Are contractors finally ready for the Internet? A new, rapidly growing contractor group says yes. Based on the rapid growth of the Service Roundtable (www.serviceroundtable.com), it appears they’re right.

The Service Roundtable, launched during HVAC Comfortech 2002, is now the largest private contractor group in the country, according to its founding members.

While the organization may be new, its founders are virtual brand names in their own rights. The Service Roundtable was assembled by an all-star team of HVAC contractors, including four past national chairmen of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
Led by Lee Rosenberg as Chairman of the Board and Matt Michel as CEO, the Service Roundtable is taking a unique approach. There are no meetings. There is no mail. Everything is Internet-based.

“ The use of the Internet is a key part of our business strategy,” says Michel. “Because we are able to lower the variable cost of adding members, we can deliver high value business tools at a very affordable price.”

Rosenberg adds, “It only costs a contractor $50 a month to get involved with the Service Roundtable. Given everything a contractor receives and all of the interaction occurring between contractors on a daily basis, it’s a no-brainer. It’s less than the price of a nice dinner out.”
What do contractors receive? Every week, the Service Roundtable releases new content. It ranges from technician brochures to direct mail letters to consumer newsletters to management tools. Each piece is designed as a template so that it can be easily customized.

In addition, the group’s interactive e-mail forum, the Service Roundtable NETwork, buzzes all day long with contractors, service managers, technicians, and salespeople raising business questions, which are answered by other contractors or by the stable of “Consult & Coach “ partners who have affiliated with the group.

The Service Roundtable also has online tools, such as service pricing calculators and iRank, which allows contractors to enter performance data and compare themselves with other contractors across the country.

The group’s members appear well-satisfied. Edd Olson in Seattle says, “When I signed up for Service Roundtable, I found that even though it was in its embryonic stage, I received more information than I ever received from other contractor groups and alliances I've joined, at considerably less expense.”

Steve Miles with Jerry Kelly Company in St Louis is one of the group’s biggest advocates. Miles says, “The Service Roundtable has given me turnkey solutions for all of the marketing things that are on the ‘things that everyone says you should do’ list. The postcards, newsletters, brochures, leave behinds, etc., can all be downloaded and they're ready for my name, logo, and postage. It's a very easy to use, professional way of keeping my name in front of my customer with very little effort. A great asset, and a true value is the instant e-mail access to the top leaders, consultants, and educators in this industry. If I have a question, I can find an answer, right away."

Dan Weltman, from New Jersey says,”I have received more ideas from the Service Roundtable in the past few months than I have from just about any other association of which I’ve been a member."

Bob Ring, also from New Jersey (Meyer & Depew), states, “We’re received more from the Service Roundtable than other groups we’ve been in, costing thousands more. I can’t imagine anyone not finding something of value for $50 a month."

" I personally recommend it to any contractor I talk to,” says Matt Prazenka at Northern Weathermakers in Chicago. “No contractor can afford to be without the resources of the Service Roundtable. It creates an unfair competitive advantage."

Are contractors ready for the Internet? It appears they’re embracing it.

The Service Roundtable can be found at www.serviceroundtable.com.