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Management • Business Tips • Operations • Pro Features • 56 minutes

OKC HVAC company’s business model starts with valuing human capital

October 6, 2020

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Episode Overview

Community involvement and company culture go hand in hand for Stacy Fore. She and her husband, Mike, co-own HVAC Solutions LLC based just outside of Oklahoma City. The 15-person business is 70 percent residential and 30 percent commercial and did $1.2 million in sales last year. 

Stacy values quality over quantity, and is passionate about nurturing her employees, second-chance hiring practices, and being good corporate citizens. 

Check out some of Stacy Fore’s unique company policies and practices:

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Mom-and-pop business owners have a lot to learn.

From the beginning, Stacy’s husband, Mike, was the contractor, and she took care of everything in the office. But she says it’s good for business that they both know how the other side works.

“Mike’s really digging into the KPIs and the metrics and understanding more of that,” Stacy says. “I’ve learned a lot about being in the field and can go out and almost be at the journeyman level.”

Creating good processes moves a company forward.

Fore had a background in training development before co-founding HVAC Solutions LLC.

“You’ll never meet a more process-oriented person,” she says. “Develop it well, let it go, keep it running—that’s why I love ServiceTitan so much. It lets you develop a good system and then it does the work for you while you develop your team and your company.”

Don’t measure success against others.

It took Fore a while to arrive at an understanding that she isn’t in competition with other companies. Rather, her primary benchmark is her own company’s success. 

“I don’t look at other companies and say, ‘Can I do it that way,’ or, ‘Can I be that?’” she says. “If I can develop my own culture and my own values; if I'm always just measuring it against that, I’ve won. That’s all I care about. The growth will come. The money will come.”

Good health starts with mental health. 

Many companies have programs like employer reimbursement for mental health. HVAC Solutions LLC goes a step further. Fore has a corporate therapist who participates in staff activities and meetings, and is available for whatever the team needs. 

“I’ve learned that when we talk about mental health, often their perception is something is wrong,” Fore says. “Mental health is not always about reaction. It should be proactive.”

Consider second-chance hiring practices. 

HVAC Solutions LLC is proud to have a second-chance hiring practice. 

“We don’t turn you down just because you have a past, or you’ve made a few mistakes in the past,” Fore says. “It’s part of our belief system. We love God and we love people. We don’t look at your past to see who you are now.”

Good company culture comes from real communication. 

Fore says the company developed its mission statement as a team, and regularly everyone meets to collectively brainstorm day-to-day issues. 

“We meet every Wednesday morning,” she says. “We don’t come in and rush right out the door. We sit and we have coffee. We talk. We find out what the problems were yesterday. 

“And once a month, we have a really fantastic and fun meeting.”

Build retention by making hiring decisions companywide and unanimous. 

To ensure new hires are a fit, Fore instituted a unique process.

“We decided no person gets hired without a group interview,” she says. “The entire team interviews them all at once. The entire team agrees, or no one gets hired. It has to be unanimous. 

“That’s how good my team is with each other. They know each other. They have each other's back. If just one person doesn’t have a good feeling about a candidate then every team member, no matter how they felt about it, respects that one reservation.”

Do community events for more than marketing value. 

Contrary to popular practice, Fore has a companywide rule against attending community events and then posting photos on social media. 

“This might be the opposite of what most people will tell you to do,” she says. “If someone takes a photo of us and posts it, I’m fine with that. But we don’t do community events for bragging rights. I don’t allow my staff to take photos at events. … I don’t even allow them to hand out business cards unless someone specifically requests it.”

Medical marijuana as an HVAC growth market? 

Like Oklahoma, more and more states are voting to allow the use of medical marijuana (as other states are considering legalizing recreational pot). Fore says companies that legally grow cannabis have been a huge source of business for her company. 

These companies utilize big building complexes and have very specific HVAC needs. 

“Mike is a rock star because he learned all things grow,” Stacy says. “It’s a tight-knit community. And when they found a good contractor, the word spread. We got one call after another.” 

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Toolbox for the Trades is a podcast where top service professionals share the tips, tricks, and tactics they use to succeed in their industry. Hosted by Jackie Aubel, this podcast is brought to you by ServiceTitan—the leading home and commercial field service software.

Episodes will feature stories and strategies to help contractors grow and scale their service business.

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