Biz Talk with Shawn Troughton of TemperaturePro Birmingham

Shawn Troughton with TemperaturePro Birmingham joins our WiFi Studio!   As a business owner, Shawn has plenty of tips and insight that will help anyone right now, regardless of the industry.  Tune in LIVE on Tuesdays & Fridays @ 8:00am on our Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn channels!

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Read Full Interview Below:

Sarah: Good morning. It’s Tuesday 8:00 AM which means it’s time for Biz Talk.

Glyna: Good morning everybody. How is everybody doing this morning? I’m Glyna Humm, the President of Fusion One Marketing. I want to welcome everybody here this morning. We have a very special guest with us that we’ll introduce in just a minute. But I’m going to go around the circle or square or whatever we’re in and let everybody else introduce themselves. Sarah?

Sarah: Good morning, I’m Sarah. I’m the Director of Digital Marketing with Fusion One.

Kelsi: Good morning, I’m Kelsi Munn, I am a Social Media Manager with Fusion One Marketing.

Glyna: Perfect. And, best for last right, Shawn?

Shawn: There you go.

Glyna: We have Shawn Troughton with us today from Temperature Pro Birmingham wherever he is.

Shawn: Yeah.

Glyna: We’re so glad to have you today, Shawn. We always talk about small businesses and what we like to find in them and how we pick the people to come on. Again, you are full of integrity, you do what you say you’re going to do. You’ve come a long way since you opened your doors and you just seem to do everything right. We are so excited to have you on today so that we can let everybody else know that you’re available and still working. And I think you are since you’re in your office?

Shawn: Yeah. We’re hard at it every day. People want to stay comfortable while they’re locked up in their house.

Glyna: That’s exactly right.

Sarah: True. Good point.

Glyna: Well let’s start off with, tell us about your family. I know your beautiful wife, and I know you have some adorable little fur babies.

Shawn: Yes. My wife, Marla, we got married in 2007. So, I waited a little bit before I could tie the knot there. We have two little dogs. They are both King Charles Spaniels. One we call the beast. She’s a little tiny thing but she’s like the spawn of Satan.

Glyna: Do tell.

Shawn: I always pull up a picture and ask people do you want to see the face of evil and show them that little dog.

Sarah: Oh boy.

Glyna: What did that poor little puppy do to earn that name?

Shawn: Well she was a rescue dog. Marla wanted to… we had one that passed away and then we waited a few months and we got a rescue dog. She’s just needed some intense training but she’s getting better.

Sarah: Shawn, we were talking about you yesterday which we do all the time, talk about-

Shawn: Right.

Sarah: It was nothing new. I was trying to understand how you got into this industry. I think it was Kelsi that was telling me… I want to know how you got started in it, because she had mentioned that were you a captain of a submarine? Is that accurate? Am I wrong?

Shawn: No, not-

Sarah: I mean, that’s the rumor.

Shawn: I like being able to see out. And I don’t know if you can see the picture back there, but that’s the last vessel I was in command of and I’m standing right in front of it. I was in the shipping industry and was on the water for a long time. Me and my wife just decided it had been long enough, so I left and was thinking about just getting a retirement job. But I got bored pretty quick and tried a couple of other things. I knew I wanted to be in the service industry, but I wanted to have something, be involved in something that people really needed and wanted. I thought well what better than air conditioning.

Shawn: And I wanted to have something that you had to have some sort of special requirements. You just couldn’t go pick up somebody off the street to do it.

Glyna: You could, but it may not go very well.

Shawn: Right.

Glyna: Well I see your Lysol up there, so it looks like you are ready for this craziness. You been spraying the office down?

Shawn: Yeah. And just being from the shipping industry, you can imagine how important it is to make sure you have a stockpile of supplies. You don’t want to be in the middle of the ocean and then run out of something. I’ve carried that with me over to my I guess land job. I’ve had stockpiles of stuff before all of this happened, so I was like hey-

Sarah: You had been prepared already.

Shawn: Right. Nothing new. It’s just like another week at sea.

Glyna: So are you one of those people then, do you have a bunker or anything where you have all your stuff…. let’s move on.

Shawn: Yeah.

Glyna: So, we can’t come to you for masks.

Shawn: Well you can try.

Sarah: We can try.

Glyna: Maybe some firearms including. I’m just kidding.

Sarah: I see Cindy came in. Hey Cindy.

Glyna: Yeah, hey Kelsi, do we have-

Kelsi: Yeah. Cindy and LaVon are already chatting up a storm. LaVon wants to know if you’re a prepper.

Shawn: Yeah. I tell you; I would be more so if my wife would let me, but she puts the brakes on some of that.

Glyna: Sarah, since I took up most of the time, go ahead.

Sarah: So, I saw your website which I thought this was so great and valuable, is putting out that you’re considered an essential business and that you are open for business. I just want to know what you have been doing I guess since the situation has changed with COVID-19. How have you adjusted or adapted your business so that you are still able to be there for your customers?

Shawn: Well one, I asked the guys not to come into the office unless it’s absolutely necessary. I mean we do have a warehouse in the back, but the trucks are completely stocked so they can dispatch straight to location. And we asked the customer if there’s anyone that’s been sick or taking care of anyone that’s sick, or been quarantined, or awaiting a pending result. If so, we can’t go in there. And luckily, during this season, the AC season, there are some things that we can do from the outside without actually going inside.

Glyna: That’s important.

Shawn: As long as they have their thermostat switched to AC. But we already have the gloves, the mask. I’ve had ample Lysol wipes just from being a member of Costco. It’s easy to overbuy there, so we’ve had a stockpile. But also, I’ve heard people talking about no contact. We’ve had that before all this happened just with our dispatching software, invoicing software. I was thinking about this this morning, how we can even take credit cards because everything is done on the iPad now. Someone could literally hold their credit card in the window and the camera will capture that information and will automatically populate it in the field. So, we don’t even had to hold a card or swipe it or do any of that.

Kelsi: That’s amazing.

Sarah: So, you can really operate with making little to no contact with your customers.

Shawn: Yeah, we can.

Sarah: That’s perfect. That’s great.

Glyna: That definitely sets yourself apart. First, number one that you’re open. It just slays me that other HVAC companies, in fact you were even telling me that you heard some of them weren’t open when you could take all these precautions and still service the people.

Shawn: Right.

Glyna: So that’s definitely a few ways you stand out. What are some other things that if I was to say Temperature Pro Birmingham, what do you do or how do you stand out among your competition? How are you a little bit different?

Shawn: Well one is just going back to the dispatching software.

Glyna: Yeah, that’s cool.

Shawn: We had a lady yesterday that she asked me on the phone well how will I know that it’s you when you pull up? She asks specifically, do you have logos on your truck, and I said yes. I said but also, when we dispatch to location, because everything is done on the iPad, when the technician dispatches, it will send that customer a text or notification with a bio and a picture of the person and with an ETA. But that little ETA has a link that you can click on and it will actually pull up a map just like watching an Uber car or Lyft if anyone has used one of those. It literally looks exactly like that; except it’s got the face of the technician instead of a car.

Sarah: So, you can see a little head driving?

Shawn: Yeah.

Kelsi: We’ve got some questions coming in. LaVon wants to know, can you service older units that still use Freon.

Shawn: Yes. Yes, we can. That has been phased out starting 2020. Now the equipment, that old equipment, they stopped making that years ago. But whatever Freon is left on the shelves right now is all that’s left. They are not importing anymore; they are not manufacturing anymore. And I just saw the price of that, our cost goes up. What was it? It was about 35%. So, it’s starting to go up.

Glyna: Wow.

Kelsi: It’ll probably continue to increase too as the supply gets smaller.

Shawn: Yes.

Kelsi: Harry Slagle is on with us.

Glyna: Hey, Harry!

Kelsi: He wants to know what is better. Disposable AC filters or washable?

Shawn: That’s a good question. I guess it’s really a preference. I would say instead of thinking about disposable versus washable, I would look at the MERV rating. So, one of the things that will freeze up a unit or cause it not to work properly is improper airflow. So, the thicker or the higher the MERV rating on the filter, the less airflow that will go through there, especially when it starts picking up dust and other contaminants. Unless you replace that on a consistent basis, you’re going to… you’ll be calling us.

Glyna: I love Cindy. Cindy’s right. Cindy Edmund said the dispatch software is so cool, it’s like watching Uber arrive but it’s your technician. I’ve experienced too, experienced it as well. It is amazing and it’s kind of fun to look at the little head going.

Shawn: Yeah.

Kelsi: Harry would like to know; can you expand on what is a MERV rating?

Shawn: It’s just a rating that… it’s just a quality of… I’m trying to think of the best way to put this without going too deep in the weeds. Just think of the lower the number, the larger the particles that can fit through there. So, the higher the number, the denser the filter is. So, it’s one of those things when you see the air conditioner turn on, you’ll see that filter pull in towards that air handler. You really want to avoid having that hard suction pull on the AC unit.

Sarah: So, you want to have a higher rating, correct?

Shawn: Yeah. We typically run with around seven or nine.

Sarah: Okay.

Shawn: I think the highest maybe and don’t quote me on this. It may be around 19, so seven, nine is right in the middle.

Kelsi: We got another question from Cindy here. Is it really bad for your HVAC unit to go back and forth between cool and heat throughout the day and night? It seems like we do that a lot in Alabama.

Sarah: We do that too. We do that just because of spouses fighting. Colder and then they come in behind you and they make it lower.

Shawn: No. Because a heat pump is designed to reverse the refrigerant flow. How a heat pump works is it runs one way for AC and then reverses it the other way for heat. And then if you have just what we call straight AC with a gas furnace, so you just have an air conditioning unit for your cooling and then a furnace for your heating, you’re literally just shutting off the air conditioner side. So, it would be no different than the air conditioning going down to temperature and then stopping. So, there’s really no difference.

Kelsi: Good to know.

Sarah: So, you’re not overworking it say if you’ve got it set at 74 and then throughout the day you put it down to 71 and then-

Shawn: No. The only problem that you can start getting into is what they call dirty sock syndrome. And that’s a real thing, look it up.

Shawn: Yeah, dirty sock syndrome. So, if anyone that’s listening that has a heat pump and when you go from heat to cool mode and you smell that real nasty, sour smell, it’s that dirty sock syndrome.

Shawn: There are things we can do to help get rid of that.

Sarah: That’s funny.

Kelsi: LaVon wants to know how long should you expect your home HVAC unit to last on average?

Shawn: On average, I would say you should get about 15 years and it really depends on who installed it would be the thing. We use special equipment when we’re pulling down a vacuum that you got to do when you’re installing. I know I’m getting too deep here, but you’ve got to make sure that the insides are dry and there’s only one way to do that and that’s with a micron gauge. I would say if anyone is getting a new AC unit installed, ask the installer if they’ve got a micron gauge. If they say no, don’t even let them on your property.

Kelsi: That’s good to know.

Glyna: Well-

Kelsi: One thing… I’m sorry.

Glyna: That’s all right. We’ll come back to you in just one second because I want to ask about Steve. Obviously you have a very popular guy there. Everybody loves Steve. I think everybody’s mother and grandmother and sister and friend. How did you find Steve and tell us who Steve is?

Shawn: Man, I got lucky. When we first started this, I was looking for an Operations Manager. I was looking on Indeed and Steve posted a resume on Indeed and I called him. He had seven other offers that day. And some were a lot more than what I was offering. I just couldn’t offer as much as what some of these other, bigger, well-known companies were offering. But, he believed what I was telling him as far as me wanting to make this the company of choice for employees. The reason why I say that is one, just being from the ships. I know how important it is to surround yourself with good people. But also, I know if we can make this the place where people want to work, then they’ll do what’s right by the customers.

Shawn: And Steve, let me tell you, Steve is the guy that all these other companies, he’s got friends throughout the industry, he’s been doing this forever. They call him to help them troubleshoot, and they are working for other companies. I’m like, man, we’ve got to start charging some consulting fee or something.

Glyna: Plus, he’s like a celebrity. He’s going to want more pay I have a feeling.

Shawn: I know. Well, my wife, since all this has happened, she’s like, how’s Steve? Is he feeling okay? Is he sick? I’m beginning to think I’m replaceable, but Steve is not.

Kelsi: That’s hilarious.

Glyna: I’m sorry, Kelsi, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Go ahead.

Kelsi: That’s okay. Cindy said that she loves Steve, but now she’s met Daniel and he’s another great one.

Shawn: Yeah. Just going back to that, both of these guys had quit their companies without having another job lined up because they were so fed up with where they were working. This is kind of standard throughout the industry, unfortunately. And don’t get me wrong, there’s some really good companies out there and some companies that I would go work for just because of the integrity of the owners. But I mean, there are some bad places to work out there, and hopefully, we’re helping to change that.

Kelsi: Yeah, you are.

Sarah: That is so true. I’m going to give you two questions in one, okay.

Shawn: Okay.

Sarah: Yeah. Tell me about the services you provide, and then along with that, what would you say is the number one service that you would recommend to homeowners.

Shawn: Well, I hope it’s obvious that we do AC repair. We do very little-

Sarah: If you haven’t gotten that by now.

Shawn: Very little heater repair, but we do heating. But we do, it’s full service. We do new installation, new construction, repair, and maintenance. And that’s probably our number one product that we offer people would be the maintenance. And the reason why is it’s just so important to test and to maintain your equipment just like you would on a car. Not only is it a refrigerant that’s running around through there, but it’s also a lubricant.

Shawn: Imagine all these people… not all of them, but we go to a lot of homes and they need two and three pounds of Freon in a system that only holds seven pounds. You’re talking imagine if you’re running your car with half of the oil that’s supposed to be in there.

Sarah: Yeah.

Shawn: It’s just going to wear out the equipment that much faster.

Kelsi: Johnny wants to know; can you talk about filtration for dust and pollen control?

Shawn: Yeah. We kind of touched on that just a little bit ago with the MERV ratings. But also, there’s indoor air quality products that they produce positive and negative ions that flow through the system. And some are smaller than we would consider basically just a duct cleaning. Indoor air quality product versus a whole house system like the phenomenal air or the air scrubber plus.

Shawn: But what these things do is when they create these positive and negative ions, they actually attach to things in the house such as dust, dander, whatever, and kill mold or other things on surfaces. But when it attaches, it makes it larger so it will collect easier on the filter if that makes sense.

Glyna: Harry Slagle is just not right.

Kelsi: He’s over here making jokes in the comments.

Glyna: He’s making jokes and then he’s like, “Tough room.”

Kelsi: He said, “what makes a grown man, Brian, wear a coat in a building that’s 75 degrees?”

Shawn: Ask that again?

Kelsi: “What makes a grown man, Brian, wear a coat in a building that’s 75 degrees?”

Shawn: Well, I would have to… I’d have to sit down with his doctor and ask that question.

Glyna: And I’m sure Brian will be thrilled that we mentioned him.

Sarah: Oh boy.

Glyna: Those indoor air quality products, right now I think there would be a lot of people really interested in those. I’m like Sarah, I keep thinking of new things. Number one, going to go backwards a little bit, do you guys actually come in and clean air ducts? Number one. And number two, what other things do those indoor air quality products, what other things do they kill? What are other benefits of having that?

Shawn: We do not do ductwork cleaning. That’s a whole other set of licensing. But we have one specific company that we call in to do all our duct cleaning for us.

Glyna: Okay, cool.

Shawn: But the indoor air quality products, the air scrubber plus, if you go to their website, you can just google air scrubber plus. Or you can go to our website and we have links to it. But it has different test studies that were done by I think Kansas City University and some other colleges that I can’t remember. But it shows what it kills and the timeline that it kills it in such as strep, MRSA. Now I think it does say COVID, but that’s

Glyna: Yeah, that’s a little touchy right now.

Shawn: Right. That was pre COVID-19. Staff… don’t get me to say all the rest of them because I-

Glyna: That’s okay.

Shawn: And I think the longest timeline is 48 hours. So, within 48 hours, it can kill all this stuff. Mold. And there’s been tests where they’ve actually used these and mold remediation and have brought in outside testers to make sure that all the mold has been killed or removed. I mean, these things work. It’s amazing.

Glyna: Yeah.

Sarah: That’s awesome. Okay, I’ve got a question. What is the strangest thing that you’ve ever seen on a call?

Shawn: You know, I thought about this. We see a lot of bizarre stuff. But one of the things we see sometimes is just the units completely frozen up. I mean, it’s literally a massive ball of ice. A lot of times we’ll ask people when they call in and say that their air conditioning is not working, we’ll ask them to turn it off. And the reason being is so that it will have time to thaw out before we get there because we can’t do anything… when I’m saying a massive ball of ice, I’m talking huge. The whole thing is just completely frozen over.

Glyna: Do they not notice that’s happening? I guess you don’t go out to your own conditioner.

Shawn: Yeah. But most of the air conditioners are split systems. So, you might have the air handler in the attics. So, unless they’re pulling the panels off, they wouldn’t be able to see that. But also, on the other side, we see where people won’t… they go so long without changing their filters that when the air handler turns on, it pulls a suction and will literally pull the filter up into the air handler.

Glyna: Gosh. Fun.

Shawn: So y’all don’t do that. If you do that, I’m going to have to post a picture of your filter on-

Sarah: You’re going to shame us. Man. Glyna, do you have any questions? [crosstalk 00:27:23] then we’ll move onto the-

Glyna: Yeah, I have one. I see there’s other people on here. I have to figure out how to be able to see everybody because I see that there’s… we have people coming on and off, but I can’t see them, but we’ll try to work on that. Welcome, everybody. If we haven’t said your name, we really appreciate you joining us today. So, I know that you have a special offer you want to tell people about. Because Cindy Edmund said that Kirk is interested in that air scrubber so we may have… do we get commission?

Shawn: Yeah.

Glyna: Just asking. It’s hard times, Shawn.

Shawn: Yeah. I’ll give you a MERV nine filter for you. How about that?

Glyna: Awesome.

Shawn: Yeah, we’re running an ad right now that’s 10% off. That’s the same price that we would offer our maintenance customers. I was going to say that they are normally $1200, but that’s $120 off.

Glyna: Wow.

Shawn: And I tell you what, for anyone that’s watching this through Fusion One and they mention Fusion One, I’ll give then another 5% off.

Glyna: There we go. Kirk Edmund, you’re in business.

Kelsi: Awesome.

Glyna: Fantastic. Well we’re big on referrals. You’re in Kelsey and my [B&I 00:28:52] group and so we get to hear all the cool stuff that you do all the time. But tell people who are great referral partners for you. Who can we introduce you to that can bring you more business? Whether it’s commercial, residential.

Shawn: Right now, I would say one of my best referral sources would be property management companies. Some people right now, they don’t want anyone in their house. I can’t blame them, even with all the precautions we take. But the property management companies, I mean they’ve already got all the contacts whether it’s residential or commercial. So, if someone’s in a rental house and they call that company, someone’s got to come out there and at least… if it can’t be fixed, things need to be done so it’s working towards that.

And to be honest, we’ve gotten a lot of business right now just because other companies are not working. I know we touched on that earlier.

Glyna: I just don’t get it. I really don’t. Well, my husband and I were talking about this the other day. When this is all over, there’s going to be some people that aren’t in business anymore. And hopefully, those of us who are still working and open and trying to help people, we will be the few and far between who do stand out.

The best way to contact you, I think Sarah has that. She had it scrolling. You want to give a plug for your… there we go.

Shawn: Yeah. You can always reach us by email. Or there was a number that was scrolling earlier. It’s 205-675-0745. That’s the direct office line, but it rolls over to 24-hour answering service. And they have access to our scheduling software so they can schedule calls. But also, you can text that number. Even though it’s an office line, you can text it and it will send me a message through email of what you text.

Kelsi: That’s cool.

Glyna: Wow, high tech. That’s awesome.

Shawn: We try.

Sarah: That’s great.

Glyna: Thank you Cindy. What did Cindy say? Kelsi, did she…

Kelsi: Cindy is so nice. She said,” Fusion One Marketing is the bomb. They know exactly what to do to make your business look great on the internet, make it pop up first when someone Googles you and get your phone ringing with the right customers.”

Sarah: Wow.

Kelsi: Thanks, Cindy.

Glyna: Well we’re going to do something fun. Sarah, you want to intro what we’re going to do next? I’m going to get my timer ready.

Sarah: Well the greatest part about this is that we told Shawn about it and that he would be participating in it about 10 seconds before we went live so this is going to be really fun.

Glyna: No pressure.

Sarah: Yeah, no pressure. Okay, we’re going to do a game called the hot seat so let’s go.

Kelsi: All right let’s see how many of these you can answer in 60 seconds. Cake or pie?

Shawn: You’re going to have to repeat that.

Kelsi: Cake or pie?

Shawn: Cake.

Kelsi: Phone call or text?

Shawn: Text.

Kelsi: Laundry or dishes?

Shawn: Dishes.

Kelsi: Jogging or hiking?

Shawn: Hiking.

Kelsi: Motorcycle or bicycle?

Shawn: Motorcycle.

Kelsi: Steak or chicken?

Shawn: Chicken.

Kelsi: Coke or Pepsi?

Shawn: Coke.

Kelsi: Pancakes or waffles?

Shawn: Pancakes.

Kelsi: Lions or bears?

Shawn: Lions.

Kelsi: Superman or Batman?

Shawn: Neither.

Kelsi: Froyo or ice cream?

Shawn: Ice cream.

Kelsi: Fruits or veggies?

Shawn: Veggies.

Kelsi: Roller coaster or walk in the park?

Shawn: Roller coaster.

Kelsi: Car or truck?

Shawn: Truck.

Kelsi: Okay. TV or a book?

Shawn: TV.

Kelsi: Oceans or the mountains?

Shawn: Mountains.

Glyna: There we go.

Kelsi: Now we all know you a little bit more.

Shawn: Yeah.

Glyna: You did good, that was fun.

Shawn: I’ve seen enough of the ocean.

Kelsi: That’s true. I should have thought about that before I asked.

Glyna: Shawn, we really, really appreciate you coming on. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want people to know about you or Temperature Pro before we let you go?

Shawn: No, I think we covered a lot. I appreciate you having me on. This was great. I look forward to doing it every week.

Sarah: Same time next week.

Glyna: That’s awesome. If you need any HVAC, anything that we’ve mentioned, I can vouch for Shawn and his crew. They are the best so please don’t hesitate to get a hold of him. We’ll go to the outro. Sarah?

Sarah: All right, thanks for watching everyone.

Glyna: Bye, everybody.