Contractors told how to grow and prosper

DALLAS — Clockwork Home Services Inc. recently hosted an event for contractors interested in growing their companies. Nearly 100 contractors from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area attended Focus on Your Future here in early May to listen to industry experts from around the country share their knowledge. Barnett Pro Contractor Supplies, Norris, and BioOne drain care products were among the sponsors of the event.

Jim Abrams, president of retail services and chief executive officer of Clockwork Home Services, started the day off by sharing his story from starting a residential HVAC company with just one technician, to becoming the owner of a large independently owned service and replacement company in North America. He explained that the journey wasn’t easy, there were many bumps in the road, but by making strategic business decisions along the way, he was able to overcome any challenge that he was met with. Abrams urged contractors to get ready for change.

“Change is certain,” he said. “There will be different competition, different advertising, different ways of buying, different ways of selling, and different strategies.”

Among the other industry experts that spoke was Keresa Richardson, owner and president of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Dallas. Richardson shared her success story and focused on giving the contractors advice with advertising. She explained that the number one reason contractors fail is because of poor advertising decisions. The market is changing fast and the old ways of advertising, such as the Yellow Pages, are no longer getting results. With all the complex technology that’s advancing every day, contractors must have a smart advertising program available to them in order to get their names out to their market. Contractors walked away from the session with new ideas and strategies that they could apply immediately to their marketing programs.

Terry Barrett, general manager, AirNow, Millbrook, Ala., explained to contractors how to “sell right.” His message was that companies don’t fail, people fail. Barrett focused on how recruitment, management, and training of employees are keys to the success of a business. He gave contractors many different training and recruiting tips and options to help them grow their businesses.

Rebecca Cassel, president of the client services group of Clockwork Home Services, focused on how to “buy right.” She outlined how big box retailers have a purchasing advantage over the independent contractor. She showed how saving money on the items contractors purchase regularly for their businesses could increase revenue almost as much as increased sales.

Terry Nicholson, group president of client services for Clockwork Home Services, shared his strategies with contractors on when it’s time to either acquire a new business or a good time to sell your business. Nicholson detailed the costs of acquiring a competitor’s business and also gave contractors exit strategies. He warned the contractors that, “A business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.”

Random drawings for prizes were held at the start of each session. One contractor received a business software program valued at $10,000, and another contractor won $1,000 credit for his favorite wholesaler. Other prizes such as cash and tools were given out during the program as well.

The next Focus on Your Future Event will take place in Baltimore June 9. Additional information is available at 877/805-8697 or at

Kate Kelly is associate editor at Contracting Business magazine.