NEW ORLEANS— More than 440 people representing hvac businesses from across the U.S.convened for four days of intensive training.

NEW ORLEANS— More than 440 people representing hvac businesses from across the United States convened at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans Convention Center for four days of intensive training and management expertise. All are members of AirTime 500™, a management and consulting group focused on residential heating and air conditioning contractors founded by Jim Abrams and John Young.

Jim Abrams opened EXPO with a warning. “Lowe’s and Home Depot do not bode well for the independent contractor or their relationships with suppliers,” Abrams said.

As Abrams further explained, Home Depot currently owns 20% of the home remodeling and service market and plans to capture 20% from heating, cooling, carpet installation and other service industries. To further complicate the issue, there are significantly more independent contractors this year than six years ago, leaving independents and large companies scrambling for the remaining 75% of the market share.

To combat consolidators, AirTime 500™ plans to harness its group buying potential. Mike Robinson, director of AirTime 500’s vendor incentive program, reported that software is currently being finalized for a new order-procurement program. BuyMax™ will allow contractor members to purchase equipment from AirTime 500™ preferred vendors via the Internet. BuyMax™ provides a better solution to the organization’s vendor incentive program of the past in which orders and rebates were processed manually. Robinson said the BuyMax™ program will begin in Spring 2002, and he hopes to have all members enrolled in the program by Sept. 30.

Abrams also announced that a new program called Master Council would be launched in September. The Master Council will recruit the most savvy business people to consult and mentor independent contractor members beyond hvac. The program will be open to qualified members of AirTime 500™ and sister organization, Plumbers’Success International™, who have achieved operational excellence (at least 15% net profit) in their businesses.

For more information call 877-862-8181.