We encourage our local leadership to operate in a manner that builds upon the long-term relationships they have established with their suppliers and customers. Typically, we maintain the identity of businesses by retaining their historical trade names, management teams and sales organizations, and continuity of their product brand-name offerings. We believe this strategy allows us to build on the value of the acquired operations by creating additional sales opportunities while providing an attractive exit strategy for the former owners of these companies.
We maintain a specialized staff at our corporate headquarters that provides functional support for our subsidiaries’ growth strategies in their respective markets. Such functional support staff includes specialists in finance, accounting, product procurement, information technology, treasury and working capital management, tax planning, risk management, and safety. Certain general and administrative expenses are targeted for cost savings by leveraging the overall business volume and improving operating efficiencies.
We sell an expansive line of products and maintain a diverse mix of inventory to meet our customers’ immediate needs, and we seek to provide products a contractor would generally require when installing or repairing a central air conditioner, furnace, or refrigeration system on short notice. The cooling capacity of air conditioning units is measured in tons. One ton of cooling capacity is equivalent to 12,000 British Thermal Units (“BTUs”) and is generally adequate to air condition approximately 500 square feet of residential space.
The products we distribute consist of: (i) equipment, including residential ducted and ductless air conditioners ranging from 1 to 5 tons, gas, electric, and oil furnaces ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 BTUs, commercial air conditioning and heating equipment systems ranging from 1-1/2 to 25 tons, and other specialized equipment, (ii) parts, including replacement compressors, evaporator coils, motors, and other component parts, (iii) supplies, including thermostats, insulation material, refrigerants, ductwork, grills, registers, sheet metal, tools, copper tubing, concrete pads, tape, adhesives, and other ancillary supplies and (iv) plumbing and bathroom remodeling supplies in a limited number of stores.
Customers and Customer Service
Air conditioning and heating contractors and dealers that install HVAC/R products in homes and businesses must be licensed given the highly regulated nature of the products, refrigerant, natural gas, and building and zoning requirements. We currently serve more than 120,000 active contractors and dealers who service the replacement and new construction markets for residential and light commercial central air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration systems. We focus on providing products where and when the customer needs them, technical support by phone or on site as required, and quick and efficient service at our locations. Increased customer convenience is also provided through mobile applications and e-commerce, which allows customers to access information online 24 hours a day, seven days a week to search for desired products, verify inventory availability, obtain pricing, place orders, check order status, schedule pickup or delivery times, and make payments. We believe we compete successfully with other distributors primarily based on an experienced sales organization, strong service support, maintenance of well-stocked inventories, density of warehouse locations, high quality reputation, broad product lines, and the ability to foresee customer demand for new products.
Key Supplier Relationships
Given our leadership position, Watsco represents a strategic business relationship to many of the leading manufacturers in our industry. Significant relationships with HVAC/R equipment manufacturers include Carrier, Rheem, Goodman, Welbilt, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Gree Electric Appliances, Inc., Trane, Lennox, and Midea Group. In addition, we have substantial relationships with manufacturers of non-equipment HVAC/R products, including Chemours, Emerson, Flexible Technologies, Resideo, Southwark, Johns Manville, Mueller, and Owens Corning.
We believe the diversity of products that we sell, along with the manufacturers’ current product offerings, quality, marketability, and brand-name recognition, allow us to operate favorably relative to our competitors. To maintain brand-name recognition, HVAC/R equipment manufacturers provide national advertising and participate with us in cooperative advertising programs and promotional incentives that are targeted to both dealers and end-users.