Mike Abrashoff, former U.S. Navy Captain
Originally published: 07.01.10 by Terry Tanker
Publisher Terry Tanker recently spoke with Tops in Trucks honoree Drew Timm, owner of Sun Services Air Conditioning-Heating Inc., Fountain Hills, Ariz. They spoke about muscle cars, meeting customers in hot tubs, and lessons learned from owning a small business.
I have a passion for collector cars. I have a show-winning Jeep CJ7, 1965 Mustang Convertible, 1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula 455 HO Ram Air, BMW M3 Convertible, 2007 Harley Davidson with over 40 celebrity signatures on it, and three Polaris Quads.
I'm thinking my first Hot Wheels was around three years old. High school is when I started dealing in muscle cars and exotics. My brother and I had a Porsche and VW repair business.
We have a commercial building that is done in a car hop theme inside. It's really cool and a lot of fun.
I would have to say my celebrity-signed Harley Davidson. The bike was acquired at a charity auction to help the families of injured military personnel. This one has a special place in my heart.
I created the vehicle design myself and figured even a service vehicle can be a piece of art. I believe attracting the attention of the consumer is extremely important. Those who are driving an incognito white truck or van with no lettering or lettering so small you can't read are missing opportunities. This is simple, low-cost, high-return marketing.
We have folks tell us all the time, "I've seen your trucks around town." Now, how sweet is that? Some of them are existing customers, and some are future customers!
First, keeping the customer happy at all costs by doing whatever it takes to retain them. Second, keeping a sharp eye on expenses and costs, anything from vendor pricing to unnecessary purchases to labor overruns and call backs. Third, and I think most important is, keep on marketing. Letting our existing and potential customers know we're still around and stronger than ever.
Seasonal changes in work volume and trying to level out the times of being too busy and not busy enough.
This is a case of "you never know who your customers are." My wife and I were relaxing in a hot tub in Kauai a few years back and started a conversation with two ladies who happened to be from Arizona. Come to find out, she had been a long-time customer of ours. She was as surprised as I was and addressed me as "Mr. Sun Services." Be careful what you say. You never know who's in a hot tub with you!
I was an assistant project manager of a $30-million property in Tampa when I turned 20, and being mechanically minded, took an interest in hvac, and now I'm 50, and the rest is history.
Interacting with people. I'm a people-pleasing person for sure.
We are using Wintac software in our office, and our trucks are GPS equipped for efficiency and customer satisfaction in the event of a discrepancy. We also are venturing into the socialnetworking sites.
It has to be the one who is confused by too much information on the Internet and by external sources. It takes a while to get them focused on what's really important, especially in selecting equipment for their home.
When it gets to be 110-115 degrees here, we kick into high gear and take care of the elderly first.
I have been with Trane since the '80s and believe their equipment is the best. Their company is easy to deal with and has fantastic dealer support, along with the best opportunities in training to help the contractor succeed.
It's always good to know what's coming up for the future. Sometimes the predictions are right on track. But staying focused is the best way to weather any storm.
To be patient and understand that all things will work out fine. Don't get too stressed out about every little thing you may view as going wrong. Deal with the bigger issues first, and then the small ones will be a piece of cake.
Absolutely! They should be a part of every contractor's business toolbox.
The Sun Services' team is terrific and works extremely hard. I'm very proud of them. I guess I don't feel burdened by anything I currently do.
I'm still searching for the perfect formula for labor!