Shipton's wants city to breathe easier
At a Glance:
|Who: Shipton's Heating and Cooling
Where: 153 Kenilworth Ave. N.
Hamilton, ON, L8H 4R9
What: Three generation, family-owned and operated bustness,15 employees
BY MEREDITH MacLEOD
Three generations of Shiptons have been keeping Hamiltonians warm and cozy when the snow flies for 83 years. Now they are focused on helping this city breathe easier.
Company owners and brothers Dave and Tim Shipton are launching an indoor air quality division this spring called Clean Air Solutions.
"Indoor air quality is the next big thing in our industry," said Dave.
"We see the future of our business being there!'
Shipton's will offer air monitoring, air filtration, ultraviolet lights and air duct cleaning service.
An air monitoring device left in the home for three or four days measures damaging particulates, bacteria, mould and chemicals circulating through air. An analysis of the results can point to solutions.
Shipton's is mainly focused on residential retrofit work with a roughly 60/40 split between installations and service.
It dates back to 1924 when Dave and Tim Shipton's grandfather, John Shipton, started a heating company in an east end garage. Soon after, he built a shop and office on Kenilworth Avenue North, which now serves asShipton's sheet metal shop.The brothers' father, Robert, and uncle, Richard, took over the family business when John died in 1958.
Richard died 10 years later and Robert carried on at the helm until his sons took over in 1987. They had worked in the field in installations and repairs before Dave took over as general manager and Tim headed up sales.
With Hamilton's strong population growth has come a lot more competition. The brothers say longevity sets them apart.
"Some people shop for price, but a lot of people like to know they can trust you and rely on you to be there when they need you”, said Tim.
"Other companies have let people go three or four days without heat in the winter. We're always there the same day in those situations,” added Dave.
Dave and Tim see the strong family heritage at Shiptons carrying on into the future. Each have children either working for the company or studying business at school.
"We can teach them our own part, but if they want to continue with the business and grow it, they should be smart enough to do it," said Dave.
Biggest challenge: Growing our Business. Expanding is always a challenge, but we’re up to it. We want to gradually grow our business at our own pace. Everything we do, we do right and at 100 per cent.
Biggest surprise: The level of support and loyalty from our customers, going back three generations, It's also one of our biggest satisfactions.
Best decision: To remain an independent, family-owned and operated business. We did have quite a few offers to sell our business to some of the larger companies.
Worst decision: At one time, we tried to compete with some of the lowball pricing of other companies, guys without knowledge of costs, overhead and profit margins.
They cut corners, quality suffers and that affects the reputation of the entire industry. It wasn't the way we wanted to run our business.
Learn the most: In the 1990s, we had a business consultant named Don Crossley. With his help, we weathered the '9os and became more profitable and efficient.
Best advice given: Always be honest in business. The customer is everything, treat them that way.
Best advice to give: Know your overhead, margins, job pricing and put the customer first.
Secret to success: We've been around since 1924, Longevity means a lot. We have a loyal customer base and licensed, trained professionals doing excellent work who know the value of customer satisfaction.