You come home from a long days work on a hot summer day just to find out your air conditioner is out and it feels like a sauna in your home. What to do?
Call a Heating and Cooling Repair service at this time of night, you think to yourself, “They’ll charge me a fortune for after hours service, won’t they?”
These are the kinds of myths and misconceptions dispelled when I sat down with Dick Hochschild, owner of American Weathermakers.
Started by his father, Bill Hochschild in February 1, 1949, American Weathermakers has been providing HVAC solutions to Chicago and the northern Illinois Suburbs for almost 70 years.
As an expert in the residential heating and cooling industry, Dick’s company has been rated as the top 10 dealers in the entire nation as well as the best in the North Shore Services for the last four years in a row and just recently won the 2017 Reader’s Choice Awards through 22nd Century Media.
As a family-owned business, Dick Hochschild truly believes in their company’s motto, “we won’t be comfortable until you are.” And you’ll hear this and so much more.
BIM: I appreciate you spending time with our readers today. So let’s just jump right into it. Tell us about your business and the types of customers you’re helping.
Dick: Well thank you Markus. American Weathermakers helps homeowners in Chicago with issues related to their furnace, air conditioners, related accessories, and we also provide service for some pumps, water heaters, emergency standby generators and water filtration systems.
BIM: That’s fantastic. And as I understand it you’ve been in business since 1949?
Dick: Actually yes. My dad started the company in 1949.
BIM: Tell us a little bit about your company and who is your perfect customer or in your case the perfect homeowner you’d best serve and help?
BIM: Well actually we first usually have our first transactions with customers when they have either no heat or no cooling. And we are actually known as the 60 Minute Men because if you have no heat or no cooling we can be there in 60 minutes or we’ll give the customer a free $60 gift card for the repairs though that rarely happens because we normally do make it within 60 minutes. We’ll have a highly trained service technician with a fully stocked truck at their house within you know 24/7 no matter what time of day it is… it could be Christmas Eve. We’ll be there within 60 Minutes. We only charged a diagnostic charge of $89 the same round the clock, so people don’t have to wait for the next day for service. We have upfront pricing on all of our service calls. So people know exactly what the cost of repair is and if you go ahead with the repair, we don’t even charge them the diagnostic charge. We’re a little different because most of our repairs we offer a lifetime warranty on parts and labor.
BIM: Wow, you don’t hear that much in your industry. That’s excellent.
Dick: It’s very unique.
BIM: Absolutely. Well that’s what we like to find is unique businesses and business owners that are really doing things differently in their industry because that’s really how you’re leading that industry. So tell me Dick what led you into this field? What got you started in your business?
Dick: Well as I mentioned in 1949 my father actually started American Weathermakers. He was the first Carrier Air Conditioning dealer in Chicago land. It was a great time to start the heating and air conditioning business because most homes weren’t air conditioned back in those days and most businesses weren’t air conditioned either. So our company kind of grew with the industry. And my dad started the company the year I was born. After college and after I served in the Army and I went to work for one of the major air conditioning manufacturers and I worked there for a little over a year and everything and I decided I would try the family business. So that was over 40 years ago and it’s worked out very well for me. One thing that I think is kind of interesting is that my dad’s first customer back in 1949 was a man named Bruce Goodman who was very young at the age but happened to be my dad’s first customer. And today 68 years later, believe it or not, Bruce Goodman is still a customer at his home in Highland Park. So he was a customer for life. And that would be our goal with any customer… to keep the customer for life.
BIM: Absolutely. I love to hear that because that really tells the longevity and the quality of the service that you focus on with your customers. And also I want to thank you for serving our country. That’s fantastic. And the fact that you not only served our country but your business is also a veteran owned business and that’s important to a lot of Americans today.
Dick: Yes. It was my pleasure.
BIM: So tell our readers, what are some of the common obstacles that you’re seeing out there. What are some of the biggest misconceptions that you see in your industry.
Dick: Well as I mentioned, many people call us for the first time because they have no heat or no cooling. Often that happens on the coldest day of the year or the hottest day of the year and it never happens at the right time. Perhaps people get home from work and they find they have no heat or no air conditioning. Or they wake up in the morning and they have to go to work but her furnace isn’t running on a really cold day and people go into panic mode. And usually customers think that they have to wait till normal business hours to call a heating or air conditioning contractor but they can call us any time, day or night, 24/7 and we’ll be there to solve their problem within 60 minutes. We’re the 60 Minute Men and that’s not just our advertising slogan, it’s the standard we hold ourselves too. And we can almost always get there within 60 minutes.