Continuous Improvement: HVAC service brand adapts to the times
For generations, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning has serviced homes across the country. Today, as we reflect on the tumultuous year it’s been for businesses across the board, we’re reminded of how important it is to adapt based on consumer needs and new market trends
For us, that means staying flexible, evolving customer offerings, introducing innovative technology, and improving the in-home experience. We’ve continuously adjusted our business model over the past 18 years, which has been key to our success and is why we’ve ranked as the number-one HVAC company on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list for the past 6 years. However, as we reflect on our growth, it’s essential to remember where we came from and the hard work it took to get to where we are today.
The company began as an affinity group called the Contractor Success Group. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC contractors across the country would share best practices and collaborate on how to strengthen their independent businesses, which ultimately led to the creation of an organized franchising group called Clockwork in 1998. Later known as Clockwork Home Services, the company’s portfolio included Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, and Mister Sparky. I joined the company in 2004, working my way from trainer to manager and now, vice president of operations. The transformation I’ve witnessed over the past 16 years has been incredible, and now that we’re a part of the Authority Brands family our journey is only accelerating.
Back in the early days, our training was primarily focused on helping owners learn how to answer the phone and communicate properly with a prospective customer. Now we teach our owners how to run a business, focusing on areas including finances, effective leadership, sales tactics, management, team building, and more. We also heavily focus on reputation management, promoting individual businesses through social media, interactive websites, and offering public relations support. Our marketing efforts have come a long way from the days when placing an ad in the Yellow Pages was a primary tactic.
Additionally, the technology we’ve implemented into our business has rapidly evolved. To remain relevant, adopting innovative technologies must be a priority for all businesses. Nearly 95 percent of our system is operating on iPads. Through these tablets we’re able to give homeowners presentations of potential work, see appointments history, and even accept payment. We’ve also started offering advanced smart home technology that monitors a home’s HVAC readings 24/7. If an issue is detected, an alert is sent to our technicians immediately and an appointment scheduled. While we’re thrilled to have adopted this type of technology, corporate can’t take all the credit. Our best ideas and innovations come from the contributions of our franchise owners, as we really view our relationship with them as partners and not merely franchise owner and franchisor.
The bond we’ve created with our network of franchise owners is the biggest reason we’ve been able to attain continued success. Our franchise owners have held strong to our five core values of exhibiting professionalism, honesty, understanding, accountability, and fun. The steadfast belief that we are improving the lives of the customers we serve, and the unwavering trust that is built during every visit, has allowed us to remain an integral part of homeowners’ daily lives. Regardless of the operational changes the brand has made over time, we’ve maintained an exemplary level of service, kept our promise about being on time, and remained dedicated to providing quality products and guarantees. When you stay true to your essence, you make a greater impact on the ones you serve.
As we look ahead, we must remember to never be complacent. The work isn’t over once you achieve success. In fact, I suggest the exact opposite. We must work harder and ask ourselves the important questions, such as: How can we help increase the top line for our franchise owners? How can we improve the bottom line. How can we better serve as leaders? What tools do we need to make our services more effective?
This is how we’ll remain leaders in the HVAC industry and build toward an even greater future. One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning has accomplished so much during its tenure, and I look forward to the next 10 years.
Lance Sinclair is Vice President of Operations at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, and Mister Sparky.
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