Best practices for great companies
Independence has its advantages, but sometimes you just need some help.
|Networking with peers is a big benefit of membership in an association, best practices group or franchise. You can learn from their mistakes as well as mentor younger members entering the group.|
Running a small business isn’t easy, no matter what industry you’re in. The plumbing, heating and cooling contracting industry has its giants, but many companies are small- to mid-sized businesses working in their local communities. Like many of their small-business brethren, PHC contracting businesses are frequently seeking out the most useful information to connect with customers and potential customers in their area while keeping their businesses profitable.
Keeping track of all the business data required for licenses, health-care and liability insurance, taxes, state and federal regulations, building codes, permits, pricing, payroll and accounts receivable is a monumental task. Add in marketing campaigns, technician sales and installation training, customer service rep training, product and technology updates, and employee recruiting — you can see why some companies really struggled to keep their doors open during the Great Recession.
Independence has its advantages, but sometimes you just need some help.
The groups listed range from national associations to best practices groups to franchise companies. You can find help with legislative and code issues, marketing your company to the right customers, honing leadership skills to inspire employees, training service technicians how to interact effectively with customers, learning about the newest industry technology or selling your business.
But probably the most beneficial element of belonging to an association, best practices group or franchise is networking. Talking with your peers about similar issues can give you insight on how to resolve a situation at your company or add a new business to your services. You can learn from the mistakes of others as well as mentor younger members entering the group.
You also can be an advocate for your industry through programs designed to promote the professionalism of the industry, the career potential for young people, and the job satisfaction of providing clean water and making buildings comfortable in local communities.
Whatever your situation, partnering with one or two of these groups can provide education and training on a variety of business topics to keep you focused on making your business profitable. But these groups are not one size fits all, so do your homework. Some groups allow prospective members to attend a meeting or convention for a small fee or no charge at all.
Take advantage of these opportunities to find the best fit for your business philosophy.
About the group: Founded in 1992, Aire Serv is a global franchise organization providing installation, maintenance and repair of HVAC and indoor air quality systems. It is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group.
Number of operations: There are 152 Aire Serv franchised businesses in the United States and each are locally owned and operated.
Markets to: Heating, air-conditioning and ventilation contractors.
Franchisee qualities: Aire Serv franchisees must possess a strong work ethic along with the willingness to learn and apply tested, successful business systems.
Restrictions: Yes; Aire Serv restricts franchises to specific territories.
Costs/fees: Initial investment runs between $85,100 to $216,400. The investment varies due to the size of a territory and population that a franchisee purchases. In addition, there are ongoing fees.
Why you should join: Franchise owners receive management, marketing, sales and start-up training. They also benefit from national conferences, regional training and ongoing telephone and on-location support.
Contact: 800/583-2662; Fax: 800/209-7621; AireServFranchise@dwyergroup.com; or visit www.aireservfranchise.com.
American Leak Detection
About the group: American Leak Detection was founded in 1974 for the purpose of providing nondestructive detection of concealed water, sewer and other leaks. American Leak Detection began franchising in 1984.
Number of operations: 139 locations worldwide; 125 locations in the United States and nine locations in three countries. Five locations are corporate-owned.
Franchisee qualities: Entrepreneurs who are strong leaders with problem-solving, sales, marketing and people skills, and are results-oriented. The top team members are those who want to run their own businesses while following a proven system, and receive satisfaction knowing they have helped their customers, the environment and the American Leak Detection franchise system.
Restrictions: Yes; every territory is defined and protected.
Costs/fees: The initial franchise fee is between $29,500 and $120,000. The overall investment ranges from $76,755 to $259,550.
Other costs include $4,500-$6,000 for six weeks training (travel and living expenses are additional).
Royalties are paid on monthly adjusted gross sales as follows: 10% on the first $5,000; 9% on the next $5,000; and 8% thereafter. When annual adjusted gross sales reaches $750,000 in the calendar year, the rate is 6%.
American Leak Detection provides a discount in initial fees to U.S. veterans who meet the requirements of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program.
Why you should join: The training program includes: training on proprietary equipment in a variety of settings; marketing and business management tools and techniques; an operations manual; an Intranet site; lead-generation program; and access to an individual, customized Web page.
Support systems include: refresher courses through American Leak University; a network of support staff and franchisees to answer questions; quarterly newsletters; and an annual convention.
Contact: Judy Howard, director of franchise relations, 800/755-6697, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.americanleakdetectionfranchise.com.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
About the group: Founded in 2001, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is Clockwork Home Services’ nationally branded franchise in the plumbing market.
Number of operations: As of March 2013, there are 253 franchise territories across North America. Of these, 11 territories are company-owned.
Markets to: Ambitious residential contractors and business owners seeking to grow their companies and dominate their markets by providing trustworthy plumbers who will show up on time.
Franchisee qualities: Contractors who value professionalism, punctuality and consider customer satisfaction their No. 1 priority. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing contractors recognize the importance of their customers’ time and go to great lengths to make sure service, replacement and repairs are done right the first time with courtesy, convenience, cleanliness and competence.
Restrictions: Yes; franchisees in good standing are awarded exclusivity in a defined territory.
Costs/fees: Contractors must be able to qualify both financially and ethically. There is an initial investment, which varies according to the population of the territory, and ongoing fees based on sales volume.
Why you should join: Well-known in regions across North America as “The Punctual Plumber,” Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is one of three home service franchises beneath the Clockwork Home Services umbrella and is ranked by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top 500 franchise companies (No. 346 in 2014.) Franchise Times ranks Benjamin Franklin Plumbing as one of the top 500 franchise chains in worldwide sales (No. 241 in 2013.) Complete satisfaction with both our service and plumbers is 100% guaranteed.
Franchisees have access to company-wide programs and training opportunities provided by Clockwork Home Services and its parent company, Direct Energy. Franchisees are also supported by wholesale distributor Buy Max, which provides significant discounts on private-label equipment. Franchisees have Success Academy training programs which help improve technical service with respect to the customer’s home, budget and time.
Franchisees also are supported by a marketing team led by industry leaders who coordinate a national advertising campaign and negotiate contracts with marketing suppliers, and a full public relations and communications team to support growing their businesses.
Contact: John Henkels at 866/574-7431 to request information or visit www.benfranklinfranchise.com.
Bluefrog Plumbing & Drain
About the group: Founded in January 2014 and launched in late February 2014 as part of Home Brands Group, the parent franchisor to Re-Bath and 5 Day Kitchens. In all things, we pursue excellence and are committed to helping our franchisees realize their business and personal goals.
Number of operations: More than 17 locations.
Markets to: Plumbers, electricians, general contractors and individuals interested in taking control of their future.
Franchisee qualities: Our ideal candidate has a core entrepreneur trait that eventually will induce an action that defines whether he will build his own business or invest in a proven system. This action may be promoted by a job loss, a desire to build security for himself and/or his family, or life events.
We recognize that our prospective franchisees will have various levels of the aforementioned core values. Our top franchise owners are restless and energetic, but willing to follow a system. They are unwilling to accept “it cannot be done” and consequently are instrumental in building the entire system by innovatively providing the end-user (their customers) excellent results.
Restrictions: A franchisee licenses a designated territory in which no other license is granted during the term of the agreement.
Costs/fees: The typical cost ranges from $1,500 to $80,000. Discounts are provided to business owners in the plumbing industry who are looking to partner with a national brand. We are very proud to support our dedicated veterans with a 50% discount.
Why you should join: The primary benefit of joining the BlueFrog Plumbing + Drain “army of frogs” is that we fully equip our franchisees with constant support and guidance through dedicated training in operations, management and finance with an emphasis on proven marketing strategies. We also have proven we have the know-how that comes with 35 years of franchising experience at Home Brands Group.
Contact: Call 855/321-7822 or email email@example.com.
About the group: Founded in 1979, the Linc Service Network provides energy solutions to commercial building owners worldwide. Linc Service is a franchise brand of ABM Franchising Group, an operating unit of ABM.
Number of operations: 161; 26 are company-owned.
Markets to: Independently owned mechanical contractors looking to specialize in preventative maintenance for the commercial HVAC industry.
Franchisee qualities: To be recognized as leading contractors in their marketplaces; reputation for quality and ethical standards; the desire to grow their service business; the willingness to adhere to a business format that has proven to be successful for more than 30 years; the aspiration to expand their overall operations by increasing the amount of maintenance and project work they perform for customers.
Restrictions: Yes; Linc Service contractors each purchase the franchise rights to a specific territory. In some cases, more than one Linc Service contractor may acquire a geographic area.
Why you should join: Linc Service contractors have: access to quality tools and training; chances to share best practices with top professionals in the HVAC industry; membership in an organization that’s expanding its scope and service offerings on a worldwide level.
Contact: For ownership and general inquiries, contact Senior Vice President of Sales Dave Cernich at 412/394-7413, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lincservice.com.
About the group: Mr.Rooter began in the 1970s. It is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, providing plumbing installation and repair.
Number of operations: There are 212 franchised businesses operating in the United States.
Markets to: Plumbing and mechanical contractors (new construction and service).
Franchisee qualities: Business people who have a strong desire to grow their businesses through positive customer experiences and disciplined business systems.
Restrictions: Yes; Mr. Rooter determines how many franchisees may be in an area based on population.
Costs/fees: The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Mr Rooter franchise ranges from $80,125 to $188,800, plus any additional franchise fee or real estate costs.
Why you should join: Mr. Rooter provides systems for approaching the customer; managing the financial end of your business; as well as consulting and coaching in areas of operations and personnel management. Mr. Rooter also works with each of its franchisees on a regular basis to help set and achieve both personal and professional goals.
Contact: Phone: 800/298-6855; Fax: 800/209-7621; Email: MrRooterFranchise@dwyergroup.com; Website: www.mrrooterfranchise.com.
About the group: Founded in 1981, Mr. Waterheater began franchising in 2007. Mr. Waterheater is an emergency response specialty plumbing business that can be added to a full-service plumbing or HVAC business.
Number of operations: N/A
Markets to: Plumbing and HVAC contractors.
Franchisee qualities: Entrepreneurs or contractors devoted to growing a business through marketing, and providing great service and pricing to customers. Ideal candidates must be able to manage employees, make decisions and have ambitious goals for growth.
Franchise owners must comply with local building codes and permitting and licensing requirements that may necessitate employing a master plumber.
Restrictions: Yes; Protected territories are 50,000 to 100,000 households.
Costs/fees: The initial franchise fee is $9,900. Total investment ranges from $54,325 to $150,995.
Why you should join: Mr. Waterheater is a profitable, simple-to-operate, recession-resistant niche business. Franchisees are provided all the tools to build a great business — a proven marketing program; back-office solutions; group purchasing power; and ongoing support. Mr. Waterheater University teaches new owners everything they need to know to run a successful franchise operation.
Franchisees will be able to build equity, grow the business and sell to other qualified professionals as an exit strategy.
Contact: Call 866/misterw or visit www.mrwaterheater.com/franchise.
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning
About the group: Founded in 2003, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning is Clockwork Home Services’ nationally branded franchise in the HVAC market.
Number of operations: As of March 2014, there are 262 One Hour franchise territories across the North America. Of these, 47 territories are company-owned.
Markets to: Residential contractors and business owners who are interested in accelerating their growth and revenue through the implementation of the company’s professional business practices, systems, high ethical standards and dedication to delivering outstanding customer service.
Franchisee qualities: Contractors who value professionalism, highly ethical business practices, punctuality and who consider an outstanding customer experience their top priority. One Hour contractors recognize the importance of the customer’s time and go to great lengths to make sure service, replacement and repairs are done right the first time.
Restrictions: Yes; One Hour awards each of its franchisees in good standing exclusivity in a defined territory.
Costs/fees: Contractors must be able to qualify both financially and ethically. There is an initial investment, which varies according to the population of the territory, and ongoing fees based on sales volume.
Why you should join: One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning sets itself apart from the competition with our unique selling proposition: “Always On Time ... Or You Don’t Pay A Dime!” With hundreds of franchises across the country, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning has solidified its nationwide reputation as a trusted HVAC company that values its clients and consistently exceeds expectations.
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning is ranked by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top 500 franchise companies (No. 150) and we are the #1 Franchise in the HVAC services category (2014.) Franchise Times ranks us as one of the top 200 franchise chains in worldwide sales (No. 164 for 2013) and is one of three home service franchises beneath the Clockwork Home Services umbrella.
Franchisees have access to state-of-the-art, private-label equipment at affordable prices through the company’s wholesale distributor BuyMax; business and customer-service training programs through Clockwork University; technical training through Clockwork’s Success Academy; tools and training on ways to generate greater revenue more efficiently; access to business process software applications; and marketing, communications and branding solutions.
Contact: John Henkels at 866/574-7431 to request information or visit www.onehourfranchise.com.
About the group: Founded in 1995 by Michael Farias, a plumbing contractor for more than 30 years, Plumbing Doctor began offering franchises in 2007. The goal is to offer its franchise system to other plumbing contractors in small- and mid-sized markets, and assist them in growing their small operations into larger, successful businesses.
Number of operations: N/A
Markets to: Service and repair plumbing contractors in secondary markets. The company is currently targeting 15 markets in northern and central California and is accepting applications for other markets on a case-by-case basis.
Franchisee qualities: Licensed plumbing contractors who want to start their own business, or currently own a small- to mid-sized company and want to grow it. If a contractor has the technical skills, Plumbing Doctor can give him the business tools and operating systems to help him succeed.
Restrictions: Yes. Plumbing Doctor’s territories are based on ZIP Codes. Each territory is made up of several ZIP Codes (one franchise per market).
Costs/fees: Franchise fee is $20,000. There are additional costs, such as purchasing tools and insurance.
Why you should join: Plumbing Doctor provides a comprehensive operating system that has been proven to help establish and grow service-and-repair plumbing businesses. It has developed a successful customer retention program and provides a memorable brand name, federally protected trademarks and an exclusive territory.
An operations manual is provided that describes the complete operating system for all aspects of the business — office management training; advertising plans complete with printable, ready-to-use, full-color ads; press releases and marketing pieces; a variety of ready-to-use forms and contracts; sales pieces for all aspects of the business from snaking a sewer line to selling a trenchless sewer replacement; and a pricing system which includes full-color pricing books.
Franchisees receive three full days of training as well as ongoing assistance and DVDs of the training to keep.
Contact: Visit www.fastaidsuccess.com.
About the group: Founded in 1970, Rooter-Man began franchising in 1981.
Number of operations: More than 480 locations.
Markets to: Contractors and business owners looking for an opportunity to brand their business and increase their revenue and profits in the plumbing, drain and sewer cleaning business.
Restrictions: Yes; Select territories are available.
Costs/fees: Franchise license fee is based on population; the minimum is $3,975. Monthly fee is a minimum of $65, and ad fee is $10 minimum.
Why you should join: Low overhead; high return; optimized website with online marketing plan; on-the-job training, both technical
and management; marketing, bookkeeping and telephone sales training; employee incentive plans; step-by-step business plan to brand your business.
Contact: Call 888/628-1908 or visit www.rootermanfranchise.com.
About the group: Founded in 1935 by Samuel Blanc. The Roto-Rooter U.S. independent franchise system is full (international franchise opportunities are still available), but Roto-Rooter continues to partner with independent contractors in various markets. Expansion opportunities are available in select markets.
Number of operations: 44 company-owned branches, 500 independently owned franchises and 68 independent contractors (hybrid partnership between company and contractor).
Contractor qualities: Independent contractors should be ambitious, innovative and technically competent with good management skills and a desire to grow the business. The contractor must possess or be willing to obtain a plumbing license, or must employ a licensed plumber.
Restrictions: Independent contractor territories are owned by Roto-Rooter and serve markets with population sizes of 200,000 to more than 1,000,000 people.
Costs/fees: Through a licensing agreement, Roto-Rooter contracts with an individual to run a Roto-Rooter business within a select territory.
Why you should join: Established customer and sales base; paid advertising program; relocation opportunities; support of a national company; business training; equipment; management, accounting and marketing support. The independent contractor keeps a portion of labor sales, plus 100% of all parts and consumer product sales. After expenses, yearly income ranges between 8% and 10% of customer sales.
Contact: Call 800/780-3292, email email@example.com or visit www.rotorooter.com.
PHCP best practices groups
About the group: Founded in 2000, AirTime 500 is part of the Success Group International family. AirTime 500 provides independent HVAC contractors with management direction, buying power and training.
Number of members: Approaching 400 members.
Markets to: HVAC contractors seeking a competitive advantage who want to provide superior service to homeowners and profit from it.
Member qualities: AirTime 500 members must be driven to succeed. They are committed to providing their customers with unparalleled service, build wealth for themselves and their employees, and operate their businesses in a highly ethical manner.
Restrictions: Yes; membership with AirTime 500 is restricted in order to ensure contractors have a competitive edge in their respective markets.
Dues/fees: An initial membership investment gives members access to the Instafix system and franchise-level tools: million-dollar turnkey ad campaigns; world-class trainers; and a team of negotiators working daily to boost members’ purchasing power. A minimal membership fee provides access to a team of industry experts for consultation.
Why you should join: AirTime has the tools, systems and knowledge to help HVAC contractors turn around a struggling company or expand an already successful one. Contractors can make more money and spend more time with their families.
Contact: Contractors are urged to attend a no-cost Success Day seminar; call 866/370-9187 or visit www.HVACSuccessNow.com.
Construction Contractors’ Alliance
About the group: Founded in 1998 as an enhanced service group of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association. The Construction Contractors’ Alliance provides contractors with a means to find solutions to the specific issues new construction contractors face.
Number of members: Membership averages 25 members.
Markets to: CCA serves PHCC’s plumbing and mechanical contractors specializing in residential, industrial, commercial and institutional new construction.
Member qualities: Professional, forward-thinking business owners who have an entrepreneurial approach to business.
Restrictions: Prospective members must belong to PHCC.
Dues/fees: $3,750 per year.
Why you should join: To enhance the profitability and professionalism of their business through education and networking opportunities. CCA’s key focus areas are workforce issues, construction methods, business practices, networking/peer groups, industry/business evolution, and education and personal growth.
Membership benefits include: two CCA Alliance Meetings each year; specialized meetings for CCA employees (e.g., controllers and purchasing agents); an online CCA Community Network with resources; peer groups; Contractor Spotlights (“virtual tours” of member companies); and “Hot Topic” contractor roundtables.
Contact: Charlotte Perham at 800/533-7694, firstname.lastname@example.org. For general inquiries, visit www.phccweb.org/cca.
Mechanical Service Contractors of America
About the group: Founded in 1975, the Mechanical Service Contractors of America is a subsidiary of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.
Number of members: More than 1,400 members.
Markets to: Union mechanical service contractors.
Member qualities: Interested in learning about new ways to increase productivity and profitability.
Restrictions: Restricted to union mechanical service contractors.
Dues/fees: MSCA’s dues are .07 cents per manhour, with a minimum of $840 and a maximum of $17,500. Members who belong to both MCAA and MSCA make only one minimum dues payment.
Why you should join: MSCA provides education, marketing and labor/management services to assure its HVACR contractor members deliver quality performance, value and expertise for all building system needs. MSCA’s contractor qualifications program, MSCA GreenSTAR, recognizes contractors that have met the highest standards of excellence in the industry and demonstrate expertise in energy-saving solutions.
Contact: For more information, visit www.msca.org. For membership inquiries, contact Jan Grillo at 301/869-5800 or email@example.com. For general inquiries, contact Barbara Dolim at 301/869-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the group: Founded in 1992 as the former Contractors 2000, Nexstar is a business networking organization for the plumbing, HVAC and electrical home service industries. It offers a wealth of business systems, planning and training to its members.
Number of members: 450 member companies across the continent.
Markets to: Independent plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical residential service providers.
Member qualities: Nexstar Network members represent “simply the best” in customer service, profitability and employee satisfaction. Attracting owners with a desire to grow their business, but know that they need and want help. Members operate with sound business practices, including a willingness to adhere to Nexstar’s disciplined code of ethics.
Restrictions: Yes; Membership is allocated by market areas, so the only restriction is market availability.
Dues/fees: There are several levels of membership, each having a range of dues and fees appropriate to individual needs.
Why you should join: Nexstar has a 20-year history of helping independent home service contractors work together to improve their businesses and strengthen the PHCE industries. Nexstar members consistently experience increased profits and business growth. Members benefit from comprehensive business training; unmatched implementation support; proprietary processes and systems; and dedicated business, call center and marketing coaches.
As a networking organization, members also gain access to valuable resources through the education and sharing with other PHCE owners.
Contact: Lisa Schardt or David Janssen at 888/240-STAR (888/240-7827), email@example.com or visit www.nexstarnetwork.com.
Plumbers’ Success International
About the group: Founded in 1999 as part of the Success Group International family, Plumbers’ Success International provides independent plumbing contractors with management direction, buying power and training.
Number of members: Approaching 300.
Markets to: Plumbers seeking a competitive advantage who want to provide superior service to homeowners and profit from it.
Member qualities: Must be driven to succeed. They want to provide their customers with unparalleled service, build wealth for themselves and their employees, and operate their businesses in a highly ethical manner.
Restrictions: Yes; to ensure members have a competitive edge in their respective markets.
Dues/fees: An initial membership investment gives members access to the Profit Success System and franchise-level tools: million-dollar ad campaigns; world-class training; and a team of negotiators working daily to boost members’ purchasing power. A minimal membership fee provides access to a team of industry experts for consultation.
Why you should join: PSI has the tools, systems and knowledge to help plumbing contractors turn around a struggling company or expand an already successful one. Contractors can make more money and spend more time with their families.
Contact: Contractors are urged to attend a no-cost Success Day seminar; call 866/370-9187 or visit www.PlumberSuccess.com.
Plumbing Contractors of America
About the group: Founded in 1982, the group fficially became the Plumbing Contractors of America in 2000. It is a subsidiary association within the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.
Number of members: Every member of MCAA is automatically a member of PCA without separate dues.
Markets to: Union-affiliated plumbing contractors.
Member qualities: Prospective members must be interested in education, new technology and optimizing their companies.
Restrictions: General membership is restricted to union-affiliated plumbing contractors. Potential members who do not fit into this category may be eligible to join as associate members.
Dues/fees: Part of MCAA’s dues; based on manhours.
Why you should join: PCA provides the highest level of education for contractors; labor representation through an open dialogue with the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada; and research for industry technology, techniques and issues.
Contact: Sean McGuire, LEED AP, director of industry programs, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.mcaa.org/pca.
Quality Service Contractors
About the group: Founded in 1994 by a group of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association members wanting a group within PHCC to provide tools and member networking to improve their businesses not necessarily found through PHCC.
Number of members: 200.
Markets to: Any residential or light commercial plumbing-heating-cooling-electrical service and repair contractor looking for ways to improve productivity and profitability while growing both professionally and personally.
Member qualities: Willing to participate and make changes based on what their particular needs are. The group wants members with the desire to be the “best of the best” in the industry.
Restrictions: None; anyone can be a member, even multiple contractors from any area. QSC members also must be members of PHCC.
Dues/fees: The 2014 QSC investment is $3,988 for 12 months. This may be broken down into monthly payments.
Why you should join: QSC has Power Meetings, held twice yearly, to help members learn new techniques to maximize the profitability and productivity of their companies, and to refocus and get recharged.
QSC employs two business coaches and is also heightening its focus on Internet technology and developing Web-based member services, such as its online Customer Service Training and biweekly Technician Training. QSC recently introduced Premium Coaching Levels.
The group also is continuing to develop traveling programs — a one-day Business Operations & Systems Success seminar, Total Opportunity Performance Systems, a one-day technician training program and a two-day service manager/supervisor workshop.
Contact: QSC vice president and COO Charlie Wallace, 800/533-7694 or visit www.qsc-phcc.org.
Radiant & Hydronics Council
About the group: Founded in October 2011, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America launched the Radiant & Hydronics Council within ACCA to provide specific services to this segment of the indoor environment and energy-efficiency industry and help its members compete in the modern business climate. The RHC is guided by an advisory committee comprised of radiant and hydronic professionals.
Number of members: More than 500.
Markets to: Indoor environment and energy efficiency contractors who do work within the radiant and hydronic fields.
Member qualities: Integrity, professionalism, and quality design and installation.
Dues/fees: Included with ACCA dues, which vary depending on location and number of employees.
Why you should join: Networking, training, education, technical resources and advocacy.
Contact: For membership information, email email@example.com or call 703/824-8854. For general information, visit www.acca.org/rhc or call 703/575-4477.
Service Nation Alliance
About the group: Founded in 2010, Service Nation Alliance was created to help determined, independent owners of service businesses grow their profits faster.
Number of members: Growth has expanded 75% in last year.
Markets to: HVAC and plumbing contractors.
Member qualities: Serious entrepreneurs who want to skip the school of hard knocks and go straight to success.
Restrictions: Membership is restricted to one per 800,000 Metropolitan Statistical Area and a limited geographic radius.
Dues/fees: Many members earn more than the cost with the platinum rebate program.
Why you should join: Service Nation Alliance members learn trade secrets when they begin with industry-specific, intense business boot camp training. Most see growth skyrocket as they attend weekly mentor calls, where problems are quickly solved with the help of those who have been there, done that.
Further support comes with complete business procedure guidelines, custom professional branding, rebate program, human resources support, desktop training, sales training and more. And, best of all, everything mentioned above is included in the price.
Contact: Call John Kazor at 877/262-3341 or visit www.ServiceNationAlliance.com.
About the group: Founded in 2002, Service Roundtable was created to offer business owners an affordable way to drive new business and reach higher profits faster. Get real world experience, professional marketing and business tools, and quarterly cash rebates.
Number of members: More than 3,500 people over several continents.
Markets to: Residential and light commercial plumbing, HVAC service and installation, solar and electrical contractors.
Member qualities: Contractors who want to grow, improve and build legacy companies that will live on after present ownership exits the business.
Restrictions: None; any plumbing, HVAC, solar or electrical company can join.
Dues/fees: $50 per month for one industry; $75 for any two industries together. Membership is monthly. No contracts; members can cancel at any time.
Why you should join: Service Roundtable helps contractors build the top line and drive more profit to the bottom line, in less time. Contractors get all the business tools and resources necessary for success at their desktop — without hype, major expense, lectures or costly mandatory meetings.
Contact: Visit www.ServiceRoundtable.com to learn more. For membership inquiries, contact a Success Consultant by email at Success@ServiceRoundtable.com or call 877/262-3341. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ServiceRoundtable. Follow us on Twitter @Service_Nation.
The Unified Group
About the group: Founded in 1998 by a small group of independent commercial HVAC contractors in response to the consolidation movement affecting the industry at the time.
Number of members: More than 50 members.
Markets to: Top-quality independent, commercial and industrial contractors around the country. The group has a mix of small and large companies, both union and nonunion members.
Member qualities: Contractors that are well-rounded and can provide multiple services; have a strong belief in constantly improving and learning; a real desire to share with and learn from other contractors; and believe in ongoing training. Participation is key to the group.
Restrictions: Yes; territories are geographically exclusive. The territory depends on the member company and is typically one in which the member can reach its customers within 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This varies by the size of the member and the density of the territory.
Why you should join: The Unified Group offers several training programs per year that are industry-specific. The members select the topics and the sessions are very hands-on.
The group negotiates purchasing partnerships with select vendors to allow its members to purchase more effectively. Not only do members receive discounted pricing or rebates, vendor partners also provide training and additional customer support.
Unified Group members use each other to provide service to their customers regionally and nationally. And members have the opportunity to learn best practices from each other by sharing information.
Contact: Allison Rodgers at 888/714-5990, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.theunifiedgroup.com. An informational video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=horTg782F5A.
About the group: Founded in 1995 to address the specific needs of signatory contractors within PHCC.
Number of members: 294.
Markets to: Union plumbing and mechanical contractors.
Restrictions: The only restriction is that prospective members must employ union plumbers and pipefitters, and belong to PHCC.
Dues/fees: $377per year.
Why you should join: UAC pursues a national agenda via direct, high-level links to the United Association. The group also: negotiates national labor agreements; assists local affiliates in addressing labor issues; provides top speakers to discuss the key issues facing the industry; identifies opportunities for helping contractors improve market share and profitability; and, when appropriate, UAC works with other industry organizations to establish shared positions and implement the appropriate responses.
The UAC also offers an annual Unity Conference that is specifically geared to signatory PHC contractors, labor leaders, association executives and key industry suppliers. In addition to high-level networking, the Unity Conference 2013 program delivers sessions designed to help generate business and operate more effectively during this challenging economic environment.
Contact: UAC Executive Director Rodney Jones, 888/997-0535, email@example.com, or visit www.phccweb.org.
Air Conditioning Contractors of America
About the group: ACCA is a nonprofit association serving more than 60,000 professionals and 4,000 businesses in the HVACR community, working together to promote professional contracting, energy efficiency, and healthy, comfortable indoor environments. ACCA’s roots stretch back to the early part of the 20th century, and the organization was incorporated in its present form more than 40 years ago.
Number of members: 4,000.
Markets to: Hydronic and HVACR contractors.
Member qualities: Integrity, professionalism, quality design and installation.
Dues/fees: Varies depending on location and number of employees.
Why you should join: Networking, training, education, technical resources and advocacy.
Contact: For member information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703/824-8854. For general information, call 703/575-4477 or visit www.acca.org.
American Fire Sprinkler Association
About the group: The American Fire Sprinkler Association was organized in 1981 to provide the open shop fire sprinkler contractor with training, consulting, communication, representation and many more services, all of which have expanded over its existence. It believes that the installation of fire sprinklers could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars lost to fire each year.
Number of members: Nearly a thousand contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and vendors.
Markets to: Open shop fire sprinkler contractors.
Restrictions: No; membership is open to contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, designers and Authorities Having Jurisdiction.
Dues/fees: Special one-year membership rates for new members are: $400 for annual sales less than $10,000,000; $1,000 for annual sales more than $10,000,000.
Renewing member rates are based on annual sales, starting at $600 for sales of less than $500,000 and going to $20,000 for sales more than $30,000,000.
Why you should join: AFSA holds the largest fire sprinkler industry convention and exhibition in the world. Besides presenting the latest in products and technology, the convention includes a variety of industry-related seminars.
AFSA publishes Sprinkler Age, a widely read and respected monthly magazine covering the fire sprinkler industry. The SprinklerNEWS weekly email newsletters covers current news about fire sprinklers around the country. ContractorNetwork, an email newsletter for contractors, brings labor and legislative news to your inbox each quarter.
AFSA provides technical services to members, including representation on all applicable codes and standards committees, informal interpretations of codes and standards, and TechTalk/SprinklerNOTES fax and email newsletters covering technical issues.
To assist fire sprinkler contractors in maintaining a quality workforce, AFSA offers several training programs for the installation, design layout, and inspection and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems. It is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training. As a result, AFSA is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard. NICET-required Continuing Professional Development points are also available for many AFSA training programs.
One of the more popular training courses is the Sprinkler Fitter Apprenticeship Training Series, a correspondence course designed specifically for training apprentices in the fire sprinkler trade. In addition, AFSA offers the following specialized schools: a two-week Beginning Fire Sprinkler System Planning School offering a comprehensive practical approach to preparing fire sprinkler system drawings with heavy emphasis on NFPA 13; and the System Layout School for Residential One- and Two-Family Dwellings, covering layout and calculation of stand-alone, multipurpose and flow-through system types of residential fire sprinkler systems.
Contact: Jeff Livaudais, director of membership and chapter relations, at 214/395-5965, ext. 133, or email@example.com.
Mechanical Contractors Association of America
About the group: Founded in 1889, MCAA was then called the National Association of Master Steam and Hot Water Fitters. In 1918, the leadership changed the name to Heating and Piping Contractors National Association. With the advent of air conditioning, the leadership in 1933 renamed the organization The Heating, Piping And Air Conditioning Contractors National Association. Finally, in May 1955, the organization became known as the Mechanical Contractors Association of America Inc., its fourth and, to-date, final identity.
Additional historical information may be found at www.mcaa.org/news/AR1999MCAA.pdf.
Number of members: 2,800 members in total, including members who work in mechanical construction and service, plumbing and pipe welding.
Markets to: Primary market is union mechanical construction contractors. MCAA also markets to union mechanical service contractors through its Mechanical Service Contractors of America subsidiary, to union plumbing contractors through its Plumbing Contractors of America subsidiary, to union pipe welding contractors through its National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau subsidiary, and to industry manufacturers and suppliers through its Manufacturer/Supplier Council.
MCAA’s foundation, the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation, markets to the industry as a whole.
Member qualities: Interested in learning about new ways to increase productivity and profitability. Some topics that have been embraced by MCAA members are technology, BIM, sustainable construction and strategic estimating.
Restrictions: General membership is restricted to union mechanical construction, service, plumbing and pipe welding contractors, and industry manufacturers and suppliers. Potential members who do not fit into one of those categories may be eligible to join as associate members.
Dues/fees: Dues are .07 cents per manhour, with a minimum of $840 and a maximum of $17,500. These dues include membership in the PCA. Members who belong to both MCAA and MSCA make only one minimum dues payment, which applies to both organizations.
Why you should join: MCAA is the “education association,” and it shows in its broad range of educational programs; excellent educational resources in the form of publications and training materials; and its drive to always exceed members’ expectations.
Contact: For membership inquiries, contact Jan Grillo at 301/869-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org. For general inquiries, contact Adrienne Breedlove at 301/869-5800, email@example.com, or visit www.mcaa.org.
National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals
About the group: Founded in 1953, the group was organized to meet the needs of service managers that worked for oil companies to connect with other service managers.
Number of members: 1,200.
Markets to: Those involved in hydronics and steam — mainly in the Northeast. Our focus has evolved into the service side of HVAC.
Member qualities: People who want to know more about energy and how to better serve their customers.
Dues/fees: $100 for national; chapter amounts vary from $10 to $60. The corporate membership fee is $545.
Why you should join: The focus of NAOESP is education. Two programs we are highlighting are the Train-the-Trainer Program and the new Home Comfort Specialist Academy.
Contact: Judy Garber at 888/552-0900, firstname.lastname@example.org, or George Fantacone at Santoro Oil, email@example.com.
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association
About the group: Founded in 1883, PHCC has been the leader in promotion, advancement, education and training.
PHCC’s notable achievements include: establishing a framework for the industry’s first apprenticeship system; championing the cause of safe, adequate sanitation to state legislatures; encouraging the invention of better plumbing appliances and fixtures; and spearheading education programs to keep pace with technological change.
Number of members: More than 3,500 contractor members and 70,000 technicians.
Markets to: Primarily to both open and union shop contractors who work in the residential, commercial, new construction, industrial and service and repair industry segments.
Member qualities: Professional plumbing-heating-cooling contractors who are interested in taking their business and industry to the next level.
Dues/fees: The annual national membership dues amount is $495. There also are specialntroductory membership fees currently available. Because PHCC is a federation system, state and local dues also of varying amounts may be required when a chapter exists in a member’s area.
Why you should join: PHCC members have access to exclusive business-building benefits such as: business and technical “know how” to be successful in an increasingly competitive market, with more than 250 education and training options, and online resources, available to them; resources to build a quality workforce for their company and the industry with PHCC’s apprenticeship and journeyman training, scholarships and career promotional material; proactive legislative and regulatory initiatives that protect contractors’ interests on the national, state and local levels; and regular online and print periodicals that keep members up-to-date on industry news, technical breakthroughs and business solutions.
Membership also includes: an annual convention featuring networking, education and business-building resources; an online Community Network; exclusive affiliation with Partners for Professionalism’s co-branded products that include enhanced features, benefits and warranties to help better serve customers; and members-only arrangements with PHCC’s Preferred Service Providers for credit card processing, uniforms, business forms, websites, marketing services, etc.
Contact: For membership inquiries, call 800/533-7694 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For general inquiries, visit www.phccweb.org.
Radiant Professionals Alliance
About the group: Founded in 1994, the Radiant Professionals Alliance has been promoting radiant heating and cooling as comfortable, efficient and healthy on behalf of its network of dedicated members. These members include radiant and hydronics manufacturers, distributors, dealers, contractors, installers, designers and architects.
Its purpose is to provide superior leadership and foster the awareness of radiant and hydronic technology through comprehensive education programs, technical products, codes and standards, and consumer awareness initiatives. In addition, the RPA serves as a clearinghouse of experience, ideas and information to further the objectives and sustain interest on behalf of the RPA members.
The RPA also serves to facilitate communication and cooperation among those interested in the advancement of the radiant and hydronic heating and cooling industry primarily in North America.
Number of members: Approximately 500.
Markets to: Mechanical contractors, plumbing contractors and HVAC contractors; builders; distributors; architects; policy makers; and consumers.
Member qualities: An interest in furthering the technology and acceptance of radiant heating, cooling and hydronics.
Dues/fees: Manufacturer: Category 1 ($1,500), Category 2 ($3,000) and Category 3 ($4,500); Distributor ($300); Dealer or contractor ($300); Associate ($300); Design professional ($300); Individual, which includes retirees and students ($50); Organization ($50); and IAPMO Associate ($50).
RPA members are considered members of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials and receive IAPMO member benefits.
Why you should join: In addition to working to advance the industry, the RPA delivers first-rate assistance to its members by providing up-to-date reference materials and by issuing industry leading publications such as the Radiant Comfort Guide, Radiant Heating Report and Radiant Living Magazine. RPA also delivers first-rate, expert-led training seminars, as well as Internet-based courses and webinars on topics about contemporary hydronic and radiant systems. An annual membership meeting and conference is held which hosts a competition for RPA members to showcase their work.
Members receive a discount on education, webinars and books. RPA staff includes a technical services director to assist members. Members have the opportunity to participate on committees that work on critical initiatives having direct impact on the industry. They also can serve on the RPA board of directors.
Members are included in a Membership Resource Directory that consumers have access to on the RPA website.
Contact: Executive Director Mark Eatherton, 708/995-3000, Mark.Eatherton@radiantprofessionalsalliance.org; Membership Director Alan Wald, 909/472-4211, email@example.com; or Director of RPA Education Sherard Jones, 708/995-3008, RPAeducation@radiantprofessionalsalliance.org. For general information, visit www.radiantprofessionalsalliance.org.