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How Do YOU Define Success?

Originally published: 10.01.19 by Ron Smith

I’m often asked, after all of these years, this question by a contractor or a group of contractors: “What does my company need to do to be successful?”

I learned many years ago that its important to know as much as I can about my audience, regardless of whether it is only one person or a large group of people, before I answer this question.

For example: Are these smaller and newer contractors? Are they midsize contractors with a few years of experience? Are they large and highly successful contractors that have been in business for several years?

IfI know my audience, I can tailor not only the answer to the question posed to me, but also to my presentation.

Regardless of the size and years of experience, however, there is certain information that is appropriate for all contractors, such as:

Recognizing that there is a worker shortage. Are you diligent in your hiring decisions? Better hiring decisions result in less expensive de-hiring decisions.

Do you have an ongoing training program for all coworkers?

Does everyone in your company realize that regardless of their position they are also in sales? There are three ways every employee can contribute to sales:

  1. Actually make sales and you will provide them the information and training to do so.
  2. Furnish sales leads so other coworkers can make the presentations.
  3. Say positive things about your company out in the community.

Are you continually developing processes and then training the coworkers on how to use them? Having processes in place results in everybody doing certain things in the same way. The very first process might be how you answer the company phone.

Using football as an analogy — first learn how to block and tackle. There is nothing wrong with “three yards and a cloud of dust.” We can throw long forward passes later. Remember that when you throw a long forward pass, three things can happen and two of them are not good.

Do you make it a point to recognize coworkers when they do things well?

Do you practice MBWA? “Manage-ment by walking around” is very effective.

Do not be a lone wolf. Join a contractor alliance (the very best is Service Roundtable which has tons of archived information, is always on top of the industry and is very affordable).

Join a local community civic club such as Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions. In most cases the clubs meet once weekly for either breakfast or lunch. Be a regular attender and form relationships. It will result in sales.

And don’t forget about your guerrilla marketing tactics:

  • Company business cards for all coworkers (remember, your coworkers should always give the recipient two cards).
  • Door hangers (the three houses across the street and the two houses next door).
  • Lawn or yard signs.
  • Stickers on competed jobs on the outdoor unit, indoor unit or furnace and electrical panel.
  • Thermostats with your company name and phone number.
  • And, this is very important: The most cost effective form of marketing is the condition and appearance of your vehicles. They are traveling billboards. Look at your trucks every day.


About Ron Smith

Ron Smith


Ron Smith is a well-known authority in the HVACR business with more than 50 years of experience as a contractor, franchisor, consolidator, and consultant. He is the author of HVAC Spells Wealth, More and New HVAC Spells Wealth and HVAC Light Commercial Service Agreements.

Contact Ron at 615-791-8474 or visit

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