Case Studies

Princeton Air Conditioning

Raising the bar in HVAC services in New Jersey

Princeton Air Conditioning has been a family-owned and -operated company for more than 44 years. Founded by Joe Needham, Princeton Air performs residential and commercial HVAC work throughout the state of New Jersey and southeast Pennsylvania. With approximately 50 employees and a 24/7 service team, Princeton Air has built a responsive organization that focuses on all heating, ventilation and air conditioning services as well as insulation, air sealing, geothermal and solar solutions.

When Princeton Air was founded in 1971, the company focused heavily on new construction projects. As the company progressed, a shift in its business plan steered Princeton Air toward the path of a service-oriented firm while still performing installations of HVAC systems. “We focus on end-user clients,” says Scott Needham, president of Princeton Air and son of founder Joe Needham. “Proactive preventative maintenance is a big part of what we do. The project work that we complete is quick-turnaround, low-labor content project work.”

A niche market

Preventative maintenance programs have become the foundation for Princeton Air’s position in the marketplace. The team at Princeton Air has established and retained a strong customer base due to repeat business for maintenance clients as well as referrals. “There are a lot of good things that have resulted from our preventative maintenance work,” says Scott. “We’ve generated a lot of pull-through business that comes from those long term relationships.”

Princeton Air provides all-inclusive agreements with its service and maintenance clients. For a fixed monthly fee, any equipment failures as well as maintenance activities are covered under the agreement. “The building owners like how the risk shifts from their budget to ours,” says Scott. “It has created a lot of trust in us from our clients.”

A fair amount of Princeton Air’s success and reputation has also been due to the company’s involvement with the local community. Located in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, Princeton Air is known to contribute to multiple charities every year and reinvests a portion of its profits back into the local communities it serves. “We are a small business, but we have established enough solid relationships, which allow us to compete with the bigger companies,” says Scott. “We’re able to work in a lot of different markets.”

Innovation in business and technology

With the cyclical nature of the construction industry, Princeton Air is constantly putting forth a conscious effort to reduce the seasonality of its business. In 2008, the company launched a division that performs insulation and air sealing, which is performed year-round. Also, due to the 30 percent federal tax credit homeowners are receiving, Princeton Air began installing geothermal solutions for clients. “When we first started doing geothermal, we were very busy and now it has leveled off a bit,” Scott explains “We’re hoping that the Federal government will see how beneficial the 30 percent renewable energy tax credit was and will continue it beyond the 2016 sunset date.”

Princeton Air is a company that consistently looks for and discovers programs that leverage its specialties and expertise in the market. Working with Tri-State Light & Energy and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Princeton Air has become involved with the Direct Install Program. The program will pay 70 percent of the cost of an HVAC and lighting retrofit for a business or building that meets certain energy usage requirements. “We’ve been doing a lot of work with the Direct Install Program,” says Scott. “We try to educate our existing clients about the program or Tri-State Light & Energy will hire us to help with the many projects they manage.”

As a market leader in its region, Scott says that one of the most important aspects of his business is that Princeton Air is known for doing the right thing. If there is ever any problem on a project, Princeton Air is there to see the job through until completion at all costs. Community involvement is important to Scott, as he is a former president of the community’s Rotary Club and Princeton Air is often involved in fundraising and volunteer work. “We try to do a lot for the community and I think people really recognize that,” says Scott. “That has really dovetailed into the good feeling that people get when it comes to making a buying decision with us.”

With other competitors steadily entering the market, Scott says that Princeton Air’s focus for the future is to grow its market share. “While we continue to grow, we really want to make sure that we continue to serve our existing clients properly while obtaining new ones,” says Scott. “We also want to do more for the communities that we serve.” While Princeton Air Conditioning remains a leader in the HVAC industry, the company will serve its market and community with same care and respect that has contributed to its success over the past 44 years.

Published on: February 1, 2016



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