Ellsworth’s Heating and Cooling Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Ellsworth’s Heating and Cooling, located at 1905 North Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers, FL 33903, is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
Ellsworth’s Heating & Cooling was founded in 1968, making it one of the oldest air conditioning companies in the tri-county area. Started as a one-man operation by George Ellsworth Sr., with only a station wagon and the instinct to treat his customers the way he wanted to be treated-fairly and honestly, the company rapidly became highly trusted for its exceptional personal service and solid dependability. George Sr. credits a large part of his company’s success for a half century to a very simple, but powerful company-wide philosophy: “We always try, above all, to be honest and reputable and make every possible effort to put the customer first.”
Will Barnes, President and license holder of the company, assumed day-to-day operations of the business in 1996. Will has been with the company for the past 27 years, first working in the field as an installer, then as general manager, gaining insight and experience every step of the way.
Ellsworth’s Heating & Cooling specializes in sales, service and repair of manufactured home, single and multi-family home and light commercial air-conditioners and air purification systems. The environment at the company’s offices is warm and inviting, with colorful, somewhat retro graphics adorning the walls and employees offering friendly greetings. Dozens of customers stop by weekly to make their finance payments in person, explore what’s new or simply say hello.
The building, occupying 10,000 square feet, contains a large entry foyer, offices, showroom/training room and warehouse, which is organized by division: service, manufactured housing and residential add-on/replacement. Each tech has their own pick-up bin to organize the day’s service and install parts.
Working units in the showroom/training room feature labeled components to educate prospective customers about air conditioners and how they work and as training stations for the technicians. Two brands of package units that serve parts of the Ellsworth’s office building are installed with panels in the transition covers that open to expose the duct connections.
Will has developed a culture of accountability among the employees, allowing him to delegate responsibility for day-to-day operations and concentrate on managing the company from a big picture perspective. “The company was successful when I was in the trenches every day, micro-managing installations and service calls. I felt that if I wasn’t doing the work, I was being lazy. Then I realized we could be more successful if I let people do their jobs while I guided the company’s growth and focused on marketing and building relationships within the community.”
The employees meet weekly to discuss any service, installation or customer concerns that have been encountered and to ensure that they are all relaying the same message of customer service and satisfaction in their interactions with the public.
The customer experience is a vital part of the success of Ellsworth’s Heating and Cooling. The company’s mission statement* is prominently displayed in the building and on all the marketing materials. Reminders reinforcing accountability are prevalent as well. “Our employees are instructed to treat their customer as a family member – like they would treat their own parent, grandparent or any other family member – great service at a very fair price,” Will stated. Every prospect receives a multi-page, glossy brochure describing the company and the specific brand of equipment they have selected to meet their needs along with their quote. Every installation customer is mailed a thank-you box in appreciation of their business. The company’s performance is monitored through surveys conducted when final inspections are scheduled for new installations and surveys of service customers selected at random every week.
Will is a believer in sharing his knowledge with other HVAC companies as a way of encouraging good competition and professionalism in the industry. His employees understand the overheads that are involved in operating a successful business and he seeks out new members of the Southwest Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association, Inc. (SWACCA), offering his support. “Do you want to get out of that truck, do you want to buy a second truck, do you want to buy a building? Here’s the path you can take to get to that point. They’re going to be my competition anyway and I’d rather compete with successful, professional companies that represent our industry in the way it deserves to be seen.”
Will Barnes is a founding member of the FRACCA (Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association), past President of GACCA (Gulf Coast Air Conditioning Contractors Association) and sits on the Board of Adjustment and Appeals of Lee County and SWACCA.
Ellsworth’s Heating and Cooling can be reached by calling 866.281.5199. Visit ellsworthair.com for more information.
*Mission statement: To provide total customer satisfaction by providing state of the art products and services through innovative/reliable manufacturers, constant employee training, sound management directions and utilization of current technology.
See additional photos of this event here.