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February 28, 2014

By Kimberly Schwartz

As HVAC contractors move ahead in 2014, many see positive signs of momentum for their businesses and are planning to hire more employees this year.

While the reasons behind their plans to hire are varied, some common themes are being echoed across the country. One of the top hvac now hiringreasons reiterated by many contractors is that their workloads are increasing, and they need to hire more employees to be able to meet the needs of their customers. Many also noted that their hiring plans are a continuation of how they were operating in 2013.

Dan Jape, CEO and owner of Reliable Heating & Air, Atlanta, said, he’s considering adding as many as 60 or more employees to his staff of 220 individuals simply because there is “more work than we can handle. My only concern is finding the right people to handle our customers.”

In Atlanta, the economy is doing well. Jape noted that his business grew from $18 million to $28 million in 2013. “And this year is shaping up to be better yet,” he said.

“We just had a record December and we haven’t slowed down yet.”

Increasing Workload

According to Dave Yates, president, F.W. Behler Inc., York, Pa., his workload is steadily increasing.

As a result, he plans to add to his nine-person firm and hire “two for HVAC and plumbing.”

Yates is optimistic about 2014 because he said customers have done a great job of saving money. “They now have a higher degree of discretionary spending capacity,” he said.

Gregg Swenson, co-owner, Swenson Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., Princeton, Minn., also expects to see an increased workload in 2014.

“We are very optimistic about 2014,” he said. “It is shaping up to be an excellent year in comparison to the last seven or eight years. I don’t expect to see the workload we had prior to that, but do expect to have a substantial growth in the next two years.”

Swenson plans to add two full-time technicians to his seven-person company in the spring.

He added, “We will be watching the residential market very closely so as not to overextend our growth too quickly.”

Stacey Kiaunis, business development manager, Modern Air Solutions LLC, Panama City Beach, Fla., said her company plans to hire four new employees by April 1 to keep up with its pending workload.

She noted that the company is currently seeking one new worker for the service department and three for installation. “This is our second year in business, and, as business grows, we are prepared to grow,” Kiaunis said. “We do not have any exact plans to continue hiring throughout the year, but may consider adding staff in July or August.”

John Owens, president and CEO of Owens Cos., Bloomington, Minn., is also planning to hire this year as a result of his company’s growth. He noted that a stronger economy and optimistic consumers are two reasons for positive projections. Owens plans to hire technicians along with clerical, human resource, operational, and sales staff.

Bobby Ring, president, Meyer & Depew Co., Kenilworth, N.J., said he intends to hire six to 10 employees — mostly service and installation techs.

“We grew 32 percent in 2013 and we expect to continue growing in 2014,” he said.

Mike Tucker, owner of Tuckers Air Conditioning & Heating, Gaithersburg, Md., said he intends to hire this year as part of his strategy to grow his market share.

“Our goal is to increase the hiring by one or two more than we did in 2013. As long as we are achieving our business growth goals, the employees will follow,” he said.

Tucker further explained, “We are transitioning toward a more formal corporate structure. Three months ago, we added a plumbing division. Our goal is to grow our production staff to improve the ratio to our administrative staff. We plan on adding five to seven field personnel.”

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