Safety is often NOT a key differentiator when it comes to standing out from the crowd. It’s not because HVAC contractors don’t care about safety. The fact is, in most cases, the exact opposite is true. But most contractors don’t tout safety as part of their market brand.

They are missing an essential feature of their overall business approach. Safety should be critical to a company’s overall branding and reputation approach. For my team at Masterworks Mechanical, Inc., in Craig, CO, we focus on training to test and diagnose combustion safety issues. That is central to our brand.

We have 14 technicians trained and certified in combustion analysis and carbon monoxide safety. We have several new technicians scheduled for training. Everyone who works in the field gets trained.

Combustion safety is central to Vic's brand
Vic Updike, Masterworks, Mechanical, Craig, CO

Having highly trained and even certified technicians coming into a home enables customers to see them checking gas-fired equipment for signs of rising carbon monoxide (CO) levels, which gives them a good feeling.

Several years ago, I read a book called Blue Ocean Strategy that discussed how companies can provide products and services with little or no competition. Doing this allows them to charge enough to be profitable, grow their businesses, and take good care of their employees.

For me, combustion safety is how I get to my blue ocean. It is how our team helps customers trust and have confidence in what we do.

Our service area covers 45 miles in all directions from Craig. You would need to double that area before you find another contractor who knows anything about combustion or CO safety. Our approach to combustion safety completely separates us from our competition.

We always perform a combustion analysis for every gas appliance we service or any new installation we do. Customers who hire us get something that they couldn’t buy anywhere else.

That is the keystone of our company.

The training our team receives also protects them. We spend a lot of time with installers and service techs to look for visible signs of problems. For example, let’s say they’re working on a furnace. They know to follow that vent pipe out of the room to see what else, if anything, is attached to it.

The idea is to NOT just look at the furnace but to consider all gas-fired appliances in the home. What is their impact on any potential danger from CO production.

We want everything to operate safely.

Another part of our brand is how the team looks and acts. These two things impact your customer’s first impressions of your firm.

We often hear from customers about how our field techs are the type of people they’d invite over for dinner. And that is by design. First, we want our technicians to look and act like professionals. Then we want customers to feel comfortable inviting them into their homes. We also have a drug-free program. If technicians want to work for us, they must pass those tests.

It changes the group of people we work with.

Our professional approach is also a part of our preventive maintenance (PM) program. We include changing the battery in the low-level CO monitor as part of our PM checklist. If the customer doesn’t have a monitor, we explain why they should.