Ben Stark: Start, Learn, Succeed, Repeat
Originally published: 07.01.18 by Pete Grasso
Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Ben Stark has progressed throughout the HVACR industry, first as a service technician and then as a business owner and industry consultant.
Ben’s entry into the HVACR world was largely accidental — early in his career he worked in the maintenance industry. He got his start in 1980 as a helper, working mostly on new installations.
Deciding that he needed to pursue a career that would offer him a better living, he invested in a six-week course in HVACR training.
“I became a dependable technician and helped mentor othr technicians in troubleshooting and diagnosis of problems,” Stark says.
He went on to complete a community college degree at night while working in the field during the day. After five years, he was ready to venture out on his own.
He started his first company, Air Experts, in 1986 and it grew over the next decade to 15 employees. He then sold it in 1997 to Service Experts when the company began consolidating.
Title: CEO; Managing Partner
Company: Sunny Service; Growth and Profit Systems
Year Founded: 1986 (Air Experts), 2000 (Stark Air), 2012 (Growth and Profit Systems), 2017 (Sunny Service)
Headquarters: Hurst, Texas
Work Performed: Residential Service, Replacement and Home Performance; Business Consulting
No. of Employees: 12
Annual Revenue: $8 million (both companies)
Vendor-Partners: Field Edge, Lennox, Daikin, Standard Supply
Certifications: Service Excellence Award from Service Experts, Mentor for Service Nation Alliance, E-Myth Coach
Ben used all of the knowledge and experience he gained over the years as a technician and business owner — as well as time spent with Service Experts — to start another HVACR company, Stark Air, in 2000.
This time around, his business grew exponentially. A mere 12 years later, Stark Air had 50 employees and annual revenue of $8 million.
Ben then made the tough decision to yet again sell his thriving company, this time to a private equity group.
For the next five years, while under a non-compete agreement, Ben focused on giving back to the industry that had made him so successful. He opened up Growth and Profit Systems and became a consultant for other HVACR contractors.
“This industry affords me the opportunity to exceed my personal goals and I am committed to help others achieve similar success,” Ben says. “Through the development of best practices classroom training, one-on-one consultation, and interactive on-line training, I provide clients with the formula for achieving and surpassing their goals.”
Throughout the years, Ben has worked with dozens of companies, both nationally and internationally, to assist in best practices. And, as if that wasn’t enough for this serial entrepreneur, Ben decided yet again to start an HVACR contracting firm.
In 2017 he started Sunny Service Company, which is on track to complete its first goal of more than $1 million in gross revenue.
“Planning is our first priority before each new year,” Ben says. “We focus on where we want to be and develop a plan of action to achieve manageable goals.”
He has an in-house training school and laboratory (GPS Trades Learning Center) where service, maintenance and installation teams learn their process and are instructed based upon company standards.
“Helping to develop staff, finding people who fit our needs and learning how to understand their unique way of thinking is very rewarding,” Ben says.
Still, he believes overcoming perceived value of services and communicating that to the customer remains a challenge in this industry. For Sunny Service Company, they focus on putting aside cheap pricing and instead sell value added services. In the early days capitol was a challenge.
“Our Mission Statement is ‘Cool Home, Warm Heart, Sunny Service — Creating Customers for Life, By Enhancing Their Lives,’” he says.
Ben has built several successful businesses over the course of his career. In addition to his practical knowledge of electrical and plumbing systems, he became adept at creating easy-to-follow blueprints for business success while also vigilantly acting as an operational and financial steward to improve the bottom line and realize organizational objectives.
“The drive of success outweighs the risk of failure, and I can’t seem to work for anyone very long,” he says. “I have a forward-looking attitude, always trying something new.
“When we fail, we get over it and try something new again,” he continues. “When we are successful, we press for a little more.”