Welcome to the newest department in Contracting Business magazine. Here we look at the products, tools, and services that make a contractor successful. Each month we’ll pick a contracting firm — past winners of our Contractor of the Year Award winners of either a Quality Home Comfort Award or a Design/Build Award, and other nationally recognized figures — and see what tools of the trade they prefer and that help make them successful.

Ray Isaac is president of Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning, a $16.5 million, primarily residential service and replacement company with 77,000 customers in upstate New York. The company was Contracting Business’ 2002 Residential Contractor of the Year.

Here is Ray’s list of the tools used in his company’s trucks, office, and shop.

IN THE TRUCKS

  • Number and type of trucks/vans: 52 Dodge and 50 Chevy vans, two box trucks, one flat bed, one pickup.
  • Inventory on trucks/vans: Control boards; motors; ignitors; safetys; humidifier parts; filters; refrigerants; black iron; PVC; copper pipe; fittings. Brand names include White-Rogers, Honeywell, A.O. Smith, G.E., and Robertshaw.
  • Preferred test instruments technicians carry: Gas detectors; CO detectors; refrigerant leak detectors; refrigerant recovery machines; multimeters; Magnahelic gauges; inclined manometers; additional meters depending upon the nature of the work being performed. Brand names include tif, Testo, Fluke, Kane-May, Dwyer, Bacharach, Robinair, Tek-Mate, and Sperry.
  • Preferred brand of ladders:
    Little Giant step, extension, and multi-purpose.
  • Preferred field communications method: Nextel with two-way walkie-talkies; cell phones; pagers; two-way radios.
  • Preferred wireless field service software: On-call service team connected through Citrix server.

IN THE OFFICE

  • Preferred business management software: S2000 with Great Plains Accounting and Outlook. Customized customer retention management software package designed in-house.
  • Preferred load calculation software: WrightSoft version 3.0.01
  • Preferred sales management software: Customized customer retention management software package.
  • Preferred computer/printer equipment: You name it, we’ve got it.
  • Preferred photocopier equipment: Xerox, Canon, Lanier
  • Business connects to the Internet via: DSL line.
  • Preferred Internet service provider: Frontier DSL
  • Preferred business software package: Microsoft Professional Office.
  • Preferred uniform supplier: Lease from Doritex.
  • Credit Cards Accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Discover.

IN THE SHOP

  • Preferred HVAC heating equipment brands: Rheem, Trane, Dunkirk boilers, Thermopride oil units.
  • Preferred HVAC cooling equipment brands: Rheem, Trane, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, Unico.
  • Preferred accessory brands: AprilAire, EnviroAire, Honeywell, Sahara, Rinnai, and Empire and Regency fireplaces.
  • Amount of equipment inventoried: Very little; most delivered to jobsite just-in-time.
  • Warehouse equipment used: Hyster forklifts; Grainger hand carts.