Variation is the Enemy

If we do not learn, grow, and strive for excellence, we will get left behind!

Think about it like this: when you get up in the morning, you typically have routines for good personal hygiene, proper dress, and grooming after having a good night’s sleep. (Shoes tied !) By following such a routine, you will most certainly arrive at work on time, with your “head in the game.”

Do you also have a good routine for your HVAC business? Are the processes used in your business clearly defined?

Do you have roles and responsibilities assigned? Are there performance standards? No? Not Yet? Well, you need to get that squared away.

How to Get Started

First — think about each task —whether it’s parking, walking up to the door, or changing a compressor. What steps are involved in completing each task? What elements are critical to 1) SAFETY, 2) QUALITY, 3) PROCESS EFFICIENCY (in that order).

Next, document those elements in a logical sequence. Here is where collaboration comes in. With more than one mind at work, the team can better decide which step comes before another and if there is a potential problem if actions are done out of order.

Compare and align your quality metrics with industry best practices and current standards. There are currently six ACCA/ANSI standards related to the Quality Installation of a Refrigeration or HVAC system. This includes a new one introduced in late 2020 on “grading” an installed system’s performance. These can be found on the ACCA website at the link,

Training is key to helping techs avoid non-conformance to High-Performance techniques
David Small conducting an in-house training session with Crossway technicians.

In addition, there is a new ASHRAE/ANSI Standard (Test Method to Field-Measure and Score the Cooling and Heating Performance of an Installed Unitary HVAC System) which has a large impact on installation and service technicians. Check it out here:

You need to ensure everyone has a clear process for their job responsibilities and understands it. That means training and reviewing. It’s a good idea to let your employees take turns training because “to teach something means to learn it twice.”

Next Steps

Finally, measure the success of your process control methods and adjust as needed. Did I mention that we are HVAC “practitioners?” That means we are constantly learning and improving. It’s no surprise that the ACCA/ANSI standards refer to HVAC contractors as “practitioners.” Think of this the way we think about doctors and lawyers. Don’t doctors practice medicine? Don’t lawyers practice law?

What do you do if not everybody in your company is 100% on board? You can put everything on paper and conduct training, but can you run around behind every employee and check everything they do?

Well, you shouldn’t have to, even when mistakes are made. In comes another key phrase that has application in just about every area of life: “Where there is no consequence or reward, there is no motivation.”

So, focusing on the positive, there’s a price to pay for conformance too — and that is the investment you make rewarding good behavior. Are your techs NCI certified? Are you? Will you pay for that? Does it mean anything (Pay, Position, Self-Esteem)?

The Reward!

If the cost for conformance is how you reward good behavior, just what does that entail. Below are a few points:

  • A better bottom line due to reduced warranty expense and improved sales
  • Great reviews
  • Happy customers
  • Team members who take pride in their work because they are growing and getting rewarded by your investment in them
  • Better employee retention because people who enjoy doing what they are good at doing will stay.

To the team at Crossway Mechanical, the cost of conformance is much less than the cost for non-conformance. The result is better success, job satisfaction, and a scalable process that can be easily taught and passed on.

If you would like more information on how we make this work in our company, please feel free to call me.

David Small is the manager of Quality Assurance and Technical Excellence at Houston-based Crossway Mechanical LLC ( You can contact him by email