HVAC is a great industry. It has an abundance of opportunity, and in fact, is one of the last bastions of pure, small business, entrepreneurial spirit. However, just being part of the HVAC industry isn’t enough. Why don’t more contractors get involved?

I estimate that only about 10,000 contractors are active participants in industry organizations — many of which are influencing industry standards and state and federal legislation that dictate the way you operate your business.

The old 80/20 Rule at work. It’s always been that way, I know. However, is it good for our industry that so few people are actively involved? If more contractors don’t get involved, could HVAC contracting go the way of television repair stores, hardware stores, or corner groceries?

1996 - This was the historic year when consolidation first grabbed the attention of the HVAC
industry. Sure, it has had its ups and downs; however, consolidation
triggered a lot of activity.

Organizations, alliances, trade associations, and various HVAC subcultures really woke up.

Perhaps driven by self-preservation, many contractors became “joiners” of membership groups, about the same time consolidation was hitting
its stride. Today, though some industry organizations may be flourishing, membership rolls are generally down.

This industry consists of about 50,000 HVAC contractors claiming weekly payrolls.1 (43,937 read this magazine.) An additional 50,000, or so, one-man-bands comprise an industry of nearly 100,000 contracting companies.

That’s a lot of contractors. There are many membership organizations that need your participation to help make a difference in our industry and in your business.

Here’s just a few to choose from: ACCA, MCAA, MSCA, SMACNA, PHCC, RSES, Service Roundtable, Nexstar formerly known as Contractors 2000, AirTime 500, Building Services Institute Group, Radiant Panel Association, Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium, Excellence Alliance, National Comfort Institute, International Service Leadership, AireServe, The Unified Group, The Chiller Marketing Group, Comfort Institute, Zoning Marketing Alliance, Women in HVAC, etc.

Why should everyone become more actively involved in the HVAC community? According to Paul Stalknecht, president and CEO of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, “Unfortunately, contractors who think that Washington doesn’t mean anything to them are the reason why Congress won’t move quickly on issues that really matter to our industry.”

Influencing public policy to improve the business climate is just one benefit of joining a membership organization.

Consider the following benefits: Enhancing the image of contractor professionalism, business-building communications such as newsletters and Internet subscriber lists, contractor locator services, and training programs.

Your involvement can mean thousands of dollars, maybe more, for your business. Isn’t it time you took a look at how really cool your chosen profession is today? Be very proud of it, and get involved today.

Mike Murphy
Editor-in-chief
mmurphy@penton.com