The economy in Utah is booming, and Blue Line Plumbing and Mechanical has a lot of jobs to stay on top of. Viega products are coming in quite handy to help speed things along. Blue Line recently ran gas lines for an office complex with warehouses in American Fork, Utah, running MegaPressG lines to each Read More
The economy in Utah is booming, and Blue Line Plumbing and Mechanical has a lot of jobs to stay on top of. Viega products are coming in quite handy to help speed things along.
Blue Line recently ran gas lines for an office complex with warehouses in American Fork, Utah, running MegaPressG lines to each of the 22 units. There is also a two-inch water main in ProPress, about 1,000 feet long with tees and ball valves, providing water to each unit. Using Viega products made it all possible.
“Basically, I first thought, ‘Wow, this looks so easy,’” Bryce Mannek, president of Blue Line, said. “Time is of the essence in Salt Lake City, and Marty Ellis from Viega had come out to do a demo. I borrowed a press gun from him and got the materials; and on a project in Herriman that I thought was going to take about a week, we did it in two days. It saved us a ton of time.”
The office complex owner estimated that there’s about a mile of one-inch pipe in the building, the first of three similar buildings in the same complex. Mannek said that besides saving time and money using Viega, one of his favorite things is the simple, clean look of the product.
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https://youtu.be/EbrGzskHRLo Ken Watson, VP of Marketing at Taco Comfort Solutions shares Taco’s high-efficiency comfort connection focus and new products available for residential and commercial plumbing markets. To see the Taco Comfort Solutions visit at www.tacocomfort.com Read More
Ken Watson, VP of Marketing at Taco Comfort Solutions shares Taco’s high-efficiency comfort connection focus and new products available for residential and commercial plumbing markets.
To see the Taco Comfort Solutions visit at www.tacocomfort.com
Mechanical Hub welcomes you to the very first installment of “They Said It” where we talk to contractors and get their viewpoints regarding the industry. This inaugural piece features some of the most innovative, progressive and successful contractors in the country as they weigh in on going into business on their own. Question: What advice Read More
Mechanical Hub welcomes you to the very first installment of “They Said It” where we talk to contractors and get their viewpoints regarding the industry. This inaugural piece features some of the most innovative, progressive and successful contractors in the country as they weigh in on going into business on their own.
Question: What advice would you give to those thinking about starting their own company?
Stay in touch with customers. Communication is key! At first you may field calls yourself throughout the day. Eventually, you may have someone answer the phone or a reputable answering service.
Schedule … try not to overbook. Doing a job in our minds is way faster then actually doing the job. I can remember not accounting for things like travel time … supply house lines … and eating. Don’t forget to eat!
Public relations. Always be polite, and professional. Remember, the customer has a schedule also. It never hurts to give small tidbits of information as you go about the task of diagnosing. Do not be afraid to let someone know that you need a few minutes of uninterrupted thought. It may help to have an electronic device that clicks like a gas sniffer. Sometimes and audible prop will allow you the distance to collect your thoughts.
Follow up! Get over the fear of following up with quotes, even if a week or so goes by. Hey, it’s worth the call and you may be surprised as to why they have not gotten back to you regarding your estimate.
Be open-minded and willing to listen and learn from everyone you encounter from customers, vendors and other contractors.
Take the time to educate yourself in business practices. The psychology of the human brain probably helped me the most dealing with employees and customers. Engage in your community (volunteer), developing long-lasting relationships with everyone. Educate your team and yourself on all the newest products and practices.
Find or develop the smartest, hard working people when hiring.
Start early. I started my company at age 34 but wish I had done so five years earlier.
Make sure you are capitalized. My company was successful from the start but earnings were re-invested back into the company for growth. I was prepared financially to not take a paycheck for a minimum of one year to finance the growth of my company. Do not rely on banks, as it is unlikely they will write a note for a new small business. My bank said to come back in two years. My response: “I won’t need you in two years.”
Be persistent. Don’t quit. Show up on time. It seems like an oversimplification but I truly believe in this.
John Abularrage, Advanced Radiant Design, Inc.—Stone Ridge, N.Y.
John has been running his business since 1981. They custom-design fully integrated radiant and alternate-energy heating systems that deliver complete comfort, the highest efficiency and greatest reliability.
Running a business is a completely different skill set than the craftsmanship.
The most important thing in running a business is understanding people—employees, clients, yourself.
A long-term perspective of time is essential. It doesn’t matter where you are, but rather where you’re going. See the trends as they are happening.
Andy Mickelson, Mickelson Plumbing & Heating—Missoula, Mont.
Since 2011, Andy has built a solid foundation for his business through hard work and perseverance. His performance on high-profile jobs have placed him at the top for customers seeking a knowledgeable contractor in the plumbing, hydronics and HVAC field.
To steal a phrase, entrepreneurial seizure is a common term used when thinking of the idea of starting your company. Most that do it think it’s a really good idea, but one needs to do his/her homework first. Go to the local SBA (Small Business Administration) chapters or visit the local community chamber of commerce to do some researching, and for a reality check. I took 8-9 months of planning before I left my previous job to start Mickelson Plumbing & Heating. Often times, when working for someone, one thinks they might have an idea of what it’s all about, but really has zero knowledge of running his/her own business.
Don’t lie to yourself; take the “I think we did well on that job” to “I know we did great.” This will give yourself a better understanding of what you might need to do on the next job. If you assume that you made money on the job and you didn’t, you will fall into the same mistake. We’ve heard it before, “performing the same thing over and over again expecting different outcomes is the definition of insanity.”
Set attainable goals, and do it often; once you reach that goal, blow past it. But don’t set a goal that is unattainable.
Jason Ridgeway, Ridgeway Home Services—West Chicago, Ill.
Ridgeway specializes in forced-air HVAC, radiant, geothermal and snowmelt systems and the latest HVAC technologies that provide comfort to his customers. He has been servicing the Chicagoland area since 2007.
Don’t do it. It’s not worth it unless your one of the extremely lucky few who can handle and run a profitable business. It’s like a mirage in the desert; it looks like it will be an easy life where you sit at your desk or at home just counting money, telling others what to do. In reality, a service business can be life consuming, full of pitfalls—heartache, late nights and early mornings, with no sick days.
You wear all the hats, including full-time babysitter, accountant, businessman, front person, sales person and complaint box. Oh yeah, every now and then you get to count the money, but immediately after you get to dispense it, watch tens of thousands and some times hundreds of thousands of dollars instantly vaporize out the door—leaving you again under the gun to chase the next dollar.
But you get to make your own schedule and you don’t have someone telling you what to do. Well, except for the customer who expects you to answer the phone at any given time of day—one who demands that you come to their place for Christmas but not to eat. They want you to come see what that noise is they hear every now and then. You could send your guys and ruin their holiday or you could go and make everyone happy but your family.
While on vacation every one in the world seems to have an issue and they all have is your number. Do you toss your phone in the ocean or do you answer it? Will your business be there when you get back? Sorry honey, I have to cut this short by a day or two, there’s an issue I have to attend to. Have fun running that business on fumes while you fight to get pennies on the dollar.
Being the best service tech installer doesn’t by any means mean you will be a good businessperson. In fact, I think it’s the number one cause of failure. You will care too much. You will go the extra mile too often. You will say yes when it should be no. You will give too much of yourself for something that gives the slightest of chances of making it profitable.
That’s my 10 years worth of running a business advice. Don’t do it. Find a place that pays you what your worth; a place where someone else has to make the decisions; somewhere that when you’re done with work you actually get to go home and not have to think about work; a place that lets you have those vacation days. Find a place with good benefits and work there as long as you can.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s good to it but you have to step in piles upon piles of shit to get to it.
However, if you’re a strong headed go-getter entrepreneur and the greatest service/installer known to HVAC, and your going to be the guy who makes it:
Never, ever, ever, ever do new construction. No matter how profitable or big the number is. You will lose yourself and your company; it’s just a matter of time. There is no 40-year-old new construction company I know of.
Employees are not your friends. No matter how good you are to them, it’s business first and last.
Never count the money until after the jobs done and the bills are paid. Bills are not just materials and labor. This is a close runner-up for number one.
Innovation takes on many forms, but in the world of plumbing and HVAC piping systems, change and or progress has been somewhat slow to take place. Copper press fitting systems have been on the scene for nearly 20 years in the U.S., even longer in Europe, but industry-wide adoption is a work in progress. If Read More
Innovation takes on many forms, but in the world of plumbing and HVAC piping systems, change and or progress has been somewhat slow to take place. Copper press fitting systems have been on the scene for nearly 20 years in the U.S., even longer in Europe, but industry-wide adoption is a work in progress. If you’ve been following us here on The Hub you already know my opinion that pressing copper or iron pipe for nearly every application is not only efficient but also profitable for any size contracting firm. But I’m not here to debate the merits of press versus soldering or threading; instead, I’d like to talk about a couple new tools we’ve had in the shop for review.
The new Gorilla™ pressing tool line features two unique tools: the inline battery pressing tool (INLNPRESS-KIT19kN) and the pistol grip battery powered pressing tool (PSTLPRESS-KIT32KN). I’ve personally put both tools to work on a handful of plumbing and heating projects over the last month, and I’m impressed.
Not unlike other press tools in the market the Gorilla press tools will complete a watertight connection, whether pressing copper, steel or PEX, with a 3-5 second cycle time. Here are the features of each tool kit broken down separately:
The larger of the two Gorilla press tools is capable of pressing up to 2″ copper or steel fittings with the included tongs/jaws. When equipped with compatible jaws such as the RIDGID XL-C or Milwaukee M18 ring sets the pistol tool is capable of joining 2-1/2″ thru 4″ copper and steel. Greenlee offers additional factory supplied jaw sets for PEX Press systems (NIBCO) as well.
The key here is jaw compatibility. For contractors who already own other press tools or for those looking at a new press tool as a first purchase knowing what tool is right for you based on its capabilities should be the focus. The PSTL tool is compatible with all of the Viega PROPRESS copper, stainless and iron pipe (MEGAPRESS) fitting systems when either using the Greenlee jaw sets for 2″ and smaller copper or the RIDGID or Milwaukee M18 jaws for XC copper fittings or MEGAPRESS. A list of compatible jaw sets is included at the bottom of this review.
The PSTL-KIT32kN kit includes six V-profile copper/steel press jaws in sizes from 1/2″ to 2″, two 3.0Ah 18V Makita battery packs, rapid battery charger and heavy duty case with foam tool organizer insert. The 7,200 lb (32kN) force is delivered to the jaw set at the end of the swivel shaft. The unique pistol-grip offers an ergonomic design, placing the majority of the weight directly over the users hand and wrist for more balanced control when using the large diameter jaws. A single trigger deploys the hydraulic piston for a 3-5 second press cycle but is not automatic, requiring the user to fully depress the trigger for the entire cycle. However, once the press is complete, the tool retracts automatically, which does not require the operator to hold the trigger. In addition, the tools have the ability to retract the jaws at any point in time. An indicator light illuminates if the tool senses insufficient force during a press cycle and AUTOSTOPP technology stops the piston once optimal force is reached to complete the press of a fitting. The tool carries a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer and boasts the ability to go 40K press cycles before factory authorized service is required.
Inline Press (INLNPRESS-KIT19kN)
This is the more compact tool of the Gorilla lineup. Measuring in at just over 17″ when geared up with the 3/4″ copper jaws this swivel shaft tool is sleek and capable of sitting in tight spaces where only one hand may be appropriate for tool operation. The 4,275 lb (19kN) force tool features a single trigger, swivel head and 18V Makita 2.0Ah 18V battery.
The inline tool is capable of pressing both PEX press [up to 1-1/2″, see video] and v-profile copper/steel fittings (Viega type) up to 1-1/4″ diameter making it prime for all residential applications. As with the pistol tool the inline tool carries a 5-year manufacturer warranty and is capable of pressing 40K times in between service intervals. Press cycle time is 3-5 seconds depending on fitting type and diameter. The user is required to depress the trigger for the entire press cycle until the AOTOSTOP technology feature senses sufficient force, the piston retracts automatically the same as the pistol tool. The kit includes two Makita 18V batteries, rapid charger and heavy duty case with rigid foam organizer insert.
Overall the build quality of the Greenlee Gorilla press tools is high. Having been manufactured in Germany by the Greenlee owned Klauke tool company they’re developed from years of pressing experience and thousands of tools having been in use for many years. The 5-year warranty is impressive and compatibility with other manufacturer jaw sets makes both models very attractive in my opinion. Current jaw offerings open these tools up to the popular Sporlan Zoomlock refrigeration press fitting system as well even further expanding the capabilities and usefulness of these tools to HVAC contractors as well as plumbers. The Inline tool kit should be expected to price out between $2,100-$2,300, the more capable pistol tool will cost a contractor $3,300-$3,500 for the kit making both tools competitive in the press tool market.
The Wasserman Eye Research Center is a culmination of a 50-year vision to house a world-class research and care center on the UCLA campus to preserve and restore eyesight. With offices in New York and Los Angeles, renowned architectural firm Richard Meier & Partners Architects designed the six-story, 100,000-square-foot Edie and Lew Wasserman building. Completed Read More
The Wasserman Eye Research Center is a culmination of a 50-year vision to house a world-class research and care center on the UCLA campus to preserve and restore eyesight. With offices in New York and Los Angeles, renowned architectural firm Richard Meier & Partners Architects designed the six-story, 100,000-square-foot Edie and Lew Wasserman building. Completed in April 2013, the three lower floors are dedicated to the expansion of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, making it a world-class research and treatment facility.
To accommodate for the Wasserman building, a plan was developed to demolish a seismically deficient portion of the adjacent Semel Institute building. Lead architect Michael Palladino was the principle-in-charge and Tom Goffigon, the project manager, worked closely with the Wasserman Foundation, overseeing the demolition project and design and construction of the new building. With a keen eye to detail, the architects kept sustainability top-of-mind. In fact, the University of California system recently became the first American university to have 100 LEED®-certified facilities – an impressive milestone and a testament to the university system’s dedication to responsible building practices.
Radiant System Takes Load off Forced Air
The first three floors were specified to include radiant heating and cooling, and Uponor was asked to help with design and product guidance. Working closely with Circulating Air, a Los Angeles-based mechanical contractor, Uponor helped design the system in conjunction with engineers and architects.
“The contractor had not worked with Uponor prior to this project so we helped them get trained and comfortable with our system on site,” said Jacob Ford of Keyline Sales, a local Uponor rep firm. “It didn’t take long for them to catch on, and they quickly advanced and found innovative methods to speed up installation.”
According to Ford, the building’s southern facing is a wall of glass, and the radiant heating and cooling system takes a huge load off the forced air system.
The four-man Circulating Air crew worked closely with Keyline Sales to ensure they installed the 16,000 feet of Uponor’s Wirsbo hePEX™ tubing efficiently.
“We were truly amazed at how quickly and easily we installed the piping for the radiant heating and cooling system,” Matt Fitzgerald, Circulating Air job foreman, said. “Receiving training on site really helped us, and our crew felt up-to-speed very quickly.” Also, Fitzgerald said that prior to training he was unaware how easy it was to make the connections to the manifolds and fittings. “I love how fast and easy the system is,” he said.
Uponor’s Wirsbo hePEX tubing uses ProPEX® expansion fittings which require one simple expander tool to make fast, easy connections that hold tight with up to 1,000 pounds of radial force. For contractors familiar with traditional copper or other rigid pipe connections, the ProPEX fitting system is a much easier, more reliable connection method.
The system hooked up to six manifolds and six cabinets divided between the three lower floors. “The installation was fairly straight forward,” Fitzgerald said. “And we didn’t encounter any obstacles that we couldn’t overcome.”