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High Performers: How to Get Them,...How to Keep Them!

High-performing employees are individuals every small business owner dreams of hiring. But how do you find them? How do you recruit them? And how do you keep them? Here are five strategies.
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In Pursuit of Profits

As an owner, being profitable means earning enough money to cover all your obligations, both business and personal, with some left over to invest as you please. These six strategies will help.
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Purposeful Leadership: The Importance of Being Objective

Here's a great exercise that proves how being objective can help you create optimum processes, procedures and organizational structure.
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A Touch of Class

Publisher Terry Tanker continues his series on establishing leadership principles with this month's column on acting with class.
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20 Questions with Peter Hungate, Owner, Pacific Air Systems

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker met with Peter Hungate, owner of Pacific Air Systems in Tacoma, WA, one of HVACR Business’ 2013 Tops-In-Trucks winners. The two discussed business processes, ordering fleet vehicles, mentors, customer service and giving up company control in order to grow.
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5 Techniques for Passing the Family Business Torch

Here are five techniques a family-owned company’s new generation of leaders can use to honor their family legacy and tradition while still putting their own ‘stamp’ on the company culture.
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SEO in a Contracting World

Goettl Good Guys Air Conditioning Repairmen uses these 10 basic steps to maximize their use of SEO. How does it work?
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General Business Liability Insurance

If you own, operate or are starting a business, you need general liability insurance. But what does that mean? What protection does it afford? How do you determine your coverage needs? How does it work?
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Types of Insurance Small Businesses Need

Protecting your business investment with insurance is a critical part of small business ownership. Here’s a summary of the kinds of insurance policies you may need to protect your business assets.
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Why Data Security is Everyone's Responsibility

Learn six steps you can take right now to protect your business from cyber criminals.
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5 Common Sense Rules for Leaders

These five common sense rules will help you become the leader your team will follow.
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5 Keys to the Art of Price Conditioning

Discussing price earlier in a call – a practice called Price Conditioning – can be more successful in getting customers to do business. Here are five key steps for implementing Price Conditioning
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Purposeful Leaders Understand Their Strengths AND Their Weaknesses

Discover some practical steps to help identify “who you are” and where you may need others on your team to step in to help fill the gaps
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It's About the Money

Publisher Terry Tanker struck a chord with readers last month with his comments on motivation. This month, he continues that discussion with some perspective on being honest about what truly motivates business leaders.
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20 Questions with DeWight Wallace Johnstone Supply CEO

Publisher Terry Tanker met with newly appointed Johnstone Supply CEO DeWight Wallace in San Diego at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel to discuss strategy, vision, execution, and management principles that will guide the company into the future.
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20 Questions with Doyle James, President of Aire Serv

Doyle James is president of Aire Serv, a global franchise organization providing installation, maintenance, and repair of HVACR systems. Early this summer, Publisher Terry Tanker met with James at Aire Serv headquarters in Waco, Texas.
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20 Questions with Joe Huck, President and CEO, Williams Comfort Air, Indianapolis

Joe Huck, president and CEO of Williams Comfort Air in Indianapolis, recently spoke to publisher Terry Tanker about working with his sons, how his company uses T.V. and radio commercials, and how the hvacr industry is reacting to tightened credit for consumers.
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20 Questions with Barry Sherman, Consultant

Bary Sherman has helped companies of all sizes to become more efficient while reducing stress through his company’s Personal Effectiveness Program (PEP). Recently, Publisher Terry Tanker met with Sherman to discuss how he’s helped companies such as Toyota, Trane, and Kraft Foods. They also discussed vintage cowboy hats, making fine wine, and controlling email.
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4 Keys to Using Feedback During Technician Training

Owners and managers need to make sure their employees understand that feedback is a gift: used appropriately, it can help improve their job performance. Find out how.
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Guidelines to Selling Sustainability

Selling sustainability is about offering a long-term value to your customers that will provide a payback for years to come. The sales process is based on presenting data and solid solutions while building a durable relationship with your customers.
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Company Uniforms Help Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning With More than Just Branding

Uniforms impact many aspects of your business: branding, productivity, safety, employee moral and employee recruitment, not to mention customer relations and – the biggie – your bottom line.
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3 Keys to Successful Team Building

Team building is based on identifying and separating tasks, then assigning those tasks to the individuals who are best trained and skilled to perform them. Here are three keys that will help you build a successful team.
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How the Affordable Care Act Could Impact Your Bottom Line

The most significant aspects of health care reform stemming from the Affordable Care Act are set to kick in at the end of this year. Here are four health care reform provisions business owners need to be aware of.
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Purposeful Leaders Understand the Value of Time

Time is something none of us can get more of, so the management of time is one of the most important aspects of what you need to do as a purposeful leader.
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6 Considerations When Hiring a Bookkeeper

Owners are usually experts at operating their companies, but not about the details of bookkeeping. So a good bookkeeper can be a tremendous asset. Learn how to identify and hire one.
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Motivating the Man in the Mirror

A lot has been written about motivating employees. But how do business leaders motivate themselves? Publisher Terry Tanker weighs in and suggests some sources that will inspire and stimulate you.
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4 Green-Friendly Business Practices That Save Time and Money


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Are You Maximizing Your Fleet's Advertising Potential?

Whether they have a fleet of one, or many, smart business owners recognize their fleet’s value for cost-effective advertising.
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Tops-in-Trucks Feature Story 2013

From among the hundreds of entries to our popular Tops-in-Trucks Fleet Design Contest, here are this year’s winners, featuring all of the best aspects of good, effective fleet vehicle graphic design.
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3 Key Elements of Purposeful Leadership

Setting standards, having goals and committing to coaching provide focus and direction. Here's a closer look at the three main elements that make up Purposeful Leadership
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Top 5 Rules for Effective Vehicle Wrap Design

Using your vehicle(s) to help brand your company should be part of an overall marketing and branding effort, so that what ends up on your fleet is an extension of all the other marketing your company does. Accomplishing this takes more than just manual labor and the ability to print. It requires an understanding of proper branding and the application of the rules of effective advertising with an outdoor medium.
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Methods of Decreasing Vehicle Expenses You Might Not Think About

Vehicle expenses are a major component of overhead expense. Here are seven tips you may not have thought about that will help you keep these expenses as low as possible.
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Tops-in-Trucks 2013: Branding = Awareness = Sales Leads

Correctly implemented, fleet vehicle graphics can provide your firm with brand awareness, brand recognition and, in many cases, the all-important sales lead. Our Tops-in-Trucks Fleet Design Contest demonstrates how.
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Selling Commercial Service Agreements (part 5)

Part 5 of 6: Hiring Effective Sales Reps
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4 Crucial Traits To Look For In New Hires

Look for these “invisible” attributes to find high-performance employees.
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Branding Is More Than Logos

What customers think about your company defines your brand.
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Home Performance Contracting Essentials

Educate consumers, train your staff, and correct misinformation.
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Partying With a Purpose

How to make your anniversary celebrations festive while growing the business.
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6 Signs You Need To Rebuild Your Brand

Don’t let nostalgia, “nephew art,” and lack of standards hold your business back.
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5 Ways to Build Sales Partnerships

Benefits could include cost savings and access to new prospects.
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Thermostat Special Section

Getting Started on Electro-Programmable Thermostat Sales. Show and teach benefits to your team, and then make a sales plan!
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Will a Handshake Work? Not These Days


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6 Leadership Styles and How To Choose Yours

Today’s teams need diverse leadership to be effective.
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We Are Improving And Expanding, So Stick Around!


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Selling Commercial Service Agreements (part 4)

Part 4 of 6: Proposal Writing Strategies
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Clearing Up Cloud Confusion

How a cloud-computing model can save money, increase capability, and relieve IT headaches for HVACR contractors.
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Encouraging Peak Performance From Older Workers

The workforce is aging, so learn how to make minor accommodations to keep employees productive.
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6 Lessons for the Small Business Owner


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Protecting Against Data-Related Risks

Insurance coverage for electronic liability is not automatic
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9 Stupid Things Contractors Do in Slow Times

Peaks and valleys are part of business, but you can manage them for better performance.
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Tops in Trucks: More Entries, Better Designs, and Additional Winners


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A Lesson in How Not to Please Customers


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If it Ain’t Broke, Break it Now

Customers expect constant improvement, which takes vigilance.
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10 Sales Strategies for Uncertain Times

Stay calm, be smart and continue selling while others are giving up.
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To Revive American Manufacturing, Train Workers


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Tell Your Employees: Prepare or Perish

Business opportunities are everywhere, and the Internet makes it possible to always be ready.
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Simplify 2013 Planning By Defining Goals and Tactics


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8 Ways to Be Memorable at Networking Events

Follow these strategies to present yourself concisely and confidently so contacts recall you later.
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How to Identify and Deliver on Your Sales Promise

Collect input from everyone, define your promise, and then train for company-wide delivery.
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20 Questions with Mark Evans, President and Owner, Burton A/C, Heating, Plumbing and More, Omaha, NE.

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker recently met with Mark Evans, owner and president of Burton A/C, Heating, Plumbing and More. The two discussed future growth, employee training, employee motivation and things to do on rainy golf vacations.
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Successful Negotiations Start with Empathy

What does the other party want out of the deal?
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4 Keys to a Successful Publicity Campaign

Plan early and don't be afraid of a little controversy.
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Spotting Legal Land Mines in Your Social Media Campaign

Your responsibility extends to third-party contributors such as customers and friends.
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3 Components of a Foundation of Purposeful Leadership

Don’t make the mistake of thinking leadership is about tools and methods. Here are three key factors that set the foundation for Purposeful Leadership.
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Getting The Most from Social Media

How a tri-branding strategy promotes all you have to offer.
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5 Tips for Family Business Succession Planning

Passing the torch to “obvious” choices might not be best for the business.
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Knocking On Doors Persistently Pays Off

5 keys to stay determined.
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6 Strategies for Reducing Debt

Calculate your debt ratio, then act if it is too high.
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Wallace L. Lee: In Memoriam


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20 Questions with Ray Isaac, President, Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker recently met with Ray Isaac, president and one of the fourth-generation owners of Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning in his Rochester, N.Y., office. The two discussed company values and vision, internal communications, the customer experience, and growing up in a family business.
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5 Tips for Effective Press Releases

Entrepreneurs and businesses all have a message they want the press to help share. They may be interested in contributing an article or column. They may have a great story they’d like a reporter to tell. Or, they have a product or service that can help readers solve their problems.
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3 Steps To Effective Technology Adoption

Any software you implement in your organization should enable or enhance a business process. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that the software or technology itself is the solution, when in reality, technology is at best 10% of the value equation — the other 90% is based on the human factor.
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Get More Done in 12 Weeks than You Would in 12 Months

In an effort to improve, most companies and professionals will search for new ideas and strategies. They will seek out new marketing techniques, sales ideas, cost-cutting measures, and customer service enhancements in the hopes that these new approaches will deliver better results.
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Let Go as You Grow

Letting go has never been easy. Whether giving the car keys to a teenage daughter or allow ing another to plan the service schedule, comfortably stepping back and having someone else be responsible potentially comes with a myriad of obstacles, even when you know it’s going to be beneficial. So, what prevents people from letting go?
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How Leadership Drives Your Company’s Vision

To be an effective leader, you must understand motivation. I believe that you cannot motivate people, but you can create an environment where motivated people will want to come to work and thrive.
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Increase Close Rates and Average Tickets with Bundling

Bundling is the assigning of a single value to a combination of multiple items, and it is one of my favorite topics because it’s a genuine “art.” To learn how to present bundles to potential customers requires a lot of training, time, and faith because the shift in your thinking will be significant.
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About To Blow Your Top? Stop and Think — About Yourself

When working in close proximity, human beings have a remarkable ability to drive each other crazy. The phenomenon occurs daily for most of us. Here are 10 common-sense tips that can change the pattern, so you will have better relations with others.
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Drive Sales with Daily Tracking of Maintenance-Agreement Success

Tracking maintenance-agreement enrollments and renewals is critical to growing a strong maintenance customer base. Tracking forces you to focus. Focus gives you the best chance for success.
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Refrigeration Changes Require Industry Cooperation

Many issues demand the attention of our industry, both here and abroad: increasing government regulation, pressures regarding energy efficiency and minimum energy performance standards, climate change, etc. All of these are likely to be on your mind if not your agenda. But one issue stands out for its potential impact on our industry and its all-encompassing nature — refrigerants.
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You've Got 8 Seconds, Be Interesting Or Lose the Sale

The average adult attention span is 8 seconds, according to studies. Therefore, sales professionals must capture a customer’s attention immediately.
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20 Questions with Mr. Cliché

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker recently interviewed Mr. Cliché, President and CEO of Cliché Inc. Mr. Cliché is believed to be the nation’s leading purveyor of buzzwords, catch phrases, and clichés for people too busy to speak in plain English. The two discussed customer-centric proactive solutions, maximizing synergies, and data-driven ROI. If you can wrap your head around this interview, take it and run with it. Life is good.
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7 Steps to Hiring and Retaining Good Support Team Members

There are a lot of unsatisfied workers out there. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 50% of all employees leave their jobs within the first six months of being hired. And in a new survey by Right Management, a whopping 86% of employees polled said they plan to actively look for a new position this year.
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Case Casts Doubts About Validity of Labor Board Rulings

The Jan. 25, 2013, decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board case sent shockwaves through Washington, D.C. On the one hand, the decision is bound to have major consequences on a number of controversial rulings made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
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How to Avoid Meaningless Meetings

Everyone who chairs a business meeting should ask participants this same question at the conclusion of the session. One word of warning: Be prepared for some surprising responses.
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Benefits of Mobility Keep Growing

Now that data coverage has expanded, and mobile devices have improved to meet demand, software providers are developing business solutions that can help contractors boost efficiency through improved connectivity.
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6 Keys to Hiring A-Player Service Technicians

In communications and computing, what we thought was the best yesterday does not even come into play today. It’s not much different in the HVACR industry. Although we’ve not evolved as quickly, the days of a standing-pilot and single-stage motor are all but over, and being just a “good mechanic” is only part of the modern service technician’s job. Here are six ways to hire the best of the bunch.
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Strategy: The Key To Executing Vision And Mission

Developing a sound strategy is not only fun, but, if done right, gives your company purpose. When you think of strategy, think in terms of how you are going to execute your vision and mission.
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Tracking and Accounting for Commercial Maintenance Agreements

Accounting for commercial maintenance agreements is performed differently depending on the type of agreement sold and how that agreement is billed. I’ll cover full maintenance agreement accounting and planned maintenance agreement accounting separately.
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Finding, Implementing Construction-Specific Financial Software

Purchasing business software is unlike buying off-the-shelf software in a number of ways, but perhaps the most important difference is that you are purchasing a relationship
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My 2 Cents: Moving Forward, Let’s Not Think Outside The Box

If the phrases we use in business relations were currency, we’d have a glut of fake $100 bills. They seem valuable and genuine, but their real worth is zero.
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20 Questions with Lisë Stewart, Founder of the Galliard Group

On a frigid 7-degree day, publisher Terry Tanker visited with Lisë Stewart, founder of the Galliard Group, a company that serves the unique needs of family owned and closely held businesses. The two discussed Galliard’s focus on exit strategies, strategic planning, organizational development, hiring and recruitment, family governance, developing effective succession plans and her favorite phrase: “Deal with the emotional issues before the emotions become the issue.”
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6 Tips for Rejecting Bad Ideas Without Being Rejected

When it comes to gaining influence, remember the law of reciprocity. The more you support others, the more they will support you. If you want people to adopt your ideas in the future, you need to be collaborative yourself. The key is to learn to reject or redirect bad ideas in a thoughtful, positive, and more collaborative way.
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When Making Personnel Moves, Trust Your Gut

Being the boss requires being a very good teacher. When a pupil is not measuring up, the first question is: How can you help, and what can you do to improve the person’s performance?
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Preparing Customers for a Home Performance Assessment

Once you have landed a Home Performance Contracting (HPC) job, helping your customers prepare for an assessment is critical. Communication is key. This is an opportunity to clarify expectations.
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Accounting for Residential Maintenance Agreements

A good maintenance agreement program will help even out cash flow, increase your company’s bottom line, and keep your field employees productive throughout the year.
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Have You Outgrown Your Financial Software?

When does construction-specific accounting and operations software start to make sense for HVACR contractors? It varies. Some businesses approaching $50 million in annual revenue are able to get by with off-the-shelf bookkeeping applications. But they are the exception. In general, construction-specific software systems start to make sense financially for contractors with more than $5 million per year in revenue and at least 10 employees.
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It’s a Wrap!

YouTube may conjure images of finger-biting babies, flash mobs, and “Gangnam Style” parodies. But the truth is, YouTube is an engaging and economical marketing outlet that HVACR businesses should not ignore.
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Four Steps To Developing An Effective Mission Statement

How do you develop a clear and concise Mission Statement? Here are four basic and easy to follow steps to help insure that you create an effective and workable Mission Statement.
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We Live in Dangerous Times — Be Prepared

The government is no longer just one of many challenges business leaders have to manage. It’s become our biggest threat.
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20 Questions with Chris Baker, President and COO of Virginia Air Distributor

A few weeks before the holiday rush publisher Terry Tanker spent time with Virginia Air Distributor’s Chris Baker, President and COO, to discuss family businesses, customer service that sets his business apart from others and his passion for triathlons.
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When Trouble Comes In Waves, Leaders Snap Into Action

Trouble comes in many sizes and shapes, and often it comes in unexpected waves. As the boss, you must always be prepared to provide direction. While any one problem could be monumental, two or more are almost debilitating. Acting quickly can turn the tide in your favor.
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Do You Have the Courage to be Profitable?

Once you understand your financials and start consistent monthly reviews, you must boldly implement changes based on what you see.
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Updating Your Business Plan? Don’t Forget About Marketing!

The New Year is a good time to revisit and refresh your business plan. In recent years, the economy, technology, and consumer habits have changed rapidly and dramatically, affecting every aspect of your business. That makes it absolutely vital to re-evaluate your short- and long-term strategies. One of the most critical elements of any business plan is your marketing strategy.
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4 Ways To Avoid Discrimination Claims Related to Hiring

Be aware that a person can sue you even before they become an employee.
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7 Ways to Turn Your Business into an ‘Overnight Sensation’

Telling your story in a compelling way and being forthright in business will build up your reputation and set the stage for star status.
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How to Become a Home Performance Superhero

Home Performance Contractors not only can identify and solve comfort problems for homeowners, but they can keep them and their businesses safe from harm.
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13 Tips for ‘13

Ways to Improve Your Workplace Relationships
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3 Key Steps to Creating an Effective Vision Statement

If your business doesn’t have a clear idea of the goal, you’ll never get there.
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Commercial Contractors: 10 Questions on Client Relationships

Do you have “healthy” relationships with your customers? This checklist will tell you.
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3 Keys to Marketing Success

Key in advertising is to deliver ongoing, consistent messages that emphasize the quality.
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Take Advantage of Ongoing Market Improvement

Improving and growing companies can and is being done every day by many HVACR contractors. Be sure you’re geared up to move your company, and our country, forward in 2013.
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20 Questions with Takeshi Ebisu, Senior Executive Officer, Daikin

On Nov. 1, Japan-based Daikin Industries completed its acquisition of Goodman Global Inc. for $3.7 billion. The marriage combined a leader in the ductless air-conditioning market with a leader in the ducted market. Recently Publisher Terry Tanker participated in an industry press briefing with Takeshi Ebisu, Daikin Senior Executive Officer, to find out what the future holds for both companies.
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Driving Inbound Marketing With Content Management

When using social media tools alone to drive your company’s messages, it’s nearly impossible to determine the correlation between all the likes, tweets, and shares you receive and how they translate in actual, concrete sales results.
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10 Tips for Running a Great Meeting

Few people receive formal training on how to conduct a great meeting, and this lack of training is apparent in corporate conference rooms across the country.
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An Exaggerated Sense of Your Own Importance Can Hurt Your Company

Nonverbal communication speaks volumes about your style of management and how receptive you are to new ideas without worrying about who comes up with them. The best CEOs are the ones who know their people’s first names, a little bit about their personal lives, and their jobs.
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Can you Afford to Hire a New Office Employee?

Last month I wrote about how to determine whether you can afford to hire a field employee. This month I’ll give you the calculations to determine whether you can afford to hire a new office employee.
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7 Reasons Why Customer Referral Programs Fail

There are certain predictable mistakes companies make that can derail customer referral programs before they ever get off the ground.
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The Top 5 Pitfalls that Derail Decision Making

Despite the wealth of information available these days, many of the best business leaders still make poor decisions. This is unfortunate, because sound decision making is at the heart of every company’s success.
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2013 Economic Outlook: Housing and Exports Strong; Confidence So-So

John Augustine, Chief Investment Strategist for Fifth Third Private Bank, talks about the impact of the presidential elections, Europe’s rocky economy, and persistent domestic unemployment.
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How and When to End Disruptive Disagreements

Disagreements and anger are a reality in the workplace and in life. People react differently under pressure. This behavior quickly reduces productivity. Here's how to call a timeout.
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Can You Afford to Hire a New Field Employee?

Your company is growing. You feel the need to hire another field employee. Can you afford to hire this person? Find out by using this mathematical calculation.
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20 Questions with Tom Edwards, President, Ruskin Air and Sound Control

HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker recently spent the afternoon with Ruskin president Tom Edwards at their corporate headquarters in Grandview, MO. The company manufactures a wide range of products including dampers, louvers, zone control products, and energy recover products to mention a few. The two discussed management skills, mentors, Ruskin Guiding Principles, social media and recreational activities.
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7 “Facts of Business Life” Company Owners Must Face

Managing these challenges successfully will help you and your business to reach full potential.
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20 Questions with Steve Saunders. President, Tempo Mechanical, Dallas, Texas

Publisher Terry Tanker recently spoke with Steve Saunders of Tempo Mechanical in Dallas. Tempo, an employee-owned company, is a leader in green building practices.
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Online Reputation Management: A Must-Have Marketing Tool

3 ways to promote the positive and respond to the negative.
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6 Years in Business Means Many to Thank

Without the people who support you personally and professionally, your business wouldn't be successful. That's why I'm taking time to thank those who've been there for me for six years.
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5 Technologies That Cut Costs, Boost Profits

Move to the cloud, get paid faster, go mobile, begin barcoding or get control of your fleet with GPS.
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20 Questions with Dave Musial, CEO Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning, Chicago

Publisher Terry Tanker recently interviewed Dave Musial, CEO of Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning in Chicago. They discussed management philosophy, growth, and controlling healthcare costs
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Has Your Marketing Message Changed with the Times?

People have changed in dramatic ways over the past five years, and businesses should take that into consideration this holiday season, says one public relations expert.
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20 Questions with John Barbour, Owner, Union Mechanical, Fort Myers, Florida

Publisher Terry Tanker met with John Barbour, owner of Union Mechanical in Fort Myers Florida, to discuss advertising, his company's award winning fleet design, business growth and challenges facing his company in the coming year.
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Some Question the Intelligence of Promoting Smart Meters

Smart meters are supposed to be the wave of the future, part of the futuristic “smart grid” of electricity distribution lines that use technology to solve some of the common problems that vex homeowners and utilities alike.
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The ‘Moneyball’ Approach to Business Hiring

How do you develop an ongoing hiring strategy?
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4 Landmines of Hiring and How to Avoid Them

How do you develop an ongoing hiring strategy?
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How We Did It: GallettAir Inc. Green Solutions

GallettAir of Long Island, N.Y., added a new division that offers energy-performance testing in two months.
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3 Key Elements of a Successful Explanatory Video

Just about any service an HVACR contractor offers — can be effectively conveyed in an explanatory video, and with such widespread access to the Internet these days, explanatory videos are a great way to reach current and prospective customers.
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How to Plan to Succeed

In developing a strategy, creating a new business, or introducing a new product, intensive preplanning can make the difference between success and failure.
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Play It Smart After the Busy Summer

Here are the stupid things that I know you, the smart contractor, won’t do now that the unusually hot, humid and demanding summer is over.
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3 Challenges That Aren’t Going Away

You could be making another mistake, though, if you aren’t considering “big picture” trends that will affect your future. Customer surveys and economic outlooks are important, but larger changes are underway that will alter how contractors work forever.
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6 Tips for Hiring a Professional Web Developer

Tips to finding and hiring the right professional website developer.
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4 Ways to Maximize Use of Social Media Tools

If you want to be a master of social-media tools, you first need to understand the need to implement elements of social media that will both drive revenues and cut back office costs.
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7 Common-Sense Tips from a Seasoned Entrepreneur

It’s true that many factors contribute to an organization’s success, but in the end, it all comes down to this: How will your business be better, or different, than what is already available?
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How to Keep Inventory and Receivables Balanced

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final in a series of how to use graphical depictions of financial ratio trends to help contractors spot potential problems early and make proactive decisions about financial management. The first article, which covered liquidity ratios, appeared in the May 2012 issue. The second article, which covered debt ratios, appeared in the June 2012 issue.
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How to Avoid 9 Common Sales Call Errors

Use these tactics instead to make the most of your opportunities
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20 Questions with Joe Timo, Owner, Timo's Air Conditioning & Heating

Publisher Terry Tanker recently interviewed Joe Timo, founder of Timo’s Air Conditioning & Heating in Palm Springs, CA. They talked about branding, search-engine optimization, and the unusually humid desert summer.
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Finance RX

10 steps to improving the financial health of your business by year’s end. How to be creative and resourceful in finding financing during economic hardship.
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6 Signs That You Need a Website Redesign

Many business owners often sabotage their online reputation without realizing it by making decisions that harm or certainly don’t help their websites. Analytics can help to verify what improvements need to be made, but not all HVACR businesses have such statistical tools.
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Things You Should Stop Worrying About But Can’t

It is unrealistic to believe we should think only good thoughts, particularly in business when things move at a lightning pace, and the path to achieving objectives is littered with potholes just waiting to cause a serious blowout.
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Hiring a Veteran Has Benefits

As the United States brings home soldiers from the Middle East, military veterans comprise a larger percentage of the labor pool. A number of government programs have been implemented to provide incentives for employers to hire veterans, and special incentives are available for employers who hire disabled veterans. Is this something you should consider?
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Simplify 2013 Planning By Defining Goals and Tactics


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Rebuild Your Brand in Three Steps

One of the most powerful tools to help overcome a prospect's natural skepticism and to build relationships is the customer testimonial. They create believability, credibility, and a sense of security for your prospect and customer.
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Take it Slow: 6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

Here are six ways to improve your hiring skills. Yes they will slow you down, but that’s better than going fast and making a hiring mistake.
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20 Questions with John and Jeff Churchill Owners of ServiceOne Omaha, NE.

Publisher Terry Tanker recently met with the father-and-son team running ServiceOne in Omaha, NE, one of the 2012 Tops In Trucks winners, to discuss strategy, marketing, add-on acquisitions, and competition in their market.
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Percentage Compensation Measures Productivity of Labor Force

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of how to use graphical depictions of financial ratio trends to help contractors spot potential problems early and make proactive decisions about financial management. The first article, which covered liquidity ratios, appeared in the May 2012 issue. The second article, which covered debt ratios, appeared in the June 2012 issue.
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Debt Ratios: Look For Short- and Long-Term Warnings

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of how to use graphical depictions of financial ratio trends to help contractors spot potential problems early and make proactive decisions about financial management. The first article, which covered liquidity ratios, appeared in the May 2012 issue.
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Insurance-Reform Ruling Sets Stage for Business, Individual Penalties

Assuming things stay as they are now, it’s important to understand how the health care reform law will affect contractors over the next few years.
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Address Texting-While-Driving Head On

This theory of liability applies when employees are acting within the scope of employment or for the benefit of employer.
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20 Questions with Bill Gardiner, Chairman, Gardiner Trane, Solon, Ohio

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Bill Gardiner, chairman of Gardiner Trane, this summer just prior to celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary in business. The two discussed business longevity, company growth, world travel, and future opportunities that will drive the company for the next 50 years.
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A Lesson in How Not to Please Customers

Publisher Terry Tanker recently experienced the ultimate insult as a customer.
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What’s This Going to Cost Me?

An average contractor could spend tens of thousands to launch energy performance contracting, but the profit potential makes it worth the investment.
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5 Drivers of Successful Mergers, Acquisitions

Due diligence is important, but so is identifying a growth strategy in advance.
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20 Questions with Wade Mayfield, President, Thermal Services Inc., Omaha, NE

Wade Mayfield is President of Thermal Services Inc., Omaha, Neb. Recently, Publisher Terry Tanker talked to Mayfield about his rise from sheet-metal apprentice in 2000 to his current leadership role.
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20 Questions with Dave Pearson, President and General Ganager of Airwell-Fedders

Recently, Publisher Terry Tanker caught up with a very busy Dave Pearson, president and general manager of Airwell-Fedders. They discussed changes underway at the international company as it emerges from bankruptcy.
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20 Questions with Stuart Lombard, President, ecobee

Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with ecobee president Stuart Lombard in Orlando at the AHR Show to discuss green technology, energy savings, the Internet, and launching new business ventures.
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20 Questions with Mark Bulanda, President, White Rodgers

Mark Bulanda, president of White Rodgers, flew into Cleveland on an unusually warm January day to meet with Publisher Terry Tanker. They discussed the economic outlook for 2007, potential growth areas for contractors, IAQ, and strategies that will help contractors in the coming years.
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20 Questions with Rex Boynton, President N.A.T.E.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. NATE’s president, Rex Boynton, met with publisher Terry Tanker in Washington, D.C. to discuss the past, present, and future of the organization.
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20 Questions With Larry Trimbach, President 2J Supply Company

Larry Trimbach, a second-generation hvacr distributor with 2J Supply Co., recently spent a morning with publisher Terry Tanker discussing rock ’n’ roll, expansion and growth, contractors, health-care costs, business strategies and more.
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20 Questions With Bonnie Kern Koskela, President and CEO, Maxitrol Company

Bonnie Kern Koskela, president and CEO of Maxitrol Company, recently spoke with Publisher Terry Tanker about career advice, living abroad, and the decision-making process she uses as leader of the Southfield, Mich.-based manufacturer of gas valves and valve equipment.
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20 Questions With Craig and Sharry Angell, Owners of Angell Aire

Craig and Sharry Angell started Angell Aire Inc. seven years ago and have enjoyed great success, winning Bryant’s Heating & Cooling Systems 2006 Dealer of the Year. They recently talked to publisher Terry Tanker.
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20 Questions with Carmine Galletta, CEO of GallettAir Inc. Long Island, NY

Carmine Galletta of GallettAir Inc., Long Island, N.Y., the winner of HVACR Business’ First Annual Truck Design Contest, spent a day with publisher Terry Tanker discussing the value of well-planned fleet programs, car collections, restaurants, service contracts, and more.
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20 Questions With David Heckler, co-owner of Comfort Supply Inc.

David Heckler, co-owner of Comfort Supply Inc. (CSI), which was twice named Comfortmaker Distributor of the Year, recently chatted with publisher Terry Tanker about vision, discipline, service and marketing. With CSI’s headquarters in Pittsburgh and HVACR Business based in Cleveland, Heckler also couldn’t resist mentioning the Steelers recent 34-7 victory over the Browns.
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20 Questions with Thomas A. Gugino, Inspections Supervisor, Building and Safety for the City of Las Vegas.

A recent trip to Las Vegas enabled publisher Terry Tanker to meet with Thomas A. Gugino, Inspections Supervisor, Building and Safety for the city of Las Vegas. The two met poolside at Bugsy Siegel’s desert dream, The Flamingo, which has anchored the Las Vegas Strip since gamblers started rolling dice in 1946. The discussion covered casinos, construction projects, mechanical systems, IAPMO and everyday contracting challenges.
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20 Questions with Stephen Yurek, President, ARI

At the tail end of 2007 publisher Terry Tanker visited with Stephen Yurek, president of ARI, at the association's national head-quaters in Arlington VA. Terry quizzed Stephen on several issues including hvacr regulation, energy bills, and practical jokes.
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20 Questions with Charles Lipman, CEO, DiversiTech Inc.

Charels Lipman, CEO of DiversiTech Inc., an Atlanta-based manufacturer of air conditioning condenser pads and a leading supplier of components and related products for the hvacr industry, met with Publisher Terry Tanker to discuss politics, risk, entrepreneurial spirit and business philosophy. These concepts helped DiversiTech, which had modest beginings in 1971, grow into a diverse company with over 8,000 product SKU's.
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20 Questions With Bobby Miller, President, Grande Aire Services Inc.

Terry Tanker, publisher of HVACR Business, traveled to Florida’s Boca Grande Island to visit with Bobby Miller, president of Grande Aire Services Inc. The two met during the area’s short-lived tourist lull — right after snowbird season and just before Tarpon fishing season. They chatted about ambitions, customer service and marketing.
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20 Questions with Pat and Dan Conway, owners of Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Pat and Dan Conway, owners of Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Co., to discuss the company’s 20th anniversary, entrepreneurship, launching businesses in tough economic conditions and a marketing philosophy based on social and environmental responsibility.
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20 Questions with Jerry Yudelson, Principal, Yudelson Associates

Jerry Yudelson, PE, speaker, author, Principal of Yudelson Associates and Chair for Greenbuild Conferences—U.S. Green Building Council 2004-2008, revealed his wit and wisdom to HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker. Yudelson offers his take on the green-building movement, his aspirations to be President and his ability to talk to dogs.
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20 Questions with Guy Kawasaki, Author and Managing director of Garage Technology Ventures

Guest columnist Guy Kawasaki, a prolific aithor and managing director of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Garage Technology Ventures, shared his philosophies on business, evangelism and hocky with HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker.
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20 Questions with Wayne G. Beck, President, Aladdin Air Conditioning and Heating Inc.

Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with Wayne Beck, owner of Newbury Park, Calif.-based Aladdin Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. — winner of the full wrap Tops in Trucks Fleet Design contest sponsored by HVACR Business. The two discussed service fleets, marketing, current market conditions and opening the proverbial and literal can of worms.
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20 Questions with Robert Jackson, Partner, Jackson, Dieken & Associates

Robert Jackson, partner at Jackson, Dieken & Associates, a full-service insurence agency, recently sat down with publisher Terry Tanker and drew parallels between his experience as a pro football player and running an effective insurence business. Much of his companys success had built on applying team-based principles and communicatiing effectively
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20 Questions with Karna Small Bodman, Deputy Press Secretary for Ronald Reagan, and Senior Director for the National Security Concil

Publisher Terry Tanker met with author, Karna Small Bodman outside her home in Naples, Florida. They discussed internal and external communication startegies. Karena spent 15 years as a television news anchor and reporter. She then spent 6 years in The Reagan White House, first as Deputy Press Secretary and later as Senior Director for the National Security Council. Karena now writes political thrillers. Her third book, Final Finesse will be out in May 2009.
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20 Questions with Ken Lang, Owner of KW Lang Mechanical, Solon, Ohio

Terry Tanker met with Ken Lang, owner of KW Lang Mechanical in Solon, Ohio. The two discussed the best boating route to Florida, Langs path to management, and what it means to sell green in this industry.
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20 Questions with Dave LaGrand, President and CEO, NORDYNE

Dave LaGrand, President and CEO of NORDYNE, has a simple-but-effective leadership philosophy. He shared this and other thoughts with publisher Terry Tanker recently.
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20 Questions with Lynn Piller, President and Owner of the O’Connor Distribution Company Inc

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Lynn Piller, the president and third-generation owner of the O’Connor Company Inc., an award-winning distributor of residential and commercial hvacr equipment and products. They discussed guitars, the new and reshaping business landscape, and growth areas for contractors.
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Light Commercial Service and Service Agreement Business, part 2

How to develop commercial service agreement sales leads that will establish and grow a service agreement customer base.
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Light Commercial Service and Service Agreements Business, part 1

HVACR residential retail contractors who wish to grow their revenues and profits have a natural and synergistic diversification opportunity. With proper guidance, planning and execution, it’s not difficult to expand into the light commercial service and service agreement business.
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20 Questions with Kenny Chapman, Owner of Peterson Plumbing, Grand Junction CO.

Publisher Terry Tanker recently spoke with Kenny Chapman, owner of Peterson Plumbing, a plumbing and HVACR contracting company in Grand Junction, CO. They spoke about defining moments, adding new services, and shortcomings in the industry.
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20 Questions with Dave Myers, President of the Building Efficiency Business of Johnson Controls

Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with David Myers, former President and CEO of York International and now President of the Building Efficiency business of Johnson Controls for an informal discussion about his background, his move from York International to Johnson Controls, contractors and the hvacr industry.
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20 Questions with Bill Shaw, President of Standard Supply and Distributing Company, Inc. and Bartos Industries.

How does someone who started out in the cosmetics industry become one of the most successful HVACR distributors in the industry? Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with HARDI President, Bill Shaw, to find out about his start at Mary Kay, the cosmetics giant, and his current role as president of Standard Supply and Distributing Company, Inc. and Bartos Industries.
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20 Questions with Dick & Dave Slife, Owners of Slife Heating and Cooling Lakewood, Ohio

Contractors for hire — Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with Dick and Dave Slife owners of Slife Heating and Cooling. The brothers operate a residential and commercial contracting company in Lakewood Ohio and have been in business for the past sixteen years. We explore their tips for success, challenges they face in the market and their predictions for the Cleveland Browns.
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20 Questions with Scott & Maureen Harders

Publisher Terry Tanker recently sat down with hvacr customers Scott and Maureen Harders to discuss a new addition that doubled the size of their home, renovation challenges, hvacr contractors, and hvacr concerns associated with the project. The Harders live in the Northeast United States.
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20 Questions with John Galyen, Danfoss President

Publisher Terry Tanker spent an afternoon with Danfoss President John Galyen discussing contractors, the wholesale market, commercial and industrial refrigeration, as well as the North American marketplace. Below is a recap of their conversation.
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20 Questions with Gary Daniels, President and CEO of Johnstone Supply

It’s trendy to cut out the middleman — but not in the hvacr industry. Publisher Terry Tanker met with Gary Daniels, president and CEO of Johnstone Supply, for coffee and a conversation about wholesale distribution, contractors, adding value, globalization, and team sports at Johnstone headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
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20 Questions With Don Strang III, President of Strang Corporation

Terry Tanker met with Don Strang III, president of Strang Corp., an owner of chain restaurants and hotels, to discuss business challenges, staffing, and mechanical systems for the company’s properties.
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Learning, Understanding, Going Green

The world is going green. No matter where we’re tuned in, we’re bombarded with messages on eco-friendly business solutions, clothing, toys, housewares, vacation spots; you name it. Everything references “going green.” So are hvac contractors listening? According to a recent survey conducted by NORDYNE, the answer is yes.
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20 Questions with Bruno Marvelli, Director of Facilities at Caesars Palace

Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with Bruno Marvelli, director of facilities at Caesars Palace. Construction on the hotel started in 1962 and was funded by a $10 million loan from the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund. It opened its doors August 1966 and has been a Las Vegas landmark ever since. Terry and Bruno discussed treasure hunting, high-roller suites, beach parties and mechanical equipment.
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Marketing Green

The trend toward greener living and the emphasis on energy and sustainability isn’t going away. Becoming a green contractor, in many ways, is a change in business strategy. You have to transform yourself into a green consultant and take the lead in educating your customers about energy efficient systems and their value.
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20 Questions with Joe Nichter, President, Tri-City Mechanical

At the ACCA annual meeting in Denver, Joe Nichter, president of Tri-City Mechanical (Comfort Systems USA), accepted the commercial contractor of the year award. HVACR Business publisher Terry Tanker sat down with Joe to discuss challenges, triumphs and business best practices.
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20 Questions with John Conover, President of Americas Trane Commercial Systems

John Conover, President, Americas Trane Commercial Systems, met with HVACR Business Publisher Terry Tanker at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America Annual Convention in Palm Desert, Calif. They discussed the industry, sports and sage advice.
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20 Questions with Dave Swift, CEO of Goodman Global, Inc.

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Dave Swift, CEO of Goodman Global, Inc., at their company headquaters in Houston, Texas. They discussed leadership, managing growth strategies and cultivating employees.
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20 Questions With Dave Pannier, President of Trane Residential Systems

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Dave Pannier, President, Trane Residential Systems, at the division headquarters in Tyler Texas. They discussed managing in a downturn, leading change, anf the importance of open communication.
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20 Questions with Rick Busby, Owner of Busby’s Heating Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Augusta Georgia

Terry Tanker met with Rick Busby, owner of Busby’s Heating Air Conditioning and Refrigeration in Augusta Georgia. Busby’s was one of the three winners selected in HVACR Business’ Tops-In-Trucks fleet design contest in 2008. The two met to discuss the economy, marketing and what Busby has learned from his dad.
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20 Questions with Greg Neimi, CEO, Nexstar

Nexstar is a member-owned business development and best practices organization for independent contractors. Terry Tanker recently interviewed Greg Niemi, the group’s CEO. They discussed growth strategies, high-performance teams, making an honest dollar, and where the industry will find its next-generation workforce.
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Welcome Aboard!

The U.S. government reports that by next year, the country’s workforce will fall short of filling 3 million skilled-worker positions. The result: HVACR contractors will be competing with each other and other industries for good employees.
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Training: The Final Four Steps

Part 3 of a three-part series on how to develop a structured employee training program.
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Good Results Don’t Make You A Good Manager

As a manager, you work in the constant glare of an “invisible spotlight.” When you come, where you go, and what you do in between are of the utmost importance to your employees. Don't underestimate your impact on your employees' lives. Management is work and takes practice, self-reflection, and discipline.
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Selling Commercial Service Agreements (part 6)

This is the sixth of a six-part series on creating a selling system for commercial service agreements. I designed the series as a complete A-Z guide. I encourage you to save these in a training folder.
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Keep Corporate Debt Separate from Personal Debt

If you are operating your business in corporate form, it is important to follow formalities. You should sign contracts in your capacity as an officer, and contracts should always be between your corporation and the other party. You should never be named as a party to the contract.
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If Your Employees Regularly Fail, the Problem Might Be You

a project goes south, it’s mandatory that you find out why. Don’t tell your employees to “handle it” without explaining what “it” means. Without the blanks properly filled in, it’s a good bet that the end result will not be pretty.
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20 Questions with John Hazen White, Jr., CEO of Taco

Publisher Terry Tanker recently met with John Hazen White, Jr., President and CEO of Taco, a growing manufacturer and marketer of hydronic systems for the residential and commercial marketplace. They talked about employee education, a dedicated and trusting workforce, his business philosophy, company communications, and politics.
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Tops in Trucks: More Entries, Better Designs, and Additional Winners


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Earth, Nature Fleet Designs Stay Popular

One trend that shows no sign of ending soon is to use fleet designs that promote energy savings and environmental responsibility
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Electric Vehicles Offer Economical Solution

Are electric vehicles right for your company? Many contractors are unsure, as was Tom Robichaud, owner and president of Precision Plumbing Heating Electric in Boulder, CO. The CEO of one of Precision’s long-time clients, Boulder Electric Vehicle, convinced Robichaud to take a test drive because he thought the truck would be a perfect fit for the short routes service technicians drive daily. After that test drive and some additional research, Robichaud became an electric vehicle advocate.
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Clear, Clean Designs Connect with Customers

Tops in Trucks winners say more with less as branding takes the spotlight
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Celebrating Success

Whether it is a personal goal or a business goal, recognition for a job well done is crucial to ensure that a work-hard attitude continues.
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The World’s Shortest Marketing Plan Goes A Long Way

A major drawback to most marketing plans is their complexity and length. Guy Kawasaki pointed Terry Tanker to The World's Shortest Marketing Plan by Kelly Odell, senior vice president/head of marketing, TeliaSonera AB. It's a simple way to condense important points and share with your company.
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Boosting Companywide Performance With a ‘Complete’ Software Solution

Providing end-to-end control and streamlined processes, a bid-to-cash solution can be the single most valuable software investment an HVACR contractor of any size can make.
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The Art of Schmoozing

Relationships can pay off in sales and partnerships. The key is to establish a relationship before you need it. Here is Guy Kawasaki's guide to tactful schmoozing.
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Winning Management Techniques

The key to industry success, at all levels, is a strong, viable core of hvacr contractors who embrace a winning attitude and develop the skills and agility to move the market forward.
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The Importance Of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Using key performance indicators and financial information is vitally important in operating a successful hvac business. Never overlook the extreme importance of also maintaining the right company culture.
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Safety For All

The number of Spanish-speaking skilled workers in the hvacr trade is increasing, a trend that presents many challenges to business owners. Fortunately, many groups have started to provide materials in Spanish focused on training and safety.
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First, Define Your Online Strategy

Identify your goals for revenue and reach before building a Web site.
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3 Maxims For Successful Negotiation

You will find that persuading others to change their behavior by presenting facts and demonstrating understanding is a much better way to negotiate than trying to prove another person wrong.
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5 Tips For Improving Sales

Publisher Terry Tanker offers advice on improving sales calls from prospecting to presenting.
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For a Successful Exit, Build Value From the Start, Part 1 of 3

In part 1 of a 3-part series, Kevin R. Yeanoplos explains the various factors that drive a company’s value and how making a few simple changes, owners can make the most of the current opportunity for growth to squeeze every last dollar of value out of their businesses.
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Welcome to our 25th Anniversary Celebration!

HVACR Business more accurately reflects the new direction that we are taking with this publication. It reflects our new mission of working with top industry leaders to develop a new standard of success for the hvacr contractor.
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Business Planning, Part 2

When you track your results, you’ll have a better chance of making corrections as events unfold.
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20 Questions with Tom Flick, motivational speaker and former NFL quaterback

Publisher Terry Tanker met with motivational speaker Tom Flick, former Rose Bowl Champion, Pac 10 Conference Player of the Year, and successful NFL quarterback. Flick works with Starbucks, Marriott, Boeing, American Express and hundreds of others. The two discussed leadership, vision, relationships, passion, and other important qualities business owners and managers should possess.
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A Better Way for Pine State Services

Pine State Services, South Portland, Maine, began a vehicle-stocking-and-organization program for its fleet of 21 vehicles, 10 of which are service vehicles. Here's why and how they did it.
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Inside Job: Effectively Organizing Truck Supplies

Investing time, training, and resources in a fleetstocking- and-organization program can save money and improve customer service.
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How Mobility Solutions Can Get You There

Investing in an enterprise-wide mobility system returns value in many ways that will reduce costs and increase revenues.
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They’ve Got The Look


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Managing Fleet Liability Risk

Your fleet is an indispensable part of your business. Literally, it is your means to reach customers. It also represents a significant liability risk. These are ways to manage the risk.
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From the Driver’s Seat


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6 Ways to Proactively Raise Cash

Making calls to past-due customers, former customers, and happy customers helps to keep the cash flowing.
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Connecting With Customers Every Chance You Get

The ability to connect with customers with a customized message makes using fleet design as a marketing tool a must-do activity within your organization
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20 Questions with Drew Timm, Owner, Sun Services Air Conditioning-Heating Inc.

Publisher Terry Tanker recently spoke with Tops in Trucks honoree Drew Timm, owner of Sun Services Air Conditioning-Heating Inc., Fountain Hills, AZ. They spoke about muscle cars, meeting customers in hot tubs, and lessons learned from owning a small business.
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Personal Finance: Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score

Your credit score can be the key to home ownership, an auto loan, consumer credit, and even employment. How much do you know about this three-digit number that holds so much power over you?
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Give Your Bedside Manner a Check-Up


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How Health Reform Threatens Small Business Health Plans

The problems facing small businesses due to healthcare reform are two-fold.
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Is It Time For a Business Coach?

Business coaches can help to improve leadership skills, keep you moving toward goals, and provide objective advice on handling personal and business problems.
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Increase Your Productivity

Terry Tanker talks about his method of managing productivity and offers insight on other tools that may help you become more organized, more focused, and more productive.
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What’s Your Post- Recession Strategy?

What initiatives did you take to combat the recession, and — just as important — how will those initiatives affect your ongoing management decisions as the economy improves?
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7 Dead Giveaways That Your Financial Statements are Wrong

Your financial statements are your scorecards. If they are not accurate, you might make the wrong business decision based on incorrect information. Here are seven things that clearly tell you that your financial statements are wrong.
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7 Strategies that Build Your Negotiating Power

Creating a win-win outcome is only possible if you continually accumulate a counter-balancing “negotiating power” throughout the sales cycle.
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20 Questions with Michael Kane, President of UEI

Recently Publisher Terry Tanker caught up with UEi President Michael Kane, who had just returned from a quick trip to Asia. The two discussed travel, management style, economics, and product innovation.
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Healthcare Reform: Readers’ Questions Answered

Changes coming this fall but recipients won't be taxes on benefits. Readers raise questions about the healthcare reform and we answer.
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Take Action to Correct Bad Financial Statements, part 2 of 2

7 ways to fix financial statements that are wrong.
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Crisis Management: Are You Prepared?

Crises have the potential to threaten public safety, increase financial expenditure, damage reputation, and impact sustainability. It is critical for management in the early hours and days of a crisis to strategically and expertly take proper decisive action.
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Sowing the Seeds of Leadership

The work that you start today developing your own leadership-aptitude scale will be directly proportionate to your future growth and success. You must grow yourself and grow those that hold the most potential to lead in your company if you are going to hit your goals.
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8 Ways To Close More Sales

Why customers don’t commit and how to change their minds.
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20 Questions With Terry Nicholson, Group President of One Hour Air Conditioning and AirTime 500

Publisher Terry Tanker recently visited with Terry Nicholson, Group President of One Hour Air Conditioning and AirTime 500 during their Profit Day meeting held in St. Louis. They spoke about pig farms, successful contractors, training, and selling style.
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Improving Productivity Through Comprehensive Benefits

Business leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to help Americans close their insurance gaps, and in turn help their businesses. This is especially true at hvacr companies.
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KEI L Relies on Vast Experience To Add HP Services


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Contractors Adding Home Performance Services Have Choices

Many hvacr contractors believe Home Performance (HP) — addressing residential customers' needs from a whole-house, energy-optimization point of view — is the future of the industry. Here are two reports from residential providers who are taking different routes to adding HP services
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Are You Using Contract Labor?

Congress considering changes to address 'worker misclassification' regarding independent contractors.
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How To Ring Up More Replacement Sales

It means they practiced the four Ps of retail; Personality, Positioning, Presentation, and Price. Personality: Your company’s personality mirrors your own.
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How Diagnostic Technology Provides a Competitive Edge

How Alpine Mechanical Services is incorporating technology to stay competitive.
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Coming This Fall! A Chance For Bonus Profits

Invest additional time and resources to inform customers and prospects about the expiring replacement tax credit.
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Tax Code Changes — The Time to Plan is Now

With regard to your 2010/2011 taxes, the old 5 Ps come to mind — Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
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20 Questions with Wesley Holm, Owner, Thompson Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.

For this special fleet issue, Publisher Terry Tanker interviewed Wesley Holm, owner of Tops in Trucks winner Thompson Plumbing, Heating and Cooling. They talked about the company’s fleet-marketing strategy, exceptional customer service, and how to write six blogs a week.
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20 Questions with Ron Gravitt, Owner of Allegiance HVAC, Mokena, IL

Late last fall Publisher Terry Tanker meet with Ron Gravitt, owner of Allegiance HVAC just outside of Chicago in Mokena, Ill. Allegiance HVAC had just remodeled their offices and were in the middle of a rebranding campaign. Part of the rebranding effort included a new fleet design, for which they were named a 2011 Tops In Trucks winner.
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20 Questions with Ann Kahn, President, Kahn Mechanical Contractors.

Publisher Terry Tanker had the opportunity to interview Ann Kahn, President of Kahn Mechanical Contractors. They talked about energy-performance contracting, core values, and getting through tough times.
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20 Questions with Keni Thomas, Former U.S. Army Ranger, Country Singer, and Motivational Speaker

Publisher Terry Tanker met with former U.S. Army Ranger, country singer, and motivational speaker Keni Thomas in Atlanta. Thomas was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor in the battle of Mogadishu and was the squad leader in the now-famous fight immortalized in the film Black Hawk Down. The two discussed the military, leadership, music, and his new album Gunslinger.
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Checklist: When New Hires Mean New Regulations

Here are some broad guidelines on human-resource compliance changes as your company grows.
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5 Steps to Increasing End-of-the-Year Sales


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Leading the Search

Potential customers have to be able to find your company when looking for a service provider on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing
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How to Pre-Qualify a Sales Lead in 5 Steps


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Warning: Turn Down the Heat

If you aren’t addressing the very real threat of burnout, your business is at risk of underperforming. Paying attention to your own feelings is very important. But watching out for signs that an employee is beginning to suffer from burnout is critical for the success of the organization.
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How to Plan For Your Extended Absence

Find the best way to plan for your business to succeed whether or not you are present for the daily operations.
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Boost Technician Confidence To Sell More Service Agreements

Customer-service training must be continuous and thorough. If you just tell your technicians what you want, they will only think about what they are going to say and never say it.
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How Government Is Wasting Our Money

As business owners, we cut expenses when business is down. We don’t look for new ways to spend money we don’t have. But unfortunately — as we’ve come to expect — that thought process doesn’t work in Washington.
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20 Questions with Steve Schmidt, President of Frederick Air, Inc. Frederick, MD

Publisher Terry Tanker recently spoke with Steve Schmidt, president of Frederick Air, Inc., winner of the 2010 Tops in Trucks fleet-design award in the manufacturer-sponsored category. They discussed Edvard Munch, marketing budgets, and Home Performance Contracting.
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Use Trusts For Continuity Planning and Avoiding Probate

Trusts can provide benefits even for incorporated businesses.
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5 Reasons To Invest In Training Now

Lack of appropriate training has cost contractors and their customers millions of dollars on wasted energy. If you aren’t training today, don’t expect a profitable tomorrow.
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How to Grow Your Business with Dehumidification

Factors such as evolving homebuilding methods, changing consumer preferences, and increased awareness of health and safety issues often open new product or service opportunities for hvacr contractors.
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7 Ways To Ruin Your Business

Stick to business fundamentals. George Hedley discusses 7 shortcuts that can break your business
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Set Maintenance Agreement Goals To Cover Overhead

You need enough maintenance agreement customers to cover the entire overhead of your company so that you won’t have to worry about a flailing economy causing your company to go out of business. Here are six activities to do this fall to start seriously building your maintenance agreement base.
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Economic Outlook: Shoot For the Moon

Brian Beaulieu, Institute for Trend Research, told Nexstar Network members at the Super Meeting that now is the time for investing.
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20 Questions, The Best Of...

The best of 20 Questions features answers from eleven of our favorite interviews of the last several years.
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Top 10 Strategic Errors in Your Sales Process

These are the top mistakes made by sales reps and how to correct them.
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3 Steps to Attracting Clients Online


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Lay a Strong Foundation With Business Ethics

Ethics and their roots have practical applications for business beyond just a statement on paper. Here is my explanation of how Conditioned Air’s core values benefit everyone involved in our business: Integrity Integrity is always doing the right thing for people in a truthful way.
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Customize Your Mobile Devices With Bridges To Other Software


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Make Your Move to Mobile

The features and benefits of almost all the systems that we investigated without going into the technical details or revealing specific provider names. This is certainly something you will want to research yourself.
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Social Media Poses Legal Risks for Businesses

Although social media has many benefits, be aware of the employer liability regarding employee’s participation on a social media sites.
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20 Questions with Tom Huntington, WaterFurnace President and CEO

Publisher Terry Tanker recently talked with WaterFurnace President and CEO Tom Huntington, who is also serving as chairman of the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO). They met in Orlando at the WaterFurnace national sales meeting and discussed golf, woodworking, tough business decisions, and empowering employees.
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Lesson Learned: Have Current Procedures Documented

Avoid having the unexpected halt your business by keeping your policies and procedures documents updated.
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5 Lessons for Growing a Business

W. Theo Etzel explains what he's learned growing an HVACR company from $2.7 million to $24 million in sales over 17 years.
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2010 Results: Attitude and Focus Beat the Economic Blues

Many contractors I know did very well in 2010 despite the economy and despite all of the bad news in the media. What made the difference for those who did well and those who didn't? Attitude.
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Why The Trillion-Plus-Dollar Federal Deficit Matters

Members of our industry won’t always agree on matters of government and public funding, but the federal deficit is something we can all rally around protest, and work to reduce.
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Why Boilerplate Can Be Your Best Friend

Explaining the common legal provisions in the fine print that can give you leverage if problems arise.
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The Right Way To Fire An Underperforming Employee

A termination decision should be communicated quickly, calmly, and concisely to the employee. Rapoport notes that it is a time for action not talk.
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Connect With Your Local Market


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As The Year Ends, Review Your Pricing Strategy

Determine your position in the market; then define desired profitability.
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20 Questions with Ron Smith, Contractor, Consultant, and Adviser to HVACR Business

Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with HVACR Business board member Ron Smith after reading a recent article in Comanche Marketing from Matt Michel.
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Why You Need Both Profits and Cash To Survive

Each month your P&L tells you whether you earned a profit or had a loss. It does not tell you how much cash you have! You must turn your profits into cash by collecting your receivables and paying the expenses incurred to produce those revenues.
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Cash Needs Should Drive Revenue Goals

Without profits, cash runs out. Yet, your business could have an unprofitable month or quarter and still survive. Many contractors that operate with Dec. 31s as their year-end, state that the first quarter always is unprofitable. They spend the next nine months catching up — just so they can have another unprofitable quarter the next year.
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Liquidity Ratios: Trends Key to Profitability Outlook

Every month you should receive accurate and timely financial statements. Looking at one month’s financial statements (balance sheet and P&L statement) does not tell much. To see where your business is headed, you must look at your business trends. Then you can choose to continue on the current path or make the necessary changes to alter the direction of the business.
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Controversial Labor Reversals Overshadow Idle Congress


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Making Sense Of Social-Media Chaos


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Are You Ready To Take Advantage Of Barcoding’s Benefits?

Once implemented and used correctly, you’ll be making much better inventory bets, saving time and — as a result — increasing profitability with barcoding.
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20 Questions with Scott Klososky Technology Guru and Consultant

Publisher Terry Tanker recently met with technology guru and consultant Scott Klososky, author of The Velocity Manifesto. They spoke about how technology is changing leadership.
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5 Things That Deteriorate Team Communication

Even within the most effective and efficient team environment, issues and situations will arise that will cause an entire breakdown of team communication.
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Ethical Decisions Make You, Your Company Healthier

Being ethical has a higher cost in hard times than in good times, which makes being ethical difficult for some in the HVACR industry still suffering from weak demand. But, even good times can encourage bad behavior as one might get a sense of invincibility when the money is rolling in.
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The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales Management

I have been part of many business turnarounds in my career and have noted the errors consistently made by sales management, all of which negatively impact team morale and sales. Here are seven of the deadly sins of sales management.??
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Immigration-Law Changes Add To Employer Responsibility

Two developments in the immigration law area are causing employers a great deal of concern: the increase in so-called "I-9 Audits” and the Social Security Administration's resumption of the "No-Match" Letter Program.
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Give Your Section 401(k) Plan a Compliance Check

10 point checklist will tell you if your plan needs an adjustment according to the IRS's latest 401(k) Fix-It Guide
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It’s Better to be a Malcontent Than a Has-Been

Most companies promote the promise of complete satisfaction to their customers, which is a good thing. However, fostering a state of satisfaction and contentment within your company’s culture is not.
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To Increase Sales, Train Your Team to Say “Yes”

The word “yes” is the launching pad for every transaction, but too many companies don’t seem to get it.
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ACCA Programs Opening Door To High Standards

Can you help to improve the quality of housing in our country by being at the front of contractors adopting and implementing QA? It is time to give serious consideration to getting on board.
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Pulling It All Together: A Good Financial System

A good financial system is based on both the monthly financial data and weekly information you gather. These five activities will help you discover whether your company is moving in a positive, profitable direction.
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Rise Above the Politicians: Debate for Success, Not Stalemate

Properly debated and documented decisions can move leaders forward with a plan of action that is supported by all, instead of a stalemate that leaves everyone dissatisfied.
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10 Tips for Getting the Best Email Marketing Results

Email marketing can be daunting with all the laws, spam filters, and confusion over the best method to use. Whether you’re an e-marketing novice or you’ve tried it before, learning the tricks of the trade can make the process easier and the outcome more successful. After reviewing the campaigns we’ve run for customers, we came up with the following 10 tips to get the best results from your email marketing campaigns:
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5 Ways To Be More Persuasive

Guy Kawasaki share 5 scientifically proven ways to increase your influence and persuasion.
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Does Your Business Need an Outside Board of Directors?

An advisory board might be a better option for business owners.
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Are Mobile Customers Missing You?

Don't miss out on the new opportunities that the mobile web presents. Commit time and resources to designing a mobile version of your site that will benefit your business today and far into the future.
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Get Ready For Summer

Now is the time to put the plan in place to decrease your dependence on the weather and increase customer loyalty. Here are four action items for your plan.
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Do You Have Too Much Liability Coverage?

Typically, general liability includes three areas: bodily injury and property damage, personal and advertising injury, and medical expenses. Determine the amount of liability coverage you need by evaluating your potential risk, the state in which you operate (both its legal minimum and its history of awarding high damage amounts), and your personnel quality.
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Green Machines

A resource listing of products, events and books aimed at the hvacr industry’s green initiative.
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Get Going On Energy-Performance Contracting

Whole-home/whole-building performance contracting is an opportunity for HVACR contractors to add value to business offerings by making customers more comfortable while reducing their energy consumption and costs.
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20 Questions with Ray Grimm, Owner, A.W.E. Air. Water. Energy.

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Ray Grimm, Owner of A.W.E. Air. Water. Energy. The two discussed corporate re-branding strategies aimed at meeting your customer’s needs, growth strategies, and pushing retirement dates into infinity.
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Now’s the Time to Speak Up About Proposed Regional Equipment Standards

Our industry has been anxiously awaiting the release of a new federal government rule that sets the minimum AFUE, SEER, and HSPF values for residential HVAC appliances. That wait ended on June 27 when the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy published the Direct Final Rule and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces and Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps in the Federal Register.
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Tops in Trucks 2011

One of the most powerful mobile marketing tools HVACR contractors have is their fleet. This year’s winners have fantastic-looking fleets that also support each contractor's branding and value proposition.
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Advances in GPS Technology Boost Benefits of Fleet Tracking

Unpredictable fuel prices and increasing insurance costs for fleet vehicles continue to be challenges for HVACR contractors. Investing in technology can help.
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10 Questions to Fine-Tune Your Marketing Strategy

A well-designed marketing strategy is a key component of driving short- and long-term revenue and growth. Here are 10 critical questions your management team can use to build highly effective communications between your company, and your customers, and prospects.
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20 Questions with Jaime V. DiDomenico, President of N&M Cool Today

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Jaime V. DiDomenico, president of N&M Cool Today, during a visit to their headquarters in Sarasota, FL. They discussed the Internet, social media, the importance of fleet-vehicle marketing, and expanded business opportunities in plumbing, electrical geothermal, and solar services.
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5 Prescriptions to Prevent ‘Hardening of the Attitudes’ Among Employees

Recent research shows that among the least-happy and least-engaged employees, the annual per-person cost of lost productivity due to sick days is more than $28,000, versus only $840 among the happiest and most-engaged employees. Here are five powerful prescriptions for enhancing employee morale and job performance and minimizing job stress.
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New Year’s Resolution: Befriend Your Financial Statements

Properly formatted financial statements — along with accurate information in those statements — is critical to making good financial decisions for your business.
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Plan for Succession While Building Value

Executing a successful succession plan requires a team of experts, including an attorney, CPA, and a financial planner.
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Light Commercial/Commercial Outlook: Partly Sunny, Lingering Clouds

Contractors, equipment suppliers, and industry groups expect 2011 to be an improvement over 2010, but not an immense improvement. Consumer trends, regulatory requirements, and incentive programs are making anything related to energy efficiency a promising opportunity; and expanding and/or rebounding sectors such as healthcare and stimulus-fueled public works projects are also brightening the outlook somewhat.
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Finding, Retaining Top Talent Becoming a Top Challenge

Employers need stellar talent to execute a rebound strategy and drive renewal and growth. Competition for proven managers and business leaders will grow fierce. Organizations that can differentiate themselves with a benefits package unmatched by competitors will be more successful at attracting top talent.
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The 112th Congress: Gridlock for Sure, But Some Good News

By the end of 2012, Congress will have to revisit another extension of the Bush tax cuts, the Estate Tax, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and other tax incentives that will expire in 2013. Although no one expects the 112th Congress to accomplish much, the new Congressional dynamics could yield some wins for the hvacr community.
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Carefully Plan Before Asking a Business Partner for a ‘Divorce’

Identify alternatives to terminating the company and keep emotions in check.
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Accomplish More by Building ‘Legacy Teams’

Organizations and teams that commit to becoming legacy teams are rewarded tenfold with deeper relationships, better performance, and improved bottom-line results.
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Welcome to 2011: New Deals, New Faces

A change of power in Congress, President Obama and Congress have pushed through a new tax deal that keeps the current tax structure in place and is about 180 degrees away from what was proposed in the fall.
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Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

Guy Kawasaki offers four reasons why smart, famous, powerful, and rich people who should obviously know better end up crashing and burning and how to mature.
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The Art of Driving Your Competition Crazy

Companies go astray when defeating the competition becomes more important than taking care of customers. When companies become obsessed with the pursuit of excellence, by contrast, they often reach new levels of greatness.
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What Good Is a Trade Show?

Trade shows provide proven value to the industries that they serve. The return on investment from attending trade shows takes many forms: time saved, information gathered, technology and new methods learned, relationships formed, good decisions made — in other words, the keys to success for the visitor and his or her business.
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How to Achieve Your 2007 Goals

To make the changes easier, break down your major goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities.
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Master These Four Elements for Happy Customers

There are four elements that customers are looking for from their hvac residential provider: on-time delivery, quality, professional behavior and convenience.
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Where Outsourcing Works

It’s important that companies of all sizes understand and implement outsourcing, so they can achieve the benefits of the practice. Another company may have the set of skills that you need to grow your business.
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Where Outsourcing Works

It’s important that companies of all sizes understand and implement outsourcing, so they can achieve the benefits of the practice. Another company may have the set of skills that you need to grow your business.
View article.

How to Manage Change in Your Company

Implementing and managing change is difficult. Ron Smith offers a formula and tips for success.
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Great Companies Are Built With Great Internal Communications

Failure to properly communicate with employees (co-workers) on a consistent and timely basis is one of the biggest causes of the inability to achieve growth, profitability, and stability.
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Expect Election Fever To Dominate 2012 Politics

I’m not a professional seer, but I can tell you right now with relative certainty what’s going to happen in Washington this year and how it’s going to impact HVACR contractors. Predicting the future isn’t that hard when you know “what is past is prologue."
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Protecting Against Data-Related Risks

This exposure is excluded in standard general liability policies, but may be insured separately under a policy that covers “electronic-data incidents” resulting in damage to, loss of, loss of use of, cor- ruption of, inability to access, or inability to properly manipulate, electronic data.
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20 Questions with Dan Weltman, Owner, Weltman Home Services, Inc.

Publisher Terry Tanker recently spoke with Dan Weltman, owner of Weltman Home Services, Inc. They spoke about classic cars, finding gems among professionals displaced by the recession, and the business case behind adding new types of services of a business.
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Use Overhead-Cost-Per-Hour, Not Just Gross Margins for Measuring Profitability

Calculating prices based on gross margin may do you a disservice. Ruth King says the key to successful pricing is to know your company’s overhead-cost-per-hour.
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5 Corporate Blunders that Cripple Sales Efforts

These are the five most common blunders that cause teams and companies to fail when it comes to working together to make big-ticket sales, and what you can do to fix the problems.
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How to Communicate for Success


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6 Keys To Success in Home-Performance Contracting

HVACR contractors who offer home-performance contracting will become the dominant service providers in any given area.
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Keep Those Postcards Coming: Don’t Abandon Traditional Marketing Tools

Technology continues to evolve how we communicate with our customers. New marketing techniques don't make traditional forms irrelevant, they add to your bag of tools. Use what works.
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20 Questions with Jerry Weiss, Executive Director of HVAC Excellence.

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Jerry Weiss, the Executive Director of HVAC Excellence, the leading provider of certifications in the HVACR industry. Jerry is also the Chairman of the Green Mechanical Council. The two discussed the need for training, education and certification; as well as effective recruiting and horseback riding.
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How To Get Paid for R22 Recovery

Take a look at how you are managing your refrigerant business and evaluate the recovery programs that are available. Refrigerant reclaimers and suppliers are depending on your recovery activities to ensure future availability of R22 and other HCFCs and HFCs. Make sure you get paid for your efforts.
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4 Ways to Market Via Smartphones


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Why Good Leaders Are Good Actors

Plain and simple, situational leadership means having the skills and understanding to assess a scenario you’re facing and manage it with the right leadership style.
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Danger Ahead?

A company’s KPIs strategy must evolve if it is to match the changing needs of a growing company. What worked in the company’s early growth stage is far from sufficient for a multi-branch organization. The modern service marketplace requires a new generation of KPI reporting and tracking tools.
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8 More Website Mistakes Contractors Commonly Make

This is the second of two articles on mistakes contractors commonly make on their websites and suggestions on how to avoid them.
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Partners Should Plan Ahead For Disability

Dealing with a disabled partner is never an easy matter. Human nature is such that many of us would find it difficult to ask a disabled partner to step aside due to his or her disability. Yet, this is often the only solution.
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IRS Targets Independent Contractors

IRS reclassification of workers as employees can be an expensive proposition, as the employer can be held liable for back payroll taxes, penalties, and interest.
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Don’t Let Fear Stop Your Great Idea

Self-doubt and second thoughts come with breakthrough thinking. Fear of failure can even be a strong motivator, making us delve more deeply, analyze fully, and think through what it will take to make something really work.
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20 Questions with Dolfe Kahl, CEO, Visual Marking Systems

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Dolf Kahle, CEO of Visual Marking Systems, at the company’s headquarters to discuss strategic planning, fleet graphics, and lean organizations.
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4 Keys To Family-Business Success

Contractors who work with relatives need to maintain healthy operations and relationships.
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Recipe For An Effective Social Media Mix

As a business leader, you need to be familiar with the different social media platforms and understand how they can help you to improve marketing and communication. Each platform provides a different and potentially profitable opportunity to grow your business if used in a way that takes advantage of how it works.
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The Art Of Remaining Sane

Guy Kawasaki tells you how to avoid being driven crazy by your competition.
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7 Tips for Hiring Great Employees

The HVACR industry — along with many others — will find itself on a hiring frenzy this decade as scores of skilled technicians reach retirement age. This makes it imperative to revisit your hiring processes. Are they rigorous enough? Even if you think they are, it’s worth it to tighten your hiring processes even more so that you don’t waste valuable time and money.
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More Balance-Sheet Basics: Liabilities and Net Worth

Liabilities are debts that your business owes. Like assets, liabilities are divided into two segments: current liabilities and long-term liabilities.
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Health Insurance: Be Aggressive About Redesigning Plans

Get answers to questions about the new healthcare law.
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HVACR Contractors Help Drive Remodeling Rebound

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released a study that bodes well for contractors in the home-remodeling industry, and pinpoints heating-and-cooling-system retrofits as a key driver in remodeling’s rebound.
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20 Questions with Tom East, President Refrigeration Sales Corporation

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Tom East, president of Refrigeration Sales Corp. (RSC), at their corporate headquarters to discuss running, training, education, wholesale distribution, contracting, and leadership.
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15 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog


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Saving on Fleet Costs Requires a Plan

By using three key tools, contractors can protect themselves against wasted time and money, costly repairs that could have been prevented, and one of the biggest wildcards in operating company vehicles — fuel cost.
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Take Advantage of Estate Tax Benefits

Improvements to the estate tax law in 2011 offer business owners and familyowned businesses some interesting planning opportunities during the next two years.
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Making Smart Investments in Marketing Technology

There’s a lot of room for improvement in the HVACR industry when it comes to using marketing technology. Too many contracting businesses lack an integrated online marketing plan that maps back to their unique selling proposition.
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8 Common Website Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When planning an online presence, first have a written plan and design with your marketing goals in mind.
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Top Green Building Trends Offer New Opportunities


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Understanding Your Balance Sheet: Assets

Assets are divided into two categories on your company’s balance sheet: current assets and long-term — or fixed — assets.
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Building A High-Performance Company

The Gartner Group's five keys to building a high-performance organization include setting ambitious goals and achieving them, displaying a strong sense of purpose, having a strategic focus, adapting to change, having a common and shared business model.
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Building A High-Performance Company

The Gartner Group's five keys to building a high-performance organization include setting ambitious goals and achieving them, displaying a strong sense of purpose, having a strategic focus, adapting to change, having a common and shared business model.
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The Art of Customer Service

A customer-oriented attitude begins with the owner. So practice what you preach when it comes to how you want your employees to treat your customers. Guy Kawasaki offers other tips for taking care of customers.
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Planning for Growth and Improved Profitability

In order to grow, you must take the steps necessary to properly analyze your current business mix, establish realistic future business mix, growth, and profit goals, and then develop and implement a realistic business plan to help you achieve your goals.
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Proven Ways To Generate Sales Leads

Weather-driven sales certainly are a nice windfall when they happen. However, depending on temperature extremes to grow a viable hvac retail business simply doesn’t work for the long haul. In order to grow and prosper, the business must generate sufficient valid sales leads on a year-round basis.
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20 Questions with Theo Etzel, President Conditioned Air Naples Florida

Conditioned Air president Theo Etzel met with HVACR Business publisher Terry Tanker in Etzel’s Naples office after the 39th Annual ACCA meeting held in Orlando, March 6 to 8. They discussed how a different management philosophy, dedication to training, and empowering employees turned his company into a powerhouse.
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Achieve Business Goals Through Partnering

I want to let you in on what seems to be somewhat of a secret in our industry . . . partnering works! In this instance, I mean partnerships between hvac contractors and their primary hvac equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
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How To Become An 'Expert'

Ultimately, the primary goal for all hvacr businesses is to get customers to call. How do you achieve this?HVACR Business recently spoke with two contractors who excel in building Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA). Don’t let their size intimidate you. Many of their ideas can be applied in smaller businesses as well.
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20 Questions with Barry Abernathy of E. Smith Heating and Air Conditioning.

When it comes to training, owner Barry Abernathy of E. Smith Heating and Air Conditioning, Marietta, Ga. invests heavily and fosters independence at the company’s two divisions. This strategy, and others, have kept his family-owned company on the leading edge. He recently talked with publisher Terry Tanker about training, financing, fleet management, fishing, dining — and how to work in a family business while maintaining professionalism.
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Building a Winning Company Culture

Would you like to triple your customer referrals? Increase your sales closure rate 10%? Cut your installation warranty cost 75%? Add 1% to your installation profits? Reduce the turnover rate of your installation technicians to less than 5%? Boost the pride and morale of your co-workers and your company’s reputation?
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Ensuring an Adequate Workforce

Rex Boynton discusses the main challenges that contractors will face over the coming years, including adjusting to the new environment of 13 SEER and the move to HFC-based refrigerants.
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The Art of Customer Service

A customer-oriented attitude begins with the owner. So practice what you preach when it comes to how you want your employees to treat your customers. Guy Kawasaki offers other tips for taking care of customers.
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Why Have “C” Co-Workers?

How to re-evaluate your staff and trim non-performing talent.
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Effective Management Meetings

Use Ron Smith's proven techniques to develop meaningful management meetings that will advance your company’s success.
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Three Distinct Roles Define the Effective Company President

The following is a unique approach on how you can address the challenge of working in your business versus on your business. Company size does not matter, as this approach will work whether your company is small, medium, large or huge.
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Why Should Customers Do Business With You?

Terry Tanker offers advice on how to articulate your company's value proposition and why you should have a mantra.
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The Art of Schmoozing

Relationships can pay off in sales and partnerships. The key is to establish a relationship before you need it. Here is Guy Kawasaki's guide to tactful schmoozing.
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The Art of Customer Service

A customer-oriented attitude begins with the owner. So practice what you preach when it comes to how you want your employees to treat your customers. Guy Kawasaki offers other tips for taking care of customers.
View article.

Flip This Fleet

Traci Purdum summarizes characteristics of successful branding strategies and presents insight from the winners of HVACR Business' fleet design contest.
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Winning Management Techniques

The key to industry success, at all levels, is a strong, viable core of hvacr contractors who embrace a winning attitude and develop the skills and agility to move the market forward.
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How To Boost Your HVAC Accessories Sales

By educating customers about additional accessories, your company can increase sales and profit margins.
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How to Achieve Your 2007 Goals

To make the changes easier, break down your major goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities.
View article.

How to Achieve Your 2007 Goals

To make the changes easier, break down your major goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities.
View article.

Growing Sales Takes More Than Adding Salespeople

Building a successful retail sales and production department requires careful planning followed by the ongoing 100% commitment of everyone involved in the process to successfully execute the plan.
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Where Outsourcing Works

It’s important that companies of all sizes understand and implement outsourcing, so they can achieve the benefits of the practice. Another company may have the set of skills that you need to grow your business.
View article.

Proven Ways To Generate Sales Leads

Weather-driven sales certainly are a nice windfall when they happen. However, depending on temperature extremes to grow a viable hvac retail business simply doesn’t work for the long haul. In order to grow and prosper, the business must generate sufficient valid sales leads on a year-round basis.
View article.

What To Expect From Your CPA

Good CPAs are an integral part of your advisory team. They help you see the “forest through the trees” and keep you informed so that you can make good business decisions. Likewise, you have to provide timely, accurate data so that they can help you make those decisions.
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Customer Care Boosts Referrals

Customer care is all about empathy and begins with hiring. You and your co-workers must treat customers or prospective customers in such a way that they sense that you are concerned about them and their comfort— not just with selling them products or services.
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Welcome to our 25th Anniversary Celebration!

HVACR Business more accurately reflects the new direction that we are taking with this publication. It reflects our new mission of working with top industry leaders to develop a new standard of success for the hvacr contractor.
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Maintenance Agreements Protect Profits

Creating a profitable program requires planning and persistence. You must get your staff on board, develop and deliver direct mail and advertising pieces, and train the office and field personnel how to sell and fulfill the agreements.
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24/7 Safety

Proper and on-going safety training can prevent most accidents. Investigating accidents and routine safety audits also can keep workers safe.
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Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

Guy Kawasaki offers four reasons why smart, famous, powerful, and rich people who should obviously know better end up crashing and burning and how to mature.
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Set Your Profitable Price

To calculate your hourly rate consider the direct wages of the technician, the associated labor expenses, a truck, the associated truck expenses, non-productive time, and overhead.
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GPS Buying Basics

Hundreds of companies sell GPS solutions, each offering a bewildering array of capabilities at a variety of price points. Here are 8 capabilities to evaluate before you buy.
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Keeping Productivity High As Summer Ends


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Open Up To Open Book

Opening your books for review means opening a piece of yourself, too. If you truly want a team approach to your business where people are fully invested in the numbers, then you have to let them in on the numbers.
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Business Planning, Part 2

When you track your results, you’ll have a better chance of making corrections as events unfold.
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Establish the Appropriate “Culture” in Your Company, Part 1

What is culture and how do you develop the right kind of culture within your company?
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Winning Management Techniques

The key to industry success, at all levels, is a strong, viable core of hvacr contractors who embrace a winning attitude and develop the skills and agility to move the market forward.
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The Road to Success Starts with Defining Core Values

How to move from reading articles about changing your company to finally do something about it.
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Establish the Appropriate “Culture” in Your Company, pPart 2

Referencing the culture he established at Peachtree Heating and Air Conditioning, Jackie Rainwater describes how to ensure the customer “wins” in every interaction with your company.
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Masters of the Briefcase

Contractors will not be able to rely on their technical expertise to be successful and to rise above their competitors. The road to excellence requires a growing list of management skills.
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How to Structure the Organization Design of Your Company

A basic functional design best fits most all HVACR companies with a general manager being at the top of the chart and three leaders reporting to him or her. The three leaders representing the basic functions are sales, production (or operations) and administration.
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The Art of the Board Meeting

Guy Kawasaki provides tips for successful boards and meetings.
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10 Commandments of Good Advertising

Marketing communications is an asset your company owns and an investment in customers and prospects. The challenge is to use this asset wisely. Terry Tanker offers 10 tips and ideas to help improve your advertising.
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Establishing a culture where co-workers win, too

Part 3 of a series: How Peachtree Heating and Air Conditioning put in place principles, practices, and processes to assure co-workers were “winners”.
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How to Manage Change in Your Company

Implementing and managing change is difficult. Ron Smith offers a formula and tips for success.
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Changes Ahead for the Distribution Channel?

HVACR Business interviews Donald L. Frendberg, executive vice president/COO of the Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) about industry trends.
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Establish the Appropriate Culture in Your Company, part 4

A culture that values and nurtures its customers and co-workers was the key to the tremendous growth and profitability of Peachtree Heating and Air Conditioning (Peachtree) from 1990 to 2002.
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Have a Bone to Pick? Diagram It

The fishbone diagram is an excellent management tool. It makes managers think about a process and all of the contributing factors ending in the result — good and bad.
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Buy or Lease?

There's no right answer. The decision to buy or lease a fleet should be based on several things, including how you used your trucks and financial considerations.
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Boost Productivity With ‘Visuality’

The power of visuality is that it empowers employees to do their jobs more efficiently based on their own evaluations, ideas, and actions. It seems with this concept, everyone benefits, especially customers.
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Why smart people do dumb things

Guy Kawasaki offers four reasons why smart, famous, powerful, and rich people who should obviously know better end up crashing and burning and how to mature.
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Outbound Customer Service: Tools for Success

Susan Hart shares the benefits of a successful outbound customer service program.
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Great Companies Are Built With Great Internal Communications

Failure to properly communicate with employees (co-workers) on a consistent and timely basis is one of the biggest causes of the inability to achieve growth, profitability, and stability.
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The Art of Schmoozing

Relationships can pay off in sales and partnerships. The key is to establish a relationship before you need it. Here is Guy Kawasaki's guide to tactful schmoozing.
View article.

GPS Comes of Age

Global positioning systems enable hvacr contractors to save time, money, and fuel
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Spreading Cheer Without Fear

Raucous holiday parties can leadto injury, lawsuits, and insults if not planned properly. Tonya Vinas, editor-in-chief of HVACR Business offers tips and advice for parties that will encourage employees throughout the year.
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How To Be An Effective E-mailer

Guy Kawasaki offers tips for effective e-mailing.
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20 Questions with Morten Andersen, the NFL's Oldest Player

Morten Andersen is the oldest player in pro football, the league’s all-time leading scorer, and a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, assuming he ever retires. He met with Publisher Terry Tanker to discuss football, business and, the preparation that goes into both.
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What Good Is a Trade Show?

Trade shows provide proven value to the industries that they serve. The return on investment from attending trade shows takes many forms: time saved, information gathered, technology and new methods learned, relationships formed, good decisions made — in other words, the keys to success for the visitor and his or her business.
View article.

The Art of Driving Your Competition Crazy

Companies go astray when defeating the competition becomes more important than taking care of customers. When companies become obsessed with the pursuit of excellence, by contrast, they often reach new levels of greatness.
View article.

Know Your Limits: Establish a Primary Service Area (PSPSA)

Maximize productivity and profits by establishing an effective primary service area and making sure your organization clearly understands it.
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Improve Building Performance Through Retro Commissioning (Rcx)

Retro Commissioning (Rcx) building systems can provide significant benefits such as improving occupant comfort, reducing energy cost, improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), enhancing building operations, and extending equipment life.
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First, Define Your Online Strategy

Identify your goals for revenue and reach before building a Web site.
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Breathe Easier

Several trends make now the time to incorporate IAQ information, products, and services into your offerings.
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The Zen Of Business Plans

Guy Kawasaki explains the reasons for and the elements of a good business plan.
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The Importance Of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Using key performance indicators and financial information is vitally important in operating a successful hvac business. Never overlook the extreme importance of also maintaining the right company culture.
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Increase Your Productivity

Terry Tanker talks about his method of managing productivity and offers insight on other tools that may help you become more organized, more focused, and more productive.
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Who Makes Buying Decisions? Women!

Women are a lucrative market, especially when it comes to providing a comfortable, cost-efficient home for families. Position your products and services so that they respond to the concerns of women, and stress quality and ease of maintenance.
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The Art Of Remaining Sane

Guy Kawasaki tells you how to avoid being driven crazy by your competition.
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Wild About Wireless

Whether it’s a simple cell phone or a sophisticated business management software solution, the latest in wireless technology can help you reduce costs, increase revenues, and raise quality standards
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How To Deliver What Customers Really Want

Delivering hvac and IAQ products and services customers want and need in a way that makes their overall experiences with your company convenient and pleasant should be the primary objective for any hvac retailer.
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The Art Of Partnering

Guy Kawasaki talks about the pitfalls in partnership and how to avoid them.
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The Art Of Execution

Guy Kawasaki tells you what to do with the money once you've raised it: set, communicate and measure goals.
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LEED The Way

This is the first of a two-part series on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the building-rating system conceived and introduced by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Ellis G. Guiles Jr. discusses why contractors should care about the LEED approach to construction.
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Turbocharge Your Sales With Compensation That Motivates

A vitally important (although often underestimated) component of successful sales is the incentive and compensation plan. Jackie Rainwater discusses what an effective plan should include.
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Give Your Web Site A Tune Up

Your Web site should do more than offer information about your company. Guy Kawasaki suggests 10 things to enhance your visitor's experiences.
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Combating High Health Insurance Costs with Health Savings Accounts

Because skyrocketing health-care costs frequently limit an employer’s ability to increase wages, both employers and employees would benefit from controlling such costs. Will health savings accounts (HSAs) be the answer? It is too soon to tell, but employers considering such plans have much to consider.
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Stop Bidding, Estimating, And Quoting

The most successful and most profitable hvac contractors don’t create success by being the lowest-priced job. They are among the highest; but they can show the customer why the extra money is worth the investment.
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Getting Better With Wellness Programs

Investing in employee wellness programs can produce a more satisfied and productive workforce, reduce health-care and insurance costs, and improve attendance and performance.
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Making A Plan And Setting Goals

Without a game plan and specific goals, it's impossible to see where you've been or where you're heading. Here are eight goal-setting strategies that should be reflected in your business plan.
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Guy Kawasaki discusses business plans with Tim Berry

Guy Kawasaki discusses business plans with Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto Software, the principal creator of Business Plan Pro, and the author of a blog called Planning, Startups, Stories.
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Dealing With Fickle Customers

Last-minute changes disrupt businesses and can be costly. Here's how to accommodate customers who change their minds on services without losing money.
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Key Questions Take Mystery Out Of Insurance

D. Michael Sherman is chairman and CEO of Cleveland-based Dawson Companies. He has more than 30 years of experience representing contractors of all types and sizes. He recommends a four-part evaluation to gauge the ability of competing agencies and brokers to represent your company.
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Involving Employees In Goal Setting

Companies that focus their entire team on goals and communicate how they are progressing to reach those goals usually have better sales and profits, and lower employee turnover rates.
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Tap The Light Commercial Service Market

Responsiveness and quality of work will help you make the sale and retain customers.
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Passing The Torch

You need five to 10 years to develop and implement a sound succession plan. Not developing a succession plan can put your business, your family and your employees at risk.
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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Consistent and persistent lack of sleep deprives your body of much needed time for recharging and can lead to serious ailments, such as depression, heart disease, poor glucose metabolism, and an increase in other colds and flues due to a weakened immune system.
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Becoming The Employer Of Choice

To be successful in today’s market, contractors and hvacr business owners must get creative and make recruitment a priority.
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Navigating In A Down Economy

It’s a tough economy out there and just about every indicator is pointing its needle toward the red. However, for business owners there are no excuses, the playing field is level. It’s a great time to make process changes you’ve been planning, or simply fix things you think are broken
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Customers Need IAQ

Education is key to IAQ sales. One way to help consumers is to offer customer testimonials, which can be a very powerful marketing tool.
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Reporting Monthly Financial Results

Ron Smith offers insight into reporting net profits by division and how to properly allocate expenses.
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Finding Financing in an Economic Decline

To keep your small business flush with cash while the government attempts to create programs designed to ease lending and improve our economy’s conditions, entrepreneurs should be creative and resourceful in finding financing during economic hardship.
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Disaster Planning

Every year natural disasters and common events like fires force thousands of businesses to close, and 25% can not recover. To better your odds of survival, devise a disaster plan.
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Are You An Egomaniac?

Guy Kawasaki talks with author Steven Smith about how ego can get in the way of business and the best ways to keep it in check.
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Size Matters

Larger air conditioning units have contractors scrambling to purchase vehicles big enough to haul them. What are the benefits of adding these vehicles to your fleet? What do you need to consider to purchase the optimal vehicle?
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Property/Casualty Insurance

Understanding property/casualty insurance coverages can help you stem serious loss potential for your business.
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The SWOT Analysis

Strategic planning starts with a fairly simple examination of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. The basic tool used for this initial step of strategic planning is the SWOT Analysis. It’s a powerful technique that helps analyze your ability to achieve your goals and execute an effective action plan.
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Green Generates Green

It’s clear that “green” isn’t going away. Demand for green, energy-efficient systems is expected to increase over the next few years. To look at how contractors can boost profit margins, John Conover discusses past changes in construction and how they've impacted the industry.
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What Were They Thinking?

Guy Kawasaki discusses smart management, customer relationship management, and the role of the owner with D. Dee II, professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.
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"The Ugly Truth About Managing People" Book Review

Whether your staff consists of 200 people or just two people, problems will always arise. Ruth King helps hvac business owners solve people issues in her book, "The Ugly Truth About Managing People."
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The Craft Of Communication

Tracey Purdum recounts an experience with communication gone wrong and uses it as a teaching moment for how to better handle various situations with co-workers and employees.
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Surety Programs

Surety is a three-party contract among the hvacr contractor, the owner, and the surety. Here's when and why you would implement one.
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Which Came First, the ‘C-word’ or the ‘E-word’?

Hiring an entrepreneurial “Operation-General Manager” to run your business, allows you to focus on the service/installation technical side of the business or the sales side of it.
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Thinking About Selling?

To get your business ready for sale, good due diligence asks questions in all areas of your business.
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Celebrating Success

Whether it is a personal goal or a business goal, recognition for a job well done is crucial to ensure that a work-hard attitude continues.
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Maintaining Motivation

What separates the highly successful business owner and the average one is the ability to keep moving forward—even if it’s only one yard at a time. The ability to motivate yourself and others is a critical leadership skill and one of the most difficult to master.
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Managing Change

Embrace change and move forward or resist change and risk failure. Either way, the next generation will always be at your heels waiting to take over the reins. It’s your choice to be remembered as a visionary leader or a stagnant manager.
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Building High-Performing Teams

Your leadership affects the success of your organization. If you encourage your company to be a high-performing team you must first do an honest evaluation of your current situation. Evaluate your team against the criteria listed here and solicit your employees’ feedback. Then, think about what you can do to create an environment that inspires and motivates your employees.
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Just-In-Time Inventory

Inventory is a necessity, but you can create a stocking program that better suits your operations, business and cash flow
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Sounding Board

Forming a board of directors is crucial for hvacr businesses. Whether your company is very small or very large, the benefits of having a board will get you to the next level and beyond.
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Adapting Lean Processes For The HVACR Industry

Inefficiency in construction exists in all areas, including office and management operations, as well as fabrication and field installation. Lean requires a substantial investment to get the return from Lean.
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How to Motivate Co-Workers, Part 2

Reward employees through recognition, self-esteem boosts, spiffs, and career growth to increase productivity and attract new customers.
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How To Increase Service Agreement Revenues

Train technicians in the conversion process and lead development. A well-structured tracking process insures that technicians are recognized and rewarded for their efforts.
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How to Motivate Co-Workers, Part 1

The actions you take to motivate coworkers will enhance your efforts to create and maintain a corporate culture that fosters a pleasant, more productive work environment.
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Master These Four Elements for Happy Customers

There are four elements that customers are looking for from their hvac residential provider: on-time delivery, quality, professional behavior and convenience.
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20 Questions with Paul Franks, President and CEO of The Sports Construction Group.

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Paul Franks, president and CEO of Cleveland, Ohio-based Sports Construction Group, which designs and installs athletic fields. They discussed how Franks sold his company, and then bought it back after it went bankrupt and transformed it into a leader in its market. The Sports Construction Group.
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Making the Most of Meetings

Meetings are an essential, if not one of the most important ways in which companies stay on track and execute a plan.
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Managing For Innovation

Look into the market - outside of the industry, talk with customers and industry experts, and form an opinion as to where you must improve or change to stay ahead of the evolutionary curve.
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Hiring for Personality

Turnover costs your organization time, money and lost opportunity. A personality assessment can be a useful tool for gauging a candidate’s competence and compatibility.
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Little Leadership

Often it is the smallest things that make the biggest difference. With a little forethought and a little effort you can reap big results. Gary Bradt offers tips and ideas to enhancing leadership.
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Strategic Success

Outlining a plan and a vision of where you want to go is critical to the success of your organization. However, it is key to make it a living, breathing document to be used frequently.
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Resolve to Organize and Decrease Stress

Better organizational skills will help you reduce stress on yourself and your employees, leading to much higher productivity.
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Negotiation Basics

Negotiating is really about setting expectations, being open to a mutually beneficial resolution and understanding that the best time to negotiate is before a problem or issue occurs. While this may feel uncomfortable, and even confrontational, it will reduce the challenging end-of-job “negotiations” that we all have experienced.
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Success and Failure

Guy Kawasaki interviews Michael Raynor on how strategy makes or breaks a company.
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Management Books

Management Books
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The Hunt for Opportunities

Failures are opportunities for greater success in a culture that is on a constant hunt for ways to be better and to make a greater difference. Not only can the hunt for opportunities increase your success, but it may help you invent the next product, service or idea the rest of us cannot live without.
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Your 2009 To-Do List

Ten small tasks that can make a big difference in the perception of your company and, ultimately, your bottom line.
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Partnering with a debt recovery team can help your business grow and stay competitive

A third party debt recovery team can help you improve accounts receivables while also educating you on how to spend time chasing new business, not past due accounts.
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Originality In Business Wins

Co-author of the newly released book called "Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win" Polly LaBarre offers insight into the maverick minds behind businesses that defy business-as-usual.
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6 Tips to Kick Start Your Revenue Growth

Kim Marcille offers advice on how to temper the impact of the current economic crisis on your financial performance. This is your opportunity to reinvent yourself and your business.
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Your 60 Second Message

A well-crafted and unique sound byte about who you are and what your business offers will help you stand out from other hvacr contractors.
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Road-Mapping Performance

Leadership committed to management-by-objective guidelines helps assure the company’s survival and profitability by increasing employee performance and productivity.
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Calculating the True Cost of Bad Customer Service

Mike Callahan shares how to measure the huge costs of poor customer service and ways to reduce those costs.
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Tops In Trucks 2009 Winners

One way hvacr contractors communicate their trustworthiness, technical ability, and quality customer service is through their trucks. Company owners who still do not see their fleets as one of the top communication tools and ways to gain customer confidence need to listen to the winners of this year’s Tops In Trucks contest.
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Hold on to Top Employees

It might seem strange to think about employee retention given the economic challenges we have been facing. Many business owners and managers have been spending a big chunk of their time on reducing expenses, downsizing operations, and — unfortunately for some — laying off employees. But in such a climate, working on employee retention is more important than ever.
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Building Blocks of a Successful Business Model

Customers like to work with top-notch professionals, and it’s your job to position yourself as an expert. Annie Jennings describes how.
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Five Things Customers Require

Managing internal customers properly is critical to both bringing in revenue and turning revenue into profits. Mike Callahan offers five critical components necessary for consistently meeting the requirements of our external customers.
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Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You (But You Need To Hear!)

If you don’t keep up with trends, you are not keeping up with customer expectations. Here is a checklist of nine pitfalls that will send customers to a competitor.
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Why President Obama is Suddenly Friendlier to Business

We are seeing a big change on Capitol Hill from the 112th Congress. The new landscape assures gridlock, which changes the dynamic and the agenda. There is a method to this madness, and it all has to do with the November 2012 election.
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Holding a pre-job meeting can further improve a company’s performance and make clients happier.

Holding meetings prior to the start of a job reduces the chance of potential conflicts, and increases the likelihood of finishing ahead of schedule and staying under budget.
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3 Maxims For Successful Negotiation

You will find that persuading others to change their behavior by presenting facts and demonstrating understanding is a much better way to negotiate than trying to prove another person wrong.
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Is There A Book Inside of You?

Greg McAfee talks to HVACR Business about his book "It's Your Dream." Topics he discusses are training, boards, customer service, innovation and marketing.
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How Effective Are Non-competition Agreements?

If you need a non-competition agreement to protect your business, you will need to get legal help and follow these guidelines.
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Take Sexual-Harassment Claims Seriously

Written policies and clear instructions are two ways to protect your business from costly claims.
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Complying With Immigration Law In Hiring

The safest way to avoid problems under the immigration laws is to understand your responsibilities as an employer.
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Tips For Serving Alcohol Responsibly

If you are planning on serving alcohol at your business or office party, here are some planning ideas that can minimize your liability risk.
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Be Careful with Letters of Intent

Find out why letters of intent may be binding and some practical advice when crafting them.
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Independent Contractor or Employee?

The Internal Revenue Service has rules for determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor.
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Protect Your Company with a Corporate Minute Book

Corporate minutes can help ensure that owners shield themselves from being held legally responsible for corporate business failures. In addition, they can help quickly settle inevitable shareholder disputes, smooth business transactions and even help answer questions during an audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
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Why your limited liability company needs an operating agreement.

A good operating agreement can be a useful tool for running your business as an LLC.
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Will Your Business Die With You?

Strategies for leaving your company to family members.
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Keep Employees Honest, Part 1

When faced with stressful situations, even honest people can do things that are wrong, most notably stealing. If you don’t have systems in place to prevent theft by employees, you won’t be able to control it once it starts.
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Spot Trouble Quickly with Trend Data

Financial benchmarking, both short and long term, is critical to making good business decisions that will keep your company financially healthy. When you see the numbers trending in the wrong direction, take action immediately. It could save your company!
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Long-Term Benchmarking

Long-term benchmarking tells you how your company is doing over time. It takes out all seasonality so you can see the long-term trends.
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Finding Financing in an Economic Decline

To keep your small business flush with cash while the government attempts to create programs designed to ease lending and improve our economy’s conditions, entrepreneurs should be creative and resourceful in finding financing during economic hardship.
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Financial Benchmarking, Part 1

Financial benchmarking provides you the assurance that your business is going well, or the clues to when it isn’t so that you can take action.
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Establish a Primary Service Area (PSPSA)

Experienced and successful entrepreneur, Jackie Rainwater, discusses why it's important to designate a primary service area and how to do it the right way.
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Planning Your Marketing Budget

Marketing drives sales. So plan now to boost sales with a spring marketing plan. Be advised, however: As you ramp up for the busy spring and summer months, you’ll spend money marketing before you see a return on those dollars. A budget is your roadmap to prudent spending.
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How to Achieve Your 2007 Goals

To make the changes easier, break down your major goals into monthly, weekly, and daily activities.
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How to Protect Your Business Secrets

Your trade secrets may consist of customer lists, training manuals, financial records, contracts with distributors, and the like, that would be very valuable to your competition. Keep them secret with some of these simple, inexpensive steps.
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Planning for Growth and Improved Profitability

In order to grow, you must take the steps necessary to properly analyze your current business mix, establish realistic future business mix, growth, and profit goals, and then develop and implement a realistic business plan to help you achieve your goals.
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The World’s Shortest Marketing Plan Goes A Long Way

A major drawback to most marketing plans is their complexity and length. Guy Kawasaki pointed Terry Tanker to The World's Shortest Marketing Plan by Kelly Odell, senior vice president/head of marketing, TeliaSonera AB. It's a simple way to condense important points and share with your company.
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Business Planning, Part 2

When you track your results, you’ll have a better chance of making corrections as events unfold.
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Business Planning, Part 1

The most successful companies in our industry — and no doubt in most industries — plan, execute, and measure. That means they create, execute and track a business plan.
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Reduce Service Callbacks With Tracking, Training

Callbacks are a serious problem that needs to be corrected. Ron Smith defines callback situations and offers solutions.
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Analyzing Financial Statements, Part 2 of 2

If you are generating accurate, timely financial statements, and the ratios are in line, you know that your company probably is healthy. If the ratios aren’t in line, then do something about them so that you won’t have financial difficulties!
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Growing Sales Takes More Than Adding Salespeople

Growing and retaining a large service-agreement customer base and then leveraging that customer base for continuing revenues, profits, and referrals requires careful planning followed by the ongoing 100% commitment of everyone involved in the process to successfully execute the plan.
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Analyzing Financial Statements, Part 1 of 2

Unfortunately, many contractors pay more attention to blueprints than financial statements. To make good business decisions in your company, you must analyze your financial statements each month. Ruth King presents the first of 10 ratios that can help you analyze your business.
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Formulas For Success: Commercial Contractors

Based on his business experience, business model (commercial; no residential), and outlooks and opinions, Skip Snyder discusses highlights of what he's learned over the years as a teacher and commercial contractor.
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Getting Ready To Sell Your Business

A successful sale of any business requires planning, and some of that planning must start well before the business is even offered for sale. Here are some ideas on how to get your business, and yourself, ready for a sale.
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Where Outsourcing Works

It’s important that companies of all sizes understand and implement outsourcing, so they can achieve the benefits of the practice. Another company may have the set of skills that you need to grow your business.
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Financial Basics For Contractors

Skip Snyder, who teaches a series of financial management classes through the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, tells why it's important to be able to analyze your own financials and offers five crucial measures of a financially sound company.
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How To Boost Revenues With Price Increases

It is possible to increase revenues per service ticket without increasing your hourly rate. Ruth King describes how.
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Know Your Liabilities Before Borrowing

Commercial lenders have a great deal more latitude in designing their loan agreements. Likewise, borrowers have the opportunity to negotiate for terms that will fit their business needs.
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Get Ready For Summer

Now is the time to put the plan in place to decrease your dependence on the weather and increase customer loyalty. Here are four action items for your plan.
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Drip Marketing Critical To Cash Flow

Drip marketing evens out cash flow. It takes planning. However, you will see consistent growth in your customer base and consistent cash influxes when you execute the plan.
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Preparing For An Audit

If you happen to be among the 60,000 businesses that will be audited in 2008, don’t panic. Make certain your paperwork is in order and consult with your tax professional.
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Spring Cash Mistakes

Start preparing for the busier months ahead while you still are experiencing the slow, late winter months. This slower period gives you enough time to think and plan so that all you have to do when you get busy is execute your plan.
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What To Expect From Your CPA

Good CPAs are an integral part of your advisory team. They help you see the “forest through the trees” and keep you informed so that you can make good business decisions. Likewise, you have to provide timely, accurate data so that they can help you make those decisions.
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Three Things That Kill Your Business

Being proactive, eliminating non-productive employees, and watching cash flow are three critical resolutions to keep in 2008.
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Passing The Torch

You need five to 10 years to develop and implement a sound succession plan. Not developing a succession plan can put your business, your family and your employees at risk.
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How Do You Want To Operate Your Business?

The best way to operate your business is by plan. Implement your plan. Keep your plan out, communicate it and track it.
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Top Four Marketing Buys

Direct mail works well in all geographic markets. With direct mail you know exactly to whom you are sending your message and you are not wasting money on people in geographic areas you don’t cover or people who can’t use your services.
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When Economic Confidence Wavers

For existing business owners with realistic cash-flow projections, excellent repayment histories, solid credit scores, collateral, and strong business plans, it still is possible to borrow money. However, if you are looking for start-up money, it will have to come from private investors.
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Flattening Out Seasonality

Service agreements, marketing and diversity will decrease dependence on the weather and flatten out the seasonality.
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Survive & Thrive The Market Flux

Being proactive in the anticipation of change, being diversified in the marketplace, having courage to implement plans and leading your organization to quickly react and adapt are key elements in being proactive in changing market conditions.
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Preventing Embezzlement

Embezzlement ranks number 1 among crimes that have hurt U.S. companies the most. Check fraud ranks number 2. To avoid losses, carefully select and supervise employees, and adopt internal fraud prevention measures.
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Navigating In A Down Economy

It’s a tough economy out there and just about every indicator is pointing its needle toward the red. However, for business owners there are no excuses, the playing field is level. It’s a great time to make process changes you’ve been planning, or simply fix things you think are broken
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Stop Running A Warehouse Supermarket

Limit access to the warehouse. You may need to hire a parts runner or a warehouse person. It’s the best way to save your hard-earned cash. Make the time to do the paper work necessary to get warranty credits
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Retirement: What Plan Is Best?

Indeed, properly planning for retirement will ensure you retire with the income you desire. But for many hvacr contractors, retirement is a foreign concept and providing retirement benefits to employees is a challenge.
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Up For Bid

Look to your financial statements to see what's going on in your company. This will tell you whether you should raise prices or make adjustments in areas like productivity, marketing, or sales closing rates
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Lease vs. Buy Conundrum

There is no one correct answer to lease versus buy. Since cash is the life blood of all businesses, look at leasing versus financing versus buying outright from a cash position.
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Inventory is a Bet

Ruth King reveals what happens when you don't manage your inventory and how to do it so you don't get hit with a surprise loss.
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Set Your Profitable Price

To calculate your hourly rate consider the direct wages of the technician, the associated labor expenses, a truck, the associated truck expenses, non-productive time, and overhead.
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Open Up To Open Book

Opening your books for review means opening a piece of yourself, too. If you truly want a team approach to your business where people are fully invested in the numbers, then you have to let them in on the numbers.
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Maintenance Agreements Protect Profits

Creating a profitable program requires planning and persistence. You must get your staff on board, develop and deliver direct mail and advertising pieces, and train the office and field personnel how to sell and fulfill the agreements.
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Sales Price Using Net Profit Per Hour, Part 2

Ruth King offers examples of how to better estimate your selling price to the customer.
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Involving Employees In Goal Setting

Companies that focus their entire team on goals and communicate how they are progressing to reach those goals usually have better sales and profits, and lower employee turnover rates.
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Sales Price: Gross Mistakes, Part 1

Dual overhead recognizes that there are different costs associated with materials and labor, and it is more accurate than gross margin.
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Apples to Apples

Your job as the owner or manager is to review accurate financial statements on a monthly basis. You don't need to know the intricacies of how each entry is made. You do need to know enough to question if the statements don't appear to be right.
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Managing, Monitoring Sales For Success

By properly managing the sales force, you can be certain that all sales leads are carefully tracked, and promptly pursued— thus bringing more money to the bottom line.
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Be Proactive – Sell IAQ Products

IAQ products differentiate your company from your competitors. However, it takes being different, educating, and explaining to create and install the best possible, not least expensive, products for a customer.
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A good savings strategy will help prevent you from experiencing a financial hardship in years to come.

Make sure that you are earning enough on your jobs and service work to generate reasonable profits, and that you save some of the money you generate.
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Is Your Company Ready For A CFO?

Business is a game that is scored by profit and loss statements and balance sheets. A CFO ensures that the score is being kept properly and can give critical advice for directional decisions based on the score.
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Become the Contractor of Choice in Your Area

7 keys to a more productive and profitable work force that will put you on the map as being the Contractor of choice in your geographic area.
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How Much Should I Charge?

This pricing methodology uses gross profit per hour, overhead cost per hour and net profit per hour decisions.
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Is An ESOP Right For Your Company?

Mike Coyne describes what an employee stock option program is and how it can benefit your company.
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Keeping Productivity High As Summer Ends

Ruth King offers To keep productivity high, you must plan some end-of-the-busy-season activities.
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Time To Think About Winter

Ruth King offers 12 things you should do during the summer to prepare yourself for slower winter months.
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Cash Management Especially Important In Busy Season

Paying strict attention to cash in busy and slow times keeps honest people honest. When you get lax, honest people get tempted and can start a pattern of theft.
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Three Things That Can Put You Out of Business

Lack of attention to these key areas will eventually lead to business failure. Ruth King says take care of your customers, take care of your employees, and watch your cash.
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Update on Inventory Issues

Ruth King offers reminders for proper inventory management. You are betting that you can sell the parts or equipment that you are purchasing with your hard earned dollars.
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When the economy struggles, you don't have to

When the economy struggles, you don't have to. Keep making telephone calls, talking with clients and prospective customers, and keep a positive attitude. If you do this, the tough times won't be so tough
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Cash vs. Accrual Accounting

If you account on a cash basis, you record a sale when you get the money in the door. You record an expense when you write the check for that expense. There are no accounts receivable and accounts payable. There is no inventory.
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To Discount or Not to Discount

Whether you should take a discount is totally dependent on the terms of the discount, your cost of borrowing, and plugging the numbers into the formula.
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Avoid Down Cycles

Smart money management protects your business in slower times.
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Reporting Monthly Financial Results

Ron Smith offers insight into reporting net profits by division and how to properly allocate expenses.
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Investing in Community

Communities everywhere have projects and needs that require support beyond what tax dollars can fund. Businesses have the opportunity to make contributions in time, resources, people and money to support organizations that add value and life to the community in which the business is located.
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Overtime Pay?

Whether an employee is labeled "salaried" or "hourly" does not answer whether the employee is entitled to overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act has very specific rules regarding overtime pay, and every employer needs to be familiar with these rules.
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Thinking About Selling?

To get your business ready for sale, good due diligence asks questions in all areas of your business.
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Check Fraud Checkup

Annual check fraud losses now exceed $20 billion. Businesses with checking accounts face a substantial shared risk. Frank Abagnale reviews your liability and offers procedures to follow to reduce your risk.
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When It’s Time To Stop Cutting and Start Growing

In lean times you can decrease cash spending by using inventory in your shop and on your trucks. Ruth offers a break-even formula to calculate what your company needs to sustain its overhead.
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9 Stupid Things Contractors Do In Slow Times

Ruth King suggests ways to trim overhead costs during the slow season as well as how to take advantage of the time to poise yourself for the busy season ahead.
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3 Ways To Eliminate Low-Productivity Habits

What permanent changes do you need to make to get the most profitability and productivity from every dollar that comes in the door? How do you eliminate the old habits and change for good?
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The Ostrich Complex

Tough decisions are just that, tough. Playing the “ignore it and it’ll go away” game is disastrous. Focusing on the true kernel of the problem or dilemma usually brings it down to a size that becomes manageable.
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Toxins In The Workplace

In the hvacr industry, workers can potentially be exposed to several toxins. Awareness of these chemicals and antimicrobials is important for overall job safety and health.
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Outsource To India? I Don’t Think So!

One owner's strategy for recruiting and retaining good employees includes, billboard advertisements, high-school programs, and a web presence.
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Becoming The Employer Of Choice

To be successful in today’s market, contractors and hvacr business owners must get creative and make recruitment a priority.
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Stressed Out

To help yourself, and your employees, better cope with stress, encourage communication. You can also support employees through social activities, employee assistance programs and encouraging regular exercise.
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On Sex

In addition to eating right and regularly hitting the gym, intimacy can do wonders for your overall well being. It promotes heart health, lowers stress and helps you sleep better.
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Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common health complaints we hear about today. Pain can be due to ordinary overuse, trauma, or a serious condition. Anti-inflammatory medications, in concert with therapeutic exercises can provide relief.
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Creating Clients For Life

Customers who are not treated well at every turn become history; customers who value how they were treated and what they received for their money are your future clients, and represent your future income and success.
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Why Change is Good

Guy Kawasaki talks with Ariane de Bonvoisin, CEO and founder of The First Thirty Days, about the importance of embracing change.
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The Art of Resisting Irrational Behavior

Guy Kawasaki talks with Ori Brafman, author of “Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior”, about the psychological forces at play when smart people make bad choices. Brafman offers insight into what to be aware of when assessing candidates for jobs, the right way to transform a company’s bad reputation, and customer communications.
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What Small Businesses Can Learn From Hollywood

Guy Kawasaki discusses five movies that have an important back-story that innovators can learn from.
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Transform Your Business with 2009 New Year’s Revolutions

The reality is wherever we spend our precious resources — time, money and energy — is where we will get the greatest results.
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Investing in Your Business

Investing in building a team of dependable personnel, offering a reliable product, and performing your services in a consistently trustworthy way will quickly separate you from competition.
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Welcome to our 25th Anniversary Celebration!

HVACR Business more accurately reflects the new direction that we are taking with this publication. It reflects our new mission of working with top industry leaders to develop a new standard of success for the hvacr contractor.
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Rise Above the Politicians: Debate for Success, Not Stalemate

Audrey Wong Chung's tips on “rallying stakeholders in a collaborative effort to avoid a stalemate.” Summary (introtext): Properly debated and documented decisions can move leaders forward with a plan of action that is supported by all, instead of a stalemate that leaves everyone dissatisfied.
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Protect Your Knees

Knowing how to prevent injuries and heeding warning signs when something is wrong will enable you to continue selling and servicing hvacr systems for years to come.
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Finding The Right Doctor: He Says, She Says

We rely on our primary care physician for their ability to help maintain our health and to screen for more serious illnesses. Alan’s approach to choosing a physician is pragmatic and straightforward — even business like. Pamela’s approach uses a little more intuitive sense. By blending a little of each of these suggestions, you should be able to find a physician or surgeon who is right for you or your family.
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How To Hire Co-Workers

Recruiting is the practice of getting people interested in working for your company. Hiring is the practice of convincing people that your company is the one they should choose as their place of employment. To recruit and retain competent co-workers you must become an employer of choice. Ron Smith suggests how.
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Health Basics 101

Drs. Alan W. Davis, M.D., and Pamela H. Davis, M.D offer a health maintenance primer, suggesting regular physical exams, dental visits, eye exams, colonoscopy, skin exam, vital signs, electrocardiogram, cholesterol check, CRP, prostate exam, testicular exam, PAP smear, and bone density testing as recommended tests everyone should be having.
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24/7 Safety

Proper and on-going safety training can prevent most accidents. Investigating accidents and routine safety audits also can keep workers safe.
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Why Should Customers Do Business With You?

Terry Tanker offers advice on how to articulate your company's value proposition and why you should have a mantra.
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Moving Beyond Sticker Price

There is more to the value of a properly engineered and carefully installed system than the initial investment. Treating the initial investment as a simple commodity is misleading. When confronted with a price objection, never leave the home without carefully explaining the four costs that make up the total cost of owning and operating an air conditioning and heating system.
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Building A High-Performance Company

The Gartner Group's five keys to building a high-performance organization include setting ambitious goals and achieving them, displaying a strong sense of purpose, having a strategic focus, adapting to change, having a common and shared business model.
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Safety For All

The number of Spanish-speaking skilled workers in the hvacr trade is increasing, a trend that presents many challenges to business owners. Fortunately, many groups have started to provide materials in Spanish focused on training and safety.
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Three Ways to Start a Conversation and Finish with a Sale

An elevator pitch, infomercial or positioning statement doesn't make for good conversation. Michel Neray offers three alternatives for engaging prospects that will entice them into wanting to know more.
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Improve Your Presentation

Paul Grunau offers suggestions on how to prepare for and deliver presentations. He says the ability to articulate why your team is the best choice for a project, and the ability to express how you will help your customer succeed, will continue to grow in importance.
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Laser Printing Primer

Prevent check fraud by understanding how laser checks can be altered and put technology in place to prevent disaster
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Measurements May Double Money

IAQ, along with proper equipment operation, is paramount when it comes to customer comfort and appliance safety. Measuring is the most critical part of all service and sales calls. When replacing existing equipment, a complete evaluation of the ducting system including verification of proper airflow at the registers is warranted
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Training In A Turbulent Economy

Investment in employee development through a well-planned training program provides a significant competitive advantage for contractors. When business is slow, developing highly skilled employees prepares the entire organization to ride the next wave when business picks up.
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Technician Training And Education — The Conditioned Air Approach

Giving employees the education they need to excel will lead not only to well-trained technicians, but also to a loyal workforce that will maintain a healthy bottom line for business owners.
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Disaster Planning

Every year natural disasters and common events like fires force thousands of businesses to close, and 25% can not recover. To better your odds of survival, devise a disaster plan.
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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Consistent and persistent lack of sleep deprives your body of much needed time for recharging and can lead to serious ailments, such as depression, heart disease, poor glucose metabolism, and an increase in other colds and flues due to a weakened immune system.
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MCAA – The Education Association

To ensure contractors remain competitive, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America Inc. (MCAA) offers its members myriad educational opportunities.
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The Power Of Learning

Activity is not the same as productivity. It's important to take the time to plan each task, think about how to get it done efficiently and right, and gain knowledge through education and skill training so we have more tools available to us to address a situation better.
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Why The Best Service Is No Service

Guy Kawasaki interviews Bill Price, former global vice president of customer service for Amazon, founder of Driva Solutions, and co-author of "The Best Service is No Service." The two discuss the concept of "Best Service" and why it is important for small business owners.
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Prostate Cancer

A man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer; however nearly 100% of patients diagnosed early can be cured. Here are the signs and symptoms to look for and some preventive measures to take.
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Abundant Opportunities

Diverse backgrounds bring a rich mix of talents, attitudes, and opportunities to serve multiple markets within our greater metropolitan market.
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Taking Training To The Next Level

Hvacr companies are using a variety of methods to build effective training programs. These methods sometimes involve in-house investments, hiring another company to train, or using free training resources from manufacturers and distributors.
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Training: The Final Four Steps

Part 3 of a three-part series on how to develop a structured employee training program.
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Training and Certification for IAQ

As HVAC engineers and contractors become more frequently recognized as indoor environmental professionals, the need for third-party accredited IAQ certification has emerged. Consumers are better educated than ever about IAQ and understand that a truly qualified person is needed to solve complex problems.
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Growing Sales Takes More Than Adding Salespeople

Building a successful retail sales and production department requires careful planning followed by the ongoing 100% commitment of everyone involved in the process to successfully execute the plan.
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Training: Place, Time, And Ideas Are Crucial

In the second of a three-part series, Ron Smith details how to create a structured employee training program
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Training: Management’s Greatest Responsibility

Ron Smith details how to establish an effective training program.
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ARI Certification Has Multiple Benefits

ARI’s certification programs, the building owner in Boise who purchases ARI Performance Certified™ products can rest assured that the equipment is as efficient as the manufacturer claims it is. He knows he’s getting what he paid for.
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Tops in Training

The HVACR industry is in perpetual need of highly skilled, enthusiastic employees. At Ferris State University's College of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR), they're doing their part to give students a broad base for what they are going to experience in the real world.
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Recruiting Co-workers, Part 1 of 2

Properly staffing a company requires that you individually address six key elements: recruiting, hiring (recruiting and hiring are totally different), orientation, training, motivation, and retention. If you correctly handle each of the six, your staffing problem for now and the future will be solved.
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Customer Care Boosts Referrals

Customer care is all about empathy and begins with hiring. You and your co-workers must treat customers or prospective customers in such a way that they sense that you are concerned about them and their comfort— not just with selling them products or services.
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Tap The Light Commercial Service Market

Responsiveness and quality of work will help you make the sale and retain customers.
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The First Sale Is The Appointment

As a service provider, setting the appointment is the first step in convincing the potential customer that you are the right choice. Get them to contact you with a customer-friendly, informational website. Make sure you have a friendly and informed receptionist to take calls and make appointments.
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Networking Works

Word-of-mouth advertising is a powerful marketing tool. Networking groups enable you to spread the word even farther.
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Creating Customer Trust

People want to buy from someone they trust. You can be the most knowledgeable hvacr person there is but if the customer doesn’t trust you they won’t buy from you.
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Building Web Sites

The importance of being on the Web cannot be overstated. Americans spend an equal amount of time watching TV as they do surfing the Web (about 14 hours a week). Having a good Internet platform is easy and relatively inexpensive. And, as mobile phones, PDAs and other devices become more effective and efficient at helping users surf the Web, it will only add to the importance of Web marketing.
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The Essence of Duct Tape Marketing

Make marketing your new habit, and find the money to stick with the plan. Effective small business marketing is a system — not an event — composed of simple, effective, and affordable techniques.
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Overcome, Conquer Sales Stereotypes

Find out how the customer thinks and feels about the buying process, about the problems they have, about the company who does the work…and then help them get what they want in a way that makes sense to them.
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1-800-Call-Me

The best way to do thrive is to provide outstanding service that blows away the competition. To do that, you must stand out from the crowd. Vanity phone numbers and websites are a way to move your company into the mind of the customer when they're thinking about heating and cooling services.
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Added Value — A Powerful Marketing Principle

Ron Smith offers tactics for caring for customers — both dissatisfied and highly satisfied. He notes that practicing added value helps you disarm angry customers and move satisfied customers into the more-than-satisfied bracket.
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Drip Marketing Critical To Cash Flow

Whether busy or slow, you should do some marketing activity every month (phone book advertising doesn’t count). The activity can be a major campaign or a small reminder about your company’s products and services. The small reminders, or drips, keep your company’s name in front of your customers and prospective customers each month.
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Residential Service Agreements, Part 2

Start with a structured and organized approach. Make sure all owners buy into the program, your technicians are well-trained in performing quality precision tune-ups, and a process is established to support the inside sales team as well as a fair pricing strategy.
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Flip This Fleet

Traci Purdum summarizes characteristics of successful branding strategies and presents insight from the winners of HVACR Business' fleet design contest.
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Setting Sales Goals

Setting goals gives use a target to aim for. Hitting the target isn’t as important as having a destination point and a roadmap to follow. The target gives us purpose and focus, and we will be more effective by having both.
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Cause Marketing—Good For Business

A well-thought-out cause marketing program can affect several key areas of your business: brand differentiation, employee recruiting and retention, community networking, and positive public relations.
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Managing Sales Performance

Setting a goal and creating a plan for achieving it and not reviewing performance regularly is like setting out for a road trip without ever looking at the route you mapped out. Maybe you’ll get there — maybe you won’t.
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Advance Sales Via The Web

Consumers comparison shop by surfing the Web. When they've read enough, they click to buy. Make sure your site is the one that provides them all of the information they need to click "buy"!
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The Nine Best Story Lines For Marketing

Lois Kelly, author of Beyond Buzz, explains how picking the best story line for your company can give your marketing efforts a big boost.
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What Are Customers Looking For?

As an hvac retailer, you must focus on these items: quality work, on-time delivery, ethical corporate behavior, and convenience. Price only becomes an issue when a company fails to provide any or all of these four items that customers want.
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To Close More Sales, Offer More Choices

Improved results come only from doing things differently. Learning from the successes of others is your shortcut to improved success. It takes courage to address the risks you face when you change something. Give your customers a high-end choice and you will get more business.
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Residential Service Agreements, Part 1

First in a series. Experts share what they've learned about the use of residential service agreements in building a residential retail contracting business.
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Proven Ways To Generate Sales Leads

Weather-driven sales certainly are a nice windfall when they happen. However, depending on temperature extremes to grow a viable hvac retail business simply doesn’t work for the long haul. In order to grow and prosper, the business must generate sufficient valid sales leads on a year-round basis.
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How To Break Into The DDC Market

There are a number of reasons to get into the direct digital control game. DDC technology is good for business and good for the bottom line. DDC technology can help clients improve operational and staff efficiency, while netting building owners some pretty significant energy savings
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Pre-Employment Screening Requires Caution

To find the best people, you need to adopt good hiring practices. Pre-employment screening should be one aspect of these hiring practices. However, you need to be aware that there are important limitations on an employer’s right to pre-screen potential employees.
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How To Boost Your HVAC Accessories Sales

By educating customers about additional accessories, your company can increase sales and profit margins.
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Maneuvering Holiday Cash Mistakes

Ensure that your marketing message is heard by thinking differently then your competition. Stand out by sending mailers at unique times throughout the year. And, distribute bonuses in February rather than in December so as not to have your employees mistake profit sharing for a holiday bonus.
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Presenting The Company

A formula for effective sales communication includes Say What’s Important + Show What’s Important + Tell the Truth
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Does Your Brand Have Personality?

Rohit Bhargava, founding member of the pioneering 360 Digital Influence team at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, discusses the role of personality in branding with Guy Kawasaki.
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4 Steps To A Great Newsletter

This customized excerpt is from the book, Get Content. Get Customers. — How to use content marketing to deliver relevant, valuable, and compelling information that turns prospects into customers. The book teaches you, step-by-step and through countless case studies, how to create and market your own content to acquire customers. Copies are available for purchase at www.getcontentgetcustomers.com.
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Which Came First, the ‘C-word’ or the ‘E-word’?

Hiring an entrepreneurial “Operation-General Manager” to run your business, allows you to focus on the service/installation technical side of the business or the sales side of it.
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Brand Beyond Marketing

Employee education is particularly important for service organizations that don’t have concrete products. Their offerings are soft assets like knowledge, experience and people.?
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Your Company Is Your Brand

The same elements that make your installed system unique only to your company are some of the elements that contribute to establishing and maintaining your company’s brand.
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Top Four Marketing Buys

Direct mailing, reminder pieces, referral programs, and surveys are good uses of marketing dollars. Be sure to track results!
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Giving Choices Will Close The Sale

Act as a consultant to increase sales. Consultants are more likely to be seen as knowledgeable and helpful. Consultants ask questions, listen and take notes. And consultants advise clients on their choices and support them in making the decision that is right for them.
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5 Pillars of Digital Marketing

A faltering economy presents the opportunity to rethink what you’ve done in the past and invest wisely in your future, maintaining or even growing a marketing communications program. In fact, history suggests that companies who continue to communicate and promote in hard times fare better during the downturn and recover more quickly as the economy improves.
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Maintaining Customer Interaction

Contractors should actively seek customer feedback, and develop a deep understanding of the customers’ businesses and what is important to them.
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Customers Need IAQ

Education is key to IAQ sales. One way to help consumers is to offer customer testimonials, which can be a very powerful marketing tool.
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Seven Service Behaviors To Boost The Bottom Line

Every winning service behavior you’re about to read. If you apply them with passion and consistency, your business results will unequivocally improve, and swiftly.
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Tops In Trucks 2008

You have roughly 5 seconds to grab a consumer's attention. That's a tall order where fleet designs are concerned. Consumers need to understand at a glance what you sell. Confuse them with too much or not enough information, and you lose potential customers. To guide you, we've recognized contractors who are on the leading edge of marketing efforts to increase sales, competitiveness, and brand recognition.
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At The Kitchen Table

Most successful in-home salespeople in any home improvement business will tell you that remaining in the home while you prepare the proposal keeps you engaged with the customer.
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Give Your Company the "Green" Light

Contractors that provide high-quality products and services are already being environmentally responsible. Isn’t it time you told your customers?
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It’s Better To Be a Leader Than a Manager

For nearly 30 years I have rarely used the word manager, preferring to use the term leader. You may have noticed a similar slow and subtle change in many businesses — including our hvacr world — to using this term.
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Train And Educate In Multi-generational Workplace

Today’s complicated office structure is made up of several different generations of employees, yet there are two that can be radically different: Baby Boomers (approaching retirement; born between 1946 and 1964) and Millennials (entering the workforce; between the ages of 18 to 30).
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What Profitable HVACR Contractors Did in 2009

Everyone knows that 2009 was not a great year economically. Some contractors did well. Perhaps they were not as profitable as they were in 2008, but they still were profitable. What did they do differently?
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5 Steps To More Effective Mobile Device Demos

The "art" of using mobile demonstrations to close business sales and sell more HVAC equipment and systems.
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Protecting Against Data-Related Risks

This exposure is excluded in standard general liability policies, but may be insured separately under a policy that covers “electronic-data incidents” resulting in damage to, loss of, loss of use of, cor- ruption of, inability to access, or inability to properly manipulate, electronic data.
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A Content Strategy That Will Grow Your Business

Although traditional marketing efforts may continue to pay some dividends, the Internet is where the true opportunity lies. Consumers are beginning their purchasing search online, make sure the information you provide helps them to make better choices.
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Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

Guy Kawasaki interviews Dave Balter, founder of BzzAgent on word-of-mouth marketing.
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Who's Eating Your Lunch?

Energy optimization is on the minds of commercial and residential customers. If heating-cooling-and-ventilation contractors don’t respond, other businesses will.
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Setting Goals: How To Inspire And Achieve With SMART And WISE Goals

Goals help us to cut through the clut- ter of a crowded mind and keep our thoughts on the things that matter most. They help us to focus. To be effective, you can’t set random goals — long lists of wishes that eventually fall away. You need to be smarter than that. Wiser.
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Will Congress Fill the “Lazy” Days of Summer with HVACR Issues?

When you take a 50,000-foot view, you realize all levels of the HVACR industry are facing more scrutiny from the federal government than ever before.
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9 Things HVACR Contractors Should't Do In Slow Times

Over the years I’ve seen contractors do some really stupid things — both in slow times of the year and busy times of the year. Since it’s January, I’ll cover the stupid things I know you, the smart contractor, won’t do in the upcoming slower season.
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Out With The Old, In With The New

As we start the new year, let me issue a challenge to those of you who have been clinging to caution — let go and be bold. The time has come for you to plan your next move.
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Medical Marijuana Clouds Employer Drug-Use Policies For Employees

Until recently, it has been fairly well understood that an employer can require pre-employment drug testing and refuse to hire someone who tests positively for illegal drugs. However, changes in the law with respect to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes have made it difficult for employers to know how far they can go to maintain a drug-free workplace.
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Review Your Pricing Strategy

Decide where you want to position your company in your marketplace. If you want to be known for the “lowest prices in town” then you will most likely have “the lowest profits in town.” If you want to be known as “the highest quality in town,” then your pricing must reflect what is required to have “the highest quality in town.”
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Document Management: When to Shred, When to Keep

Several options exist from destroying the document to retaining the paper. The rules surround what kind of document you have and depend on industry regulations. Abraham Niedzwiecki offers insight for determining when to shred and when to file.
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Boosting Companywide Performance With a ‘Complete’ Software Solution

Providing end-to-end control and streamlined processes, a bid-to-cash solution can be the single most valuable software investment an HVACR contractor of any size can make.
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Selling Commercial Service Agreements (part 1)

This is the first of a six-part series on creating a selling system for commercial service agreements. I designed the series as a complete A-Z guide.
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Welcome Aboard!

The U.S. government reports that by next year, the country’s workforce will fall short of filling 3 million skilled-worker positions. The result: HVACR contractors will be competing with each other and other industries for good employees.
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More Good News For Growth-Minded HVACR Contractors

Contractors adding services such as plumbing and electrical to expand their businesses and better service customers.
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5 Essentials of a Highly Profitable Commercial Service Department

Before you can sell and deliver commercial service successfully, you must develop systems and “checklists” or standard operating procedures, policies, and systems.
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10 Strategies For Getting Good Customer Testimonials

One of the most powerful tools to help overcome a prospect's natural skepticism and to build relationships is the customer testimonial. They create believability, credibility, and a sense of security for your prospect and customer.
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Be Weary of Retirement-Plan Checks That Show Up Unexpectedly

If you get a check and do not know why he received it, check with your retirement plan advisers first. Chances are the check belongs to your retirement plan.
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Is an ESOP Your Best Exit Strategy?


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Selling Commercial Service Agreements (part 2)

This is the second of a six-part series on creating a selling system for commercial service agreements. I designed the series as a complete A-Z guide.
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5 Ways to be More Persuasive


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Are Mobile Customers Missing You?

Smartphones and other mobile devices are becoming a bigger part of consumers' daily lives. Many use them as an extension of their desktop computers in addition to communicating and accessing media. As this penetration deepens, more consumers will be using mobile search to make purchasing decisions. Assume that potential customers are looking for you with their mobile devices and take the necessary steps to make sure they can find you, including creating a mobile version of your website.
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20 Questions With Larry Janesky, Owner and Founder of Basement Systems Inc.

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Larry Janesky, owner and founder of Basement Systems Inc., which has more than 300 dealers in six countries. He is also author of eight books and holds 27 patents. His latest venture, Dr. Energy Saver, is a network of energy-conservation contractors who specialize in energy and comfort assessment, a perfect add-on business for most HVACR contractors. Tanker and Janesky discussed motocross, saving energy in homes and buildings, and franchise opportunities.
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5 Steps To Connect Messaging to Sales

Use language and concepts that resonate with customers so they see your differentiators as value and won't mind paying a higher price.
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Zoning Systems for Residential and Light Commercial Applications

Tom Edwards explains the difference between electronic bypass variable air volume (BPVAV) and constant-volume duct systems—and when to use each application.
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Why Zoning Is The Answer To Achieving Whole-Home Comfort

A zoning system allows homeowners to vary temperature settings throughout the house. When a home is divided into multiple, distinct zones, homeowners no longer need to heat or cool unoccupied rooms, or live with uncomfortable temperatures.
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Focus Zoning Training on Sales Education

Understanding how to assess load requirements and explain benefits will help sales people identify opportunities and recommend properly sized solutions.
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Zone Control Has Become the Norm; Knowing it's Application is Key Success Strategy

Zone control in the light commercial and residential market has become the norm rather than the exception. It is imperative that every HVAC contractor and system-design professional understands the application. It is a key strategy for success on both new construction as well as improving overall comfort on existing jobs. The steps identified should help identify additional thoughts to be included in a successful zone-control strategy.
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Rise Above the Politicians: Debate for Success, Not Stalemate

Properly debated and documented decisions can move leaders forward with a plan of action that is supported by all, instead of a stalemate that leaves everyone dissatisfied.
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Marketing Zoning: Educate and Excite To Close The Sale

Educating your sales team about zoning options and benefits. Your sales team can then provide a wider range of comfort solutions.
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5 Tips to Making LinkedIn Work for You

Whether you’re a CEO, vice president, manager, or business owner — you’ll want to take a closer look at LinkedIn. It’s a useful tool that can make your business relationships more meaningful and more profitable.
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Practice the 5 “Ps” of Success Each Day

The difference between successful business people and those who are not successful is that successful people have the guts to move forward, take intelligent risks, and work harder than anyone else.
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Is Debt Good? Only You Can Decide

The reality is that debt usage is an emotional decision. Some company owners are comfortable with a lot of debt. Others can't sleep at night if they owe anybody anything. They pay cash for their trucks and other assets as well as their suppliers. Each of us has to determine our debt tolerance. Only you can decide whether debt is right for your company.
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Make Time for Face Time

Although there is a marketing push to increase online presence, build communities and interact through technology, when it comes down to it, people buy from people. Make time for person-to-person relationship building.
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For a Successful Exit, Build Value From the Start

In part 1 of a 3-part series, Kevin R. Yeanoplos explains the various factors that drive a company’s value and how making a few simple changes, owners can make the most of the current opportunity for growth to squeeze every last dollar of value out of their businesses.
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New DOE Rule Is Milestone For Industry

Oct. 25, 2011 the Direct Final Rule issued by the Dept. of Energy (DOE) setting regional standards for residential furnaces, heat pumps, and central air conditioners will be final, starting the clock ticking toward the first implementation deadline of May 1, 2013, for non-weatherized furnaces.
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Good Results Don’t Make You A Good Manager

As a manager, you work in the constant glare of an “invisible spotlight.” When you come, where you go, and what you do in between are of the utmost importance to your employees. Don't underestimate your impact on your employees' lives. Management is work and takes practice, self-reflection, and discipline.
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10 Ways to Keep Current Customers Coming Back

In the competitive industry of service and replacement HVAC, keeping customers has always been easier than getting new ones. Even considering the growing popularity of new services such as Energy Performance Contracting, if HVAC companies skimp on cultivating new business with existing customers, they’ll loose significant revenue potential and become overburdened before all of that “new customer” business translates into more resources.
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20 Questions with Gary Ward, Owner, Gary’s Heating and Air Conditioning, and Tops in Trucks Winner

Recently, Publisher Terry Tanker ventured into the Lone Star State to interview Tops In Trucks winner Gary Ward of Gary’s Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. They talked about training, fleet design, and the relentless Texas heat.
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5 Tips For Improving Sales

Publisher Terry Tanker offers advice on improving sales calls from prospecting to presenting.
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10 steps for how to value a business, sell a business, or buy a business.

In part 2 of a 3-part series, Kevin R. Yeanoplos discusses how an owner must put himself in the shoes of a prospective buyer and be willing to make any changes necessary to maximize the business’ “curb appeal.” He discusses key areas that a business owner should examine closely, including potential sales growth, financial strength, discretionary expenses, management depth, market and market strategy, quality of financial information, additional unnecessary expenses, hidden liability issues, plans for the future, and workforce.
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Spice Up Your Small Talk For The Holidays

Arm yourself with a little trivia and entertain everyone you talk with at your upcoming holiday parties this season.
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20 Questions With Peter Schwartz, President of North American Technicians Excellence (NATE)

Publisher Terry Tanker sat down with Peter Schwartz, the new president of North American Technicians Excellence (NATE) in Bonita Springs, Fla., during the Air-Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute’s annual meeting to discuss NATE and how the organization is improving marketing and making it easier for contractors to become certified.
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What Brings Together Buyers And Sellers?

Part 3 of this series provides motivated buyers of a HVACR business with a number of key concepts and considerations for assessing opportunities. The attributes outlined in parts one and two are also quite relevant when compiling a list of where attention should be given during the due diligence process and in conjunction with the overall evaluation.
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3 Reasons Why Your Direct-Mail Results Stink

Postcard marketing will work for you if you do it correctly. Include these 10 elements to prepare a solid direct mailing piece.
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3 Ways To eliminate Low-Productivity Habits

Ruth King offers three suggestions to help you get the most profitability and productivity from every dollar that comes in the door.
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Changes Coming To Retirement Plans

If you currently have a retirement plan that allows you to make large contributions, you may want to think about maximizing your contributions this year, as the opportunity may not be available in the future. It's also a good time to discuss personal contributions and 401(k) fee-disclosure rules with your plan investment adviser or broker.
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Employee Handbooks Can Provide Important Legal Protection

Regardless of the number of employees you have, you have to inform them of you policies. The best way to communicate these is through an employee manual. It will also provide your business important protection.
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Copyright Vs. Trademark

How to navigate the murky waters of intellectual property rights. In this article, legal expert Mike Coyne differentiates between copyright and trademark and how they apply to your business name, slogan, fleet design and marketing materials.
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Online Content: Divide And Conquer For Success

To manage your online presence, first define and recognize how each platform discretely supports your marketing goals. Then develop content appropriate to each channel
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Sales Lessons From IBM

When you’re selling to the customer, don’t try to be the hero who conquers the dragon. Instead, be the wizard who gives the hero a magic sword
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Bringing Your Teams Together

Selling complex solutions is a team effort. If you’re going to cut the big deals, you’ll need to address these common areas where companies tend to fail.
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Closing Sales By Targeting Customer's Needs

The customer should be the target of every sales message. By fulfilling the customer's needs, you reinforce your value.
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6 Easy Steps to Closing a Sale

Great sales closers set an objective, go into a meeting with the right mindset (to sell), check with the customer to make sure they're relating, reiterate their purpose and most importantly, ask for the sale.
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Simple Cafeteria Plan Could Address Health Insurance Fears

A new type of benefit plan created by President Obama’s healthcare reform that was passed in 2010 may help smaller businesses satisfy potentially costly nondiscrimination requirements
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Do You Have Too Much Liability Coverage?

Typically, general liability includes three areas: bodily injury and property damage, personal and advertising injury, and medical expenses. Determine the amount of liability coverage you need by evaluating your potential risk, the state in which you operate (both its legal minimum and its history of awarding high damage amounts), and your personnel quality.
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5 Steps To Speeding Up And Increasing Sales

Sales pipelines are like compound interest. Small increases in efficiency, applied simultaneously at different points in the sales cycle, result in geometric increases in final sales results. Here are five easy steps (courtesy of Donal Daly, CEO of The TAS Group) to exponentially higher sales revenue.
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20 Questions with Michael Feurer, Co-founder, Office Max

Publisher Terry Tanker met with Michael Feuer, who co-founded OfficeMax in 1988, with $20,000 of his own money. During a 16-year span, Feuer, as CEO, grew the company to almost 1,000 stores worldwide with annual sales of about $5 billion before selling this retail giant for almost $1.5 billion in 2003.
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Selling Commercial Service Agreements (part 3)

This is the third of a six-part series on creating a selling system for commercial service agreements. I designed the series as a complete A-Z guide. I encourage you to save these in a training folder.
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5 Apps That Will increase Productivity And Awareness

Companies on the leading edge have discovered that great apps don’t over- whelm users with information. They help them prioritize. This means it’s easier for managers to pick which problem to solve first, while staying on top of the general health of day-to-day operations.
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Google SEO Changes 2011

Each year Google changes its algorithm — the formula it uses to rank websites — hundreds of times. Most of the changes are small; however, every few months, Google rolls out a major change that affects the performance of websites in its search engine. Below is a summary of major algorithm changes that took place in 2011 and likely affected your site.
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How to Calculate Overhead-Cost-Per-Hour By Department

Departmentalizing is the fairest way to allocate overhead to different departments.
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How To Resolve Disputes In Family-Owned Businesses

Family-owned businesses present unique and difficult problems that are generally not found in other closely-held businesses.
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A Good Financial System

A good financial system is based on both the monthly financial data and weekly information you gather at your HVACR company.
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Take Advantage of Barcoding's Benefits

Tracking inventory and counting it once per year (or more often) takes time, labor, and money. Barcoding, which has been used in supermarkets for years, has evolved into one of the most efficient ways to track inventory for all types of businesses.
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