The Secret is the Staff

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Chadd and Keegan Hodges head up an award-winning, $24 million company, but the brothers aren’t big on fancy titles. In fact, they’d prefer it if their employees didn’t even notice they were there.

“Our staff is so well trained that they’re operating the company for us,” says Keegan, co-owner of the Naples- based Best Home Services. The full-service residential heating, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing company has been operating in Southwest Florida since 1980.

“We empower them to make the right decisions and even though we go to work every day, the company runs with or without our presence.

“Of all the things we’ve accomplished, the one we’re most proud of is the team we’ve been able to assemble.”

With more than 160 employees, and satellite offices in Fort Myers and Sarasota, the business caters to residents from Naples to Bradenton. The Hodgeses purchased the company from their parents in 2010, who had in turn acquired it from another family in 1992.

Perry—a Vietnam War vet-turned-electrical-contractor—and his wife, Marilyn, took over what was at the time a small electrical business, called Best Electric. After moving to Bonita Springs with their two young sons, the family started out in new construction, then phased into residential and commercial service work a few years later. By the age of 12, both Keegan and Chad were pitching in, maintaining a regular presence on-site.

They never planned to take over the business—Keegan went
on to obtain a certificate in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and a Master Electrical state license, while Chadd earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from Liberty University in Virginia.

“After going off to school, we mutually decided to move back home and see what we could do with the business,” says Chadd, who officially came on board in 2007 as the company expanded their offerings to include air conditioning.

With the goal of becoming the leading home service provider in the region, Chadd and Keegan then introduced a plumbing division in 2013.

Last year, the company’s revenues were $18 million; it expects to reach at least $24 million this year. It’s also planning on hiring more employees, anticipating a jump to 225 staff within a year.

In addition to planning an expansion to Tampa, it’s the first in its industry to have a call center, which is currently under construct ion in Fort Myers. At 15,000 square feet, it will house about 60 employees.

Not bad for a company that only had 25 employees when they first took over. “Each time we

expand, it adds opportunity for our employees to move and take on additional responsibilities,” says Keegan.

The biggest challenge, now that the economy has improved, lies in recruiting and retaining top staff in a competitive industry. In addition to stepping up recruitment efforts across the country, it
is also willing to help employees with relocation costs and will pay for their education and ongoing training.

“Last week we spent more than $28,000 bringing in private training for our staff. Great people are a huge part of our success,” Keegan continues. “As we grow, we want to maintain that family atmosphere we started with.” 


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