West Roxbury HVAC Business Owner Talks Air Conditioning
West Roxbury's Joanna Picardi started Regional Air Mechanical Corp in June after years of working in the HVAC industry.
After years of working in the HVAC industry, West Roxbury's Joanna Picardi decided to open her own company in June, creating Regional Air Mechanical Corp.
Right now it's based out of her Loyola Circle home, with the company going all over the Greater Boston area for heating and cooling resident and commercial service.
The well-dressed and coifed Picardi is the antithesis of the stereotypical HVAC business owner. Her hands are clean, as are her clothes. But she knows the HVAC business, and knows it well.
Picardi and officer manager Jennifer Levine, sat down with West Roxbury Patch and discussed the new business, the heat, air conditioning - and what's the weirdest thing found in any HVAC system?
Patch: How did you two end up working together?
Levine: We worked together at a previous job and became friends.
Patch: When was the company created? Why?
Picardi: We had a good core of people (at the previous company, which went out of business). A good commercial group (of some who work with Picardi now). Regional Air Mechanical Corp is a new business that started in June.
Patch: What does the company do?
Picardi: Commercial and residential heating and air conditioning. Right now we're focusing on the residential end. It’s easier, quicker. Commercial – the bigger the project, the bigger the loss, we're taking babysteps to get there. We'd like to get to commercial (work), but to (start) a company and take on $200,000 projects is not smart.
Patch: How did you get involved with the HVAC industry?
Picard: Basically, I’m a businesss person. My background has been in construction since 1994-1995. I did business development and marketing. I'm good at finance and being a business manager.
I can’t put in air conditioning, but that’s why we have employees. I thought it was a good opportunity (to start the business). When you have the good employees, and you have good management, it’s a win-win situation.
Patch: Why did you want to start a business in this field?
Picardi: It’s a product I know, with people I trust. I know how to run this business.
Patch: What’s the weirdest thing you found in a system?
Ricardi: We had a customer - it was a squirrel in the chimney. For some homes we vent out the chimney...
Levine: – and the squirrel jumped down.
Patch: How much does an air conditioning unit cost these days?
Picardi: It goes by how big your house is - $9,000 for a low efficiency unit for a small house - to $12,000 to $13,000 for a bigger unit.
Patch: What kind of calls do you get for July?
Picardi: 'There’s no AC right now, can you fix my AC.' We're not going to sell something if something can be repaired, especially with this economy. We don’t replace something that’s going to last for 5-10 years if you fix it.
Sometimes it’s about small repairs – a little problem with the AC.
If you have a unit that's 9- to 10-years-old, and the lifespan is up to 20 years, you’d hate to see someone spend the cost of replacing it. You don’t want to cheat the customer like that, then that customer is not going to come back.
Patch: What about rebate programs for installing environmentally-friendly units?
Picardi: There are tax credits and rebates that we inform our clients about. Energy rebates. We help navigate that process. Our residential sales manager – he’ll let the customers know what they can be eligible for. He’ll give three to four different options of price levels, with each option he’ll let you know if system qualifies for rebates.
You can contact Regional Air Mechanical Corp at 617-323-0000 or visit www.regionalairmechanical.com.