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Building a Company Through Caring 

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Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical was announced as the 2023 ACCA Residential Contractor of the Year at the ACCA 2023 Conference & Expo in New Orleans, LA, on April 2, 2023. The Residential Contractor of the Year Program offers exceptional HVACR contractors a unique marketing opportunity to demonstrate to their customers and their community that they have exceeded national standards and that they offer breakthrough performance and high-quality results.


After 32 years in business, and nearly two million service calls, it’s clear that Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical has been doing something right. As Tennessee’s largest residential plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical services provider, Hiller has been able to achieve a level of growth that is rare, especially in an age of increasing industry consolidation. This has come through a combination of hard work, a commitment to an elevated level of service, and, most of all, fostering an environment where care is a core value throughout the entire organization. 

Five Hundred Dollars and a Pickup Truck 

In 1990, Jimmy Hiller had recently completed an apprenticeship, become a licensed journeyman, and eventually earned his license as a master plumber. With $500, a pickup truck, and a young family to support, Jimmy – on a wing and a prayer – struck out on his own and started Hiller. 

“With no business [experience] and really no knowledge of what I was getting into, I decided to go into business,” said Jimmy Hiller, founder and CEO of Hiller. “Everybody sees where we’re at today and thinks I’ve got it made, but there were a lot of hard times in between.” 

Jimmy’s faith in himself paid off, however, as his company has steadily grown since those early beginnings. Hiller now boasts over 800 team members in 16 locations across Tennessee, southern Kentucky, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, and Florida and continues to be a family-owned and operated business. And in 2021, Hiller generated approximately $157 million in revenue, far surpassing a goal that Jimmy Hiller had set for the company many years prior.  

Hiller team in front of Hiller office

Finding and Holding onto Great Talent 

Almost any trade contractor, when asked what their biggest challenge is, would likely say that it’s the ability to hire and retain quality people. For Hiller, this certainly was an issue as well. This was especially true when the company was experiencing rapid expansion and scaling its business. Instead of bemoaning their fate, however, and simply accepting that’s just the way it was going to be, Hiller decided to do something about it. 

“Everybody’s got problems finding good people, and there’s always going to be challenges,” said Jimmy, “It’s just, what are you going to do to overcome those challenges, and then setting forth a plan to overcome those challenges.” 

To meet the need for quality talent, Hiller initially partnered with a local trade school called Total Tech to send their HVAC technicians for training. That partnership worked out so well that Hiller acquired the school, investing over $2.5 million into developing state-of-the-art training and equipment in both classroom and lab settings, and expanding its offerings to include plumbing and electrical work. Both new and experienced technicians take part in this immersive program where they hone their skillset on real equipment by troubleshooting and diagnosing the same kinds of challenges that they would face in the field. 

A wonderful byproduct of the success of Total Tech has been Hiller’s 2016 partnership with Fort Campbell in developing a program called “Transition to Trades.” This partnership allows separating members of the military to attend Total Tech to learn technical skills and obtain real-world experience in the trade of their choice as well as secure job placement once they leave the military. Over 1,000 military members have graduated from Total Tech and over 94% have been placed in full-time trade careers throughout the country, with over 150 of those graduates working for Hiller currently. 

It’s clear how much the program means to the Hiller family, as Chief Operating Officer, Jimmy Hiller, Jr., stated, “The Transition to Trades program is really special. Being able to see people exit the military, which is a very uneasy time for them, and being able to provide an avenue to learn a trade that leads to a job, and to hear their stories is one of my favorite things that we do.” 

Another way Hiller is working to assist their workforce is by helping their employees with various aspects of their lives outside of work. The company is currently developing retention programs that will help its employees in different phases of their lives. 

“Whatever their goals are, whether it be for a new car, or if they have a young child and want to save for that college education, we want to be able to assist and help them with those particular goals,” said Jimmy Hiller. “That’s the type of thing we’re looking to implement to help retain the individuals who come into our business.” 

HVAC technician works on air conditioning unit.

Incorporating ACCA Standards 

As Hiller grew and expanded their operations, Jimmy Hiller, coming from a plumbing background, wanted to incorporate HVAC into his business. He has always emphasized technical competency and wanted to find an organization that could help him learn the HVAC side of the trades. He found what he was looking for through Total Tech, as they were licensed to teach HVAC best practices based on the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) standard. 

“The first thing that I wanted to learn how to do was how to size a system properly to go into a house,” said Jimmy Hiller, “The gold standard in the industry is ACCA’s Manual J: Residential Load Calculation, so that was one of the very first things I did.” 

ACCA played a crucial role in Hiller’s growth specifically because of the technical expertise the organization provides. Understanding how to properly install, service and repair equipment was very important to Jimmy, and he found that ACCA’s guides and checklists were integral to ensuring the work they performed was up to industry standards. In fact, once Hiller purchased Total Tech, ACCA standards have been a significant part of the trade school’s curriculum. 

“The technical foundation we use to teach our technicians (through Total Tech), really matches the standards that ACCA has in place,” said Jimmy Hiller, Jr.  

Care is a Core Value 

From the very early beginnings, Jimmy Hiller understood that what would differentiate his business from others was the level of care Hiller would provide customers. Hiller’s core value is about delivering an elevated service experience, which focuses on customer care and sets Hiller apart from other companies in their industry. 

“I think we have built a culture on customer service and ensuring that every single customer is happy,” said Jimmy Hiller, Jr., “I mean, we even plaster that on the side of all our trucks…and we live up to that every single day.” 

Indeed. It’s not hard to spot a Hiller service truck, with its big yellow smiley face, and their motto inscribed on the side of each vehicle, “Happy You’ll Be or the Service Is Free!”™ And it’s not just a snappy slogan either. For Hiller, it really is a promise that each customer will be 100% satisfied with the service they provide or it’s free. Part of this commitment to delivering quality plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical services to their customers is what Hiller calls True Transparency Pricing, which breaks down the exact cost of required parts, and the price of labor in writing for their customers prior to the work being performed. It’s this type of detail that customers really appreciate because Hiller is always upfront and honest with them about what a service will cost. 

For Hiller, the motto, “Care is Our Core Value™,” isn’t just a tagline; it’s part of the very DNA of Hiller’s company culture. The company operates under what it refers to as its WIN5 philosophy, which means success follows when everyone – customers, employees, company, community, and vendors – is treated with respect, honesty, integrity, and fairness. This core value of caring about others touches every aspect of the Hiller business, from the services they provide to the employees who work there, to the vendors they do business with, the training programs Hiller offers, and the charitable work the company does in the community. 

Jimmy Hiller, Jr. and Jimmy Hiller

Giving Back to the Community 

For Hiller, care extends beyond employees, customers, and vendors. The company maintains a strong commitment to supporting the communities that it serves. Hiller has partnered with Toys for Tots through $10,000 cash donations as well as donating $11,000 worth of new toys to the non-profit. The company has also donated over $25,000 in partnership with the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research and raised over $25,000 in donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society during their Bike MS event. In the past year alone, Hiller has also sponsored over 75 youth, high school, and amateur adult sports teams, totaling close to $70,000. Additionally, Hiller sponsors both NCAA and professional sports teams. Supporting institutions like the Tennessee Volunteers, Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University, and the Nashville Predators allows Hiller to play a role in the community by giving back and supporting their local economies. 

“We are a family business, and the community is a part of our family,” said Jimmy Hiller, “The community is who has made us successful. We just show up and help them when they need help, so why wouldn’t we give back to the people who have supported us now for over 33 years?” 

In addition to giving back, Hiller makes sure that those less fortunate in the communities they serve are always taken care of through their “Helping Hands” program. The program is an integral part of the Hiller business and provides replacements, repairs, and services to families experiencing financial hardships. 

Giving Back to the Industry 

Jimmy Hiller’s passion for helping others doesn’t stop at his company’s doorstep either. Jimmy is also committed to helping other HVAC contractors, and in 2016, he co-founded PRAXIS S-10, a national organization that focuses on helping contractors across the country grow their businesses. Through weekly coaching seminars and mentorship opportunities, PRAXIS S-10 teaches contracting entrepreneurs how to streamline their businesses, while scaling and growing profits by providing tools, education, and expert advice/consulting services. 

Recognizing a dramatic shortage of skilled workforce in the contracting industry, Hiller is also working to help raise awareness about the importance and value of careers in the trades. To accomplish this, Hiller and Total Tech partnered with Metro Nashville Public Schools and joined their Public Education Needs Community Involvement and Leadership (PENCIL) program in 2018. In this hands-on program, students visit Hiller and Total Tech and experience the job first-hand with seasoned technicians leading discussions and demonstrations to help foster future career interests. 

With over three decades in business, Hiller has built a reputation that is based on delivering quality work, along with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, honest pricing, and caring for others. Their work hasn’t gone unnoticed either, as the company has been the recipient of countless awards over the years including a 12-time recipient of the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America Award, U.S. Department of Labor’s HIRE Veterans Award, and Military Friendly Employers Award, to name just a few. 

While the accolades are nice and certainly appreciated, Jimmy Hiller still recognizes that the company’s biggest reward is simply knowing that they have been able to make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it’s the customers who they serve, the students who have carved out careers for themselves through Total Tech, the employees who feel that Hiller is a place to be proud of working, or the many community organizations that they support through their charitable efforts, Hiller is a company that is devoted to helping others. 

“Probably the thing I’m most proud of,” said Jimmy Hiller, “Is the culture that we have in the organization of caring for individuals through the work we do each and every day.”


Have you caught up on the latest issue of ACCA NOW magazine? Click here to view the digital edition or to subscribe to the print version! 

Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Posted In: ACCA Now, Customer Service, Employee Training, People Management, Print Edition

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