By Entrepreneur Partner Studio Staff
For Angelo Chiodo, the passion to operate his own business is in his blood. Way back in 1929, Chiodo’s family started a sheet metal fabrication and refrigeration company. Even as a young man, he recognized the passion and freedom that comes with being your own boss.
“I wanted to learn the AC and heating business, so I started working for some local companies and decided to give it a try on my own,” explains Chiodo, who is 69. “I had to train for five years at an HVAC school first, then started working full-time, fine tuning my skills with the other companies.”
Then, nearly four decades ago, Chiodo did just as he said he would; he became his own boss. Chiodo Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Inc. opened its doors in 1978.
Based in Syracuse, N.Y., Chiodo’s company provides residential and commercial HVAC services for customers throughout the central and upstate New York regions, and even dabbles in commercial projects – from new construction to improving existing facilities. The company now includes 25 employees.
For Chiodo, the company’s longevity has been dependent on his ability to provide customers with reliable service. “The best part of owning my own business is the feeling you get when our customers are happy and refer our services to their friends and relatives,” Chiodo says. “[That’s done] by listening to our customers’ needs and providing them with the best possible service we can.”
Here are three keys to Chiodo’s path to longstanding and reliable customer service:
1. Contribute to your community.
For Chiodo, offering his time and resources to the community isn’t a chore so much as it is part of his commitment to doing the right thing.
Last summer, for example, Chiodo and his team installed four new air conditioning units at a local animal shelter where the cooling system was on its last legs. Instead of handing the shelter a hefty bill, Chiodo worked with his distributor to have the equipment donated. He handled the labor for free.
Like many small businesses in industries that are not all glitz and glamour, Chiodo makes a difference in the lives of his customers — and that’s the ultimate reward.
2. Have the right tools.
For Chiodo, one of the most valuable items in his “toolkit” in providing reliable service is his line of Chevy Express Cargo Vans, of which he owns and operates eight. He says he purchased his first Chevy commercial van at the very beginning – in 1978 when Chiodo Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Inc. first launched.
“We are sold on Chevrolet,” Chiodo admits. “I have always purchased the Chevrolet product for my business and personal-use vehicles.”
It’s no wonder. The vans are built for business. “They have the right amount of cargo space for the service we are in,” Chiodo says. “[Our vans] have been extremely reliable and maintenance is low cost.” Those are critical details for a business owner, like Chiodo, who is on the road so much.
With available remote-release side access panels, Chevy Express Cargo Vans provide easy loading and unloading on the job. And, Chevy Express Cargo offers the latest technology and connectivity to turn your van into a mobile office.
“We are also blessed to have an excellent relationship with our local Chevrolet Business Elite dealer, East Syracuse Chevrolet,” Chiodo says. “They have always exceeded our expectations.”
3. Focus on quality work.
If you go to Chiodo’s website, or his company’s Facebook page, you won’t see any pictures of him. That’s because Chiodo is head down, managing a team of HVAC experts to deliver the products and services his customers need, and when they need it.
Part of that is making his company available to customers whenever they need him. As he notes on his website, “our customers can get in touch with us day or night, 24 hours a day. No answering machines, an actual person. That’s Chiodo quality.”
No spotlight hogs here. And that’s why his customers keep coming back — for the last four decades and more to come.