All Pro Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning evolved into a Performance-Based Contracting?’firm from humble beginnings in 1991 when it was a plumbing company known as Discount Drain. It was one man’s dream and determination to create a service and repair business focused on customer service, quality, and efficiency. Headquartered in Ontario, CA, the company quickly developed a strong client base. As the business grew, it evolved into All Pro Plumbing Corp., and then All Pro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning.
This family-owned business provides plumbing, air conditioning and heating services and solutions to homes and businesses in Ontario, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, The High Desert, San Gabriel, and throughout Southern California. The company has 60 total employees (plumbing and HVAC) who help to produce annual revenues just under $10 million. The HVAC division alone achieved $2.4 million in 2016 and, according to service manager Mike Greany, is the fastest growing unit of the company.
Greany says All Pro’s strong reputation is based on its highly trained service technicians, knowledgeable and courteous office staff, and experienced management team. The company motto is ‘Problem Solved’ and they strive to always solve their commercial and residential customers’ problems.
Positive Plans Portend Success for All Pro
‘Our revenue goal for 2017 is $11.7 million,’ Greany says. He adds that the company has a 10-year strategic plan with the ultimate goal of attaining $40 million in annual sales.
Greany, who joined the company in 2012, convinced owner Richard Black that All Pro needed an HVAC division. Black bought in ‘ putting Greany in charge. It was a good decision because All Pro today brings in 24% of the firm’s overall revenue.
‘Richard Black allowed me to share my enthusiasm and vision and we created a marriage of friendship that will exist until my last breathe,’ he says.
One of Greany’s early decisions was to hire a young man named Nick Perez who was a star plumbing apprentice/journeyman from Greany’s previous employment. Since then, the HVAC division has grown to seven technicians, two installation crews, two maintenance technicians, and an outside commercial service representative (as of January 2017)
Perez ‘ who joined All Pro on the condition that he would not do HVAC or commercial work ‘ is Greany’s number one performance technician doing mostly residential and commercial HVAC, as well as doing much of the training of other technicians.
Greany says that today Perez leads the field technical force and is a manager/supervisor.
All Pro’s National Comfort Institute Membership
Another decision he made early was to become part of the National Comfort Institute (NCI) family. All Pro joined NCI in April of 2013 and Mike Greany became imbued with the concepts of Performance-based Contracting?. ‘Education and training have always been part of who I am,’ he explains. ‘I am active in a number of associations and organizations, including IHACI, NATE, NexStar, PHCC, and more. When I joined All Pro, I did so with the understanding that I would build the HVAC division based on performance.’
Greany says that over the years his membership in NCI has paid off in many ways. Besides the Performance-Based contracting training, he cites believes greatly in the networking with some of the industry’s smartest and most successful contractors.
‘Networking with these people is priceless, especially in regard to the technical assistance I have to help my guys on the job.’ I have no problem admitting to people what I don’t know and asking for help. I don’t have a problem opening up and sharing with them when they need help,’ Greany adds.
Education and Training at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning
‘One of my goals,’ he says, ‘is to cross train our plumbers into HVAC technicians and vice versa.’ Greany tells the story about how he started by taking one of the company’s longest term plumbers who was stubborn, but who expressed an interest in learning the HVAC side of the business. He worked with this tech for four years and the technician is now fairly proficient at doing HVAC.
‘Then something really interesting happened,’ Greany continues. ‘This past June the plumbing side of the business was virtually dead. The reason: the call center was overwhelmed with HVAC calls.
‘We were running several hundred HVAC calls all backed up on the board, and most of the plumbing technicians were sitting in our lounge waiting for a plumbing call. They started talking about the one plumbing tech who was now running HVAC calls and making more money and that convinced them to attend a class.’
These plumbing technicians began by attending IHACI classes, which actually lead to them sticking around after the class for three hours talking. ‘Greany says that there were 20 All Pro technicians at that class. He says their interest was piqued and they wanted more. So in a recent NCI class taught by Trainer Scott Johnson, All Pro had 26 technicians in attendance. Greany exclaims that after that class, his plumbing techs knew more about airflow than 80% of the rest of the HVAC industry.
All Pro includes performance tests and furnace checks in all their maintenance agreements this season. This sets sets us up for the air conditioning season which is my biggest focus.’ I should be able to generate about $1,000 an hour per guy during air conditioning season.
‘Now that they understand that airflow is the most important part of our HVAC equation, I can start to teach them about heat,’ he says.’ ‘Several of them are afraid of losing money by the training.’ So I made a deal with them ‘ if they sell maintenance agreements, I will go with them on maintenance calls. We will run the maintenance call together and any revenue generated from those calls will be theirs.
‘Our installation crews are being cross trained and brought up to do performance tests on residential calls when they are not doing installs,’ he adds.’ ‘We are cross-training everyone in the company. All our HVAC guys are learning plumbing and our plumbing folks are learning HVAC.
‘This program is happening right now,’ he adds. ‘The season’s maintenance agreements are being done along with performance tests and furnace checks ‘ setting them up for their education that will lead to the air conditioning season which is my biggest focus.’ I should be able to generate about $1,000 an hour per guy during air conditioning season.’
With this cross training and educational programming, Greany says he will be armed with his entire maintenance crew plus a number of the cross-over plumbing technicians running calls.’ ‘I can coach them and strategically send them out on calls where I am nearby in case they need help. I believe 2017 should be one of our best air conditioning seasons ever.’
All Pro outfitted everyone with IPads so Mike Greany can have Facetime meetings with every technician whenever they need.
All Pro is All in for Performance-Based Contracting?
The All Pro HVAC Division bases its sales and service on the Performance-Based Contracting approach. Greany says this is a cultural thing that requires training and hands-on experience. He believes so much in this training that he has duplicated the NCI training lab located in Cleveland for doing static pressure test training at All Pro.
He adds that any employee who touches HVAC must also do installations. ‘I have everybody regardless of their experience work on the install crew because if they don’t know what’s running properly, they can’t possibly know what’s wrong.’
He uses each technician’s own home as part of the training ‘ they can take tools and instruments home and bring back the data on their houses.
We do a profile on our technicians’ homes and make adjustments. They are wowed with the improvements. Now they can comfortably talk to their customers about it. This is our culture ‘ it’s a way of life.
‘We do a profile on their homes and make adjustments,’ Greany says. ‘They are wowed with the improvements. Now they can comfortably talk to their customers about it. This is our culture ‘ it’s a way of life. We talk about duct renovations and repairs all the time ‘ every day.’ We have three meetings each week. Monday we cover business and Wednesday and Thursday we have training classes. There might be a vendor, it might be us, it might be a manufacturer or a consultant, but the techs are in training every week. Then we spend time throughout the day talking about this stuff.’
If that’s not enough, Greany also does performance testing in the homes of his customer service representatives! He explains that ‘They are exposed to our style of doing service and maintenance and ask their own questions about performance tests. They then can then relate their own experiences with customers while on the phone with them.’
Greany says they create their own scripts so they can talk with customers without talking too technically.
All Pro Commercial
This part of the business is not what Mike Greany would call his strong suit — at least not at first. But from the time he first started with All Pro, he was under a certain amount of pressure to start doing commercial HVAC work. He’d be the first to tell you he had some concern when it came to doing commercial work. But like everything else he does, Greany began exploring the training options through NCI and other sources to get himself and his team up to speed.
‘I decided to partner up with my NCI field coaches: Scott Johnson, Jeff Sturgeon, Casey Contreras, as well as Jeff Craig from R.E. Michel. These folks helped us with the basics so at least we aren’t completely intimidated by the commercial equipment.
‘When the time came, we hired a commercial HVAC representative and I sent her to a couple of NCI courses. She came up to speed very quickly and became very comfortable working with commercial customers. Today, from the commercial performance perspective, I can boast an 85% renovation conversion after doing performance testing.’
Greany explains that such renovation projects don’t happen immediately. Usually within three to four months after the performance test they hear back from the customer wanting the renovation done.
This is the reason that the commercial business is growing. In fact, Greany says he very recently hired two new people to focus specifically on commercial performance.
ComfortMaxx’ is the Future of the Industry
A significant part of Performance-Based contracting is the measuring of pressures and temperatures, the collecting of that data, and properly analyzing it. Greany is a believer in doing this on EVERY job and trains his crews to always do it. They input data into the ComfortMaxx’ software program, which produces what he calls an amazingly detailed, but easy-to-understand customer report.
‘I love the program,’ he says. ‘I do need a quiet place to analyze the contractor version, then create the work, and schedule the job.’
In the early days of the software, he worried about underbidding projects and losing money. Today he is over that concern. Greany admits making mistakes, but then worked hard to learn from those mistakes and move on.
‘Performance is the future of our entire industry,’ he adds.’ ‘It’s going to become the norm in just a few years.’ I understood this when I first met Rob Falke and Scott Johnson 15 years ago.’ That realization actually led to a career change for me.’ I left a former employer because I was blocked from the education and training that I wanted. I am getting guys coming into my company because their shops are blocking them from training.’ People ask me all the time how I can afford to do as much training as I do?’ I just look at them and respond, ‘How can I afford not to??
‘ComfortMaxx and Performance-based contracting allow me to offer services that others don’t. Many companies don’t even believe in maintenance programs or maintenance agreements. We embed performance testing ‘ at least the airflow test ‘ into our maintenance program. From that testing we make recommendations for additional work.’ It’s an offering that otherwise wouldn’t be there.’ So I say that performance-based contracting provides us more opportunity to create more business which can lead to increased profit,’ Greany says.
He also says performance contracting is humbling. ‘The hardest thing to overcome is admitting you were doing installations or renovations wrong or that you didn’t know something.’ And I know that up to five years ago, every system I installed was wrong.’
He knows because now he measures airflow before and after a project is completed. He can see whether the installations, service, or renovations perform as they should.
Greany lives HVAC system performance. He believes in it, teaches it, and makes money doing it. He gains customer trust doing it. And he says you can too! So what is holding you back?