Living in Houston, there’s nothing more important than a functioning air conditioner. Comfort inside the home – despite the heat and humidity outside – has become a necessity for most of us. While a heating and air conditioning business can thrive in climates like ours, no one wants to deal with a shady sales person or someone who is trying to upcharge them at every turn.
Perhaps that’s why Aire Serve is so successful in the Houston area. With a business philosophy based on transparency and honesty, the company has shown strong and regular growth. And for partner couples Eileen and Rick Jones, and Kristin and Joe Severson, that translates to a business that gives them purpose and pride.
It all began when Kristin and Joe met at an air conditioning business in San Antonio. He was the lead technician and she was the office manager. They both had a vision for a better business model with high ethics, so they joined forces to move to Houston and open Cool Hands Air Conditioning in 2009. “We wanted to own a business that was fair, honest, and equitable,” said Kristin. Seven years later, they had maxed out their growth potential with the company and wanted more. So they invited Kristin’s aunt, Eileen, and her husband Rick, to come out of retirement and partner with them on purchasing an Aire Serve franchise.
“We were drawn to the code of values that is the foundation of the Aire Serve business model,” Kristin explained. “Respect, value, customer service, and having fun in the process – it was everything we had built at Cool Hands with the new opportunity to expand and grow our staff.”
They opened their location in northwest Houston in 2016. In the first two years, they grew 40 percent each year and were named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by Cyfair Chamber of Commerce. With those successes and accolades, they were bolstered to open a second location in Katy on March 1.
“We purchased the franchise from a man who had poured years into the business and developed quite a loyal customer base,” said Eileen. “He wanted to retire, so it was a win-win for both of us.”
The Joneses and Seversons are excited to operate a company with a code of values that truly inform their business. Before every meeting, they review the code that is printed on their business cards. They hold each other accountable. And this pays off in what they offer their customers. “We will always do what’s right. If we make a mistake, we own it, fix it, and make it right. We give customers all their options and strive to understand the customer’s needs in every situation,” said Eileen.
Kristin added, “And we pride ourselves on upfront pricing. Our clients know the cost of a service call before the call is made. We present them with recommended repairs and it’s their choice how to move forward. If we quote two hours and it takes four, we don’t change our quoted price. We stand behind all of our work and guarantee everything.”
The partners also do what’s right in their community. When Hurricane Harvey hit, they barbecued 4,000 meals, cooking day and night and arranging delivery to those in need. They drafted customers, Chamber volunteers, and their employees to keep the meals coming. They have served as sponsors and volunteers around the community, including the Shield Bearer Counseling Center. Kristin, who served on the board of the women’s networking group American Business Women’s Association Cyfair Express, spent years heading up fundraisers for scholarships and women in business. They are now looking for ways to get involved in Katy and truly embed themselves in their new community.
The new Aire Serve location offers repairs, maintenance programs that include discounts and priority service, and new installations to Katy and the surrounding area. Call for an appointment and if you mention this article, you’ll get $30 off any repair.