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We Care: Residential Contractor of the Year

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California is a tough state to do work in, because it has tough standards, codes, and regulations that contractors must meet and follow. And while quality is a buzz word in the industry, for WC Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing in Murrieta, CA, it’s simply the way things must be done. WC Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing was established in 2000 by Rusty Cochran. In the beginning he answered the phones and did all the installations and service. Since opening the company, it has nearly doubled year after year in revenue and now has over 80 employees.

Quality Installations, It’s Just The Right Way To Do Things
By following ACCA’s quality installation standard (QI), WC Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing feels they are providing their customers with the best possible solutions for their comfort problems. “Adding the QI and QA to our mix opened new doors of opportunity to add Home Performance Contracting,” says Rusty Cochran.

“On top of that we are able to sell them a higher efficiency product that makes sense for both the customer and the environment.”

“When we follow the QI standard we are ensuring that we are getting the right unit in the people’s home,” adds Cochran. “We are held to the strictest guidelines in the industry that shows our customers that they are getting what best suits their needs.” Since becoming QA accredited, they have successfully completed over 1,400 homes through the ENERGY STAR program.

“There are thousands of contractors in California and only 30 participate in the program,” says Cochran. “Being a part of this program is an advantage for our company.” They have also added Energy Upgrade California that takes the entire home into consideration.

“By following the QI standard, we are able to provide our customers more efficient equipment,” adds Cochran. “We are able to prove that the equipment will pay for itself in energy savings, plus we have rebates from the utility companies and the manufacture to help offset the cost.”

Even though California does not have a law that requires contractors to do a Manual J & S load calculations, Cochran feels that by doing the load calcs, they are doing the homeowners justice. “By doing the Manual J calculation and Manual S, there is no question that you are getting the right sized unit for the home. It gives the customer peace of mind and builds your reputation with them.”

“Maintenance agreements are also a focus at our company, they allow us back in the home twice a year to develop a strong relationship,” says Cochran. “Maintenance agreements lead us into so many different opportunities in the home, if we ask the right questions we have options that can reduce dust, add comfort, efficiency, and address safety concerns.”

Quality People Make A Quality Company
When you are following strict standards, you have to have people who can meet the requirements. A key to that is having the right people to do the job and they have to buy-in to the company’s culture.

“Our company’s employee’s buy-in to what we do, because they know we provide our customers with the best quality of service and we strive to get the best performance out of their system,” says Cochran. “That makes a huge difference, and our employees love working here, because they know we are doing the right things for our customers and actually are doing what we say we are doing. I know that extraordinary results are the product of extraordinary team members.”

To keep their team motivated and enthusiastic, Cochran sends his employees to Rapport Leadership International and/or the Driven for Life program. These programs have nothing to do with HVAC. It is a personal development program that focuses on communication, teamwork, and leadership. It’s a series of three day classes that gets the individual and the team fi red up and ready to tackle their goals.

He also has everyone read the book “Fish” about the famous Seattle fish mongers. “This book is what we want our employees to be like,” says Cochran. “If these fish mongers in Seattle that became World Famous can get excited about tossing around stinky fish and getting people excited to come see it, then we can do the same for the HVAC industry.”

The company also does monthly “All Company” meetings. Sure they talk about the numbers and what is ahead for the company, but mostly it’s motivational.
“It’s an exciting meeting, our employees really look forward to it. We have games and giveaways to keep the team atmosphere going,” adds Cochran. They also read the comment letters or cards that home owners send in about their experience. In the meeting they also provide breakfast for everyone.

Training For Quality
Training goes far beyond just technical, sales, and HVAC related topics at WC Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. While they definitely focus on the technical side of things they also believe in encouraging personal growth.

They take advantage a variety or training opportunities, bringing in outside trainers, as well as sending their team member to training events from manufacturers and service providers. They also have had multiple companies from around the United States come to their facility to train. “We have learned from several companies and it’s nice to be able to give back and help other companies grow,” adds Cochran.

The team is encouraged to grow personally, which is why they send their employees to Rapport Leadership International and Driven For Life Program and have a Management Action Program (MAP).

“You expect that HVAC companies are going to train on service, sales, customer service, and technical topics,” says Cochran. “We also put a focus on personal growth. By doing this it really helps our ‘C’ players become ‘B’ players and our ‘B’ players become ‘A’ players.”

By taking the learning from just the basic things that an HVAC company must have to succeed, and expanding it to a broader level, it holds the team accountable and helps them reach new levels.

“The MAP program helps us set goals and it keeps all of us focused on accomplishing goals and moving forward,” adds Cochran. “We meet monthly for MAP and it really makes us push ourselves.”

The Future Looks Bright
The future for WC Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing is bright and Cochran feels that the path that he and his team are headed down is one that will lead to years of success.

“Our success is attributed to our people,” says Cochran. “We have grown to over 80 employees and plan on having over 100 in 2014.” He feels that if contractors make the investment to do the right things by their customers and put a plan in place for success, the only thing that will hinder their success is themselves.

“You have to be willing to put a plan in place and invest in making that plan work,” says Cochran. “If you aren’t willing to take the risks to be successful, you won’t make it. You can’t sit on the sidelines, you have to move forward and get in the game.”

Posted In: Management, Residential Buildings

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