The latest issue in the industry is causing a growing mechanical contractor to be more concerned about the workforce than the other concerns.
Nick Lamb, vice-president of Butler Heating & Air Conditioning sat with DBJ and discussed rising trends, as well as a peek behind the curtain at recent company growth.
What is the current state of the mechanical construction industry?
In recent years, regulatory changes and product availability has replaced the workforce challenge as the main obstacle to overcome. Equipment manufacturers have faced challenges in providing equipment on time during the transition from old products to new ones due to federal restrictions regarding the types of refrigerants, equipment efficiency standards, and new testing procedures. The new minimum efficiency products, as well as the changes in refrigerant types and their upcoming change have increased the cost of repair and replacement.
What are the latest or emerging industry trends?
The use of heat pumps has been on the rise in recent years. Inflation Reduction Act provided funds to allow property owners to benefit from a tax credit of up to $2,000 (credit towards taxable liability) when installing a heat pump that meets efficiency guidelines. This credit has led to more heat pumps being installed locally. Many of them are replacing air conditioners and giving consumers the option of choosing between two heat sources.
The increase in interest for careers in the skilled trades has also been positive for our business, especially in HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. The salaries of skilled tradespeople are increasing as the demand for them continues to increase. This makes these trades attractive to high school students and experienced professionals looking for a new career.
Butler Heating & Air Conditioner
Revenue 2022: $6,4 million (a 14.3% increase over 2021's $5,6 million).
Percentage of business (commercial): 20
Percentage of business (residential).
Headquarters: 120 Springfield St., Dayton
Residential and light commercial HVAC services, indoor air quality and plumbing
Butler Heating & Air Conditioning has grown by 14% in the past year. What is the reason?
Butler has seen the advantages of the newer technologies in the HVAC residential industry and is convinced that they are worth investing in. Some of this technology is integrated into certain equipment tiers, and some is found in accessory products. We have educated our customers about these technologies and offered them multiple choices for their homes. I think that the strategy of education, and presenting options versus selling has been most important to our growth in the last year.
What's new with your company?
Butler has been expanding into new areas in the last few years. These include commercial HVAC, residential and commercial plumbing. The expansion of both sectors has allowed Butler to remain busy in the slower seasons for residential HVAC (due to lack of demand due to weather) and to grow as a company.
What is your favorite restaurant in Dayton, both professionally and personally?
I have several local favorites! Old Scratch has to be the best place for a family night. Hunny Be's Brown Street is my go-to place when I am alone and need something quick. On Fridays and Saturdays, I go almost exclusively to Invoke at the 2nd Street Market. Pine Club is the place I choose for a professional dinner or date night. Pine Club is my favorite because I can't decide between steak and seafood. I usually order the surf and turf! Pettibone Coffee is a good option for lunch. It has a nice atmosphere and some surprisingly tasty sandwiches.