Case Studies

Hometown Heating & Air Conditioning

A Nordstrom mentality for home heating and cooling

When clients call to have their heating or air conditioning systems serviced, they’re usually too hot or too cold. So, Hometown Heating & Air Conditioning aims to be a Goldilocks company: just right.

The Golden State home service company—based in Concord, California—does especially well with high-end customers who appreciate the details, like the care Hometown Heating’s technicians use when moving furniture, the booties technicians put on before they enter a home and the text messages Hometown Heating sends before a technician arrives onsite. Those texts even include a photo of the technician dispatched.

Hometown Heating and Air Conditioning

“We like to call ourselves sort of the Nordstrom of the home service industry,” says Gabby Lichtig, Hometown Heating’s marketing coordinator. “ . . . We just take little extra steps to make sure our customers have the best experience possible.”

What’s in a name

In 2012, Brian Waskow started the business with a good friend. The pair had worked for larger, HVAC companies for decades and realized they could set out on their own. The business completed $2 million worth of work in its first year, and it’s been growing ever since.

Initially, Hometown Heating went by Walnut Creek Heating & Air Conditioning, but as the company grew and began servicing residential clients beyond the bounds of Walnut Creek, California, the company adopted a new moniker.

“We wanted a name that will encompass more cities and be more approachable for years to come,” Lichtig says. “Walnut Creek is our base, and we love our Walnut Creek customers; however, we service a much larger area.”

Hometown Heating and Air Conditioning

Hometown Heating offers a range of home heating and cooling systems, including air conditioners, air handlers, heat pumps and furnaces, some of which are ENERGY STAR® qualified, meaning they meet or exceed guidelines for energy efficiency from the Environmental Protection Agency.

On the service side, Hometown Heating clients can opt for a maintenance plan, which includes two annual service visits, or simply call the company on an as-needed basis.

Speak with anyone at the company and the emphasis is clear: what sets Hometown Heating apart is the measures it will take to make a happy customer.

A regiment for success

There is a methodology to this obsessive focus on customer service. And good reason for it.

On Tuesday mornings, the company hosts a training to go over performance numbers and any process updates. On Wednesdays, technicians guide hands-on technical trainings for their peers. On Thursdays, Hometown Heating hosts a communications class, where employees learn and practice both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. They discuss the importance of appearance and building rapport. The Friday morning training gives an overview of how to communicate all options to a client.

It may sound like overkill, but it’s essential attention to detail for high-end clients, says Melea Osborne, Hometown Heating’s service/lead coordinator.

“Some of our clients that we service, they’re really important people in their lines of work—CEOs of companies, owners of companies, alpha male types—where you have to have the confidence in yourself to be able to communicate properly the technical aspect of it as well as build a relationship,” she says.

Supporting those close to home

Hometown Heating rewards its employees for delivering that kind of customer service.

When a technician receives a positive review, either sent directly to the company or posted on Yelp, Hometown Heating lets that employee pick from one of three charities—ASPCA, Folds of Honor and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital—and makes a donation in his or her name.

Hometown Heating and Air Conditioning

ll three charities “hit home” with Hometown Heating’s staff, Lichtig says. Some have children who were treated at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Others are retired veterans, who appreciate that Folds of Honors supports the families of deceased or injured veterans. And, as Hometown Heating runs a dog-friendly office, the ASPCA is important to the company, as well.

Growing people, not just profits

Hometown Heating isn’t only invested in growing its client base. It has a vested interest in growing its employees, both professionally and personally.

Whenever possible, the company hires technicians referred by current employees, and, once hired, they go through a 90-day training program, where they’re exposed to all aspects of the business.

“We are willing to train as much as they want to learn,” Osborne says. “Basically, their growth is how far they want to go with it, and the office staff and owners and management team always support their decisions.”

Osborne worked in larger, corporate HVAC settings before joining Hometown Heating, and, in comparison, she says Hometown Heating is much more accepting of employees’ ideas and individual growth.

As Waskow puts it, he can’t take his money with him when he passes. But if when his time comes, he has shared knowledge and helped people grow personally and financially, he will have been successful in life.

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It was an absolute pleasure working with the team at Blueprint. Their genuine interest in our company's journey not only resulted in a delightful piece, but gave us the opportunity to recognize some of the unsung heroes of our rapidly-growing organization. We are grateful for the opportunity to highlight the development and growth of our now well-established work-hard, play-harder culture.
— Cole Settem, Communications Coordinator, Brain Corp
Working with the Blueprint team was both a pleasure and a great learning experience. They went to great lengths to assure the article was reflective of my vision. I could not be happier working with each team member involved in bringing the final production to print. This experience has helped me realize the importance of marketing my business and how powerful the services offered have given my business credibility and exposure.
— Joan Magill, Founder, Residential Realty Group Inc.


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