SPECIAL TO CONTRACTOR
NASHVILLE TENN. — Clockwork Home Services acquired two HVAC and plumbing franchisees operating here and in Hastings, Minn., effective Feb. 1. The acquired companies will operate in their respective markets under the One Hour and Benjamin Franklin brands as fully owned Clockwork retail units.
The companies are Comfort Ventures in Nashville, dba One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating, and O'Connor Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Hastings, dba O'Connor's One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.
Under terms of the deal, Clockwork has assumed ownership, rights and use of the acquired companies' assets, intellectual property, trucks, equipment and offices. Additional terms were not disclosed.
Comfort Ventures was founded in 2001 and became a One Hour franchise in 2003. For 2006, Comfort Ventures had annual revenue of $650,000. O'Connor Plumbing, Heating and Air has served the Hastings marketplace since 1946 and became a One Hour franchise in 2005. For 2006, O'Connor had annual revenue of $3.6 million.
"The expansion of our One Hour and Benjamin Franklin brands in Nashville and Hastings enables us to increase our market share in these growing communities by providing customers outstanding service, fair pricing and on-time performance — qualities that people trust and depend on us for," Clockwork CEO Jim Abrams said. "Clockwork is on plan to meet its business growth goals for 2007 to identify and acquire select home services contractors with proven performance track records and a strong commitment to customer service."
John O'Connor, former president of O'Connor Plumbing, Heating & Air, told CONTRACTOR that he became a franchisee to take advantage of Clockwork's financial, budgeting and management systems as well as the power of the One Hour brand. A local newspaper in Hastings, population 19,000, had done a top-of-mind awareness study in which O'Connor Plumbing finished first in its category with 37% brand recognition, he said. The closest competitor's brand was recognized by 6%.
"Then I looked at the bottom of the TOMA survey and 40% couldn't name anyone," O'Connor said. "That was after all the years in business, the hundreds of thousands of dollars of marketing and our trucks all over town."
He decided to sell the franchise to Clockwork earlier this year for business and quality-of-life issues, O'Connor said. Ben Franklin Plumbing and One Hour Air Conditioning will operate as two separate businesses under one roof, he added.
"Plus this will be good for my employees," O'Connor said. "They'll be better off with One Hour and Ben Franklin than with me remaining as an independent."
O'Connor is a speaker in the Comfortech RoadShow series sponsored by CONTRACTOR and Contracting Business magazines.
Clockwork operates plumbing, electrical and HVAC franchises within its portfolio of home services franchises. In eight years, the organization, originally formed as VenVest Inc., has exceeded $500 million in system-wide sales as of December 2006, according to the company.