You could say that Nathan Moore was destined to land in the heating and cooling trade. His father works in the industry, as did his grandfather and great-grandfather.
“I really enjoy fixing things and addressing the needs of customers,” says Moore, an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) mechanic who launched Integra Mechanical and Air Ltd. in 2013. But what hasn’t come so intuitively to him is handling the organizational and administrative side of running a business.
That’s why he was so curious about Starter Company (now Starter Company Plus) when he spotted it online. The program provides funding, training, mentoring and other assistance to Ontario residents who want to start or expand a business in the province. York Small Business Enterprise Centre (YSBEC) administers the program through funding from the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. Moore had a long chat with a YSBEC consultant before starting the program.
“The consultant worked closely with us,” says Moore, which not only helped during the application process, but also when it came to writing a detailed business plan. Up until then, Integra Mechanical and Air Ltd.’s business plan had amounted to no more than “chicken scratch on paper,” he says. All Starter Company Plus participants are expected to prepare a business plan and financial projections in the program.
“There was a big value in putting down the things we wanted to do in writing,” says Moore. It forced him and his wife, Andrea, who helps with the business, to sit down and figure out how to reach their goals.
And they’re well on their way.
“We’ve had a lot more opportunities than we had anticipated,” says Moore. Integra Mechanical and Air Ltd. has four licensed mechanics (including Moore), one apprentice, two office staff and five trucks. From its base in Holland Landing, the company serves both commercial and residential customers in York Region to as far north as Muskoka. It also provides a 24/7 emergency service.
Most of Integra Mechanical and Air Ltd.’s new business comes through word of mouth—grounded, Moore likes to think, in the company’s commitment to quality customer service and integrity. (“Integrity is a huge avenue to your customers and it’s also huge in how you treat your employees,” he notes.)
Moore understands the importance of having an online presence so, using the $5,000 grant he received through Starter Company, he hired a digital marketing firm to produce a professional website for his business. He also put some of the grant toward work-order management software—a great tool for keeping his team organized on their mobile devices.
In time, Moore plans to invest in an interactive phone system, allowing Integra Mechanical and Air Ltd. to respond to customers’ needs even faster.
It’s all a matter of pacing. “Right now, we’re still a small company, but we’re going to continue to grow and develop,” he says.
You can learn more about Integra Mechanical and Air Ltd. and continue following this local York Region success story at www.integraservices.ca.
Sara Bedal is a marketing communications writer and editor in Aurora who helps businesses and organizations communicate more effectively. She can be reached at [email protected].