Tyler Word, owner and President of 1st Response AC & Heating, Inc., joined the show to discuss how the HVAC industry has changed over the years and where it’s headed, as well as some stories and tips for homeowners and some of the big problems they’ve helped solve. They are a tremendous company that you should call to serve your HVAC needs! (https://1stresponseac.com)
Aaron Spatz 00:09
Good morning DFW. You’re listening. You’re watching to the Dallas Fort Worth Business Podcast. I’m Aaron Spatz. Thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you for joining me today. It’s been a it’s been a fun week, we’ve had a we’ve had nothing but a bunch of great guests on the show just really been enjoying producing for you any feedback you have, drop me a line at podcast at Bold media.us If you’re watching this on YouTube, I would be forever grateful for your likes, subscribes, shares. So, you know, tell people in your community about it. There’s a lot there’s a lot of people that come to me, they’re like, Man, I did not know this existed like this is really, really cool. So spread, spread the word, share the message. If there’s people that you would love to see on the program, tag them, email them or give them a heads up. And again, easiest way to reach out to me is, again, podcast at Bold media.us. And this morning, we’re gonna just jump right into it. So I’ve got the the owner, president of First Response ACX I’ve got Tyler Word with us today. Tyler, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Yeah,
Tyler Word 01:10
thanks for having us.
Aaron Spatz 01:11
Absolutely. Yeah. So one, I always love to lead off the program with this question. So are you a DFW native? And if not, Where are you originally from?
Tyler Word 01:21
though? Yes, I am. Originally from Fort Worth. They live in Houston, north side of Houston for a few years while I was younger.
Aaron Spatz 01:30
Nice. Okay. Yeah. So I’d say it’s like one out of every seven or eight people that I’ve talked to is like is a native to DFW so that that’s cool. I can’t imagine the the changes that you’ve seen a curl over the years. And so it would love to I would love to just dive a little bit more into your background. So So you run first response, AC, but we’d love to before all that. How did you get started in into the business to begin with?
Tyler Word 01:58
Um, well, I, I had a daughter when I was pretty young, so figured college was probably out of the question. And I decided to go to a trade school, went to TCC for their HVAC program, and just got out in the field with a contractor that would hire me not knowing anything, just kind of jumped right in. So I worked for him for a year, went and worked for another midsize company. And after being there for a few years, I was eligible to get my license. And I thought I knew how to run a business. Even though I only know how to fix air conditioners, and just kind of jumped right in the whole business thing. So
Aaron Spatz 02:47
Wow. Well, you hit you hit on a really, really good point. And so and I think this, I think that’s, I think that struggle is not unique to you, I think there’s a million people out there that that share that same pain that you just that you just kind of mentioned, which is, man, I’m a really good electrician, I’m a really good HVAC guy, I’m a really good plumber, whatever, but it could be a photography, business, it could be any, like any number of things. And then realizing like, holy cow, like there’s a whole nother side of this that I have to be responsible for in terms of business stuff. So like, what what what is that? Like? What does that learning journey been like for you.
Tyler Word 03:26
Um, it’s been pretty hard actually. So just jumping into it with no plan and just thinking I was gonna fix air conditioners and make more money and have more free time. And I learned really quickly that it’s the complete opposite of that. You know, it was 70% business 30% go and fix an air conditioners. And when you don’t know anything about business, you’re trying to read and do as many trainings as you can. And so it was it was completely different than what I initially thought,
Aaron Spatz 03:59
No. Well, I mean, you’ve you’ve seen, like, you’ve seen business grow over the last several years. And so you kind of mentioned it already, I guess, with doing trainings and other things, but just tell me like how, how important has that been to you? Like how much has that helped you?
Tyler Word 04:16
Very important actually. The industry is always changing, businesses always changing. And so just trying to keep up with with the pace it’s the only thing that’s seems to be a constant. And so I think training is one of the more important things that that can be done not only for the business side but also for technicians too because it technologies that are advancing so quickly. You get a new high efficiency system out. year later it’s they’ve already made some modifications to it. So even our technicians have to go through quite a bit of training to
Aaron Spatz 04:56
thank so like you’re always, always having to study always stay On top of the game, it says like, there’s just me I can’t imagine with, you know, because like, I’ve, I’m not the expert in this business you are but like, I just remember, like, when I lived in Houston, we had to hit replace two systems in the same summer. And I remember we’re talking like, sear this and sear that in terms of, you know, the, the high efficiency stuff and and the all the different technology that was being replaced. So like, you’ve got to had a system in a in a in the house that’s like 20 years old or something. And then to see like a new one new thermostat, everything you’re like, holy cow, like the, the performance of it, and and all the different things that are happening. It’s it’s, it’s mind blowing, like, how, like, what has it been like for you to see all those things change over the years?
Tyler Word 05:50
It’s, so the biggest change that I saw was when they went from, they came out with what’s called a variable speed compressor. Okay. And so that’s more the newer technology, that’s kind of starting to take over. So
Aaron Spatz 06:06
what does that do?
Tyler Word 06:08
It changes the speed basically changes the speed of the compressor. So most systems in homes, they have a one speed compressor. And when that system is sized for that home, it’s sized for 100 degree day, depending on the region you’re in are in Fort Worth, it’s 400 degree day. And so anytime it’s lower than 100 degrees, you have an air conditioner that’s made 400 degrees. So if we can stage the cooling, put whether it be a two, two speed compressor or a multiple speed compressor, then we can really start seeing some some more comfort and some more energy savings. And so when they came out with the variable speed units, they were pretty awesome.
Aaron Spatz 06:54
You just like, as you’re explaining this, you’ll have to tell me if this if this visual that I just got is is, is good, or if it’s like the worst thing ever, but I just I just imagined it being one of those things where you get in a car, and it only knows one speed. So like you get in the car, it’s 50 miles an hour, no matter what you do, or 100 miles an hour no matter what you do. And so you want to park you got to like stand on the brake and the gas or you’re going down like a residential street or, and then But then you get on the highway where you know, it opens up a little bit, maybe that’s not as crazy. So that like, does that does that kind of relate to what we’re talking about? Like the when you size the home when you size it for like 100 degree day, but you’ve maybe it’s 55 degrees outside or something? What you’re saying is like it’s you’re just you’re over? You’re overpowering what you really need to be using, right?
Tyler Word 07:43
Yeah, absolutely. So when you do that, it puts more wear on the system, so it doesn’t last as long. Starting and stopping is the the hardest part on the system. So when it’s running, it’s actually it’s designed to run. So it gets EIGHT minutes into the run cycles actually, when it’s most efficient, okay. And the way that we try to explain to people when you know, when they come when they’re looking to purchase a new one is if you were in your car, and you had your AC on high all the time, that’s the only thing that you could have, you’d be pretty uncomfortable. It’s just blowing in your face. On high and so then you turn it off a few few minutes later, you turn it right back on, you’re going high. So it’s that constant ups and downs of too cold too hot. And that’s what most most homeowners have in their home. Yeah, so as technologies advance, we’re able to kind of control it to where you have the different settings similar to in your car.
Aaron Spatz 08:42
So I’m, I’m going to ask you to share like some some of the dirty slash clean secrets of of the industry. So like you’re, you’re like you’re really honest, upstanding guy. And I think if anyone who’s watching this just for the first 510 minutes of this of this program, like you could probably get a sense of Tyler’s a pretty, like pretty level headed. pretty easygoing, but really humble and real honest guy, not to embarrass you or anything, but But no, but what like what are some of the things that you feel like if if you’re a homeowner because I think this is really this is really, really important is when when a company such as yours, it doesn’t have to be HVAC could be any other type of trade. And when I’ve told people it’s like, it’s like it’s analogy monopoly, right? So you’re coming in you’ve got all the knowledge like you know exactly what’s going on with with a little bit of troubleshooting you could figure it out pretty quick. People like me are gonna have a hard time deciphering what’s real what’s not and then let the whole like commission sales guy routine, which your guys don’t do, which is really cool, but But what what what have you seen in terms of like work or let me back up? What should homeowners be doing so that they can make sure that they’re that they’re doing the right work and I write maintenance on their, on their systems when, when they invite a company in.
Tyler Word 10:08
Doing doing maintenance is very important. I mean, it should be done twice a year once for the AC. And once for the heating. It’s just just like car, you gotta change oil, you got to hop off the fluids. So units, we go up runtime units have run times, I think, in our region, compressor hours are about 1800 hours per season. And so those need to be maintained, that units being cleaned, filters being changed on time. And what we kind of see is we get into a home and they don’t even most homeowners don’t even think about the maintenance on their air conditioner. It’s just they’re always comfortable, then one day they get home and it’s hot. You know, it’s kind of out of sight out of mind. And it’s, it’s not something they really think about. Yeah. The other thing is, is on repairs is just, you know, when we go in, we want to educate you, most people don’t know very much about their system. Exactly. And so we want to go in, we want to get some information from you. And then once we diagnose the problem, you know, let you know your options. If you’ve been having repairs the last several years, and this is going to be a major repair of the systems, you know, 12 years old, we may need to have a conversation about replacing it, we’re going to ask you that if you don’t want to, then we’ll fix it. But we made you aware that hey, it’s time to consider replace it. So we’re not going to pressure you into making that decision. We’re just going to lay out your options. It’s it’s up to you after that.
Aaron Spatz 11:51
Good. Yeah, cuz there’s a you know, it, it makes it really difficult because when you don’t understand as as the homebuyer or as a homeowner, and you’ve got something that’s broken, you’re like, Hey, man, I don’t know what’s going on. Just tell me what’s going on. And you’re kind of like gritting your teeth. At the same time, as you’re saying next year’s like, dude, this could be a $40 or $100 issue or the school, are we talking like, you know, this thing is on life support? And so, you know, what are some things so, so maintenance, I think you hit that really well. So, maintenance being a really, really important thing for people to do. It’s, it’s what so when we’re talking maintenance, again, I’m just asking two really dumb obvious questions. But, but for maintenance, like what all what all does, what all does maintenance entail, so people can make sure that they’re doing what they need to be doing.
Tyler Word 12:47
Um, for the AC side, the most, the biggest thing is getting the outdoor unit clean and getting it cleaned properly. Whenever we clean them, we have to take the top off so that we can get inside the unit. And if the sides come off, we take the sides off also an expose the coil, then you can clean it from the outside and also clean it from the inside. And then after that, it’s just checking the operation of everything. There’s components can be weak there. Refrigerant can be low, and even when refrigerants low you may not know it, because you’re comfortable. But the system’s running longer than it should it’s raising your utility bill because it’s having to run longer. So I made it through disable the catch, not only get the outdoor unit clean, but catch potential issues, it could turn into something bigger. And so when when you’re checking the whole operation and everything that extends the life of the system.
Aaron Spatz 13:52
Oh, yeah, for sure. Well, then and then like what about on the on the homeowner side of what? What can we be doing to help in that process? So like, the first thing comes to mind is air filters. That is or is there anything else that we can or should be doing?
Tyler Word 14:09
Yeah, air filters is most important thing on the homeowner side. A lot of those a lot of the one inch filters they say, three months. They’re a thicker filter than what the system is designed for. They filter better so they get dirty faster. And then the filter company says you can leave it in there longer. So it’s kind of a a myth, I guess you’d say. Okay, a selling point for the filter company. And so check it one is filters need to be checked every month 30 changing. It shouldn’t be you should still be able to see through it. A light gray is about when it’s time to change. And then the next most common filter is a four inch filter. A lot of those say six months to a year. We tell people check them every three months. If it’s not dirty, let it go another month. That’s fine. Sure, each home is different. It’s you know, every living situation is different. Somebody with kids running in and out pets in the house, they may have their filters probably get dirty faster, okay? You know somebody that just somebody by themselves and they don’t do much in and out and no pets and tight home, you know newer construction home they can, they may be able to get the a couple months out of a one inch filter. Okay. Okay, well, let’s just keep in, keep an eye on your outdoor unit, if it’s dirty, call somebody out to get it cleaned, or you can rinse it off with a water hose yourself also.
Aaron Spatz 15:38
Nice. That’s cool. So like what have been for you. So like, you’ve, you’ve seen a lot of change in the DFW area. So now like I’m, I’m kind of zooming out now. So getting out of like the nitty gritty of the business now we’re just talking more like macro trends with within Fort Worth, but like, what have you seen in terms of the growth of Fort Worth in home construction, and the impact that’s had on, on on on your business or oil or on the greater aging of the HVAC line of work? Like, what is that done? And is over over the last? I don’t know, 510 years? What does that look like?
Tyler Word 16:21
Um, so yeah, there’s been a lot, I mean, I think we’re one of the one of the areas that has the most new new construction homes going up. And we don’t do new construction. So that side doesn’t affect us as much. But the, the, you know, being able to get more more customers on maintenance, and just more and more air conditioners out there, they’re potentially going to have issues. If there can be like a pamphlet that comes with the home, when it’s new about maintenance, you know, from the builder, that’d be great to help help homeowners to get a longer life out of their system, we do tend to see on new construction homes, homes, three to say three to five years old. We still get just as many repair calls on those as we do on some older homes. And I think it’s a lack of maintenance. For sure.
Aaron Spatz 17:23
Yeah, that I was gonna ask you why so? So do you feel like the challenge for a lot of people is like, they just, they’ve either been in an apartment, or they’ve been renting a house. And so they haven’t really considered it or thought about it. And then when you jump into homeownership, it’s like, holy cow. Now, there’s all these other things that I have to be cognizant of as a homeowner. And so it’s kind of our, like, is that? Is that assumption, right? Or do you just think it’s just people in general just don’t do a really good job of, of home maintenance?
Tyler Word 17:56
Um, I don’t know. I, I don’t really have an answer that question.
Aaron Spatz 18:01
Yeah. That’s probably a bad question.
Tyler Word 18:06
I think each individual’s different and it just depends on their experience with the home. Yeah. You know, first time homebuyer, I don’t think that they really understand the maintenance and the upkeep that it takes on a home, not just the air conditioner, but everything else. Yeah. And as you get more experience owning the home, I think you start the people who own one longer you start to realize, okay, this thing doesn’t sustain itself. I gotta, yeah, I’m gonna put some work in it too. For sure.
Aaron Spatz 18:38
No, I think I fell. I think I fell into that camp several years ago, when we made our first home buy. And, I mean, it was it was exciting. And then realizing like, oh, man, like I’m, I’m responsible for a whole bunch of other stuff that I I’m used to a landlord or somebody else having to having to take care of now it falls on me. And so no, it’s just, it’s just a it’s an interesting observation. So you What tips do you have for people in terms of how they go about selecting a, in in an AC company? So I’m obviously going to say they need to give you a call. But when people don’t understand maybe the differences between HVAC companies is in the there may not even be a good answer to this question. And that’s okay, too, but are like are there any things that you think people are like? Are there any questions people could ask that you think would help them? Determine if that’s a good company? For them?
Tyler Word 19:37
Yeah. In in Texas, we’re required to hold a license. So when you call somebody, I would definitely ask if they’re licensed minimum insurance that we have to hold. Ask them if they’re insured. And then how long they’ve been in business. Probably really check their reviews on Google and any other kind of review platform and kind of see you know, what other people are thinking about them. It’s, it is it is kind of hard until you go through the actual experience with a company in our industry, it seems you really don’t know what you’re going to get because there are some smaller companies that have great customer service you know, give a great experience to the customer, but you’re looking at reviews and they’ve they only haven’t seen, right. Whereas some larger companies, they have a ton of reviews, it looks like a good rating. And you know, sometimes you get a good experience sometimes you don’t so it really just depends I think kind of what you’re more comfortable with theory comfortable with, you know, the local shop are you more comfortable with with Walmart and each individual’s different so you know, what kind of peace of mind are you looking for also, sure, if you’re calling a company that you feel can back everything that they said, Ask about warranties, ask about overtime rates, ask about emergency services. So
Aaron Spatz 21:22
now those are all good, great things to read things to consider. The the you know, the the reviews piece, the you know what I like to call like, the dads circle, the mom circle of man, hey, you know, my, my AC just took a crap, who do you recommend calling? Or hey, man, like my garage door just broke? Or it’s a like, it’s always these, these little referrals? These little networks? And so oftentimes, it’s, it’s your neighbor, I mean, man, I cannot I cannot tell you how many times I’ve bugged my, my neighbor across the street about like, Hey, man, who worked on your fence, because I need some help on my fence, man. And so he’s like, oh, yeah, give this guy a call. And so I feel I feel like that’s, that happens a lot in this in this business. I’d love to know from your like, from your perspective. And from your experience, like has that? Has that been a significant part of your business? Do you get? Do you get a lot of people who call you because a you worked on my neighbor’s system? Or you worked on my, you know, on my aunts, you know, a AC last summer? Like, are there a lot of those type of calls?
Tyler Word 22:25
Yeah, that’s and that’s probably most of where our customers come from is from from referrals. Yeah. So just Pete, somebody that used us before referred us out to one of their friends or family. And we love referrals. They’re awesome. It’s already, you don’t have that relationship, but it kind of it makes the relationship easier to build because somebody referred them to you, and they trusted that person. So and if we can get into somebody’s home and provide a service for them 99% of the time, they’re going to be a customer for life, because we do really care about our customers. That’s one of our biggest thing is the service we provide to them. And it’s, it’s kind of what’s gotten us to the point that we’re at today. Yeah.
Aaron Spatz 23:18
That’s exciting. So what do you enjoy most about the interaction with people because like, you’re, you’re you’re building something that I think is really, like really special. So it’s like, it’s been this, it’s been this organic growth year over year for the company. And then you’re seeing your referrals, you’re seeing a lot of things like coming into play now for you. But, you know, you’ve you’ve mentioned a lot about customer service, like what does that do for you? Like, what do you enjoy most about that about the interactions with, with people?
Tyler Word 23:50
I think just just the different types of people that you meet every day. And each each situation is different. And just getting to see the diversity of, of everybody that lives in the Fort Worth metroplex and also being able to educate people. You know, like you said, most people don’t know very much about AC systems and we do have kind of the the knowledge monopoly on it. And unfortunately, there’s with air conditioning, plumbing, electrical mechanics for cars, you know, there’s kind of a bad name just because of just dishonesty, and, and lack of education. It may not even be so much as a dishonest thing. In some some instances. I think it’s a lack of communication, and also a lack of training. So somebody may think they’re doing the right thing doing the right repair. And it’s not always the case and it was just that’s what they were taught. Oh, it’s So I just enjoy just being able to talk to different people and make them aware of the actual situation and let them make the decision.
Aaron Spatz 25:11
Yeah. No, that’s cool. All right. So like, like, sure, like, sure thing, a war story, man, like what’s like, what some crazy story you’ve gotten? Like, we’re like, have you gotten a 2am? Everything is broken call, or has it been like, like, hey, you know, I think I think my AC isn’t working quite right. But it doesn’t seem like it’s a big deal. And then you get over there and like, there’s water everywhere. Like, like, what’s a crazy story? Man, I’d love to hear. I’m like, there’s so many.
Tyler Word 25:44
Now. Yeah, so probably, usually, water issues are one of the worst if it’s, yeah. If you went to a house one time, and they said, well, the ceiling water came through the ceiling. And that’s, it happens if you don’t have an emergency pan and a safety switch on there to shut the system down. And so when I got there, I was expecting usually if somebody says water, there’s water on the ceiling, you can see a wet spot up there. Yeah, I get there. And it was probably, I’d say, four by 10. Piece of sheetrock was just you know, was missing from the ceiling. So it was all on the floor and insulation all over the floor. And what ended up happening is the plenum, which is what the ducts connect to on the system, it fallen off and so the mixture of the hot air in the attic and the water. That plenum just started getting puddled with water. And so it completely fell off there and fell through the ceiling. It was pretty interesting. First time I’d seen that.
Aaron Spatz 26:55
So but that so but that wasn’t even like a like a an AC like drain pan overflowing issue that was like the dang thing fell apart. Like yeah,
Tyler Word 27:05
that’s in Arizona is on home was about three years old.
Aaron Spatz 27:11
Dang. Okay, so that that’s that’s bringing it home for you right there, man that you’re talking about? Because I’m thinking, Oh, this is probably an 80 year old home and like the historic district of Fort Worth or something. And it’s like, no, this is brand new man. That’s crazy, man. That’s crazy. And go ahead. Well, unfortunately,
Tyler Word 27:31
too. For a new construction, the seems that kind of the lowest bidder gets the gets the job. Yeah. And so when you’re cutting out, you know, higher quality material, that plenums what was called a duckboard plenum instead of a, instead of a metal plenum than that, so it’s the, the material and the install labor seems to be less than what it should. Well. So installation is the most important part. So yeah, it’s not installed. Right, then you’re gonna, you’re gonna have some issues, like,
Aaron Spatz 28:12
you know, like blowing cold air into your attic. I mean, that’s always great, right? Yeah. Man, like, you know, I’ve I’ve seen that, like, I’ve seen that happen before. And it’s it’s like, it’s like having like a leaky door or like a leaky window. It’s just like, oh, man, I gotta get that fixed. So like, what’s been a? So kind of flipping it around? Like, as has there been? Has there been instances where you’ve gone out to a home where the homeowner reported like some major problem and you get there, there’s really not much of a problem at all.
Tyler Word 28:45
Um, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of times, and it comes back to the maintenance thing, somebody will call and say the AC has not had been cooling and we’ll get out there. Most time when you call we asked you if you check a few things, and then to shut it down. And just so that doesn’t do any more damage. And when we get out there, because we asked them to check their filter. There’s a new filter in there and we turn everything on we can’t find a problem. So we ask them where the old filter was, and they show it to us and it’s just completely clogged and so they changed their filter they never would have quit cooling because what happens is with the lab with with the filter being clogged you don’t have the airflow you need and the system starts to freeze once it starts to freeze it’s not going to cool
Aaron Spatz 29:35
Gotcha. Yeah, so that’s all that’s all stuff that goes whoo right over my head man in terms of like how it all works, but that’s that’s why that’s why it’s important for people to call you so the let’s talk a little bit about like the future of a business here in DFW so you’ve seen like so you firsthand actually are seeing tons of growth within the metroplex, you’re seeing people from all over the place from California, New York, Florida, or wherever, like people are coming in, come here from all over the freakin place. It’s crazy how much growth we’re having. And so as like, as that’s, as that’s happened, you know, what, what are some things that you think are? Well, that’s a horrible question, because I was gonna ask you like, what the differences between some of the, some of the way that, you know, AC systems are set up across the country. And there’s a friend of mine that I don’t even remember where they live, but the, they’re telling me that like, there’s they don’t even have a see. And then when they got to Texas, they realized just how important AC was just because the climate they were living in. But I was gonna ask you like, what do you think the future is? of air conditioning? So like, things continue to develop in advance? And so there’s always this new, shiny thing that’s coming out. So whether it’s the thermostat or the system itself, but what are what are some things that you that you’re seeing, starting starting to enter the market right now?
Tyler Word 31:04
Um, well, there’s, there’s some diagnostics. So there’s, there’s one thing it’s called Nexi, diagnostics, and so on some hiring, hide some higher efficiencies systems, we can actually, if you give us access to your thermostat, we can access it through through the computer, when we’re at the office and check and make sure that it’s running how it should. So the way it’s really set up is if there’s an alert or something that the system detects, it’s not okay, then it can send us an email, we can log in, and we can see what’s going on. So it may say, you know, let’s say you have it at your house and send us an email and say, Aaron’s got his AC set to 75. It’s only achieving 80. It’s been trying to get down to 75. For the last five hours, here’s what the potential issues could be. And it’s actually starting to get so detailed that where it can tell us the actual failure, and what part may be needed for that to where we can possibly even just come with the part and not have to go to the supply house after we get there. And in some instances, it alerts us and you, let’s say you’re at work. It alerts us through the day. And we can call you and say Hey, Aaron, we got an alert saying that your systems not cooling like your house you didn’t even know. Right, and so we were able to catch it and get you scheduled before you even knew there was a
Aaron Spatz 32:38
problem. Holy cow. Wow. So that’s
Tyler Word 32:41
probably the coolest thing that I think’s came out.
Aaron Spatz 32:45
Dang, yeah, that’s awesome. And that’s available for for residential. Yes, yeah. Cuz that’s that, to me, that sounds like something with on like on, on on the commercial end, where you’ve got like these massive systems, they’re all tied in together, and you have these advanced, like monitoring panels. And so that’s cool, like, so now, you could potentially do that within your own house?
Tyler Word 33:07
Yeah. Then it depends on the kind of system that you get, but some of the more more efficient ones can communicate, you get a communicating system that can do it.
Aaron Spatz 33:18
Wow. Okay. So what else is there? What else is out there? So like you, you’ve got that? Is there anything else? Like I know, what is it the the seer number? It’s, it’s going up, right? Like every year, that number seems to seem to advance so like to share with us a little bit about what all that what all that means and thinks things to think about?
Tyler Word 33:40
Well, the seer number, it’s your seasonal energy efficiency ratio. And the best way I can describe it is kind of like miles per gallon in a car. Okay, so the higher the seer, the more miles per gallon you get. And so the the minimums for SEER ratings have gone up over the years. Right now the minimum for our region is 14. So that’s the lowest SEER that we can put in, depending on the brand. It goes up to I think 24 See right now, some brands are still 21. And then the highest I’ve heard so far, it’s 24. On your traditional split systems that most homes have, so and then the again back to the different speeds of the compressors, so when once you change the speed and put multiple speeds on it, it’s just more efficient, more comfortable. And what I think’s going to happen is within the next probably five years, it’s the two speed systems are going to be the minimum that we’re allowed to put in. Wow. So just it makes sense to run it at a lower speed when it’s not needed for the 100 degree day.
Aaron Spatz 35:00
It’s gonna make the it’s gonna make the old systems really, really seem old. At that point you’re like, man, remember back in the day, and it was all single speed this and that now it’s like, you’d have like a, like a 20. Like, like, I’m like a 20 speed bike or something. It’s like got all these dollies crazy options now. Now that’s what
Tyler Word 35:17
that is cool. Most customers are kind of going that way too. We, we tend to sell more to speed and more variable speed systems, and we do the single speed ones. So we get in there, explain it to them. explain the differences and the benefits of each one. Again, let them decide. And most people tend to go to speed and variable speed. Exactly. Explain it. They kind of you know, just makes sense. Yeah,
Aaron Spatz 35:46
yeah, for sure. For sure. You know, shifting gears on your real quick. So like, what? What are some words of wisdom, some words of advice for those that are out there that are maybe that maybe they’re interested in jumping into the into the AC business? Or specifically those that are wanting to launch their own business? Like what? What advice do you have for those that are, that are contemplating starting in an HVAC company.
Tyler Word 36:14
As far as starting the question and starting the business, definitely get a plan together a very detailed plan. Don’t just jump into it, there’s a whole lot that goes into running the running a service company. mean we did basically we were in retail, which is we happen to sell air conditioners and sell repairs on air conditioners. But the differences is we’re coming to your home. And so there’s a lot of extra that goes into understanding your costs when you’re having to get a van out to a home versus you know, the customer coming to your place of business. And just learning you know, your your cost to get new customers also the huge thing and in pricing yourself, right. So when I when we first started, you know, I was I didn’t understand financials, I was in business, I didn’t understand anything, even how to set the cost of repair. And so the first two years was a real struggle. And actually, we almost went out of business, okay. And it was after the second year is when I really started kind of digging into some some business training. And light started learning where I was going wrong. As far as somebody about to get into the trade, we there’s there’s a huge lack of good talent, we have a hard time hiring people. So we need more people to come into the trade. And it’s unfortunately there’s no this is the right thing to say. But there has been such a push for higher education that the trades have been kind of neglected and not just air conditioning, welders, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and it’s kind of frowned upon almost Hey, you know, you’re just going to go do manual labor, you’re not going to do you need to go get an education instead. And it’s kind of the opposite, we, you know, we come out and we learn in the field, get our experience in the field, don’t get any debt and loans for student loans. And I mean, the potential for advancement and to make a good living is there. So unfortunately, it’s just not not well recognized. It is hard work. It is kind of, you know, it is manual, but it’s very rewarding. Also at the same time,
Aaron Spatz 39:04
for sure. Walnuts, I mean, you’re you’re you’re solving. And in some cases, you’re solving some pretty difficult problems that are difficult to diagnose. And it does require a lot of a lot of no help and a lot of training. I mean, there’s, there’s only so far man that I can take my own multimeter and there’s only so much work that I can do on my own before it was like okay, there’s a reason why there’s a reason why you call there’s a reason why that I would call you It’s like your you know, like you know what you’re doing like you’re you are the professional not not me. And so you make a really, really interesting point. And it’s a perfect segue into the next topic I want to talk about which was the what I perceived as being a labor shortage inside of trades. And so I mean, you you hit it right on the head, the there has absolutely been such a extreme bias towards higher education and again, like not knocking higher education. I think it’s great However, there’s also this entirely different pool of possibility. What, like you said has just been completely, not completely, but I mean, by and large, though it’s, it hasn’t been considered. And so you’ve got a massive shortage in, in the skilled trades in, like you mentioned, I mean, there’s a tremendous opportunity there, if people are willing to go out there and work and, and like, make it happen. And so it’s really, it’s really neat to see because I mean, you could come out, and I didn’t even I didn’t even think about it. When when when you said that which was, man, you could go into a trade, get your training, get on with a company and you’re out, you’re out making pretty good money having having a great time doing what it is you do, and you didn’t accumulate, you know, student debt, that’s going to take you 15 years to pay off either, which is, which is nuts? Yeah.
Tyler Word 40:54
That’s it. It does. I mean, it takes some time to get trained, depending on the individual. Because you can do stuff in your own time, you know, reading and practicing, you know, different things of the trade to progress quicker. And, but instead of, you know, within a couple years, you could get out and be in your own van, and go make repairs and put in systems. When once you get in your own van. It’s it’s a huge jump in, you know, and what you’re making your salary.
Aaron Spatz 41:31
So yeah, man is so like, what is the, you know, like for people who are in high school, right, that’s kind of what you’re talking about terms? Like, how do we get in front of them? Like you’re making, you’re making me think about all this nails? Like, so? How do we get in front of our young people, for them to consider, like, hate your college? College does not. Or you can still do college at the same time? If that’s really if it’s really that important to you maybe do it a part time at night or something, but but how do we get in front of our youth and share these opportunities with them? Because I feel like unless some big initiative or some big change happens, I mean, how are people going to find out that hey, you know, I could go be and, you know, a welder. I’ve always loved how, you know, I’ve always been shooting welding or I would love to learn how to work on HVAC systems, like, how do we change that?
Tyler Word 42:24
I think it would be, you know, getting on school boards and getting involved in the communities and being able to go in front of them and offer see about somehow being able to offer these programs is a course in high school. And you know, Mike, Mike Rowe, the guy that did Dirty Jobs. Yeah. So long. He actually addressed Congress about about the issue on the shortage of labor and trades as anywhere it was five or six years ago, I think maybe a little longer. Yeah. And so, I mean, he’s, he’s put together some foundations and stuff to to try to promote it, because he saw the huge gap, just from from doing dirty jobs, and then also his granddad was a plumber. And so he kind of grew up, you know, no one about plumbing and everything. And so he’s actually pushed for push for it also.
Aaron Spatz 43:27
Yeah, I mean, because it’s one, it’s one of those things, if it if it doesn’t get talked about, if it doesn’t get considered, then it’s not, it’s, it’s never gonna get changed. And so it’s like, how do we? How do we affect that change, and I, you know, as parents too, I think it’s important to to point those opportunities out and, and for some folks, that may, that may be the perfect option for them, they made like, they may have a knack for that a natural talent or a natural interest in it. And there’s, there’s a lot, there’s a lot opportunity. And in really, I think there’s I think there’s a big entrepreneurship opportunity there as well, in terms of if somebody wants to be really ambitious and start their loan, you know, their own, you know, plumbing company, or whatever. It’s like, you got to learn, right? Because there is just from my basic level, understand, like he’d mentioned getting licensed. It’s not like you just show up day one, like you you’re so the individual does the individual care the license or is it the business occurs a license? Well, there’s
Tyler Word 44:24
two ways it is so the bit the license is tied to an individual. Okay, now, me is Tyler word. I could assign my license to a contracting company, I say, but that license can only be assigned to one company. Okay. So since it’s assigned to my company, I can’t assign it to any other company. Now, if I were to assign it to a different contracting company, let’s say first response didn’t exist. Thai word just had a license. ABC company once you know means the license holder I can assign it to that company. But there are stipulations with that I have to work for the company for, you know, full time. Or if there’s not enough work, let’s say smaller, small company where they don’t do 40 hours or just getting started, then it has to be 80% of the time that works being being done. So there are some stipulations that go to that. And then as far as getting the license, it each trades a little different plumbing, you know, they go off of apprentice, journeyman, Master and responsible master. I think electricians are similar. And then ours is probably the least regulated, which the way the law states is just for four years in the field in the past six years with tools of the trade, and then you’re eligible to go get your license, okay, so whereas with the apprentice tradesman, or apprentice, journeyman master, they actually goes off hours. So you have a certain amount of hours of apprentice and you have to go take a test for a journeyman certain amount hours, journeyman, then you have to take tests for your masters, or you’re responsible. Okay. And what’s what’s really good about the plumbing, one with the responsible Masters is the difference between master and responsible masters, they have to responsible Master has to take a class on business, because they’ve, they’ve learned it. I mean, there’s such a turnover in plumbing, AC and electric companies, you know, going out of business, because it was the same thing as me, it was just a technician thinking that they could just go fix air conditioners and run a company. And so the plumbing boards actually started making it to where you have to have that business, a little bit of business knowledge to be able to start start your company.
Aaron Spatz 46:50
What do you feel like? was the turning point for you? So you mentioned and I’m actually meant to ask this earlier. So you, you said that you almost went out of business, but you know, it’s been years now that you’re you’re still standing? So like, what what was that? What was that turning point, like, what, what was going on what happened, what clicked in your head to that enabled you to continue,
Tyler Word 47:12
um, what was just after work, you know, working all summer and working 80 hours a week, no days off. And then you know, what we have what’s called our shoulder seasons, just, once it cools down, people are opening windows, right. And so nothing’s running, and slows down and there’s no work. And there’s also no money. And going where I did all this work, when four months out a day off and working 80 hours a week, that looked like a lot of mine, but it was just a flow through basically, and just realizing, okay, something’s happening here that that’s got to change, I’m not gonna be able to survive. And so I also got signed up with with train, I became a train dealer. And they were really awesome in trying to help a smaller company grow. And so what they did is basically how you set a goal with us and how much equipment you can try to individual purchase from us as a dealer, and we’re going to try to help you hit that goal. And the way that they do that is through training and through your TM kind of giving you some one on one time and just talking to you about, you know, how to, you know, some changes that you can make also. Then once they gave once they started doing those trainings for with us as they put on the trainings, but normally they cost money. And so as a dealer, they were given, you know, they would give them to us at no cost. And so that was really the turnaround was when they sent me to one of the business trainings that was that was being put on. And after that, I really realized all the things that were kind of starting to put me under the need to change and also maintenance, you know, as a technician, maintenance is just repetitive and it’s not fun. It’s not you’re cleaning the air conditioner, checking stuff out, and there’s no challenge. You’re not going in and trying to figure out what the problem is. Yeah. And so first couple years wasn’t really, you know, selling maintenance, the company I worked for before, they were huge on maintenance, okay, and so when I was a technician for them, I did a lot of maintenance. So as for myself, I was gonna I don’t want to do maintenance which which was a disservice to the customer also, you know, I should have been explaining that to them, Hey, this thing needs to be maintained. And at that stage also didn’t really had been bought into the importance of maintenance either. So as a technician and did it all the time. There was some buy in some beliefs that I needed to, you know, to have to start believing in it to even start selling it, right. And so once I realize the benefit, and hey, it really does help the customer, you know, start again, just learning and studying and going, looking at these studies of systems that have been maintained versus ones that haven’t the lifespan of all the energy savings from it. So I realized, Okay, well, maybe there is something to this, and then now it’s getting that maintenance will get you through those slower times, too. Yeah. Wow. So but I do have to give credit to train for the turnaround, really. So even though they’re, they’re, you know, a huge company, they still care about the smaller company, to try to help them grow.
Aaron Spatz 50:42
So what that that’s terrific, and it’s, it’s great that the time, the timing of all that and how it all lined up, and how you’re able to, you know, start start to see different things maybe through a different perspective than than you’d ever had before. And so, now, I just want to, you know, congratulate you, I guess, on you know, making it this far, you’ve like you, you’re not now you’re not just surviving, you’re thriving now, like the business has grown. You’re, you’re continuing to experience a lot of growth, and a lot of great things are happening. And, and I think and honestly, again, I’m not not trying to embarrass you, man, but like you do great work like your your company, your guys do do tremendous work and really trustworthy. And so that, that gets around, that’s why you’re getting a lot of referrals. And so you treat people right, you do a good job. I mean, so when you’re texting your neighbor, of course, the neighbors gonna recommend you because that’s easy, right? It’s not like, Hey, man, let me slip you at 20 and you can you can give me a referrals like, you don’t you don’t have to do that. Right. So, you know, it’s, it’s awesome. I just want to thank you so much for for being here this morning. The I want to I want to throw your information up on the screen real quick. So that’s your that’s your number as the company logo. So, you know, folks, you you’re you’re hearing it from the man himself. So this is Mr. First Response right here. So give give Tyler give his give his company called would love. Love to see you get taken care of in a in a great way. And so, Tyler again, I just want to thank you, man. Thanks for Thanks for being here with me this morning.
Tyler Word 52:23
Yeah, thanks for having us. Awesome.