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Featured Entrepreneur: Benson Green

Originally published: 08.01.18 by HVACR Business Staff


Featured Entrepreneur: Benson Green

Benson Green has deep roots in the Tallahassee area. His grandfather Ray Green, Sr. was Florida’s Comptroller and then the president of a local community bank in Tallahassee. His father Ray Green, Jr. was director of the physical plant at Florida State University for over 30 years.

Through one of his connections, Benson Green’s father helped him land a part-time job in the air conditioning business when he was only in 10th grade.

“Once I started in the business, I loved it,” he says. “I decided that rather than attend college, I would spend the years I would have spent in school learning this business.”

After he graduated from high school, Green worked for several different heating and air conditioning companies to learn the skills he would need to eventually open his own company.

In 1981, Benson Green decided it was time to strike out on his own. To get started he made an appointment with his grandfather, who was then president of a bank. He explained what his goals were and asked for a $5,000 bank loan. His grandfather turned down his request.

Benson Green

Title: President

Company: Benson Heating and Air, Inc.

Website:


target="_blank">bensonshvac.com

Year Founded: 1981

Headquarters: Tallahassee, Fla.

Work Performed: Residential, Commercial and Industrial Service, Mechanical Installations

No. of Employees: 90

Annual Revenue: $12.5 million

Vendor-Partners: Amana, Daikin, Johnstone Supply

Affiliations: ACCA, ABC, AHRAE, NADCA and Service Nation Alliance

Certifications: Certified Mechanical Contractors in Fla. and Ga., NADCA

Still determined, Green, sat down with his Godfather, formed a business plan and borrowed $800, which he was able to pay back in a month.

After Benson’s Heating and Air began to prosper, Green’s grandfather and bank president told his grandson that he was proud of his success. Green recalls that his grandfather said, “see, you didn’t even need $5,000, you just thought that you did.”

During his first year working alone, Green recalls grossing about $60,000. One of the ways he was able to do this was by creating a very simple yet effective direct mail marketing letter.

“I typed up a personal letter explaining the business I had started and then passed them out to my friends and relatives and asked for their help to personally give these letters to their friends and family,” Green says.

From the original stack of 30 letters he passed out, he estimates that hundreds were copied and passed on. Looking back, he believes this was the most memorable marketing campaign he has ever had because it capitalized on the relationships the Tallahassee native had.

He is eternally grateful for the help he accepted from his family and friends when he was first starting out.

Sheer determination, the support of his friends and family and a solid work ethic instilled in him by his parents propelled Benson’s Heating and Air Conditioning into the community as a viable option for consumers’ heating and air conditioning needs.

Initially, Green focused only on repairs and service but soon thereafter he was able to offer replacement of air conditioning equipment in homes followed by new residential installations and then commercial new installations. As his customer base grew he knew his gamble had paid off. His business was going to be successful.

“I believe if you give people what they deserve, then hopefully you will never have an unhappy customer,” he says. “When we do a good job, our customer will tell 2 or 3 people and those people might tell 2 or 3 others. But when you do a bad job, that customer will tell 20 or 30 people.”

To continually emphasize customer service and quality, Green bases his employee bonus system on these attributes and also has a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee policy for his customers.

Benson Green believes success comes from hard work and thinking ahead. He attends training conferences and industry trade conventions to stay abreast of rapidly changing technology.

“I focus on thinking of new products and services all the time because if we aren’t continually challenging ourselves we will become complacent and will not survive in this business,” he says.

Today, with a fleet of 43 trucks, 90 employees and continued growth each year, Green looks back fondly on his early years.

“As I think back over the many seasons that have come and gone, I am amazed,” he says.

As far as the future of Benson’s Heating and Air, it’s full steam ahead for Benson Green.

He takes great pride in the history of his company and looks forward to serving the Tallahassee area for many years to come.

 




About HVACR Business Staff

HVACR Business Staff




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