‘Ah Ha’ Moment Number Two and Three

Spall’s second major ‘aha’ moment in his education occurred after learning about a company called NCI while reading the trade magazines, particularly Contracting Business.

“I was always on a quest for information. Contracting Business magazine was the first magazine I subscribed to in the mid-1980s. Until the late 1990s, I completely focused on technical mastery, how to do my job properly, and how to do the right thing for my customers and myself.”

He says he eventually knew he had to work on the business and not in the business. His education search led him to implement flat rate pricing in 1999. He says NCI hit his “radar” in the 1990s, and then he went to an NCI training program in 2003. That is when he had what he calls his third epiphany.

“We spent three days in this class. We realized that quantifying airflow performance was the piece that’s been missing for us. Sure, we’re designing duct systems using Manual D. We were also doing best practices by installing local total equivalent length fittings. But we didn’t know about verifying that work.

Continuous Training is a cornerstone at Spall and Son
Continuous training is part of the Spall culture. So much so, that the company invested in creating an 1800 sq. ft. training space for classroom and lab work.

“Within a month of taking that class, we had an in-house meeting and trained every single one of our technicians on airflow and CO/Combustion safety with NCI.

“The proverbial light bulb went off, and we totally immersed ourselves in the performance-based culture beginning in 2003. We’ve been students ever since.”

High-Performance HVAC Contracting Culture

At T.E. Spall and Son, the performance culture began with implementing measurement and testing practices in the field. But it also meant educating potential and existing customers on the difference between their approach to contracting and that of their competitors.

“When we began working with consumers who never used our services before, the challenge was overcoming the misinformation they received from other HVAC companies. Some people don’t want to hear anything about what we do, and others want all the details, facts, and information we can provide.

“Customers often tell us that our competitors say we over-price our work, and sometimes that can make closing a sale more difficult. But I don’t care what my competitors say. We perform to a certain standard to deliver the highest level of service, and we stand behind that work.

“We will never be the least expensive HVAC company in our marketplace. Why? Because we deliver a much higher value, and we’re not going to apologize for it.”

Spall adds that early on in their process, they faced the issue of when to tell a customer their duct system’s blood pressure was too high.

“If the standard static pressure reading should be 0.5-in. W.C., at what point is the pressure high enough to warrant further examination,” Tom says his team asked themselves. We eventually settled on .7-in as the point where we make the customer aware and explore their options together.”

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