Richard Ciresi - Louisville, Kentucky
While managing a bowling alley, Richard Ciresi went sailing in the Bahamas with an uncle and friend. Both being union sheet metal workers, they wanted to own their own company but didn’t know how to run the business side. They asked Ciresi if he would manage their new HVAC business. Ciresi agreed, left the bowling alley and remained in his new found industry for the next 30 years.
What was business like before you invested in an Aire Serv franchise?
It was all commercial and industrial. We were relatively successful, but it took all of my time and the risks just kept getting bigger. The larger the jobs, the higher the financial risks became.
I taught myself the business, which was mostly commercial and industrial, until I went into my own business and purchased the Aire Serv franchise, getting into the residential industry. The residential side was started with the idea of having a more marketable company with a higher profit percentage and less risk.
Why invest in a franchise?
I built the commercial/industrial side with no education, no experience and very little help. I thought it might be a novel idea to have someone that knew what they were doing involved for a change. We didn’t need to re-invent the wheel and suffer the same financially painful lessons we did building the commercial side.
I went to the corporate office, did some research and received advice from my wife. Aire Serv appeared to have a good system, with good values via The Dwyer Group.
What challenges did you face when you first opened your Aire Serv franchise?
Initially, it was difficult to market to my area because there are more than one million people in my territory. Because we were an unknown in our area for residential heating and cooling replacements and service, getting the phone to ring was our biggest struggle, as we started with zero residential customer base. We’re getting past that now, with new marketing and systems.
What impact has the Aire Serv brand had on your business?
The entire organization has become more professional. The franchise has helped keep me focused on a single goal instead of going many directions simultaneously. By being more aware of the level of customer service provided, I spend more time training the technicians, evaluating our corporate appearance. It has caused the entire organization to come up a notch.
What do you see in the future for your franchise?
We’ll have doubled the customer data base to 10,000 customers by the year 2010, and increase our maintenance plan customers from 500 to about 2000. Because of this secured growth, I may decide to sell to an outsider or my employees, or I may continue to operate it if I can work part time.
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