About two-thirds of small businesses survive at least two years, 50% survive five years or more and one-third survive 10 years or more, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Business Employment Dynamics. However, the construction industry has the lowest survival rates over time. While the BLS doesn’t speculate on why small construction businesses fail, most in the industry concede that the lack of business knowledge is a big contributor.

The plumbing, heating and cooling contracting industry is no exception. Many PHC small businesses were started by plumbers and heating technicians who wanted to strike out on their own, yet had little to no experience running a business. They were unfamiliar with business plans, key performance indicators, marketing campaigns, technician sales and installation training, customer service rep training, product and technology updates, and employee recruiting.

In addition, plumbing and heating contractors must keep track of business data required for licenses, health-care and liability insurance, taxes, state and federal regulations, building codes, permits, pricing, payroll and accounts receivable.

This is critical information that PHC small-business owners need to prosper and grow their companies.

The groups listed here range from national associations to best practices groups to franchise companies. Associations and best practices groups can educate you on legislative and code issues, marketing to the right customers, honing leadership skills to inspire employees, training service technicians to interact effectively with customers, learning about the newest industry technology, succession planning or selling your business.

Franchise options offer entrepreneurs brand-name companies with established systems and procedures on marketing, advertising, recruiting and hiring. Many back-office functions such as customer service, payroll and accounts receivable are handled by the franchisor rather than the franchisee.

Joining one or two of these groups can keep you focused on making your business profitable. Talking with your peers at annual conventions and meetings about similar issues can give you insight on how to resolve a situation at your company or add a new business to your services. Most members of these groups say that networking is the most beneficial element of membership.

These groups can help you tackle industry challenges, such as recruiting new people into the trades. With construction workers retiring faster than the industry can replace them, getting young people interested in the plumbing and heating trades is critical. Many industry groups are working to combat stereotypes and promote industry professionalism and career opportunities. You can read about some of these programs in this month’s cover story.

Whatever your situation, these groups are not one size fits all, so do your homework to find the best fit for your business philosophy. Some allow prospective members to attend a meeting or convention for a small fee or no charge at all.

It’s up to you to join, learn and implement.

PHCP Franchises

Aire Serv

About the group:Founded in 1992, Aire Serv is a global heating, ventilation and air conditioning company that provides exceptional service in installation, maintenance, repair and replacement to both residential and commercial units. This includes heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, as well as indoor air quality systems.

Number of operations:There are 177Aire 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 looks for franchisees who will be focused on customers and on delivering service with integrity.  It wants franchisees who are driven and want to not only reach but exceed their goals. Aire Serv aims to be a world-class company recognized for the quality that its customers, franchisees and associates experience. Business owners of excellent character can help the company reach this goal.

Restrictions:Yes.  Aire Serv restricts franchises to specific territories.

Costs/fees:The total investment necessary to begin operation ranges from $80,100 to $203,900. 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:A subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Aire Serv wants to help contractors reach their goals of building their own businesses by providing support, marketing and hands-on training. Its established infrastructure is the key to enabling franchisees to succeed and develop. 

Contact:Call 877/436-3810 or visit www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com/asvfranchisepm.


Ace Duraflo Systems

About the group:Founded in the 1990s, ACE DuraFlo began offering in-place pipe restoration system franchises in 2001.

Number of operations:55 franchisees in North America and Europe. Of those, seven are corporate-owned.

Markets to:Plumbing contractors and leak detection firms.

Franchisee qualities:Those who want to gain a competitive advantage in their market and increase their bottom line by offering their customers a choice when it comes to repairing small-diameter piping systems.

Restrictions:Yes, based on population.

Costs/fees:Initial investment is as low as $39,150. Investment varies based on equipment package and size of territory. There are ongoing fees.

Why you should join:ACE DuraFlo Systems’ ePIPE Advantage Program is designed to provide a local competitive edge through specially designed equipment, comprehensive training, marketing materials, 24/7 field support, and communication through Internet and Intranet, as well as a multipatented-protected technology for in-place pipe restoration with a two-hour return to service.

Contact:Virginia Steverson at vsteverson@aceduraflo.com, 800/359-6369 for a free information kit or visit www.epipeinfo.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 to $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: Sofia Mimendi, director of franchise relations, 760/320-9991, smimendi@americanleakdetection.com or visit www.americanleakdetectionfranchise.com.


Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

About the group:Founded in 2001, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is part of the Direct Energy Services family of brands and is a nationally ranked franchise in the plumbing market.

Number of operations: As of April 2015, there are 258 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 offer a 100% satisfication guarantee and employees who are background-checked and drug-tested.

Franchisee qualities: Contractors who value professionalism, punctuality and consider customer satisfaction their No. 1 priority. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchise owners 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, competence and character.

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 across North America,  Benjamin Franklin Plumbing consistently ranks as one of the top plumbing franchises by national publications.  Franchisees are offered significant operational support and have access to hands-on training, 24-hour online training and a national call center.  Franchisees also are supported by wholesale distributor Buy Max, which provides significant discounts on private-label equipment and other equipment used everyday in plumbing businesses. 

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 also support Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchisees and their growing businesses.

Contact: Jim Nicholsat 877/454-4903 to request information or visit www.benfranklinfranchise.com or www.directenergyfranchise.com.


Bluefrog Plumbing + Drain

About the group:Founded in January 2014, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain pursues excellence and is committed to helping its 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:The ideal bluefrog 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.

Bluefrog recognizes that prospective franchisees will have various levels of the aforementioned core values. Top franchise owners are restless and energetic but willing to follow a system. They are unwilling to accept that something cannot be done and consequently are instrumental in building the entire system by innovatively providing the end-user (their customers) excellent results.

Restrictions:Yes. 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. Veterans receive a 50% discount. 

Why you should join:The primary benefit of joining the bluefrog Plumbing + Drain “army of frogs” is that the company fully equips its franchisees with constant support and guidance through dedicated training in operations, management and finance, with an emphasis on proven marketing strategies.

Contact:Call 844/260-FROG (844/260-3764) or email info@bluefrogplumbing.com.


Linc Service Network

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: 167; 33 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 Vice President of Franchise Development Dave Santillo at 724/514-8985, david.santillo@abm.com or visit www.lincservice.com.


Mr. Rooter Plumbing

About the group:Mr. Rooter Plumbing is an expert plumbing company with years of experience and professional knowledge.

Number of operations: There are 201 Mr. Rooter franchise locations  in the United States.

Markets to: Plumbing and mechanical contractors.

Franchisee qualities: Mr. Rooter looks for franchisees who are passionate about success and have the drive to pursue it. Its vision is to be a world-class company admired for the excellence that customer, franchisees and associates experience. Mr. Rooter searches for business owners of exceptional character who can help it achieve this goal.

Restrictions: Yes. Mr. Rooter restricts franchisees to specific territiories.

Costs/fees: The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Mr Rooterfranchise ranges from $74,125 to $187,300, plus any additional franchise fee or real estate costs.

Why you should join: Mr. Rooter is dedicated to enabling its franchise owners to achieve their aspirations of a thriving plumbing repair business. Mr. Rooter franchisees enjoy national brand name recognition and unparalleled industry support. Its proprietary management system has been created and honed through more than 50 years of experience. Mr. Rooter franchise owners have enjoyed success largely due to the company’s level of support and business tools unmatched in the service industry.

 Contact: Call 877/857-1206 or visit  www.leadingtheserviceindustry.com/mrrooterfranchisepm.


Mr. Waterheater

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:Not available.

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 412/823-6000 or visit www.mrwaterheater.com/franchise.


One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning

About the group:Founded in 2003, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning is part of the Direct Energy Services family of brands and is a nationally ranked franchise in the HVAC market.

Number of operations: As of April 2015, there are 266 One Hour franchise territories across the North America. Of these, 38 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, training, marketing, 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 franchise owners 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 territory, and ongoing fees based on sales volume.

Why you should join:  One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning is consistently ranked as the top HVAC franchise by national publications. In 2015, Entrepreneur magazine ranked it No. 1 in the HVAC category. 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.

Franchisees are offered significant operational support and have access to hands-on training, 24-hour online training and a national call center.  Franchisees also are supported by wholesale distributor Buy Max, which provides significant discounts on private-label equipment and other equipment used every day in HVAC businesses. 

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 also support One Hour franchisees and their growing businesses.

Contact: Jim Nicholsat 866/370-8302to request information or visit www.onehourfranchise.com or www.directenergyfranchise.com.



About the group:Founded in 1970, Rooter-Man began franchising in 1981.

Number of operations: Not available.

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 800/700-8062or visit www.rootermanfranchise.com.


Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service

About the group:Founded in 1935 by Samuel Blanc. The Roto-Rooter U.S. independent franchise system is full (international master franchise opportunities are still available), but Roto-Rooter continues to partner with independent contractors in various U.S. and Canadian markets. Expansion opportunities are available in select markets.

Number of operations:46 company-owned branches, 500 independently owned franchises and 72 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:Yes. 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:Roto-Rooter is the largest and best-known national brand name when it comes to plumbing repair, sewer and drain services. There is an established customer and sales base; paid advertising program; relocation opportunities; support of a solid national company; business training; equipment; management, accounting, marketing and public relations 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 contractorrecruiting@rrsc.com or visit www.rotorooter.com.


Zoom Drain & Sewer

About the group:Zoom Drain & Sewer launched in 2014 as part of Zoom Franchise Co.  The franchise team members — Al Levi, Ellen Rohr, Jim Criniti and Jason Criniti — have a hundred years of experience between them in service and contracting work, as well as franchising.  Zoom’s intention is to demonstrate the best that business can be in this specialized niche.  It has a profitable, scalable, systems-focused model and is driven by right stuff team members, at every level of the company, who share a vision — “Fast.  Focused.  Zoom!”

Number of operations:Two; one company-owned outlet operating in the Philadelphia metro area and one franchisee operating in Long Island, N.Y.  Zoom Drain is looking for one more right-fit franchisee in 2015 and three more in 2016.  The intention is to help a small number of contractors expand in a really big way. 

Markets to:Zoom Drain & Sewer isn’t a typical franchise system; it focuses on strategic scalability. The company fosters a cooperative company culture that holds employees for years. Zoom hires ambitious, bright people, regardless of their experience, and teaches them. 

A contractor may want to convert an existing drain and sewer company or department, what the company calls a “pure play” opportunity.  Or he could add a “plus play” opportunity, which involves creating a separate company for Zoom Drain while capitalizing on the existing, complementary contracting company.

Zoom Drain & Sewer believes that drain work is a niche separate from plumbing.  To do drains the way it does involves a highly skilled technician and a specialized, fully loaded truck.  There just isn’t room for plumbing and drain cleaning on the same truck.

Contractor qualities:Zoom Drain & Sewer is looking for contractors who are ready to scale and capitalize on all the hard work they’ve invested in their business, creating something much bigger than one can achieve alone.  Less stress.  More success.  So instead of lots of franchisees, the company is looking for a few ambitious players who want to grow. 

Restrictions:Yes. Territories are available and contractors can have an impact on the direction of the developing franchise system.

Costs and/or fees:Costs can be learned by invitation and in a private conversation with the delivery of the Franchise Disclosure Document. 

Why you should join:Perhaps most importantly, Zoom Drain & Sewer is solving the “I can’t find employees” challenge by developing people.   The program is designed to attract good people, with no experience, and help them get great.  The company teaches technical, operational, sales and personal development skills with formal hands-on training in its Service and Install Training Centers with best-in-class operations manuals. 

The company’s approach to drain and sewer is a blueprint for predictable results and creates opportunities for people within the company to move up the ladder. It’s designed to liberate the owner by engaging every team member — from open-book financial systems to tablets-based operations to off-the-chain marketing to its unique project management systems. 

It’s not a one-guy-in-a-truck model, but an opportunity for a few ambitious, excellence-minded contractors to come together to create something unique and great, while offering a limitless career path for the people on their teams. 

Contact:Zoom Drain Franchise Co. President Ellen Rohr at 877-629-7647 or ellen.rohr@zoomdrain.com.


PHCP Best-Practices Groups

AirTime 500

 About the group:Founded in 2000, AirTime 500 is part of the Success Group International family. AirTime500 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 500 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 Profit Day seminar; call 866/344-0789 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 to 30 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 Perhamat 800/533-7694, perham@naphcc.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: Yes.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 jgrillo@mcaa.org. For general inquiries, contact Barbara Dolim at 301/869-5800 or bdolim@mcaa.org.


Nexstar Network

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 orDavid Janssen at888/240-STAR (888/240-7827), membership@nexstarnetwork.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 Profit Day seminar; call 866/344-0789 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: Yes.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 construction technology, smcguire@mcaa.org, or visit www.mcaa.org/pca.


Quality Service Contractors

About the group:QSC is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015. Founded in 1995 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 2015 QSC investment is $4,052 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. 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; a one-day CSR/dispatcher training; 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 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.

Why you should join:Networking, training, education, technical resources and advocacy.

Contact:For membership information, email radiant@acca.org 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 80% in the last year.

Markets to:HVAC and plumbing business owners.

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 helps members design their lives, and their businesses, to activate growth and inspire profit. With hands-on guidance from key leaders in the industry, proven business systems and platinum rebates, contractors can get to their next level faster — whether it’s the first $1 million or the 50th.

Contractors learn trade secrets with industry-specific, intense business boot camp training. Their businesses grow as they attend weekly mentor calls, where problems are quickly solved with the help of those who have been there, done that. And proven business procedures are available to quickly use in their businesses to streamline efficiencies and foster profit.

Custom professional branding is provided from the group’s in-house design team, human resources support, desktop training, sales training and more. And, best of all, everything mentioned above is included in the price. 

Contact: Call Chisholm Brunner at 877/262-3341 or visit www.servicenationalliance.com.


Service Roundtable

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 mentoring from international experts and contractors,  professional marketing and business tools, and money back with quarterly cash rebates.

Number of members: More than 4,500 people over several continents.

Markets to: Residential and light commercial plumbing, HVAC service and installation, and electrical contractors.

Member qualities: Contracting business owners who want to grow, improve and build legacy companies.

Restrictions: None. Any plumbing, HVAC, or electrical contracting 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 provides business owners with an affordable way to drive new business and reach higher profits faster with marketing, mentoring and money back. Contractor-led and -driven, membership gives members instant access to mentoring and advice via an online community of leading contractors and industry consultants in the HVAC, plumbing and electrical fields.

Members can boost their marketing by using any of more than $9.5 million of proven business-building marketing and business tools created by a team of professional, industry-specific designers. Download and customize right from your desktop.

Money goes back in members’ pockets with Roundtable Rewards when cash rebates are earned from business, service and equipment providers that you may already purchase goods and services from.

Contact: Visit www.servicetoundtable.com to learn more. To get a behind-the-scenes tour, 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.

Dues/fees: Not available.

Why you should join: The Unified Group provides contractors with training and networking opportunities that their competitors can’t access. As a geographically exclusive organization, it only selects one contractor in each area to create an environment for members to openly share the successes and struggles in their businesses.

The powerful impact that one great idea can have on a business is nothing new to Unified Group members.  Through information sharing and networking, members gain more time to work on their businesses instead of in their businesses. Unified Group members are innovative, forward-thinking business leaders who are focused on continuous improvement.

Contact:Allison Rodgers at 888/714-5990, rodgersa@theunifiedgroup.com or visit www.theunifiedgroup.com. For the top 10 reasons to become a Unified Group member, visit http://theunifiedgroup.com/values.


Union-Affiliated Contractors

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: Yes.Prospective members must employ union plumbers and pipefitters, and belong to PHCC.

Dues/fees: $377 per 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 program delivers sessions designed to help generate business and operate more effectively during this challenging economic environment.

Contact: UAC Executive DirectorRodney Jones, 888/997-0535, jones@naphcc.org or visit www.phccweb.org.


PHCP Associations

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:$450 for contractors

Why you should join:Networking, training, education, technical resources and advocacy.

Contact:For member information, email member@acca.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 1,000 contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and vendors.

Markets to:Open-shop fire sprinkler contractors.

Restrictions:None. 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 jeff@firesprinkler.org.


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, 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, building information modeling, sustainable construction and strategic estimating.

Restrictions:Yes. 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, jgrillo@mcaa.org. For general inquiries, contact Adrienne Breedlove at 301/869-5800, mcaainfo@mcaa.org 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. Its 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 it is highlighting are the Train-the-Trainer Program and the new Home Comfort Specialist Academy.

Contact: Judy Garberat 888/552-0900, jgarber@thinkoesp.org, or George Fantacone at Santoro Oil, gfantacone@santorooil.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 $503. There also are special introductory 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 naphcc@naphcc.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 & Hydronics 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.  The RPA is also host to a manufacturer-based group called Hydronics Industry Alliance, Commercial. This dedicated group of major equipment manufacturers is working to ensure that the future of hydronics is solid and will continue to grow for many years to come.

Contact: Executive Director Mark Eatherton, 708/995-3000, mark.eatherton@radiantprofessionalsalliance.org; Membership Director Alan Wald, 909/472-4211, alan.wald@iapmo.org; or Director of RPA Education Sherard Jones, 708/995-3008, rpaeducation@radiantprofessionalsalliance.org. For general information, visit www.radiantprofessionalsalliance.org.