Hiring a Key Employee
Additional growth made it necessary for Linda and I to hire a service manager. The service manager would answer the telephone and dispatch the technicians while maintaining an inventory of service related items.
The person we hired was Ted Janssen, who is still with the company today! He was very methodical and his dispatching knowledge expanded as time went on. Although Ted had never previously worked in an office he knew air conditioning repair, grew up in Tempe, and dispatched the technicians efficiently. Ted has been a loyal and key employee in the Hendel’s success story. Ted’s oldest son Scott now works for Hendel’s as well.
Many a time Linda and I discussed various aspects of managing the business at our dinner table, including: purchasing, product, marketing, store appearance, and buying new equipment and vehicles. She always encouraged and supported me and said that she knew that we could handle the additional new challenges that come with growth and success.
We always discussed how other companies handle similar situations that we were facing and decided to research and copycat the same principles that other companies used at Hendel’s.
Annual Commitment for Better Pricing
If we assigned some hard and fast policy for a competent employee there would be less room for a supplier to negotiate. We decided Ted would be the company’s purchasing agent. We came up with a new and revolutionary idea and instructed Ted to make purchase commitments for a full year’s supply of air conditioning products. Ted’s performance surpassed our expectations.
Linda’s accounting was meticulous and she always paid the bills the day they were due and we had a very good credit history with our suppliers. The suppliers trusted Hendel’s and knew that if we agreed to purchase products on a schedule that we would keep the commitment. This gave Hendel’s a pricing advantage. We received pallet-sized shipments rather than buying parts one at a time from local distributors, as most of our competitors did.
We were able to make huge purchases direct from manufacturers compared to buying from local distributors. Most other companies send employees to pick up parts each time they make a sale, but Hendel’s now has a large inventory of parts ready for immediate use. The concept has been very successful and purchasing efficiency has given Hendel’s a competitive advantage.
In 1981, with an expanded work force, we decided that we were ready to increase our service area to include the entire East Valley. We began to sell and install new air conditioners in addition to evaporative coolers. This was a big step for us. Most of the air conditioning units in the Tempe area were still fairly new and they seldom needed to be replaced. People generally wanted to repair their air conditioners rather than to replace them; even it they needed an expensive repair, such as replacing the compressor. Compressors typically cost $500 to $600 at the time.