Mike Feazel and Roofers` Success International
BEN, ONE HOUR REACH $370 MILLION IN SALES
HOW TO BECOME A BETTER LEADER
The magazine of winning business strategies from today’s most profitable independent contractors
Mike Feazel and Roofers’Success International™
Permit No. 113
Long Prairie, MN
WHY IAQ IS SO COOL
He’s guaranteed to generate
business during slow times and
keep the customers you sell today
sold tomorrow – all without
costing you another cent!
Welcome to the Talking Thermostat®,
the master “salesman on the wall”
designed to help you offer something
better to homeowners, reduce hassles,
generate business during slow times,
and keep your customers sold on you
long after today.
An On The Wall Idea That Works
The beauty of this thermostat is that it talks to
homeowners and tells them what’s going on and
what to do. Your customers can easily program it
without instructions – and without calling you.
A Master Salesman – Without Pay!
For HVAC companies, the Talking Thermostat is a
salesman who fills up your dispatch board during
your slowest times with service and tune-up calls and
equipment replacement leads. You program the
thermostat to alert your customers to call you!
The Best Part – Your Cost!
Since the Talking Thermostat costs about the same
(or less than most programmable thermostats), it’s a
no-brainer that you should be installing this revenuegenerating, profit-making, customer retention tool
every time on every call.
For a demonstration of how the
Talking Thermostat works, go
to our web site or call toll free
1-866-512-8255 for more
Let your best salesperson keep
you busy all year long!
And A Welcome
Because the goal of The Successful Contractor has
always been to help contractors run their businesses more effectively and become more profitable. It
has never been about helping you troubleshoot a
service problem, do an install, or pound a nail.
So welcome, roofers, and check out stories starting
on page 18 about a new roofing organization
designed to help you win.
You can also learn how plumber Luis Niebla found
success; get key tips about how $1 million salespeople do it; and read an entertaining story about
Dish, TX, and the unusual marketing campaign
that suddenly put this tiny town on the map.
Finally, learn how to use leadership skills to motivate your employees and read a fast-paced interview with Success Group International’s Terry
Nicholson. Nicholson talks about what contractors
need to do to be successful in today’s competitive
The Spring issue is designed to help you create one
more success story. Namely, your own!
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, ONE HOUR
Set Sales Records, Earn National Press Accolades
HOW TO USE YOUR LEADERSHIP SKILLS
To Motivate Your Employees
How Contractors Can Win
10 MINUTES WITH TERRY NICHOLSON
And How To Win In Today’s Competitive Marketplace
Special Section For Roofers!
NEW GROUP HELPS ROOFERS
Become More Successful
Special Section For Roofers!
MIKE FEAZEL WELL GROUNDED
As He Tries To Elevate An Industry
Special Section For Roofers!
WHY RANDY FERN JOINED
Roofers’ Success International™
Winning Tips From Top Salespeople
$1 MILLION PRODUCERS
And Their Sales Secrets!
NINE QUICK STRATEGIES TO LOWER
YOUR AUTO INSURANCE COSTS 6
HOW PLUMBER LUIS NIEBLA SURVIVED
IT ALL AND BECAME SUCCESSFUL 30
3 Editor’s Note
SPECIAL SECTION FOR ROOFERS!
What does roofing have to do with the HVAC,
plumbing and electrical businesses, and why has
The Successful Contractor welcomed roofers into
the fold with this issue?
4 Ask The Experts
7 Cool Tools Spotlight
CAMPAIGN PUTS TINY TEXAS
TOWN ON THE MAP 32
HUMOR: RESCUED FROM A
TURBULENT TOILET 34
5 Industry News
The Successful Contractor is published four times a year by Clockwork Home Services,
Incorporated, as a business information and educational service to the contracting community.
Copyright 2006 by Clockwork Home Services, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
PUBLIC RELATIONS CONTACT
Dominic Garvey 941-366-9692
Tom Ward 877-390-5849
Dale Novak 877-390-5849
Julie Novak 877-390-5849
PUBLISHED BY Clockwork Home Services, Incorporated, 2 North Tamiami Trail, Suite 506,
Sarasota, FL 34236. For inquiries about any of the Clockwork Home Services portfolio
companies please call (941) 366-9692 or fax (941) 366-9592. To contact the advertising and
publishing departments of The Successful Contractor magazine please call 877-390-5849.
Please send reprint requests, letters and questions about editorial content to:
Editor, The Successful Contractor, P.O. Box 18567, Tampa, FL 33679-8567.
Visit us on the web at
A NOTE ABOUT CHANGING YOUR ADDRESS.
For those of you who wish to change, add or delete your address from our
list, please mail your request to The Successful Contractor, P.O. Box 18567,
Tampa, FL 33679-8567. Or, you may email us at [email protected]
Publisher reserves the right to reject all advertising material. All unsolicited manuscripts,
editorials, photographs or art will not be returned. Written permission from Clockwork Home
Services, Incorporated, is required to reproduce any part of this magazine.
THE SUCCESSFUL CONTRACTOR ADVISORY BOARD
Printed in the USA
SPRING 2006 TSC 3
Ask The Experts
Do you have a question about how to run
your business more effectively, improve
your operations, manage your employees,
get the most out of your training, jump-start
your marketing or maximize your sales
results? Ask The Experts at Clockwork
Home Services. Just e-mail, mail or fax
your question to: Ask the Experts,
Clockwork Home Services, Attention, The
Successful Contractor, 2 N. Tamiami Trail,
Suite 806, Sarasota, FL 34236. E-mail:
[email protected] or fax the
question to (941) 366-9592.
technician makes a serious mistake on the job due to
drugs, your whole company could crumble because of it.
The real question then becomes “What if you don’t drug
test your employees and that technician stays?”
Creating a drug-free company is one of the strongest
choices you can make for your long-term success. If you
want to protect your clients, your employees and your
company, then you should definitely drug test.
– Terry Nicholson
name will allow you to optimize the use of your vehicles in
Many times a contractor who is well known in one field,
HVAC for instance, will use a new name to expand into
another field, such as plumbing, because its name recognition will be based on the prior field. For example, everyone knows Heinz as catsup, but would you buy Heinz mustard? If you are changing fields, you may want to begin
operating as a completely separate company.
From a marketing perspective, it is important to grow your
Terry Nicholson is president of Success Group
name recognition and maintain a constant message to
your customers. You should consider conducting a ranQ: We are a small electrical contractor
dom survey to determine the awareness of your name in
Q: Should I drug test my employees?
and we are expanding to provide servicthe area where you are now and the area where you want
I’m afraid if I do, I’ll lose my best tech- es in the next county. When we make
to go. Typically, this would involve brief surveys in both
this move, should we keep this under
– John, New Hampshire
areas of consumers, who are asked to give the names of
the same company, or do everything
contractors across four or five different fields. If 20 perA: That’s the most common reason why business owners separately?
cent of those surveyed in your home county identify you as
don’t randomly drug test their employees. However, if you – Stephanie, California
institute random drug testing in your company, the
A: The question you are asking is a good one and there an electrical contractor, and say nine percent identify you
in the area you are expanding into, you have the name
employees who are drug-free won’t have anything to hide is no right answer. It depends on your circumstances
recognition to build upon in the new area. If the two
and they won’t fight the test.
because this expansion will have ramifications from an
counties share a common marketing area for Yellow
So, if your best technician is drug-free, you probably have operations and marketing perspective.
nothing to worry about.
From an operations perspective, you want to at least cre- Pages, radio and television, you can maximize your advertising dollars by retaining your name in the new location
However, if you’re worried because your best technician is ate a profit center within your existing business to track
when you are expanding in the same field.
on drugs, you have more issues to consider than the
But again, make sure you track your operations costs and
crethreat of that person leaving. Think of the potential liabiliyour profits separately to determine the viability of this
departty you have hanging over your head. There have been sevnew business.
eral cases in the past few years where service people have
– Rebecca Cassel
robbed or killed homeowners because of drugs. Plus,
Rebecca Cassel is president of Franchise Operations for
the new operation separately, you will not be able to
you’re putting the rest of your team at risk by keeping a
determine how much your established business is carrying Clockwork Home Services.
drug-addicted employee around.
your company to fund the expansion. Keeping the same
That’s not to mention the risk to your company. If that
The Inspector™ Goes Digital
The Inspector™ Heat Exchanger Video Inspection Camera
has gone digital and become easier and more convenient for contractors to use.
The new Inspector with DVR (digital video recorder) was
introduced by Shamrock Industries on March 31 and allows
contractors to record images of problems and play them using
the camera itself. Previously, The Inspector recorded the images
on a VHS tape. The contractor then relied on the homeowner
to have a VCR to play the tapes back to show the problem
Sometimes, contractors carried along
VCRs to hook up at the customers’ locations.
Now, The Inspector with DVR stores
the image in the camera for playback to the customer. At the end of the day, the tech simply hands the
flash card in to the office so the images can be loaded onto
a computer and archived.
4 TSC SPRING 2006
The camera with the flash card for storage provides everything they need. That’s particularly important as more and more
contractors seek to document problems with furnaces, lest they
be called back after routine service and blamed for something
that occurs afterward.
Plus, there’s still the biggest benefit of all,
said Tom O’Connor, Shamrock’s CEO.
O’Connor said when contractors use the cameras
to detect hidden problems, they will increase
their closure rates for new furnaces by 25 to 50
percent because, for customers, seeing is believing.
O’Connor said the DVR function can be
retrofitted to contractors’ existing cameras, too.
More information is available by calling toll
free at 1-888-814-8540.
In Canada, call 630-690-0352.
Nuts & Bolts
Inventor Found A Cool Way
To Create Air Conditioning
Alexander Graham Bell is known for inventing the telephone, but he also had an innovative way of cooling his
He created an “Ice Stove” to cool
his rooms in the summer, just as a
coal stove made them hot in the
winter, according to a 1911 story in
The New York Times. It was the only
private house in the world cooled
simply by ice and air.
Man’s Best Friend On
The Hunt – For Mold
Dogs are being used to
sniff out mold, and they’re
much better at it than
humans, according to the
Contractors of America.
Many mold detection companies are using dogs to find
mold in the same way they are being used to sniff out
bombs and drugs.
A beagle rescued in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
is one of three dogs used by a Connecticut company to
hunt mold. The owner said dogs are accurate about 97
percent of the time, compared to humans, who are
accurate about 35 percent of the time.
Bell used an electric fan to draw air
from the outdoors through a pipe
attached to a wooden box filled
with ice. Another pipe led from the
box to his study. The fan blew air
over the ice, in turn cooling down
When inventing the device, Bell drained his large indoor
swimming pool and turned it into an ice-cooled living
He furnished the pool with a carpet, desk, sofa and armchair, according to The American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
Cows Power Customers’
Homes In Vermont
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® ®
& One HourAir Conditioning & Heating
Announce New Franchises
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® and One Hour Air Conditioning &
Heating® recently announced the following new franchises:
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® – Pacific, MO #109
Owners: Ronald & Cheryl McQuerry
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® – Casper, WY #110
Owners: James & Diana Tucker
Dairy cows are generating electricity at a farm in
Montpelier, VT. The methane gas from their manure is
producing electricity for Vermont’s largest utility.
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® – Boylston, MA #111
Owners: Lisa Mari & Paul Johnson
Lisa Mari & Paul also own a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
It’s the first time in the United States that farm-based
power generation has been offered to customers as a
renewable choice, although other farms have generated
power for their own use.
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® – Evansville, IN #112
Owner: Lance Leithliter
The manure is heated and produces methane gas as it
decomposes. The gas is then used to power a generator
that sends electricity to the power grid.
Customers pay about four cents more per kilowatt-hour
for the power to support the farm and its cows.
advantage – it
gets rid of
most of the
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® - Chardon, OH #113
Owner: Dennis Kratochvil
Dennis also owns two Benjamin Franklin franchises.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - Chardon, OH #102
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - Pepper Pike, OH #103
Owner: Dennis Kratochvil, Chardon, OH
Dennis also purchased a One Hour Franchise.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - Bellevue, WA #104
Owners: Gary Jessen and Rodney Jessen, Bellevue, WA
This is Gary & Rodney’s 2nd Ben Franklin Franchise.
They also own a One Hour Franchise.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - Sugar Land, TX #105
Owner: Marvin Ohl, Sugar Land, TX
This is Marvin’s 2nd franchise. He is also the proud owner of
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® – Rosenberg #65.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - El Cajon, CA #106
Owner: Mary Jean Anderson, El Cajon, CA
Mary Jean is also the proud owner of a One Hour Air
Conditioning & Heating franchise.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - Hudson, OH #107
Owner: Michael Hudson, Hudson, OH
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - Upper Lake, CA #108
Owner: Stan Kincannon, Upper Lake, CA
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® - Loveland, CO #109
Owner: Barton Palmer
Success Group International™
Calendar of Events
RSI Profit Day
Focus on the Future
Secrets of Residential
ESI Profit Day
AT500 Profit Day
PSI Profit Day
RSI Profit Day
Fort Lauderdale ESI Profit Day
Fort Lauderdale AT500 Profit Day
Fort Lauderdale PSI Profit Day
ESI Profit Day
AT500 Profit Day
PSI Profit Day
ESI Profit Day
AT500 Profit Day
PSI Profit Day
ESI Profit Day
AT500 Profit Day
PSI Profit Day
RSI Profit Day
ESI Profit Day
AT500 Profit Day
PSI Profit Day
RSI Profit Day
ESI Profit Day
AT500 Profit Day
PSI Profit Day
For more information on any of these events please contact:
AT500 and PSI at 800-505-8885
ESI at 877-374-3676 • RSI at 877-774-5646
SPRING 2006 TSC 5
Nine Quick Strategies To Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs
By Mike Diamond
s the owner of a contracting
company, you’re most conA
cerned with three types of insurance – general liability, auto, and
workers’ compensation. Not too
long ago, we looked at six strategies for lowering your general liability insurance costs
and increasing protection.
Now, let’s talk about your auto insurance.
It’s hard to control auto insurance costs
because so much of it is out of your control.
After all, it’s up to your employees to make
sure they drive safely and notice that person
But here are nine premium-reducing
things you can do:
1. Find your fleet’s deductible
I recommend a thorough inspection of
your trucks each week. In fact, I believe in
this so much that I presented my truck
inspection program to the members of
Plumbers’ Success International®. Why?
Because inspections and cleanliness will cut
down on the number of claims contractors
file every year.
This goes beyond checking your lights
and signals. Are your wipers working properly? Are your tires inflated properly? Are
there soda cans littering the inside of the cab?
This may not sound like a safety hazard, but
as soon as that can wedges itself under your
technician’s brake pedal, it spells disaster.
Believe me … this happens!
4. Handle it on your own.
Just as with your general liability insurance, the higher the deductible, the lower the
premium. The insurance company will
reward you for removing some of the risk.
So, if you have a $500 deductible but are
willing to fix a $1,000 repair on your service
truck, why not raise your deductible from
$500 to $1,000? This will save you money
on your premiums without taking on any
more risk than you would handle anyway.
Just as with liability, sometimes it’s best
to take matters into your own hands. Let’s
say your technician hits a parked car. It
might be in your best interest to simply get
an estimate from the owner of the car and
pay them directly to avoid a costly claim.
However, if there is bodily injury in any accident, it’s in your best interest to submit the
claim to your insurance company. In any
case, you still should get an accident report
from the police.
2. Breed a culture of safety.
5. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Keeping your auto claims down comes
with preaching safety in all your people do.
This culture should include everything from
wearing seat belts and following the speed
limits to the location of your pipe racks. On
our trucks, we put the pipe racks on the driver’s side of the truck because we’ve found
there are fewer claims when the oversized
pipes are where the driver can see them.
Pipes should always be transported with red
flags at the end and then removed upon
arrival at the work site. Emphasizing these
types of safety procedures consistently, whatever contracting business you’re in, will help
you reduce your claims.
My team carries cameras on every truck
to give our clients a look at the state of their
plumbing system. However, the cameras are
also invaluable when accidents happen. Take
pictures of everything if your truck is
involved in an accident. Get pictures of your
truck, the other vehicles, and the people
involved. If you have photos afterwards,
you’ll have a better idea if their estimate is on
track and if the people claiming injury were
even in the car at all. Pictures will help your
insurance company save money on faulty
claims, which will help you save money, too.
3. Give your trucks a weekly
The point of auto insurance is to protect
your trucks, your people, and yourself from a
huge claim. But you have to do your part,
too. Are you inspecting your trucks every
week to make sure your technicians are driving away in the safest vehicles possible?
6 TSC SPRING 2006
6. Know your history.
In California, we have a great program
called the Employer Pull Notice Program.
The Pull program allows me to receive a
notice whenever one of my employees is
involved in an incident that goes on their
driving records. Since insurance companies
look at the driving records of all of your
insured employees, this will keep you abreast
of anything that may affect your rates now or
in the future. Check with your local DMV
to see if this type of program exists in your
7. Do your people pass the test?
I can’t stress enough the importance of
drug and alcohol testing. You should test
your employees before you hire them, of
course, but you should also be testing them
immediately after any accidents occur. This
will protect you, and knowing that they’ll be
tested may reduce the likelihood of your
employees being under the influence of drugs
8. Review what you need.
One quick way to reduce the costs of
your auto insurance is to determine if you
really need what you have. If you have a service van that only has a value of $3,000, does
it make sense to carry full coverage on it? It
may make more sense to simply carry liability insurance on that vehicle, and purchase a
different van if it is ever in a wreck. You have
to determine how much risk you are comfortable with, but this could save you 20 percent per truck on insurance.
9. Know your coverage.
If your technician is driving to a job and
is injured in an accident, he’s most likely covered under your workers’ compensation
insurance. Many insurance companies will
let you carry uninsured motorist coverage to
cover anyone in your vehicles that is not covered under your workers’ comp. So, the fact
is you may only need this type of coverage on
vehicles carrying non-employees, since
employees will all be covered for injury under
your workers’ comp. At our company, we
have a policy that prohibits non-employees
from riding in any of our company
vehicles. You may not have to insure your
employees against injury under your auto
insurance. Check with your carrier. This
could save you about 10 percent per truck.
It’s tough to save money on your insurance bill, and especially tough with auto
insurance. But an evaluation of your current
coverage using this dollars-and-sense
approach can help you generate savings that
add up. TSC
Mike Diamond is CEO of Plumbers’ Success
International® and owner of the largest
independent plumbing service company in the
country, Mike Diamond Plumbing, in
Orange County, CA.
Cool Tools Spotlight
By Steve Mores
Spring Season Provides Best Opportunity
To Offer IAQ Solutions To Customers
f you’re an HVAC contractor facing slow times during the
Spring, you probably have been overlooking the one
product that can generate higher sales and better profits
for you, now and in the future.
Spring is a time many people dread. It’s
the allergy and hay fever season, and if you
doubt that, just take a look at the runny
noses, nasal voices and downright torture
this season can mean for those who must
suffer through it.
That’s why this is the best time for you to
offer indoor air quality products. Many of your customers will be seeking solutions to improve the quality of
their air and reduce the “triggers” that cause problems.
Many HVAC contractors use this slow time of the
year to perform routine system maintenance. That also makes this the perfect
time for you to discuss IAQ products with your customers.
The Nature’s Home® indoor air quality system favors a low-key sales
approach that many contractors find very effective. The tech can start by asking, “Who in the home suffers from asthma or allergies?” The response to this
question will often surprise the tech. From there, the tech will give the homeowner the Nature’s Home® information for their review. Typically, the customer reads the information and will ask specific questions regarding
it, which leaves the door open for the tech to talk about air cleaning
That leads to more
questions from the customer about what is
available – and the
opportunity to create a
already spending about
$500 million a year on
IAQ products, mostly on
that one leading consumer magazine has
labeled marginally effective, and even, occasionally, injurious to your health.
So why do consumers spend so much money on products that, at best,
have marginal effectiveness, when they can receive whole-house solutions
from HVAC contractors that really do work? Why do people buy one-room
units that are designed to control just particles when they could be spending
Consumers are already
spending about $500
million a year on IAQ
products, mostly on
single-room cleaners that
one leading consumer
magazine has labeled
marginally effective, and
injurious to your health.
less, per room, to have a safer, more effective whole-house solution that controls particles, germs and gases?
Because they do not know any better.
Consumers are searching for IAQ products
they can believe in, and HVAC contractors
who are willing to learn how they work,
install them correctly, and provide these
solutions to their customers are going to be
winners. With their customers and with their
bottom lines, because profit margins will gross 50
percent or more.
Of course, I’m talking about products that are
proven effective and are not “smoke and mirrors.”
And contractors who are willing to get educated
and not be misinformed.
For those contractors, now is the time. TSC
Steve Mores is president of BuyMax®, the national distributor of Nature’s
Home® products. If you are interested in learning about Nature’s Home
products and the managed territories available to contractors; proven
IAQ results; training for your technicians and salespeople; or the low-key
no-pressure sales approach the company advocates, call toll free at
How To Be Successful
Selling IAQ Products
Be proactive in offering them to your customers.
Understand and use your competitive advantage of being able to
offer proven, whole-house solutions.
Evaluate products by installing them in your own home.
Gauge effectiveness by garnering specific, measurable evidence – and
presenting it to your customers.
Train, train and train your people some more.
Track IAQ sales and profitability to reaffirm your commitment.
Package your IAQ systems in good/better/best categories to make
customer buying decisions easier.
Make sure your
people understand the
products, otherwise they
won’t sell them.
Compensate your people for
sales and installations.
Nature’s Home products range from the very
basic, upper left, to more comprehensive – and
offer whole-house solutions.
SPRING 2006 TSC 7
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, ONE HOUR FRANCHISES
SET SALES RECORDS, EARN NATIONAL PRESS ACCOLADES
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® and
Air Conditioning &
Heating , two franchises that are
prompting accolades both within
and outside their industries, got a
double-dose of good news during
the first quarter of this year.
irst, the two franchises and their
franchisees set a new sales
record, with an annual run rate for
owned and managed operations of
more than $370 million.
Second, business publications
continued to heap praise on the franchises for their strong performance
Benjamin Franklin earned four
separate accolades from
Entrepreneur Magazine. That included
being named the magazine’s No. 3
performer in the plumbing category;
No. 38 in Top New Franchises; and
No. 93 on the magazine’s list of
Fastest Growing Franchises. The magazine also named Benjamin Franklin
as No. 454 on its Franchise 500 list.
In addition, the franchise was
ranked No. 39 by Franchise Times on
its Fast 55 list.
Entrepreneur Magazine ranked
One Hour as the No. 6 company on
its Miscellaneous Home Repairs listing; No. 24 in Top New Franchises;
No. 98 on its list of Fastest Growing
Franchises; and No. 367 on its
Franchise 500 list.
One Hour was also recently
ranked No. 2 by Franchise Times on
its Fast 55 listing.
The strong performances have
come in a relatively short period of
time. Benjamin Franklin was formed
in 2001 and at the end of March,
had 117 franchises serving 186 territories in the United States. One Hour
is less than three years old, having
been formed in July 2003. It has 116
franchises serving 153 territories.
Rebecca Cassel, president of
8 TSC SPRING 2006
Franchise Operations for Clockwork
Home Services, the parent company
of the franchises, said the success of
Benjamin Franklin and One Hour is
based on providing real, measurable
value every step of the way. “Our philosophy is that no franchisee will
fail,” she said.
Each franchisee gets to take
advantage of operating expertise,
business practices and brand marketing designed to make the franchise dominant in its marketplace.
Benjamin Franklin and One
Hour stress on-time service from
drug-free, background-checked service professionals, and overall operational and service excellence across
“These franchises create an
environment of fully guaranteed service in which they deliver what the
customer values, each and every
time,” Cassel said. “No matter what,
there’s a philosophy that the customer cannot lose.
“When you provide quality, ontime service the customer can
depend on and back it up with a
value statement that customers simply cannot lose, it really makes a difference,” she said.
If you would like to know more
about the franchise opportunities
with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
(1-800-695-3579) or One Hour
Air Conditioning & Heating
(1-800-746-0458), call toll free.
More information is also available
or www.onehourair.com. TSC
So What Do Franchise Owners Actually Get?
OpX, the complete operational manual for the successful
How to take, book and prosper from service calls.
How to dispatch service calls to be on time, every time.
The financial model for their contracting business.
Key financial numbers to track every day and how to track them.
Critical success factors for their business and how to track them.
The right forms to use – and why.
Strategies designed to grow market share, increase the value of their
business and boost their return should they decide to sell and retire.
The Straight Forward Pricing™ Guide, designed to make things easier
and clearer for contractors, techs and customers.
Branding & national name recognition developed to promote top-ofmind awareness with customers in their marketplace.
Dynamic marketing ideas to help contractors stand out and capture
market share with, for example, templates to increase Yellow Pages
response 13 times over.
How to locate, recruit, train, manage and motivate employees.
Training to reinforce all franchise initiatives.
Active support to help franchises reach their goals and deal
A national buying service that uses its clout to provide deep
discounts, extended manufacturers’ warranties and rebates.
Yellow: One Hour franchise locations
Blue: Benjamin Franklin franchise locations
Benjamin Franklin was formed in 2001 and
at the end of March, had 117 franchises
serving 186 territories in the United States.
One Hour is less than three years old, having
been formed in July 2003. It has 116
franchises serving 153 territories.
How to profit from millions
of dollars in advertising
without spending a dime!
Huge companies all across
America are now spending millions
of dollars in advertising to grab a
piece of the $500 million
consumers spend every year to
improve the quality of the air they
The advertising has worked –
people are now scared of the effects
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solutions. Your customers are
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Leading consumer magazines
have labeled these room cleaners
ineffective, and in some cases,
But you can offer them a
solution that does work. The high
consumer demand has created the
perfect environment for a welltrained, educated, IAQ professional
to discuss whole-house IAQ
solutions that are cheaper per room
and much more effective than
what’s out there.
Nature’s Home® offers HVAC
contractors a proven product line
backed by extensive training to get
your techs and sales team up to
speed quickly. Our support to you
doesn’t stop after you buy our
products, it’s just getting started.
The profit potential is huge!
You can boost the average service
call or replacement sale ticket by
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Your customers are demanding
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254 Basic LED
HOW TO USE YOUR
TO MOTIVATE YOUR
Here are some keys to improving your
leadership,including seven things you
can put to work immediately! By Rebecca Cassel
know a business owner who leader; you also must be a
barks orders, doesn’t train his good manager. One comIemployees
and has a bad tem- plements the other, and
After 11 years in business, he
can’t figure out why he isn’t making a profit!
As the company’s owner, shouldn’t he
know what’s going on? Shouldn’t he be able
to recognize the problem and fix it?
Not necessarily. Just because he’s the
owner doesn’t mean he’s a good leader, or
even a good manager.
The fact is, he has such a huge ego he
doesn’t see how his leadership style is getting
in the way of his company’s success. He doesn’t realize that he’s mainly responsible for his
As long as he’s in charge, his company
will never be successful. He needs to take a
step back, look in the mirror and change his
It is much more effective to motivate
people in a positive way by setting goals and
rewarding them when they accomplish their
goals. Using fear and intimidation may work
in the short term, but it almost always winds
up hurting morale and job performance. If
you have a confrontational style, you should
understand that it probably will do you and
your company more harm than good.
The first point I want to make about the
value of leadership is that it’s only part of the
equation in running a business. To run a
company successfully, you can’t just be a
10 TSC SPRING 2006
both are essential.
The leader in you
should create a vision, set
goals and inspire employees.
The manager in you should
implement systems and
processes and watch the
numbers so you can fulfill that vision. The
manager in you follows up to take corrective
action for failed performance and rewards
If you lead but don’t manage,
you’re heading for disaster. Look at it this
way – if you step away from your business,
even for a short period, will another person
be able to run your business?
On the other hand, if you manage but
don’t lead, will your employees know where
you’re headed? Will they be inspired?
If you manage and lead, your company
will flourish. If you’re already a good manager and want to become a better leader, here
are some ways to get started:
Create a vision and establish
achievable goals for your company.
Then figure out what steps you need to take
to get there. Once you’ve done that, share
your vision with employees and explain how
they can help the company achieve its vision
and reach its goals.
Communicate. A business always
works better if everyone understands what
they’re supposed to do. As a leader, it’s your
job to let employees know what their key
responsibilities are and what you expect of
them. Help them understand why their
responsibilities are so important to the organization, and make sure they get the tools and
training they need to succeed.
Set a good example. If you want
people to follow you, be a good role model.
Remember, how you conduct your business
sets the tone for how your company does
business. Have integrity, be good to your customers and treat people the way you’d like to
You can also set a good example by
learning your employees’ jobs.
When I ran my first HVAC business in
1997, I learned to sell replacement equipment so I could set a good example. I even
went to classes to get my contractor’s license
and worked with my technicians to install
equipment. This helped me earn the respect
of my sales staff and technicians.
Continued on page 12
SPRING 2006 TSC 11
Continued from page 10
Get to know your employees Be consistent! Are your employees worand show that you care about ried about which business owner will show
them. Your employees will know if you care up on a given day? Does how you’re feeling
about them, and they’ll perform better if you
do. Meet with them to discuss their professional goals and career path. Then help them
get there with training, encouragement and
Find out what motivates your
employees. Why do they work at your
company, what do they value, and what does
their job help them accomplish outside the
office? Once you find this out, you can relate
your company goals to their own personal
Take responsibility. Good leaders
take ownership of their actions, even if they
make a mistake – especially if they really
screw up. Admit your mistake, learn from it,
correct your actions and go forward.
Make decisions in a timely
manner. You wouldn’t believe how difficult
it is for some leaders to make a decision! If
you keep waffling, nothing gets done and
your employees will lose confidence in you,
especially if you avoid an issue that’s causing
SEVEN LEADERSHIP STEPS
YOU CAN TAKE TODAY!
You won’t become a leader overnight, but you can start
affect the consistency of your management or doing a few things immediately that will help you build
your business decisions?
Always remain positive and
When you implement these suggestions, make sure
don’t complain. Your employees should
you’re sincere or your employees will see right through
never hear you complain about the hours you
work or what it takes to do the job. Your
Hop into a service technician’s truck and ride on
potential reward is greater than your employa service call with him or her every 200 calls.
ees’, and if you stay positive, they’re more
This will help you build a relationship and
likely to do so, too.
communicate you want to help. (And that you care!)
Know your weaknesses. You’re
Ask your employees for ideas.Then implement
good at many things, but admit it – there are
probably a few things you don’t excel at. If
that’s the case, find someone who is better
Schedule a training session on improving revenue.
than you and ask him or her to take on those
Share your weekly revenue budget by department
responsibilities. For example, if you are not
with all employees and how they can help reach it.
comfortable in a sales role, hire excellent peoTalk to one employee about goals and let him or
ple to sell for you.
her know what you expect. (Then, talk to everyone!)
If you’re really serious about improving
Make a decision about something you’ve been
your leadership, first look in the mirror and
assess where you are today. Then do the
If you are uncomfortable about public speaking,
things necessary to get better.
offer to make a presentation to a professional
There’s always room for improvement. TSC
organization so you can practice this skill.
Rebecca Cassel is president of Franchise
Operations, Clockwork Home Services.
– Rebecca Cassel
“You Want Me To Go Where?”
Introducing the new, digital Inspector™ Video Inspection
Camera. It’s so easy and convenient to use that it gets you –
and your customers – out of tight spots. Forever!
The Inspector with DVR (digital video recorder) allows instant playback to the
customer from the camera itself and the crystal-clear images are loaded onto
a flash card for archiving and permanent storage.
So keep your techs – and your customers – out of tight spots. And
increase your closure rates for replacement sales 25 to 50 percent – easily
and more conveniently than ever before!
Call toll free to learn more. Ask about
retrofitting your existing Inspector cameras!
Note: The first 100 contractors
who call Shamrock Industries to
inquire about the new Inspector
with DVR will be sent a free
brochure titled “How To
Document Furnace Problems To
Protect Your Company After A
Routine Service Call.” Call today!
12 TSC SPRING 2006
“Since becoming a
franchise, my sales
My name is Tab Hunter. No, I’m not a movie star. And I
don’t play a plumber on TV. I’m the owner/operator of a Benjamin
Franklin Plumbing® franchise in Nashville.
While people tend to remember my famous name, my company’s
name wasn’t exactly a household word when I switched from newconstruction plumbing to service in the late 1990s.
In 2000, I added air conditioning and heating. That helped grow
the business, but it still wasn’t doing as well as I knew it could.
And I was spending too much of my time trying to re-invent the
wheel - coming up with systems I thought would work, to train my
employees and build my business and my bottom line.
Then in early 2005 I became a franchisee of Benjamin
Franklin Plumbing® and One Hour Heating & Air
Conditioning®. Thanks to the folks at Clockwork Home Services
- the parent company of Benjamin Franklin and One Hour now my business is running like clockwork. My company’s sales
and revenue jumped from $2.7 million in 2004 to $4.2 million in
2005. And just last month, my revenue was more than $100,000
over the same month last year.
What makes the Benjamin Franklin approach work so well?
Basically, they’ve got the plumbing business down to a science.
Their national branding and marketing campaigns literally make
the phone ring, so you can concentrate on running your business
while the customers find you. And their operations manuals help
you train your people so they know exactly what to do and your
customers know what to expect. In fact, because the Benjamin
Franklin systems and marketing work so well, my business is
designed to run without me.
My goal for
my company was
always to be the
plumbing service company
in Nashville. Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and
Clockwork Home Services have helped me achieve
that goal. People know the big blue trucks, the phone number and the
jingle - and they know that all these things mean quality, on-time service.
Believe me, it’s like having movie-star name recognition - or my
name’s not Tab Hunter.
Want to find out more about the Benjamin Franklin
Plumbing success package? Our unique system includes proven
operational practices, complete access to cutting-edge technology,
hands-on support from “model center” franchises on the front lines
of the plumbing industry, professional training for everyone in your
company, and much more. Find out why the Benjamin Franklin
philosophy is that no franchisee will fail.
Call now for your
free email video
“The Road To
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is
ranked #38 for the top new franchises in
the U.S. by Entrepreneur® magazine 2005!
your request to
You have nothing to lose, and you may just discover
a revolutionary new approach to your business.
“When the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing people say that ‘franchisees and customers can’t lose’
if they use this proven success system, they’re right.”
©2006 CLOCKWORK HOME SERVICES, INC.
10 MINUTES WITH
The Success Group International™
president discusses winning in
today’s competitive marketplace,
how his companies help contractors
become successful,and why improving
service to consumers is critical.
The Successful Contractor: Success Group
International ™ is made up of four companies – Plumbers’
Success International ®, AirTime™ 500, Electricians’ Success
International™, and now, Roofers’ Success International ™. Plus,
there are two companies that support the efforts of members,
BuyMax®, the buying service, and The Success Academy™, which
is the training arm for members. What’s the overall goal?
Terry Nicholson: For all of our member contractors, it
boils down to three things. First, our organization is designed to
maximize the potential of their business and help them become
dominant in their marketplaces by delivering a higher level of customer service. Second, we help them achieve wealth. Third, we help
them simplify their lives by implementing proven systems and
processes that give them the freedom of time to have a life outside
the office with their family. This is a proven business model that
still gives them 100 percent control. They can deviate or enhance
what they learn to customize it for their own company.
TSC: Frankly, if I’m a contractor working 70 hours a week
and listening to you tell me this, I don’t believe it. It sounds too
good to be true.
Nicholson: Let me say, if you’re working 70 hours a week
consistently, something’s wrong. Your business depends too much
upon you being there every day. When contractors work those
kinds of hours, they often become resigned to being enslaved by
their business. If they do seek help, they sometimes are looking for
what I call “the magic bullet.” By that I mean that they want an
instant fix that will automatically transform their company into a
successful business overnight. But there is no such thing … there is
no magic bullet. The reality is that if you are operating a failed or
struggling business, you are working the wrong plan and have to
change what you are doing to chart a profitable direction. So contractors who have been beaten down by too many calls and too
many hours look at what it takes to turn their business around and
say to themselves, “I’m working too hard now. I can’t possibly work
twice as hard.” So they resign themselves to their current situation.
14 TSC SPRING 2006
But working twice as
hard is not what we ask contractors to do; we ask them to work
smarter. We provide a proven system to make them successful,
though there’s still a lot of sweat equity involved. Our member
contractors have full control of their business; their business does
not control them. There’s a difference.
TSC: What type of contractor should consider becoming a
member of Success Group International?
Nicholson: Over the years, we have found that there are
generally six types of contractors who become members of SGI
“Contractors don’t struggle or
fail over a lack of technical
competency.They fail over a
lack of business competency.”
One group is new construction or residential services contractors who start to realize over the years how volatile and high risk
their construction business is. They’re tired
of having the health of their business tied so
closely to how the economy is doing, and
they’re fed up with being the “banker” for a
general contractor, always waiting to get paid
long after the job is completed. They either
want to transition into residential services for
the first time, or if they are already providing
residential services, they want to grow that
side of their business significantly to diversify
and stabilize their company. They really like
the idea of getting paid cash at the time of
service. They want the help and expertise to
make the transition.
Another group of contractors who join
may already be in residential service, see the
potential, and are looking for the systems
and processes to grow and dominate their
Third, there are contractors who are
just starting their business – they’re a startup
company. Or they may not be a startup, but
be in a situation where they’re growing
quickly and it’s time for the business owner
to get out of the truck. Instead of running
service calls, the owner understands that he
or she now needs to work on their business,
not in their business. They want help to
make that transition, from something they
may be comfortable doing to something
they are really not comfortable doing. That
can be a difficult transition. We can make it
Fourth, there are those companies out
there that have the outward appearance of
being very successful, a very good business,
but really are not. At the end of the year, the
business owners add up the W-2s and find
out they’re making minimum wage for all
the hours they’re working, and that their
employees make more than they do. They
understand that, appearances aside, there’s
something wrong and they need to fix it.
Fifth, we encounter some very successful contractors who are making a lot of
money, but working 60 to 80 hours a week.
It takes every bit of that to generate that
kind of income. But they realize that they
cannot get back that time with their families, that they cannot make up that time
with their kids as they grow up. They miss a
lot of their kids’ ballgames and plays and the
family events. So they want to find a way to
make the same money but put a system in
place that will allow them to accomplish it
with half the time or effort.
Finally, there are the contractors who
are already the most successful, most dominant in their marketplace. Yet, they understand that what it took them to get there is
not nearly enough to keep them there,
because it’s much harder to stay on top.
The contracting world is full of stories
of smaller, weaker competitors with less talent sneaking up on bigger companies and
becoming dominant because the original
market leader became complacent, and did-
n’t realize what was happening until it was
These contractors who are at the top of
their game and want to remain dominant
realize that if they stop staying abreast of
what’s happening, they’re standing still.
They become complacent and lose their
TSC: You have traveled the country for
more than 12 years helping contractors to
achieve success. Is there one thing, in general,
that independent contractors need to do to be
SPRING 2006 TSC 15
“Great companies are obsessed
with serving the customer.They
understand what the customer
values and go beyond that to
create a memorable experience
that keeps the customer they
gain today their customer
Nicholson: From my experience, the contractors who are
struggling either do not know the proven business strategies and
processes of how to run their business or are ignoring them. By
contrast, those who do well are contractors who have the greatest
return for the hours they work … they work smarter.
Contractors don’t struggle or fail over a lack of technical competency. They fail over a lack of business competency. The majority
of business owners were skilled technical craftsmen who could do it
better than their peers. This was what led them to go into business
But despite that technical competency, few have the business
expertise to handle cash flow correctly, deal with Human Resources
issues, oversee the finances, and do the accounting and financial
So these contractors are very good technically, but not good at
running the business, and they are often reluctant to seek help.
If someone at their company wants to spend $20,000 or even
$40,000 on new trucks or equipment, they will probably see that
as a legitimate business expense and somehow, scrape up the
But if you were to ask them about spending the money to
increase their expertise and knowledge in how to run a business,
well, it’s harder for them to relate to and understand making that
kind of investment. Their business manager could walk into their
office today, and instead of asking for money for new equipment,
ask to join an organization so that he or she could learn and implement a successful business model. The owner might view that
expense as discretionary and say no, or simply, “we can’t afford it.”
That is the very reason they need it!
That has always surprised me. People go to college and spend
a lot of money to get an education with no assurance that they will
have a guaranteed, specific level of income. But a business owner
can adopt our proven business systems and generate a six-figure
income, and we’ve proven this over and over again. They will make
more than most college graduates. And yet, the business owner will
not invest in their own education of how to run their business cor16 TSC SPRING 2006
rectly. They are out there every day, skinning their knuckles, reinventing the wheel, and laboring in the School of Hard Knocks.
Successful business owners in our industry make a commitment to gain the knowledge they need to run their business well.
When they invest in that, the benefits to them are far greater than
the return from any new equipment or a truck. But there is a stubborn resistance to ask for help. They think this is something they
should figure out on their own.
So contractors most often fail because they do not know how
to run their business, and they do not invest in getting the knowledge to do it. But as Benjamin Franklin once said, “Empty the
coins of your purse into your mind and the mind will fill your
purse with coins.”
As I alluded to before, contractors do not have to work twice
as hard as they are now to be successful in today’s competitive environment. But they do have to be smarter in how they run their
TSC: You frequently talk about the need for contractors to
improve their level of service to consumers. Why do you feel so
passionately about this subject?
Nicholson: There are several reasons. First, in today’s world,
it is just so easy for contractors to have a false sense of security that
their service is great, when in truth, it does not meet customers’
expectations. In those cases, the customer goes someplace else and
generally does not tell the contractor why.
Second, customers’ expectations have increased dramatically
over the last 10 years. Now, we have banks that stay open until
midnight, not just until 5 p.m. Car dealers provide service on
weekends until 9 p.m. Yet, contractors may not see the correlation
between that and their own industry. Instead, they look at a competitor who answers the phones directly until 5 p.m. and pat themselves on the back because they handle calls directly until 7 p.m. So
they conclude, and it’s reasonable on their part, that they are much
more service oriented and customer focused because they handle
calls for two extra hours.
The reality is that consumers expect so much more than that.
They are frustrated because there’s a gap between what their expectations are and the level of service the contractor provides. I tell
contractors that if they really want to measure their commitment
to serving the customer, they should compare themselves to the
absolute best in other industries.
Great companies are obsessed with serving the customer. They
understand what the customer values and go beyond that to create
a memorable experience that keeps the customer they gain today
their customer tomorrow.
It’s like when you go to a new restaurant for the first time. If
you have a great experience, you’re likely to go back there. But even
if the service is good the second time, but was below the service
you experienced the first time, you may be disappointed. That’s
because the first experience has increased your expectations.
This is why I believe so strongly that contractors must focus
on continuous improvement in how they serve their customers,
and measure themselves not based on what their competitor is
doing, but rather, whether they exceeded the customer’s expectation and created a positive, memorable experience.
The grade your customer gives you is the only grade that matters. TSC
NEW GROUP HELPS RO
BECOME MORE SUCCE
Mike Feazel, the CEO of Roofers’
Success International™, has paid his
dues. Now, he seeks to help others.
new group dedicated to helping
roofers be more successful is gaining
momentum and signing up new members
Roofers’ Success International™ was
introduced at special “profit days” around
the country, starting last August. By last
month, the new group had 67 members.
Terry Nicholson, president of Success
Group International™, RSI’s parent company, said the organization’s message of
learning to run your roofing business more
18 TSC SPRING 2006
successfully hits home with many business
owners. They want to remain independent, yet have access to the best outside
expertise to maximize the potential and
profitability of their companies.
“Roofers’ Success International is here
for one reason,” Nicholson said. “To provide the knowledge and inspiration to help
every contractor in our organization succeed beyond what they thought possible.”
Roofers’ Success International CEO
Michael Feazel said company owners are
often so busy chasing after new business
they don’t take the time to run their business effectively.
“They just assume that when they
increase their volume they are becoming
more successful,” he said. “Sometimes,
they’re not comfortable running their business or they may not know how to run it.”
Feazel and his brother, Todd Feazel,
run Florida-based Feazel Roofing, which
projects sales in excess of $20 million and
double-digit profitability in 2006. But
despite his status as the owner of one
of the premier roofing businesses in
the country, Feazel said he and his
brother can relate to the struggles
smaller companies go through.
Feazel started Feazel Roofing in
1988 with little business expertise
and one small, beat-up car with a
ladder strapped to it. His brother
joined him in business the following
year. From those humble beginnings, he had no problem growing,
and he freely admits that he and his
brother have first-hand knowledge
of the mistakes most roofing contractors make.
During one year in business,
Feazel Roofing went from $1.3 million to $4.4 million in sales, suffering all the way because the company
had no goals or strong management
“You assume that when that
happens you would be making a lot
of money,” he said. “But the reality
is that we had no business plan, we
grew too quickly, and we knew
nothing about the profit leaks that
occur when you go through something like that.
“We had no plan and little control over costs or what was happening.”
Today, Feazel said that roofers
in general need to improve their
image; sell and deliver quality rather
than low price; put strict cost
controls in place; and understand
their total overhead costs, not
just their costs for labor or
materials. Understanding total costs
is the only way to be able to
price correctly, he said.
Roofers’Success International™ is dedicated to
helping roofers make more money,accumulate
wealth,run their businesses more effectively and
have a life outside the office.
Feazel Roofing has grown
mostly by providing a quality job
that exceeds expectations, which
results in a tremendous number of
referrals. Roofing companies also
need to invest in marketing, training
for their people, and in benefits and
higher salaries for their installers,
“If you preach quality, if you
sell quality, and most importantly, if
you deliver quality, you will have
happier customers, more referrals
and more business than anyone who
sells on price,” he said. “I have
always firmly believed in doing
things the right way and it’s proven
very successful for us.” TSC
For more information about
Roofers’ Success International, call toll
free at 1-877-774-5646.
If you preach
quality, if you sell
quality, and most
importantly, if you
deliver quality, you
will have happier
referrals and more
anyone who sells
– Mi c h a e l Fe a ze l
How Does RSI Help?
Business systems and operations.
Accounting,financials and tax
Trouble-shooting and turning
around problem operations.
Pricing and managing costs.
Negotiating and managing
Increased buying power.
SPRING 2006 TSC 19
FEAZEL WELL GROUNDED
AS HE TRIES TO ELEVATE
Mike Feazel, the new CEO of Roofers’ Success International™
, is dressed for
success as he stares out at you from the photo in the full-page RSI ad.
Crisp white shirt.
Red power tie.
Dark dress suit.
o what does this 39-year-old man in
the business suit really know about
roofing? Yes, he runs a very successful business that generates in excess of $20 million
a year in sales, but was it handed to him?
Has he skinned his knuckles, paid the price
and really earned it?
These are the questions you ask him.
“Two years in, I was electrocuted,”
Feazel said. “Seven-thousand-six-hundredand-twenty volts! It completely picked
me up and threw me down, got me off
that roof in a hurry. Spent a week in the
“Does that count?
“As far as the suit, I’m a little more
comfortable in other clothes, but I like to
dress professionally,” he said. “Normally, I
only wear them (suits) for weddings,
funerals and special events.”
Then he laughs, first at the questions
he’s been asked and then at himself.
It’s easy to like Mike Feazel. He’s
earned his success and is well grounded by
his past experiences. He’s also remarkably
He was raised in the farming community of Sunbury, OH, and though he himself was not on a farm, it still taught him
from an early age to be careful where you
step. That was great training, as it turned
out, for being on rooftops later.
20 TSC SPRING 2006
He and his brother built the business;
nothing was handed down to either of
them. Feazel Roofing has locations in
Columbus and in Fort Pierce, FL.
Now about that rooftop accident.
Feazel was working on a commercial project, pulling out boards that needed to be
replaced. A power line, not identified as
such, but as every roofer knows something
to be respected as one anyway, was diagonal to the corner of the roof. As he raised
his hammer, the electricity from the line
arced, perhaps because of the high humidity, and went into the hammer, down
through his body and out through his feet.
He was doing things right, and yet,
was almost dead wrong.
by a business
sells on price.
– Mi c h a e l Fe a ze l
Feazel can recount a lot of other stories in which he made mistakes over the
years. But they are mistakes Feazel Roofing
no longer makes.
He is also a master innovator. His
company was the first to have a roofing
banner pulled through the air at Ohio
State football games. Now, his three closest
competitors have followed suit with similar
banners. There are other innovations, too,
but these will be made available in the
future only to RSI members.
He is asked why he is a part of the
founding of RSI and he pauses for a
moment to consider the answer.
“I did not have a mentor or a person
to turn to when I built my business,”
he said. “I really want to be a person
who makes a difference in the lives of
He mentions that there are few dominant roofing companies in the markets
across the United States, which means
there are tremendous opportunities for
growth. He talks about how too many contractors devalue their services and are
enslaved by a business that often sells on
price. He laments the fact that roofers are
the leading cause of consumer complaints
among all industries, and this black eye tarnishes the industry’s reputation and unfairly damages the image of the companies
that do quality work.
“I wanted the challenge of trying to
make our industry better,” he said. TSC
The ‘Doctor’Is In: Why Randy Fern
Randy Fern was determined to build a better business
late last year, but he wasn’t ready to take a gamble.
o when the owner of the “Roof Doctor” made a
house call to Las Vegas to find out what the new
Roofers’ Success International was all about, he
Photo by Christina Straughan
brought along a healthy dose of skepticism.
“I figured the worst that could happen would be
that if it didn’t work out, I could spend a fun weekend
in Las Vegas anyway,” Fern said. “I went there with an
open mind, but I wasn’t going to jump into anything.”
The Roof Doctor is based in San Antonio, TX.
Fern projects an increase in sales of almost 20 percent
in 2006 to reach $670,000 in re-roofing and repairs.
His sister Sharrich helps out in the office, but Fern is
pretty much a lone wolf, doing almost everything
himself. He regularly contracts with the same installers
to provide labor, but also still gets “plenty dirty” doing
the installation and repair work himself. He handles
estimating, accounting, marketing and all other
aspects of his business except for running the office.
He is passionate about his business. He founded the Roof
Doctor in 1999 and the business is very profitable, but Fern sees
the company at a crossroads. He wants to grow to $2 million in
sales, but understands that he will have to put a system in place
to make it happen.
He regularly works 12-hour days a minimum of five days a
week, and puts in time on the weekends as needed. If that sounds
excessive, consider that he used to work 18-hour days until two
consecutive health problems delivered a wakeup call to scale back.
He is but 32.
So he went to Las Vegas, listened to the presentations, asked
questions about the specific benefits of being an RSI member,
and grilled RSI CEO Mike Feazel.
He liked the opportunity to put proven systems and processes in place to prompt growth and yet help him keep control of his
He went to Las Vegas,
listened to the presentations,
asked questions about the
specific benefits of being an
RSI member, and grilled
RSI CEO Mike Feazel.
22 TSC SPRING 2006
Randy Fern, center, is flanked by his
sister, Sharrich Scott, at right, and
Sharrich’s husband, Wayne Scott.
They are planning for a lot more
house calls from the Roof Doctor.
company even as he gives responsibility for some things to others.
He liked the marketing efforts planned to help members, and he
particularly appreciated being able to bounce ideas off other contractors who were not direct competitors. (RSI limits members in
any one area to avoid too many of its contractors competing
directly against one another.)
Finally, as a small company, the Roof Doctor was
interested in the buying clout and lower prices for materials and
equipment available through BuyMax®, the buying service
for RSI members.
Based on that, he joined and went to an expo in December
to learn about the operating systems and processes. Since then, his
workload has increased significantly as he has implemented those
systems and procedures.
He was pleased with his accounting system before, but now
understands that it will not be adequate as he moves forward. RSI
advocates a financial tracking system that gives the contractor a
handle on profitability on every job, and how the company is
doing on any single day.
“The thing that impressed me the most is that they’re going
to help me develop a plan to grow over the long term to get where
I want to go,” Fern said.
There is one more benefit … a life outside the office. Since
he regularly works an average of 64 hours a week, there is little
time for a personal life. “It’s kind of hard to have a relationship
with someone when you’re always at work,” he said.
Randy Fern hopes that will change, too. TSC
“I guarantee you can
turn your struggling
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MAKE THE SALES
These four HVAC comfort advisors did it…
many in their first year in HVAC sales and,
amazingly,every year since.
By Sandy Townsend
or Jim Steigner, the million-dollar
door swung open his first week on
the job when another salesperson went
on vacation during a summer heat
wave in Ohio.
“When the salesman came back
from vacation, I had the crews booked
through October,” said Steigner, president of E.H. Roberts in Elyria and
During the next six months,
Steigner brought in $700,000 in sales.
The next year, his first full year on the
job, he brought in over $1 million,
and he’s produced at least $1 million
in revenue every year since. In 2005,
his sales reached a whopping $3.098
million – the highest per-person sales
24 TSC SPRING 2006
in AirTime™ 500 last year.
“It was tough,” Steigner said. “I
worked a lot of Saturdays and
His aggressive sales also helped
grow the company; Steigner purchased
E.H. Roberts last year.
The driving forces behind sales
success for HVAC comfort advisors are
as varied as the people themselves. But
one thing is for sure – they know how
to set goals, close the deal and profit
from it. Most set yearly goals and
break them down into monthly and
Becoming a star in sales takes hard
work, an interest in people, determination and flexibility. Other than that,
these top performers claim there are
no big secrets to their success.
Take Steigner, for example. He
stresses that comfort advisors should
get to know their customers.
Personality has a lot to do with sales.
“If you have an interest in what
the customer is interested in, a salesperson can do very well,” he said.
“There’s been times I’ve talked about
nothing but NASCAR or botany.”
Know a little about everything, so
you’re always prepared to discuss anything and give relevant advice, he
“Listen to Bloomberg Radio,
CNN, the local news and the weather,” he said. “Read the local paper. In
After reaching sales of over $3
million in 2005, Jim Steigner had
good reason to smile.
Photo by David Harris
our meetings, I ask salespeople what
the gas futures are and about utility
rates – if gas rates are really high, the
heat pump is a better option. If gas
rates drop, a dual-fuel system or
hybrid system is better.”
To reach $3 million in sales last
year, Steigner didn’t set a monthly,
daily or weekly goal. Instead, he wrote
“$3 million” in a journal and subtracted the sales he made each day. His
closing rate of over 72 percent helped
him reach $3 million in residential
Steigner said he also learned how
to reach his sales goals with the help of
AirTime™ 500 and training through
the Success Academy. The academy’s
Sales Persuasion System, for example,
provides a specific selling methodology, comprehensive training, and customer presentation templates, all
designed to work together to help
salespeople increase their closing rates.
Steigner also uses the Straight Forward
Pricing™ Guide, which increased
prices, but took the guesswork out of
the costs to the customer.
Like Steigner, Allen Smith, residential specialist at Morris-Jenkins
Heating & Air Conditioning in
Charlotte, NC, takes time to get to
know his customers’ needs so he can
design the optimum HVAC system for
them. His relaxed, Southern style has
led to a tremendous amount of referrals.
“We’ve done just about every furnace on the street on a lot of streets in
Charlotte,” he said.
Smith sold his first million with
Morris-Jenkins when he joined the
company six years ago. He’s sold a million every year since and sold $2.244
million in 2005.
He draws a lot of inspiration from
his father, David Smith, the sales manager at Morris-Jenkins.
“He’s been selling over a million a
year for as long as I can remember,”
Smith said. “There are other people at
Morris-Jenkins who sell over a million
a year as well.”
The friendly competition pushes
them to excel.
“We’re competitive, but we’re all
good friends,” Smith said. “I’d like us
to sell as much as we can every month,
and so would everybody else.”
The company uses scoreboards to
motivate Smith and the rest of the
sales team. The scoreboard allows
them to compare their sales with each
other and other top performers within
Smith aims for a closing rate of 60
percent, with an average sale of $6,200
per ticket. He tries to run three leads a
SPRING 2006 TSC 25
Allen Smith, in background, says his father,
Morris-Jenkins Sales Manager David Smith, was
front and center when it came to inspiring him
to reach $2.24 million in sales in 2005.
Photo by Chuck Eaton
“If I can do that, it will put me on
target for $2 million,” he said. “If I’m
not meeting those goals, I need to find
out what I’m doing wrong and sharpen my ax.”
Sales are heating up in Canada,
Perry Maza had plenty of company at
his company. He was one of three
salespeople to reach $1 million.
Photo by Chris Kepron
26 TSC SPRING 2006
where three salespeople from One
Hour Canada each generated $1 million in revenue last year.
The top Canadian performer in
2005 was Perry Maza, a home comfort
advisor at Furnasman’s One Hour™
Heating & Air Conditioning in
Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2005, his
first full year at Furnasman’s, Maza
brought in just over $1.2 million.
Maza starts his day early enough
to talk to the installation crews and
technicians. The professionalism and
competence of the techs go a long way
towards helping him make sales.
“By doing an exceptional job, the
installers make you look good in front
of the customers.” In turn, the customers are happy and refer Maza to
Maza also attended the Success
Academy’s Sales Persuasion training
and uses the skills he learned there
every day. “It’s become my backbone,
and the presentation skills allow customers to become more comfortable
Networking also pays for Maza.
He goes to community events where
he meets new people. When the conversation turns to jobs, he uses the
opportunity to tell them he sells
HVAC equipment. He follows up
conversations with a letter telling his
new contacts it was a pleasure to meet
them. That generates leads.
In Myrtle Beach, SC, Chris
Hudspeth went from enforcing the law
to becoming a million-dollar producer
for Myrtle Beach’s One Hour™
Heating & Air Conditioning.
After he made the move to HVAC
sales, his yearly policeman’s salary of
$26,000 eventually soared to $92,000
in 2005, more than three times what
he made as a police officer.
“It thrills me, my wife and my
family,” Hudspeth said. “It lets us do
Million-Dollar Advice From The Pros
“The best thing you can
do is know a little bit
about everything so you
can talk to your customers about their interests. This helps build relationships and makes people happy. Customers buy
from people they like.”
– Jim Steigner, president,
E.H. Roberts, Elyria and
“Slow down and spend
time with your customer.
It takes time to gain their
confidence. I also focus
on what’s best for the
– Allen Smith,
& Air Conditioning,
things we’ve always wanted to do, and
I don’t have to worry about being shot
Hudspeth credits his success to Joe
Mascetti, general manager at Myrtle
Beach and a 2004 $1 million producer.
“He helps me stay focused on my
goals and lets me know how much I
need every day to achieve those goals,”
Hudspeth said. With Mascetti’s help,
Hudspeth reached his goal of $1.22
million in sales in 2005.
Training also plays a major role in
his success. Hudspeth improved his
sales skills at the Success Academy and
fine-tunes his skills with role-playing
“The training at the Success
Academy was wonderful,” he said. “It
really helped me become a better salesperson.”
Steigner, Smith, Maza and
Hudspeth admit their advice to reach
million-dollar success isn’t captivating.
They understand that setting goals and
tracking your progress, working hard,
generating more leads, doing the legwork to run down every lead and being
able to relate better to your customers
aren’t sexy answers. They know that the
idea of more training and role-playing
won’t get most contractors’ hearts racing.
But, they work! TSC
“The harder you work, the
more opportunities you’ll
have. To reach $1 million,
come in early, practice
your sales skills and let
the office staff know
you’re available to call on
– Perry Maza, home comfort advisor, Furnasman’s
One Hour™ Heating & Air
Conditioning in Winnipeg,
For Chris Hudspeth, it’s no
cushy desk job. He focuses on
keeping his customers happy.
Photo by Bill Woodward
“Keep your clients as
happy as you can. If you
do that, the million will
– Chris Hudspeth,
Myrtle Beach’s One
Hour™ Heating & Air
AirTime 500 And One Hour,Announce
Top Producers For 2005
AirTime™ 500 Crown Champions celebrate their sales success.
Next year, AirTime predicts it will need a bigger stage.
orty salespeople were recognized at the AirTime™ 500 Expo in
Chicago earlier this year for generating over $1 million in
replacement sales in 2005. They each earned the title of Crown
Jim Steigner, president of E.H. Roberts in Elyria and Huron,
OH, generated over $3 million in replacement sales. Two salespeople made over $2 million in sales.
In addition, 16 salespeople from One Hour Air Conditioning
& Heating® franchises in the United States and Canada sold over
Terry Nicholson, president of Success Group International™,
the parent company of AirTime™ 500, said a $1 million salesperson
was once rare in the HVAC industry, but is now quite common
and expected for AirTime and One Hour companies.
The straight-commission salespeople who reached $1 million
in sales or beyond were all in residential replacement sales, not new
construction, and traditionally averaged two presentations to
potential replacement customers a day.
Nicholson said contractors looking to produce a $1 million
salesperson should follow a proven hiring, training and selling system. It starts with hiring the right person, and then training them
to do the right thing by the customer in designing the optimum
28 TSC SPRING 2006
A little healthy competition doesn’t hurt, either. Salespeople
who are members of AirTime, for example, compare their performances against the best from all across the country. “When you have
organizations of champions competing against each other, the bar
continues to be raised,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson compared the large number of $1 million salespeople to Roger Bannister’s breaking of the four-minute mile in 1954.
Bannister’s record, once thought by doctors to be physically impossible to accomplish, lasted only 36 days. Within seven months, 46
other people had broken the four-minute mile.
“Just like the four-minute mile, some people in the HVAC
industry thought at one time that a salesperson reaching the $1
million mark was not possible,” Nicholson said. “To do it, first you
have to break that mental mind barrier that it cannot be done.
“That’s what has been happening at our organizations, and in
particular, with Jim Steigner breaking the $3 million barrier,” he
said. “Now, we predict there will be several people who go over the
$3 million mark in 2006, a handful who will go over the $2 million mark and double the number of AirTime members who went
over the $1 million mark in 2005 who will achieve that amount in
sales in 2006.” TSC
The Crown Champions from AirTime™ 500 are:
Palm Springs, CA
San Ramon, CA
Jonathan Bancroft Charlotte, NC
San Ramon, CA
Walnut Creek, CA
San Ramon, CA
Del Rio, TX
Yorba Linda, CA
Elk Grove, CA
Michael Monahan Port Chester, NY
Charlottesville, VA $1,040,284
Yorba Linda, CA
Yorba Linda, CA
The $1 million
from One Hour
locations in the
and Canada are:
LIFE ON THE EDGE: A story of hard work, heartbreak and then success, and what you can learn from it.
MR.RESILIENT: HOW LUIS NIEBLA SURVIVED
IT ALL TO BECOME A SUCCESS STORY AT AGE 35
For Luis Niebla, making it in the
plumbing business has been a
series of hard knocks. But the
lessons he learned early in life
helped him get ahead. By Sandy Townsend
Want the real dirt on Luis
Niebla? He started by
digging ditches, and from
that day on, he earned
every bit of his success.
Now, he gives back.
Photo by Nathan Trujillo
Success, he said, takes perseverance and a lot of hard work.
Now, at the young age of 35, Niebla has emerged from childhood poverty and owns a million-dollar plumbing business, Inline
Plumbing Contractor in Chino, CA. He inspires others as a business mentor and community volunteer.
Niebla was introduced to a strong work ethic early on, when
his mother left Mexico to come to the United States. She initially
cleaned homes, then later worked as a seamstress by day and a waitress at night to support her family.
Meanwhile, Niebla grew up surrounded by violence and temptation in the Los Angeles ghetto.
“But I knew what I wanted to do, and I was very aggressive at
pursuing my goals,” Niebla said. “I left home at 17 and made life
He learned his first hard lesson, and discovered his career path,
by accident while in high school. He was digging trenches for $40 a
week when he inadvertently broke a water line.
“My boss called a plumber, who fixed it in an hour and
charged $60,” Niebla said. “The guy I worked for took it out of my
paycheck, so I worked one and a half weeks for free.
“That was a good lesson learned,” he said “I wanted to find out
how to do that so I could charge $60 an hour.”
Niebla kept digging ditches. With dogged determination, he
also went to high school in the day and trade school at night.
The first company he worked for went bankrupt and let him
go – two months after he bought a new house.
He continued working in plumbing and eventually landed a
$5.8 million, four-year plumbing contract at a cheese plant and
Several years into the contract, the general contractor hired
most of Niebla’s employees right out from under him at $4 an hour
more than Niebla paid. The general contractor told Niebla to walk
away or they’d sue him for non-performance.
“That’s when I learned another lesson – to hire a lawyer to
review my contracts,” Niebla said.
Niebla then formed Inline Plumbing and Fire Protection with
“One day, my partner didn’t show up and left me with a debt
30 TSC SPRING 2006
of $138,000,” he said. “He decided we weren’t partners anymore. It
cost me about $200,000 to clean up that mess.”
Niebla’s lesson: trust but verify. Know your business and understand the numbers.
Despite his debt, Niebla would not file for bankruptcy. He
owed money and wanted to pay it back.
“I worked the next two years for free,” he said. “I went to my
vendors and arranged payments. To this day, I still have a very good
relationship with my vendors. This gave me credibility at a very
Niebla rebuilt his company while focusing on commercial projects from New York to Arizona, and eventually dropped fire protection services. But he had another lesson coming, and it’s one that
contractors learn every day: commercial construction is not always
good for your business.
“It was feast or famine,” he said. In 2001, he had to wait
nine months to get paid nearly $700,000 on a commercial project.
“That project almost put us out of business,” he said. “I
finally said, ‘this is not the way to do business.’”
He was slowly becoming aware of something that finally
saved his business: residential work was consistent, it paid well,
and he got paid for jobs within a few days … not nine months.
Inline Plumbing finished its last commercial job in February
2005, and Niebla hasn’t looked back. In 2005, Inline’s revenue
from residential service and repairs was $1.293 million, with
profits of 11.7 percent. Niebla also spends less time at the business, which allows him to focus on his family, investment property and giving back to his community.
Since joining Plumbers’ Success International® in 2002, he
learned something else: acquiring other companies is a great way
to grow your business.
He’s purchased two plumbing companies and is looking for
During his growth, Niebla implemented PSI systems and
procedures that helped his company increase its closing rates and
grow its profits. For example, Inline Plumbing:
• Implemented a service charge for diagnostics for visiting a
customer’s home, instead of simply going to the home and providing a quote. Even though the company’s call volume dropped,
its revenue and closing ratio increased.
• Trained techs on the Straight Forward Pricing™ Guide,
which increased their prices, but took the guesswork out of the
costs to the customer. His customers now know what something
will cost before any work begins; there are no surprises.
• Stays in contact with customers, which increased calls.
Inline Plumbing sends a thank you note to customers after each
visit, and calls the customer as soon as the technician leaves the
home. As part of the call, they ask for feedback and recommendations on how to improve service.
• Implemented a scoreboard system to benchmark employee
performance against the top performers in Plumbers’ Success
International®. These scoreboards are updated daily to motivate
Niebla also learned that when hiring, you don’t have to hire
trained plumbers. He’s hired former managers from Papa John’s,
a route manager for 7-Up and a man who delivered factory merchandise.
“I take a guy with a great attitude and teach him plumbing,” he said.
Now he’s sharing what he learned with another member of
PSI. He offered to buy the member’s plumbing company, but
the owners were astonished that the offer was much lower than
what they thought their company was worth. Instead of selling,
the owners decided to keep the company.
“The owners looked me in the eye and said, ‘can you help
us?’” Since then, Niebla’s been acting as their mentor.
He is helping because it’s easy to identify with them.
“I’ve been there,” he said. “There were times when I sat on
the curb with tears in my eyes, wondering how I was going to come
up with payroll.
“I went through a whole lot in my career, but I learned to run a
business. I owe it to the industry to give something back.”
A graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, Luis Niebla now helps
WHAT LUIS NIEBLA LEARNED
TRUST PEOPLE, BUT VERIFY THEIR ACTIONS.
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING, GO GET IT. NO ONE WILL
GIVE IT TO YOU.
IT’S OK TO MAKE A WRONG DECISION. JUST MAKE
MORE RIGHT ONES THAN WRONG ONES.
LEARN FROM YOUR BAD DECISIONS.
VIEW YOUR WORK AS YOUR PASSION AND IT WILL BE
LOOK AT PROBLEMS AS CHALLENGES AND
SPRING 2006 TSC 31
A MADE-FOR-TELEVISION STORY
UNUSUAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN
PUTS TINY TEXAS TOWN ON THE MAP
By Ryan McKenna
DISH, TX – The older
gentlemen exhaled a plume
of cigarette smoke, enjoying
his morning coffee and
donut at Williams Drive-In
Grocery in Justin, TX. He
coyly answered the question.
“Dish? What is Dish?”
Dish is about three
miles north of the coffee
shop, where County Road
156 intersects with Eakin
Cemetery Road. There isn’t
much to see except a wide
expanse of open road and a
couple of signs inconspicuously positioned on the
Yet, Dish, TX, despite
the blandness of its surroundings, is now on the
map thanks to one of the
best marketing campaigns in
central Texas, or anywhere.
A sign now reads: “DISH,
Texas – Home of Free
DISH Network Satellite
TV.” A mile or so west of
the intersection is the actual
town of Dish. It was
renamed as part of a national marketing campaign to
find a community that was
willing to exchange its name
for 10 years of free basic
If you go, though, don’t
drive too fast, or you’ll miss
the small community of 53
homes and one commercial
building. Of course, some
32 TSC SPRING 2006
Signs of the times: With a new name, Dish, TX,
is hoping for successful development.
town members are a little
low key about the change.
Asked about whether there
are any commercial buildings, one utility worker
replied, “What’s a commercial building?”
Though there is only
one commercial building,
that may change soon,
thanks to this marketing
On August 23, 2005,
Corporation, parent company of DISH Network,
announced the campaign.
In the press release,
EchoStar President Michael
Neuman gushed, “The
DISH City Makeover is an
opportunity for an entire
town to experience all-digital television free for 10
years while ridding themselves of cable TV’s high
prices and poor customer
As the winner of the
contest, the town government of the former Clark,
TX (25 miles northwest of
Fort Worth) agreed to
change its name legally and
permanently on government
buildings, post offices, official letterhead, schools if
applicable, street signs
where necessary, and any
other government signage
that contains the town’s
name. Clark had to file all
necessary state and federal
In exchange, DISH
Network agreed to provide
every household within the
town limits a free DISH
Network satellite TV receiver, free standard installation,
and America's Top 60 pro-
gramming package free for
The results of this outof-the-box marketing idea
have been better than
Dish Gets Global
Bill Merritt, the mayor
of Dish and a real estate
developer, won the recent
mayoral election by one
vote over L.E. Clark, the
former mayor the town was
named after. Merritt owns
the only commercial building in the community of
125 residents. But he said
the name change was not an
effort to rename the town
from his former opponent’s
“A resident came to my
office after I was elected,
telling me he had heard
about the offer from Dish,”
Merritt said. Merritt was
interested so he e-mailed to
Dish. “A couple of days later
the Dish director of communications interviewed
me,” he continued. “A
month went by and I was
called and told that our
Technicians install “the dish” in Dish.
town made it to the ‘short
list.’ Three weeks later, they
The town is less than
six years old and Merritt
looked at the offer as a way
for it to grow and get publicity. After all, people do
not have a tendency to
move to your town if they
don’t even know you exist.
That was the problem.
“The coverage has
blown me away,” Merritt
said. “I thought we would
only get local coverage.
Within a week after we
launched the new name, I
did a radio talk show in
Australia, the BBC in
London, MSNBC, Today
Show, Good Morning
America, and others. The
first week after our launch,
we had over 750 newspaper
articles and over 500 television spots.”
The notoriety has not
been lost on the good folks
at Dish Network, either.
Their marketing director
told Merritt that when
Apple launched IPOD they
had 1,000 newspaper articles. “Dish was elated with
Those shocked by the
national and international
acclaim the marketing
campaign generated may
well have underestimated
the value of two things
some people hold dear –
publicity and television. In
this case, both came free!
the response,” Merritt said.
“The value of the publicity
was worth millions and millions of dollars to them.”
The community might
be a good spot for Dish
Network to place a satellite
office, too (no pun intended). That would be fine for
Tony Polak, EchoStar
Satellite’s Dallas area manager – Southwest Region.
“I’d like to get an independent sales rep. up here,”
Polak said while signing up
new subscribers at Dish
Town Hall. “Residents will
get 10 years of the $31.99
[monthly] service free.”
That’s a value of over
Merritt said his overall
plan is to continue to grow
Dish, and the positive
results are already coming
in. In the first 72 hours,
there were 27 requests by
people who wanted to be
annexed into Dish. “This
was the reason why I did
the deal,” Merritt said. “The
great thing about the deal
was to grow the town where
there really wasn’t much
opportunity for growth
(before). If a landowner is
interested in coming into
the city and they meet the
technical requirements or
hoops to jump through,
they can petition the town
council. My plan is to bring
in a new group of people
every quarter who want to
That’s just the start.
Merritt hopes the notoriety
can help prompt retail and
Already, the new name and
free satellite television are
proving popular with the
former residents of Clark. A
total of 51 of the 53 households in Dish had equipment installed, an acceptance rate of better than 96
“Three days before we
changed the name of the
town nobody knew where
Clark, TX was,” Merritt
said. “People living three
miles away didn’t know us.
Even the old mayor (Clark),
who supposedly didn’t like
the idea, was shown in a
picture with the dish being
installed on his home. The
biggest naysayer of them all
took the deal.”
In a town in Texas so
small you could blink and
miss it, residents now have a
new name, a new identity,
free satellite television, and a
chance to grow. That’s not a
bad marketing effort, for all
SPRING 2006 TSC 33
By Dawn Zamanis
RESCUED FROM A TURBULENT TOILET
Friday morning, my toilet exploded.
One minute everything was fine. The
next minute I was a tiny screaming woman
knee high in toxic waste, poised with
one foot on the edge of the toilet seat
like a contortionist with my head
buried in the tank, feeling around with
one rubber-gloved hand for a valve, a
switch, anything to stop the flow of
I felt helpless as the water
spewed continuously from the bowl
and seeped into the hallway. In a
desperate attempt to repair the problem myself, I had removed a few
parts. My toilet was now in pieces all
over the bathroom floor.
The plumbing company told me
they’d be there as soon as possible. So I
waited. I really had no choice because I
was afraid to leave the scene of the accident.
But I couldn’t very well remain in
that position much longer. My neck was
killing me, and I felt my foot slipping off
the toilet seat. And then it happened. In
one felt swoop, I lost my balance, with my
gloved hand still inside the tank hanging
onto the ball-cock flapper thing for dear
life. I tumbled onto the floor into the
mess, taking the flapper thing with me.
I didn’t know what to do next. I yelled
for my kids to bring me some rags, disin-
The idea that she could repair it herself quickly got the author –
and her house – all wet!
fectant spray, and an oxygen mask, but my
kids were no where to be found. I stripped
down to my underwear, and escaped the
vile area like a fugitive on the run. I bravely returned shortly after, sporting a new
pair of rubber gloves, a bucket, old sweatpants and a T-shirt and went to work,
cleaning up the despicable mess.
Finally, the doorbell rang. I leaped
over the tank cover in the hall and threw
my arms around the plumber trying to
explain the problem. He told me there was
no need to explain it. He could smell me
from the driveway.
One hour later, I had a fully function-
Where Do You Read The Successful Contractor?
Hey Vince, get your own darn copy!
Larry Follett of Suamico, WI was visiting Lambeau Field in Green Bay
when he took a time out to do a little
reading. For the record, that’s just a
statue of the legendary Packers’
coach, who, then, is not performing
an over-the-shoulder catch of what’s
in the Winter issue.
Have you taken The Successful
Contractor on the road or read it in an
unusual, unique or historic place?
Just have a friend snap a picture of
you reading the publication at the
place or landmark and send it to: On
The Road Photo, The Successful
Contractor, P.O. Box 18567, Tampa,
FL 33679-8567. Or e-mail the photo
to: [email protected]
Make sure to include your name, where you are from, the location of the
photo, the names of the people in the photo, and your phone number.
34 TSC SPRING 2006
al toilet – something most of us
take for granted. The plumber had
snaked the line and replaced the
parts broken during my misadventure.
From now on, I will treat my
precious potty as if it were a member of the family. I will not use
thick rolls of tissue, which my
plumber noted will clog up the toilet again. Instead, I will use the
cheapest, flimsiest tissue I can find.
I will do anything to prevent this
from happening again.
Before this incident, I had
always taken plumbers and my
plumbing for granted, but today, I
have a newfound respect. And if
something should happen, I know
my plumber is only a call away and I can
sleep well at night knowing that. TSC
Dawn Zamanis, of Valrico, FL, is a freelance
writer and a mother of five sons. Since the incident, there have been no other problems and her
potty continues to work perfectly. Her plumber
now attends all their family gatherings, and has
received numerous plumbing referrals as a result
of his great work.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR?
If you have a funny or unusual story about an electrical,
plumbing, roofing or HVAC service call and would like to
share it, please write: The Successful Contractor, Humor
Story, P.O. Box 18567, Tampa, FL 33679-8567, or fax it
to (813) 281-9033. Please include a phone number.
Success Academy Course Schedule
Drain Cleaning Power
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AT500 & One Hour
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The Power Performing
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August 21st – 25th
October 9th – 13th
November 6th – 10th
December 4th – 8th
PSI & Ben Franklin
The Professional Plumber Mastering the Art of the
Telephone & Dispatching
June 12th & 13th
for Profits / Marketing
October 23rd & 24th
Sales Lead Coordinator
Repair vs Replace for the May 8th – 10th
September 26th – 28th
November 13th – 15th
All Affinity Groups &
Mastering Your Financial
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subject to change. You must be a Member of AT500, PSI, ESI, RSI or a One Hour or Benjamin
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Richard Drew, Sr.
Richard Drew, Jr.
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I have a renewed passion for the business and for being part of what’s fast
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“With the One Hour system you can’t lose - it’s a no-brainer. You don’t need to add a lot of new employees to make
more money. You just need to work smarter, and One Hour shows you how to do that.” ©2006 CLOCKWORK HOME SERVICES, INC.