“I am 100% positive that I was exposed to carbon monoxide. When I got home, I did a lot of research and learned about Jim Davis, whose reputation was that of a CO and combustion safety guru.”

Mitchell says they decided that all of Westland’s field service and installation teams had to train in combustion safety.
“Safety has always been #1 with us, and this was big,” Mitchell says. “Today, we all carry personal CO monitors, and we replace those every few years.

“That was at least 20 years ago, and the company Jim Davis worked for, National Comfort Institute (NCI), was in its early days,” Jeff says. “Now we’re heavy into airflow and performance testing. I inspect everything when on a job.

The Struggle Is Real

Regarding duct renovations, the Westland team agrees that they don’t do as much as they’d like.

The Westland management team - keeping it all in the family
Westland management team, from left to right:
Jeff Mitchell, Zack Mitchell, Sean Rusnak, and
Christian Wimmer.

Says Mitchell, “I hate to say it, but the market is very competitive. We certainly talk about the ductwork, and if a customer is willing to listen, chances are we will land renovation work. We do a lot of repairs, add returns, and so on.”

Rusnak says they instruct all their service technicians to check static pressure on every call for new and existing customers. They record measurements in forms built into their Service Titan software management system.

“We then can go through those forms looking for static pressure points that flag customer issues. These points are the telltale sign that something is not working properly. If we see something in those pressures, we make a note to follow up,” Rusnak says.

“Based on their findings, technicians recommend changing the filter to allow better airflow. They may also find an issue with the return duct, which becomes a lead for Jeff or Christian. And, as Jeff says, if a customer is willing to listen, we can get past their objection. We provide options and don’t force repairs on anyone.

At Westland, manufacturing their own sheet metal is key.
Westland fabricates it’s own custom duct fittings and
sheet metal runs in their comprehensive shop.

“Our slogan is, We Make Your Life Comfortable. In the end, that has to be the focus of our approach.”

“But the struggle is real, especially on the residential side,” Rusnak continues. “Many people are motivated by price, and we cannot perform the testing and necessary repairs for a low price.”

Christian Wimmer concurs. He says, “our field people must understand how to explain things to a customer in simple terms so that it makes sense to them. I believe people interpret things differently all the time,” Wimmer says. “Technicians can interpret static pressure differently as well. It’s a slippery slope because you don’t want to overstep what you’re doing and scare customers.

“That’s why training the technicians and the customers so that everybody has the same understanding of what’s good, what’s bad, what’s of immediate concern, and what can wait is so important.”

“The challenge,” Jeff Mitchell adds, “is getting your team to communicate in a way that customers can understand. When you can do that, in most cases, they will buy.

At Westland, The Future Looks Bright

Regarding the future of Westland Heating, Air Conditioning, + Plumbing, Mitchell, Rusnak, and Wimmer all agree: focus on customer comfort, fear no new advances in technology, always provide the best training, and the company will continue to grow.

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