Techs open independent HVAC/R supply business

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It’s not unusual for technicians in the HVAC/R or plumbing trade to decide they could do better on their own. Often they simply buy a truck and that puts them in the contracting business. Two brothers in Mississauga, Ont. have taken the unusual step of going into the supply side.

In January 2016, Mark and Andrew Botelho opened Makers Supply at 2283 Argentia Road, Mississauga, Ont. Both started in the HVAC/R trade right out of high school, with Mark spending about 10 years as a residential HVAC technician while Andrew worked mostly on commercial and refrigeration.

They had been discussing the idea of getting into the supply side for some time, recalled Mark. “There was probably almost two years of discussions before we actually did it.”  This included finding partners and financial backing, lining up vendors, finding a location, etc.

One the biggest challenges for anyone getting into the wholesale business is simply to find suppliers. Many are locked into exclusive agreements with existing wholesalers. “That’s a daily struggle,” Mark added. “Before we started we lined up a few suppliers that we knew that we would be able to buy from.” Makers Supply has come a long way, now offering several hundred brands and a full line of HVAC/R equipment with everything needed for installation or repair.

Trade oriented

The experience in the field is proving a major asset for Mark and Andrew as they serve customers.

“We come from the field and understand what the techs need and are looking for when they are doing that furnace, AC, hot water tank install, or repair that is driving them to their tenth cup of coffee,” said Mark. “We help (the tech) remember everything when they walk through our door for that tough install or help with that repair that just won’t go away.”

And help is always a phone call away, he adds. “If it’s after hours, just call our main number and either my brother or I are calling you back within 20 minutes; that’s my personal guarantee.”

That trade experience is also useful when dealing with manufacturers on warranty issues. “Who do you want to fight the manufacturer for your warranty issue; the guy in the apron, or the guys that have been where you are now?” says Mark.

Continuous growth

Makers Supply is now well into its second year of operation in the relatively hot Southern Ontario market and it continues to grow. “It ’s going good,” said Mark. “Every couple of weeks I have meetings with partners, so we’re always looking at the numbers and we’re on a steady incline upwards.”

The name of the business is something Mark had in mind for some time. “I think it came from a quote I heard a years ago: ‘Just be a maker.’” And part of that includes eventually getting into the manufacturing side, perhaps with sheet metal products, he added.

“When we built Makers, our goal was to create a supplier that we would want to walk into for a furnace, AC install, repair parts or that custom sheet metal fitting that some big warehouse built three inches short. We have come a long way in a short time,” says Mark. And the coffee is always on and it’s not that bad, he laughs.

For more information, please visit www.makerssupply.ca or call 905-813-1000.

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