What started in 2009 as a one-man show by Daniel LaGarce, owner and president of Budget Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in St. Peters, Mo., has since grown into much more.
LaGarce was born into the trade. Growing up, his father gave him two options: Work with his father in the HVAC business, or go out and work in the tobacco fields. Initially he chose the tobacco fields, but he quickly realized it was not what he wanted to do. So, to the HVAC industry it was. In 1982, he ran ductwork under a house in Tennessee for the very first time.
LaGarce tried a few company names in the beginning, but Budget stuck.
“Daniel decided on Budget because as a small business startup we needed a trigger — or call to action — for our possible new customers,” says Tyler Kroeker, marketing director. “We know that cost is a major consideration of people when looking for HVAC and plumbing companies, so we chose Budget in order to attract new customers.”
In the eight years since its opening, the company has grown to have 36 employees and 30 vehicles. With future plans to expand, the company currently covers St. Louis County, St. Charles County and portions of Jefferson, Lincoln, and Warren counties.
“We do both residential and commercial HVAC and plumbing — both installations and repairs,” Kroeker says. “We are members of Service Roundtable and Gateway ACCA. Gateway helps us with licensing and the education side of the business. Service Rountable prepares you for industry trends and the future of the trade. It also helps with mentorships and education.”
The 30-vehicle fleet range includes 2006-2014 Ford E-350s, 2006-2010 Ford KUV 450 Diesel, 2006-2010 Ford E-250s, and 2006-2010 Ford F-250s — the favorites being the Ford E-250s.
“They offer a lot of space and have better gas mileage than a truck,” Kroeker explains. “Also, the vans can easily haul large equipment, which is very necessary for a HVAC and plumbing company. The back of our trucks are wonderful because they offer a very large amount of shelf space, as well as plenty of room to haul equipment, while still allowing room to navigate through the vehicle.”
All of the newer vehicles have the current wrap — created and designed in-house by Kroeker and wrapped by Cool Touch Graphics — but some of the older vehicles still have the previous logo and design. Wanting to create something that “popped,” he incorporated the three main aspects of heating, cooling and plumbing into the new design by using their coinciding colors: orange, blue and green.
“We also wanted to include Buddy Budget, who is our friendly smiley face and mascot,” he adds. “Also, Autism Awareness is a cause near and dear to our hearts, and what better way to raise awareness then to put it on essentially a moving billboard? Incorporating that into our wrap only made sense. In addition, we have an image of the Budget Savings Club badge because it is a great way to get regular customers for our business.”
The slogan “Relax! Just call Budget!” is also visible on the wrap.
“We are, in the simplest terms, a comfort company,” Kroeker says. “We keep people cool in the summer and warm in the winter — and we keep toilets running year-round. When one of those things stops working, it can be extremely frustrating. It can easily add a lot of stress into someone’s life. Our goal — our job — is to prevent that.”