A Small Business Success Story

Starting a business is never easy, especially in an industry where competition is everywhere and time is money. Find out how a Texas technician has developed an incredibly successful and locally trusted HVAC contracting business in just seven short years.

After 17 years working in a local steel mill, Jory McDaniel and his family were ready for a major career change. Jory had experience in quality control, electrical, and HVAC contracting, prompting friends and family members to ask him for favors. His desire and interest to start his own business grew from there; Jory made the commitment in 2010 with his first job being an 82-unit apartment complex in Mexia, Texas. In 2012, the McDaniels’ family owned and operated HVAC company, Texas ACE, officially launched.

Customer Review: “I called on Monday morning and a technician was sent to my house a couple hours later. Robert was professional, courteous, and knowledgeable. He explored the issue until he found the problem and he fixed it. This company was recommended to me by a neighbor and I would definitely recommend this company to anyone who needs heating and cooling assistance.”

Texas ACE’s website and Facebook page are filled with ongoing 5-star reviews like this one. Jory let us know that he ensures great customer service by employing the best people possible in all departments. They employ nine different license holders who have a combined 150 years of experience in the industry. In addition to high employment standards, Texas ACE practices leadership and core training throughout the year for all employees.

Jory hires many graduating students from vocational schools and continues their training onsite with hands-on learning with real HVAC systems. He explained the importance of instilling and teaching the standard of skills required for their team from the get-go and continuing education from there. Overall, Jory hires from two sources: employee referrals and students. Management takes an active part in training new employees to make certain skills not taught in the classroom, like customer care and team accountability, are demonstrated early on. Over the past seven years, Texas ACE’s employee retention sits around 98 percent.

“Unconventional, easy, honest, and fun” is how McDaniel explains Texas ACE’s company culture. They celebrate birthdays and mile- stones; everyone believes in working hard and playing hard. Employees gather for outings to the local ballpark and family days. In addition to taking the time for company celebrations and bonding, Texas ACE keeps employees happy by fueling them with tools they need to be at their best. Training, functions, and mental health days are all offered to employees to keep an energetic and positive company culture. Texas ACE also expands their reach by being involved in numerous local events. “It’s important that we continue to give back to the community where we work, live, and play,” he says. Donating money, volunteering time, and heading up community programs are all ways Jory helps his community grow and in turn, Texas ACE is able to interact with and thank their local customer base.
Jory’s marketing advice is rather simple and a bit unexpected. The company has an ongoing joke where they don’t use the “M” word very often. By investing in their employees and quality of customer service, word of mouth and referrals are essentially enough to keep the company busy. Trying to balance continuous rapid growth without compromising quality prevents Jory from having the time to utilize many marketing opportunities. “We must be able to take care of all customers without sacrificing what we do best,” he says.Like any small business, Texas ACE faces daily challenges. Jory admits that his greatest personal challenge as a business owner is work-life balance. For a while, faith and family took a backseat to his business, but now he strives to put those things first daily. A major challenge on the business end is handling obstacles that come with rapid growth. Growing pains often come with large price tags, but Jory can happily say that they manage cash flow without any outside influence or assistance. Growing and expanding too quickly is a good challenge to have, and it seems as though Texas ACE can thank careful employment, extensive training, and community involvement for that.

“A strong sense of faith, family, and community all help set us up for success. A commitment to each other adds an extra layer of teamwork and camaraderie not commonly found.” – Jory McDaniel, Owner