To the Point Home Services Podcast

The Home Services Podcast That Gives Back

Episode 198: Leadership, Marketing, and Operational Excellence Lessons to Crush 2024 w/ Claire Ferrara

November 28, 2023

Episode 198: Leadership, Marketing, and Operational Excellence Lessons to Crush 2024 w/ Claire Ferrara

Published: November 28, 2023

What can you learn from over 100 years of experience in the trades? That’s just one of the reasons we’re excited to bring on Claire Ferrara, Owner & President of Standard Heating & Air Conditioning!

And no, Claire is not a centenarian. She is, however, the product of the 3 generations of HVAC starting with her Grandfather who started the business back in 1930, then her father, and now her. Claire’s winning mindset continues to propel the company forward, and we pick her brain on what it takes to win as a contractor now and in the future.

A Multi-Generational Family Business

As one would expect, Claire grew up in the world of the trades. She worked with her dad on the weekends, and by 14 was answering the phones. A year later, she was at the parts counter. By 19, she was an apprentice installer, and really fell in love with the trades at that time.

Even as Claire was working on earning a 4-year degree, she had her sights set on going to trade school and eventually buying the family business. It took her several years, but in February of 2020, Claire bought Standard Heating & Air Conditioning from her father.

Today, Standard is operating at 35MM in revenue – 100% organic growth – and with 130 employees. Her grandfather was the entrepreneur that was great with people, her father was great with the business, and she sees herself as a leader focused on change management. Today’s world moves a lot faster, and being a leader is more demanding and dynamic than ever.

In this episode, we talk to Claire about:
  • Her journey through the trades
  • What contractors should understand operationally to grow
  • Success with different approaches to branding, marketing, and advertising
  • Being both a female in the trades and “the owner’s daughter”
  • Her view on women leadership in the trades
  • Changing the “men versus women” narrative
  • How to avoid data death and keep things simple
  • The most critical lessons she’s learned along the way
  • What effective leadership looks like today
  • Advice for contractors heading into 2024

Become a Path to YES

As Claire simultaneously reflects and forecasts, she emphasizes that as a leader, you have to define reality for people. This year didn’t look like the last 3, and next year may be completely different as well. No matter what it looks like, you have to believe that the future will be better. You have to be optimistic and invest both in your people and yourself.

This means being a “path to yes” person. No, you don’t know everything – but when your people approach you, are you shutting them down or helping them find the answer? The more you help others find their way, the more they’ll come to you. This cycle is imperative to organizational growth, and Claire understands this concept better than most.

As you head into 2024, Claire encourages you to finish this year strong! Don’t get complacent, and ask yourself a simple question: “Is it good enough for now, and is it better than before?”

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