Hendel’s Home Maintenance
Linda and I were married in 1970. We felt it was time to start our own business but did not want to rely solely upon air conditioning repair. We therefore named the business "Hendel’s Home Maintenance."
Between the two of us we had $1,500.00 from our combined Motorola profit sharing. We also borrowed an additional $500.00 from First National Bank. We started purchasing what we needed to start our business which included numerous hand tools, a welder and a 1961 Ford Econoline.
We started the business in a small apartment on West 5th Street in Tempe. Our plan was to treat our customers fairly and provide speedy service. While Linda continued to work at Salt River Project I went out on repair service calls and passed out business cards.
Linda thought that advertising might help generate business so at her suggestion I went to the Tempe Daily Newspaper to inquire about advertising and how it might help our business. The advertising representative told me I would need a slogan and a logo. I liked the phrase "sudden service" and used a picture of a roadrunner with a tool pouch on its side. We also had business cards printed and painted the roadrunner on the side of our Econoline van.
I did all types of repairs. When I visited a customer’s home, I would always look around to see what other needs they might have and offered my services. I repaired dripping faucets; installed new rollers in sliding doors, made electrical and swimming pool repairs, and of course repaired air conditioning units.
Not only did we receive calls from the business cards that I left in neighborhoods, many new customers came from word-of-mouth referrals. We gained new customers because we stayed true to our basic business plan of treating customers fairly and providing quality work and speedy (sudden) service.
Specializing in Air Conditioning Repair
Linda and Joe Hendel
After two years I had confidence in my ability to provide professional air conditioning repairs and service. I wanted to specialize in the more lucrative air conditioning repair business and downplay the other repairs that I had been doing. So we changed our company name to Hendel’s Refrigeration and Heating.
The business grew rapidly, as did our family. Linda was expecting our first child and resigned from her job at Salt River Project. In those days there was neither voicemail nor cell phones and we were fortunate to have Linda at home to answer the phone and take messages. I would call every hour to check for any new messages. Many times after completing a repair service I used the customer’s phone and called Linda to see if there was additional work.
In 1971, while we still operated our company from the same small apartment in Tempe, Arizona, we grossed $16,151.51 in sales and netted a profit of $4,601.30.