Live from True Grit Service Summit 2021 in Las Vegas, Jason Buehler joins To The Point for a Q&A with the one and only Chris Yano to learn what he’s doing to take his company and turn it into the biggest player in his market.
Jason is Owner & President of Buehler Air Conditioning may not be the biggest company in his market, but he’s doing all the right things to BECOME the biggest company in his market.
Fresh out of high school, Jason was working part-time and not sure yet quite what direction his life was going to head in. One day, a good friend invited him to a horse race. His friend’s father came with his friend to pick Jason up, and Jason jumped right into the back. Looking into the rear view mirror, his friend’s dad said “Jason, what are you going to do with your life?” Jason didn’t quite know the answer, but he was looking for full-time work. His friend’s dad responded with “That’s great news. I’m going to make a fine heating and air man out of you! You start on Thursday at 6; don’t be late.”
That’s how Jason got his start in the trades, and it felt like heating and air conditioning chose him. It didn’t take him long to fall in love with the services industry. He spent his first 3 years in the trades in Dayton, OH, his hometown. After traveling to Florida on vacation, he loved the scene and moved there a month later.
It didn’t take long for Jason to find work at an air conditioning company in Florida after his move. He started to really hone his skills, moving from an installer to service tech and then into in-home sales. After some time, he was hired by Trane to serve as a Territory Manager. This gave Jason the opportunity to take business classes and learn even more. However, in 2008, the economy took a nosedive. This made Jason’s work much more difficult, although he still loved what he did.
Jason had about 50 accounts and was feeling frustrated. He felt like he could do a better job than some of the contractors he was working with. He came home one day and told his wife he needed to talk to her. Jason was ready to quit his job, cash out their 401k and all their savings to start his own heating and air conditioning business. His wife gave him her blessing, telling Jason she believed in him and would support him on this new journey. From that moment on, failure was not an option for Jason.
He left his position at Trane in January of 2010, and had his business license by April; only a few months later. Jason charged right into the market, starting Air Source America. He was doing okay right out of the gates, using direct mail to some success and taking advantage of hte tax credit for new AC systems available at the time. He was trying hard to do all of the right things and get great reviews, but after the first year things started to stagnate. Even though Jason was trying to do everything right, he just wasn’t getting traction.
When Jason started Air Source America, he didn’t want to be another “last name” business. He wanted to stand out, and make his brand seem established and capable. He friends would bust his chops, but he felt good about his brand. Over time, however, Jason realized that he needed to do something to start accelerating the business and grow to where he wanted to be.
Jason got over his ego, and started to look into rebranding. He was interviewing some different companies, and found some designs he really liked. He showed his wife a design he loved and, in her wisdom, suggested that Jason figure out who made it. Jason started some research, and ended up at the KickCharge Creative website. For a small contractor looking to rebrand, this felt like the holy grail.
The cost to rebrand wasn’t cheap, but Jason was prepared to do whatever it took. At the time, Air Source America was a $2.5 million dollar/year contractor. There were doubters, and Jason had other contractors telling him that he was making a mistake in changing his company name to Buehler Air Conditioning; that he would go out of business as a result of the new brand. During the process, Jason started to worry. He had started rebranding during the winter, and it was a long process. He had already given money to KickCharge, and felt a weight on his shoulders. Jason knew if he could get over the fear, things would be okay. He trusted his instincts and pushed through.
Once the rebranding was finished, Jason felt that weight lift. Everyone loved the new brand! It was a roaring success, and Jason is happy to say that “Dan Antonelli changed my life”.
Of course, Jason wasn’t ready to stop there. He was on a mission to do whatever it took to get his newly branded Buehler Air Conditioning to the top. His company was great at air conditioning, but not so much at marketing. They had been with the same internet marketing company for several years, and while things weren’t bad, Jason wanted to do better. Dan Antonelli had exposed Jason to some Facebook groups for contractors, and he had met a lot of great people in the industry. He also started listening to To The Point, and loved a lot of what he was hearing.
Jason approached his sales manager, Ryan, and said we need to make another big change. They had hired the best people in the industry for their rebranding and went great. Jason thought this company he had been listening to on To The Point was the best, and he wanted to hire them. He didn’t care what it cost. Buehler Air Conditioning hired RYNO Strategic Solutions in November of 2020, and after the onboarding process, Jason reports that they have been “going gangbusters and murdering the competition”.
In 2020, Buehler Air Conditioning did about $5mm. In 2021, they are approaching $7mm. Through the summer of 2021, they did about $250,000 in new customers they were able to track through their website. Jason had never been able to track things before, but partnering with RYNO made that possible. Another change was being able to utilize Google Adwords and local search, which has been a major success for Jason and his team. He loves having the confidence of knowing that each month, he’ll get a report and a call with his RYNO Account Manager to see exactly where his dollars are going and an accurate, transparent view of the data. It makes him want to spend heavily on his advertising when he can see the return!
Jason has gone through rebranding and finding a new marketing partner, and his next step was to attend the True Grit Sales Summit with a clear goal: to learn from the best in the industry and hire the best sales training company in the industry.
Buehler Air Conditioning is also looking at a software changeover, and are looking into further acquisitions. As the biggest company in their territory is at about $15mm, Jason feels he’s on track to be the biggest player in his market with sights set on $20mm and further. He’s still committed to doing things the right way, but now, he understands there’s also a best way to do things in many cases. Having the best partners and people around you is exactly what you need to accomplish exactly what you’ve set out to do.
Jason’s story is one of many in our industry, and RYNO is excited to be a part of it whether we’re your digital marketing partner or not. Whether you’re learning things as a result of To The Point or found us through someone else who enjoys our podcast, we’re excited to be part of your journey!