September 2023 Newsletter

A Word from our President

luke

by – Luke Parthemer-Fenix Heating & Cooling

September is upon us already.  Where did the summer go?  The good news is that football season has begun.  Now it is time to switch gears from repairing air conditioners to repairing furnaces.

This months meeting will cover a couple topics.  The first is the hidden cost of an accident.  Whether that is a work injury or a vehicle accident.  As most of you know or have been through it, our company vehicles are looked at like easy money no matter who is at fault.  We all have stories on how we got targeted.  If you have not experienced this, I hope you never do.  But the more prepared on what to do and how to handle the situation the better off you will be.  You also need to understand how it effects the bottom line.

Second topic will be about Lock Out-Tag Out.  This not only protects your employees but also can protect others that are on the job site.

This meeting will qualify for a 1 hour Non code CEU.  Hope to see everyone September 21st at the Scotch and Sirloin.  Meeting starts at 11:45.  Come with business card with a chance to win $100.

Please feel free to email or call Luke at (316) 945-4842 or lukep@fenixheat.com with any concerns or questions.


Education

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KCCA $500 TOOL SCHOLARSHIP
The board revised the Tool Scholarship a little. KCCA wants the employee to be working for the KCCA member for 3 months before they are eligible for the $500 tool Scholarship. So in short the employee or employer need to submit application and proof of graduation from one of our local trade school after the employee has worked for them for 3 months.


August’s General Meeting

No meeting last month, hope everyone stayed busy!

Hope to see you @ future meetings!! All general meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of every month except August & December.


2023/2024 Meetings

 
Sept. 21st             Federated, 1hr non-code CEU possible @ Scotch
Oct. 19th               Alan Griffin, 1hr non-code CEU possible @ Scotch
Nov. 16th              Husch Blackwell (Federated) @ Scotch
December             CHRISTMAS PARTY
January 18th         Tom Roberts, 1hr non-code @ Scotch
February 15th        Stoney W/MABCD, 1hr code @ Scotch
March 21st             Key Refrigeration, 1hr non-code @ Scotch
April 18th                WTI @ WTI
May 16th                WSU Tech @ WSU Tech
June 20th               Darrell Bogner, 1hr non-code @ Scotch
 
Reminder to RSVP on website @  kccaks.com

This list is subject to change due to speakers not able to make the date we have selected for them.

HVAC Contractors Navigate a Summer Full of Challenges

How to navigate and overcome the challenges obstructing contractors today

By Herb Woerpel

HARD WORK: When evaluating prospective hires, many companies place a high emphasis on work ethic. (Courtesy of ARS/Rescue Rooter Indiana)
August 16, 2023

For HVAC contractors, the summer of 2023 can be summed up in one word: challenging.

Numerous obstacles, including mild weather, a lack of demand, a shallow pool of skilled tradespeople, increased competition, inflation, supply chain shortages, and more, have stood in the way of contracting success throughout cooling season. 

Despite these hurdles, the show must go on.

The ACHR NEWS met with a handful of contractors who dissected the issues that have slowed their progress this summer and shared the steps they’ve taken to overcome these obstructions while meeting or exceeding their goals.

Heat Pumps Are Hot

Global sales of heat pumps grew by 11% in 2022, according to the latest IEA analysis, marking a second year of double-digit growth for the equipment.

Josh Conder, general manager, ARS/Rescue Rooter Indiana, Plainfield, Indiana, said his company has had a lot of success with heat pumps this year.

“We’re selling more and more heat pumps every day,” he said. “This is a trend that isn’t slowing down anytime soon, as we believe it will pick up even more speed than it has already going forward.”

Bryan Benak, CEO, Southern Home Services, Orlando, Florida, said his company has seen an increase in heat pump sales, though he insists this is only the beginning of a massive sales surge, once the Inflation Reduction Act’s tax incentives kick in.

“Once those rebates kick in, consumer awareness is expected to soar,” he said. “When it comes to rebates and incentives, we train our technicians to start the conversation with homeowners, helping them understand the potential for savings and providing information on how to do their own research and take advantage of the benefits they have available to them.”

Ken Goodrich, CEO, Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing, Las Vegas, said his company continues to lean into the electrification movement.

“For the Southwestern U.S., heat pumps are among the best forms of air cooling and heating,” he said. “I’m excited about the whole advent of the heat pump and what it’s going to do for our industry and business. Heat pumps will allow us to offer a better service, better environmental commitment, and a better outcome for our customers.”

Goodrich envisions a time when contractors will only offer heat pumps, minimizing SKUs and installation options.

“Imagine, as a technician, all you have to do is show up on the job, program the unit to operate to a specific condition, and off you go,” he said. “That’s where I’d like to see our business go.”

While heat pumps are gaining steam with environmentalists and those within industry circles, Goodrich insists they’re not atop customers’ shopping lists quite yet.

“People are not really aware of the difference between heat pump and traditional equipment,” he said. “It’s our responsibility as contractors to explain the difference and showcase how a heat pump makes sense from a comfort standpoint.”

 Where Are the Workers?

In the skilled trades, there simply aren’t enough workers to meet the demand. According to Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC), the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor. Some estimates state the HVAC industry is facing a shortage of approximately 40%.

For Chris Petri, operations manager, Petri Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Drain Cleaning, Brooklyn, New York, finding quality employees has been a challenge since the company opened its doors in 1906.

When evaluating prospective hires, the company places a high emphasis on work ethic.

“We look for unteachable qualities, like drive, positivity, and a desire to get better,” said Petri. “From there, we can train them accordingly and help turn them into all stars.”

Conder said recruiting and retaining quality workers remains an everyday challenge. The company has had great success through an annual recruiting event called “Spring Training.” Through the event, the company welcomed 545 new hires this year.

“This rush of new employees helped us prepare for the cooling season,” he said. “It was a strategic investment that’s paid itself off many times over.”

Benak said mild weather makes it difficult to staff to a peak could potentially last eight weeks or less.

“When we’re not at peak, we are able to hold our own,” he said. “But, once that peak arrives, companies like ours are overwhelmed.”

Goodrich received his first HVAC license back in 1986, and staffing has been an issue ever since.

“We’ve always had a robust human resources and recruiting initiative,” he said. “While it’s difficult working with the new generations, we’ve developed a system that’s provided a constant flow of new recruits, complete with a training system, that continues to develop our employees.”

Goodrich enlisted the Ritz Carlton Consulting Group to help mold its overarching culture as well as its day-to-day operations.

“We’re driven to offer an elevated, first-class service, much as you’d find at a Ritz Carlton,” said Goodrich. “We aim to pamper our customers and employees, as if they’re staying at a Ritz Carlton. These guidelines define the way we communicate with each other and the routines we follow in and out of the office.”

To retain employees, Goodrich said Goettl offers a number of contests, incentives, and year-end bonuses.

“We’re injecting enthusiasm and opportunity into our internal customers’ hands every single day,” he said. “We remain committed to rolling out the best, most cohesive team we possibly can.”

 Fluctuating Demand

As COVID brought the country to a screeching halt, more and more people found themselves working from home, quarantined from others. The increased time at home, combined with government incentives and a lack of travel expenses, caused more people to focus on home improvement projects, including upgrading their comfort systems. As a result, HVAC service and replacements flourished from 2020 to 2022.

“We pulled forward a lot of demand during the COVID years,” said Goodrich. “We replaced a lot of units in 2020 and 2021, when people were more focused on their comfort levels within their residences.”

Conder agreed, stating their crews were busy during the COVID years.

“Because of COVID, more people were home, and if they needed to get something fixed, they did,” he said. “HVAC units often climbed to the top of those lists.”

For ARS/Rescue Rooter Indiana, that post-COVID workload has remained steady — a trend Conder hopes continues.

“COVID raised the bar, and we’ve yet to see an adjustment from our customers,” he said. “The demand in our market continues to be very high. A furnace or air conditioner is not a luxury item, and when a unit breaks, it has to be replaced. From that aspect, these units tend to sell themselves, especially during extreme weather.”

While COVID provided a brief surge, it did not have a major impact on Southern Home Services’ workload.

“Trade business, like HVAC and electrical, boomed during COVID, which was great because many industries didn’t,” Benak said. “But, looking back, I don’t believe COVID had a major impact on our sales. When it gets extremely hot or cold, consumers purchase comfort systems, regardless if a pandemic is present or not.”

 Finish the Year Strong

Despite the obstacles that have emerged, Conder said ARS/Rescue Rooter Indiana has exceeded its financial goals thus far for 2023.

“Overall, we’re doing really well,” he said. “The first quarter was a challenge, as we kept waiting on winter to show up, but we made some adjustments. Our Q2 was great, and we intend to gain even more ground through Q3 and Q4.”

Petri said his company has more than exceeded its financial expectations for the first half of the year.

“Our HVAC department has grown nearly 250% through the second quarter and nearly tripled in June,” he said. “Our market is prime for companies who can deliver value, which we strive to do.”

While temperatures across the U.S. have been heating up as of late, Benak hopes they continue to rise.

“We had a mild winter and spring, so it’s time to turn up the heat,” he said. “If I could change one thing this summer, that’s it — let’s crank up the heat.”

Goodrich said Goettl continues to exceed its financial goals as well. To further that growth, he has set his sights on increasing the quantity and quality of his maintenance agreement contracts.

“It’s crucial that Goettl sticks to the fundamentals,” he said. “And for us, our club memberships are king. We remain focused on attracting as many customers as we can and retaining them through strong relationships. We’ll continue to emphasize our story, demonstrate excellence through our brand, and deliver what we say we’re going to. That’s the recipe for long-term success.”


Funny Photos


risk management corner

Keeping Up With Hazard Communication 

If your organization produces, transports, and uses hazardous chemicals, it is important to train employees to interact with these substances safely because failing to use and store hazardous chemicals correctly could lead to dangerous health side effects or even contribute to a workplace fire.

According to OSHA, all employees should have access to and training on Safety Data Sheets (SDS), a comprehensive hazard communication (HazCom) safety program, and all chemicals must be labeled.1

Brush up on your HazCom knowledge by answering the questions below.

How are hazardous chemicals classified? A hazardous chemical is anything that poses a health, safety, or environmental risk. Health hazards include chemicals that can cause everything from mild skin irritation to cancer. Safety hazards include chemicals that can explode or ignite, and environmental hazards include water pollution and ecosystem disruption.

Should I have labels on hazardous chemicals at my business? Yes. Hazardous chemical manufacturers, distributors, and importers are required to provide labels. These labels should feature the product name or number, supplier information, a signal word (e.g., Danger), pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement.

What are Safety Data Sheets (SDS)? A safety data sheet includes 16 sections detailing the properties of a chemical, its hazards, protective measures, and safety precautions for handling and storing.

What are other HazCom best practices?

• Implement a written safety program that is available to all employees.

• Annually, train all workers on any new label elements and SDS formats.

• Review chemicals stored at your workplace on an annual basis.

• Keep physical copies of SDS’ in close proximity to where the chemicals are stored.

For more information and helpful resources on hazard communication, reach out to your local Federated® marketing representative.

 1. https://www.osha.gov/hazcom Hazard Communication. Accessed 6/14/23.