Author: Shannon Cahill, BSU student
I was able to sit down with the owners of Heat Pumps Unlimited, INC, Mitchell and Dawn Cahill. Mitchell is the President and Dawn is the Vice President. Heat Pumps Unlimited is a small HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) company located in Kingston, MA. The company both installs and services HVAC systems, mainly mini splits. The company opened its doors on June 7th, 2014. Both Mitchell and Dawn grew up in Pembroke, MA and have been married for thirty years. These two always wanted to open a business together.
Question: Why did you choose this line of business?
Mitchell: My father-in-law started the HVAC company in 2014, while my wife and I ran the business for him. In 2018, my wife and I bought the company from him and became the official owners. We decided on HVAC because we wanted to start at the bottom floor of a field that was up and coming. According to The Massachusetts Department of Energy mini-split heat pumps are one of the fastest growing HVAC sectors.
Question: What was it that made you want to start this business?
Mitchell: Dawn and I started this company together because of my back injury due to my long time in the field of masonry. Due to my injuries, I had to get surgery and needed to take a step back from manual labor. So, taking a less physically demanding role was what was in the cards for my future.
Question: What was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
Dawn: The most difficult thing we went through starting the company was marketing and building a customer base. We both spent a lot of time getting in contact with general contractors to allow us to bid on jobs. Making the company know was a struggle in the beginning. We had a hard time at first trying to get into the industry and making contacts with others in the field.
Question: If you had to start over from day one what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
Dawn: I would definitely have hired an experienced marking consultant. It was difficult doing it all on our own when we weren’t that experienced. The company probably would have taken off faster if we had hired a consultant. Our most difficult challenge was finding the right crew of technicians to get the job done smoothly and properly. Also, going against other companies that had been in the HVAC business for years.
Question: What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
Mitchell: The toughest part of having a business in 2020 is staying competitive with other companies with prices. Also, not as many people are not entering into the HVAC trade and it is hard to find skilled technicians.
Question: If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
Mitchell: Our company offers free estimates to all customers. We require all of our employees to attend training and classes each year. The company is an elite Fujistu dealer and can offer an upgraded warranty compared to other companies in the field. Also, we offer the most cost-effective option for the specific customer. There is an employee on-call 24/7 for any emergencies.
Question: What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
Dawn: Referrals and word of mouth is our number one way of bringing in new customers. Recently, we hired a new consultant to handle all of our social media and website content. We are beginning to gain more customers from Facebook.
Question: If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
Mitchell: In a year we hope to continue growing our company, hopefully to a three-million-dollar company. Also, hire three to five more skilled employees eager to learn more about the field.
Dawn: We are training and moving a lot of our responsibilities to our employees so we can decrease our now seventy-hour work week to thirty or forty hours a week.