There are many paths you can take to get to the High-Performance approach to HVAC contracting. For some, it means focusing on education and training and finding ways to get performance working in their companies. For others, the path began at startup and the company, as they would say, was always performance-based.
When it comes to Top Tech Mechanical (toptechmech.com) in Kennesaw, GA, the path began as a commercial refrigeration and HVAC installation company focused on the new construction market. That is where owner Kevin Newman cut his teeth on business ownership. Top Tech Mechanical was born in 2012, but Kevin Newman started in the trades long before that.
In the Beginning
In fact, Newman says he began working for his stepfather, Mark Miller, when he was just 14 years old. He swept floors and eventually worked his way into being a helper during summer and on weekends. Newman credits his stepfather, who passed away in 2019, with mentoring him and getting him ready for a career in contracting.
Later Newman went on to work for a company that specialized in restaurant equipment repair and installation. Newman says this is where he learned some tough lessons about frustration and how to work through them. The company didn’t seem to have any organization or structure as to how it went about business. And Newman adds that customer service was lacking, making this company not such a great place to work.
“I like to fix things and give customers options regarding what is necessary to repair their full system. I don’t like to leave anything in a state of disrepair,” he explains.
So, like so many before him, Kevin Newman decided to hang out his shingle, and in 2012 Top Tech Mechanical was born. And like so many before him, Newman discovered the challenges didn’t end. They got more complicated.
The Early Days of Top Tech
In 2012 and 2013, the U.S. economy was in recovery mode from the recession of 2007 through 2009. Though the it was growing, the economy was doing so very slowly and only after the U.S. Federal Reserve began pumping more cash in, dropping interest rates, and raising the debt to unheard-of heights.
As a result, in the commercial construction marketplace, things were tough. Top Tech Mechanical’s customers began bouncing checks. General contractors stopped paying for work done.
“I almost lost my house because of all this,” Newman says. “But I hung in there. I got up and went to work every day until I finally landed some major restaurant accounts in Atlanta.
“During those years, we had some decent growth. I finally got up to where I had three trucks in my company and then added three sub trucks. By 2019 we employed six field technicians.”
But problems persisted, and Newman realized he had hiring issues. His company serviced and installed heating and air conditioning rooftop units. They also worked on walk-in refrigeration systems and ice machines. And on top of all that, Top Tech repaired cooking equipment, replaced electrical circuits, modified gas lines, and more.
He says he realized there are not many people who could work on such wide-ranging projects.
The Pandemic: A Good Thing?
In early 2020, Top Tech was forced to shut down for nearly three months because commercial project work came to a grinding halt.
“We were an all-commercial company that did just some residential air conditioning. We worked with Goodman Manufacturing on the residential side of our business.
“I realized I had all my eggs in one basket and needed to diversify, to re-engineer my business structure. I needed to focus on targeting clients who aren’t so linked together that when something like a pandemic happens, they all crash, and you have no income.”
He says this may have been the best thing to happen to him and his company!
“It forced me to look at my company and the future. I knew we had to buckle down and keep my team working. We had to be relentless in our efforts.”
Those efforts kept the company alive during 2020, and after eight years in business, Top Tech Mechanical closed out that awful year, bringing in around $350,000 of gross revenues.
Click Below for the Next Page