what is your opinion or experience in a successfull controls company getting into mechanical service side of business.
This is a fight I fought in the early 70's when Honwywell announced they were getting into the "Mechanical Maintenance Business." I had my own business and swore to never buy a Honeywell control again.
And I didn't cause I ended up going to work for them. One of the best moves I made. I sold a lot of Mechanical Maintenance Contracts to large buildings that were starving for contractors who knew controls & systems.
A few of the guys I worked with have their own business all over the country and have been doing very well over all these years. They pretty much do anything from light commercial, to large commercial to industrial work.
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I garauntee thats the reason it didn't work. Honestly whats not good about it? If you have an HVAC issue you call in 1 guy and he can do all your service wether it be a mechanical issue or control issue. I also think its a trick to find the right guy who has the control aptitude and mechanical aptitude.
I work/worked for two different companies that do just that. I did commercial service for 7 years and controls mainly for the past 5. Here's the deal - If you really want to get into service go hire a good mechanical service guy. Make sure he is good and is willing to teach and wants to learn controls. Now make sure that your controls guys can get along with him and each other, make sure he seems like a good fit. Now if you have any of your controls guys that are interested in doing the mechanical side have them hang with your new guy and send them to school, in house, online, community college, vendor sponsored, ojt, etc. You need to get started on the right path and hiring some one that knows service would be a great place to start. You want to be able to build a team that can work off each others strengths. Think about it - if you have a team that respects each other then when a question/problem arises then they can glean off of each others knowledge and provide the best solution for the customer - controls guys asking mechanical guy how something is supposed to work so they can build the right application, or mechanical guy asking controls guy parameters to adjust to fine tune the application.
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We do controls, mechanical, install, destall,service,pick u up and take you to the grocery store. We found that taking on controls was a necessity, to better serve our customers, because we have been left high, and dry, by local "control companies" when we needed them the most. We relize that stuff breaks at night, during the day, on holidays, and weekends. Try getting a local control contractor to respond then.....
we are commercial refrigeration. We do both. It's almost impossible in supermarket work to have a separate controls company. coordination, technical expertise ect. And the customer most importantly only knows the system is not working. How would he distinguish whether he has a controls problem or a mechanical one? So one or the other comes out, and finds they need the other. That is ridiculous.
In our world the controls and the mechanical are from the same shop. I personally don't see how some shops are only one or the other. I am our primary EMS guy and most of our crew are well versed in diagnosing and replacing controls. Be it an actuator with a 4 to 20 signal or whatever. What does get a little dicey and why I am always available is when they start to try and seek out the sequence of the controls. And once we get that out of the way they are well on their way. We do a lot of freeq drive stuff, a lot of lighting of all kinds of different strategies and equipment. A lot of HVAC. Anything and everything. IAQ, pressurization, economizing, ect. And most of we do a lot with rack refrigeration.
People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
if you are doing controls work for other mechanical contractors, you become competition and they might not use your services anymore. If you are working direct with customers its perfect you get both sides of the business