Stinson Air turns 20 years Old! What a journey it has been!
Posted on 23 July 2015
Hi everyone, well Stinson Air turns 20 this year, after starting the business as a 20 year old and recently turning 40 it is now half of my life! To be honest I can’t remember or know of the exact start date but I believe it to be around July or August of 1995 and geez was Stinson Air (or Stinson Refrigeration and Air Conditioning as it was known as back then) a different looking company back then. If you can spare the time I will reminisce with a little history.
Why Start Stinson Air?
I was fresh out of my trade after leaving school early and doing a 4 year apprenticeship as a Refrigeration and Air conditioning mechanic or”Fridgy”and decided it was time to travel. I left for Broome to share a house with a couple of girlfriends (mates). It lasted less than 2 months as I spotted a job in Sumbawa Indonesia who required a “Fridgy” on a mine site. I applied, was told the job was mine, so I packed for Perth to prepare, I was pretty excited and even ordered a new surfboard thinking I would get the chance to hit the waves on my Sunday day off. Next thing I knew I was told the job was no longer available and I needed a job.
I had always planned on starting my own business since the day I had started my apprenticeship for a couple of reasons; one Dad had always had his own businesses and I had every intention of following the same path, and knew that with hard work and working smart I could achieve many of the things he had for himself and his family – thanks for all the knowledge and inspiration Dad! Secondly a family friend who had his own one man air conditioning and refrigeration business who I had done work for while still at school had done very well for himself out of the trade and I believed I could do the same.
So Stinson Air was born!
1995 – 2000.
The first Stinson Air vehicle was an old rusty 1970s Ford Transit Van parked at mum and dads house, my younger sister Amanda (as a young teenager) helped me with my very first install out at the Vines, my first regular labourer was my mate Trent and we installed hundreds of wall mounted split systems for Retravision customers, other retailers as well as subcontracting to larger air conditioning companies. We also commenced our first complete sales and installs. I soon purchased my own home in Doubleview and built a big workshop at the back – Stinson Air had it’s first home (after mum and dad’s place). Other mates were needed and over the years I often called on Luey, TC and Webbsy, even a couple of others for bigger jobs, or weekends when I couldn’t track down one of the “boys” down after a big night. They were super fun years that involved working long hours and often 7 days a week in summer and then kicking back and spending time down south between jobs, surfing and having fun with mates over the cooler Autumn and Winter months. It was in these quieter months that I started to also work on the business, set plans and make sure we continued to grow year after year.
We worked hard and we played hard and as you can read in our values we continue to do just that today.
2000 – 2005.
The business continued to grow. We moved (to my new home) to Scarborough and increased the size of the office to make room for my cousin Greg who started spending time in the office to help out with the operations of the business. Ducted reverse cycle system sales and installs increased and we learnt more about marketing and advertising, with no showroom we set up displays at Home Base in Wembley and Home Ideas Centre at City West. My sister Tracy commenced assisting part time with my books and Mum helped out as well. Tracy today is our Operations and Admin Manager (the real boss at Stinson Air) and Mum still helps us out to make sure those BAS’s are all sorted – and her rates are really cheap (nothing) – thanks Mum – love ya! We were also awarded a Daikin dealership and became the youngest Daikin dealer in WA at the time.
2005 – 2010.
This was a period of massive growth in business for Stinson Air and life for me. It started with getting engaged to my lovely wife Mel after being friends since teenagers and I popped the big question while on our first Daikin dealer trip to France – wow – she said yes – and wow I remember calling Dad and saying I never thought when I started my trade that it would ever get me to Paris! The home in Scarborough was now bursting at the seams, there was a/c gear, in the garage, down both sides of the house, we had gear in the roof and I had built more under cover storage in the back yard, plus I think the neighbours had, had enough of the Daikin truck and others making deliveries at all time during the day. It was time for a real home.
Stinson Air purchased our first commercial premises in 2006 in Gordon Road Osborne Park, the start of a new era. This coincided with us employing the services of a business coach Hank De Smit, who has taught us so much about business, people, culture, systems and more and how to do it all with great ethics and honesty, Hank still helps out with the team today – thanks Hank! The team was growing rapidly during this time, Mel was on front desk but was eventually replaced full time by Tracy as we started our family at home with Jake the first of our 3 beautiful kids (followed by Skye and Jessica). We grew the team and employed our first sales and design people and schedulers and supervisors throughout this time.
Our big business focus during this time was growing the business to be leaders in the air conditioning of new homes and becoming the number one supplier for the Alcock Brown-Neaves Group during this time was a big milestone. We still look after the group including Dale Alcock Homes, Celebration Homes, apg, Webb and Brown-Neaves as well as many other leading and award winning Perth home builders to this day. After Hank’s prodding we also picked up some great business awards during this time.
2010 – Today!
What a ride it had been to date, the business has recorded massive growth of almost 30% a year since inception, during this period it was time to drift back to some normal levels of growth and focus our attention to making sure we have the best people, look after them and together work to create a strong culture and an industry leading team.
We have also made it a time to strengthen our systems; we implemented our 28 point quality control system and many other internal systems and processes that make our business more efficient, more fun and be a safer and healthier workplace to be around. We have learnt more about our clients needs by listening more and we have embraced new technologies and new ways of doing business.
2013 Was also a big milestone year as Stinson Air South West was born, with Gary Hodge being an old mate from school days and fellow Fridgy we have a great man steering the ship down there and with Kade Boucher my right hand man and good friend as a co director the future looks bright as we have started to kick some goals in the Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River regions.
The last big event in this period was moving the business again in 2014, we moved about 100m to our modern new home at 79 Frobisher St, Osborne Park and completed a custom fit out last year and are delighted with the result, it is over twice the size of our last business and we have room to move and room to grow, everything has it’s place and it has assisted in making our operations even more streamlined and efficient. During this period we also received dealerships with Panasonic, Samsung and Fujitsu.
The future for Stinson Air.
We have achieved so much which is fantastic and 20 years is a long time, but the benefit of starting a business at such a young age is that we and I still have plenty left in the tank. We have an exciting plan for the future and have no intentions of sitting still, we want to continue to learn, find new ways of providing the best customer service that we can and embrace changes in technology in our products and systems. We want to continue to work hard and grow and play hard and have fun while we do it.
Stinson Air would be nothing without amazing people, we have the best staff we have ever had in the last 20 years right now, so thank you to each and everyone of you. We have also had some fantastic staff in past years, including my mates way back in the beginning, thank you all. We have the best clients and suppliers and so many great relationships and friendships have come from these times doing business together. Lastly thank you again to my wife Mel, kids Jake, Skye and Jess and my amazing extended family thanks for supporting me and our team for the ride. Thats stage 1 of the ride complete, what will stage 2 bring! Watch this space!!