As winter approaches and temperatures drop, there's now another heating man available to call when your home system flops.
Dr. Seuss has been credited with many things, but naming a refrigeration, heating and air-conditioning business?
"Yes," said Michael Zerr, owner of Cool Fish Services.
"Working in the industry, I've seen a lot of polar bears and penguins. For my business I was looking for something a bit different, a brand that wasn't geographically confining but something that would be instantly recognizable," Zerr said. "I'm a Garrison native, but the name came to me one night when I was hanging out with the family reading Dr. Seuss' 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish'. It hit me, I thought about it a few days and said, okay."
That was how Zerr named his newly created refrigeration, heating and air company, which he launched Oct. 1 in Minot.
"This is kind of the slow time in the industry right now and things have been slow here, too, but I like it this way," he said. "I'm taking the time to build the foundation of the business. I don't want to be too busy before I can fully serve my customers."
Aside from collecting the necessary equipment, creating contacts and finalizing his company's image, Zerr also made it a point to distinguish himself by attaining certification from North American Technician Excellence, a non-profit organization that promotes installation and service excellence in the heating, air-conditioning and ventilation industry through voluntary testing and certification.
The program consists of 21 individual tests that focus on specific aspects of service and installation of heating, air and refrigeration equipment in both residential and commercial settings. According to the organization's Web site, NATE-certified technicians have 12 percent fewer call backs, manufacturers experience 28 percent less warranty expense and nearly 50 percent of customers surveyed are more likely to be satisfied with their home comfort systems when installed by NATE-certified technicians.
"In the bigger markets, it's very important to be NATE-certified, but here in North Dakota it's not readily known so most companies won't cover the expense or time requirements for employees," Zerr said. "There are a couple of individuals around that are NATE-certified but I did it to differentiate my company from my competitors."
Although Zerr has been in working in the industry for more than a decade, spending 10 years with MDU Resources and before that several years with different Minnesota-based companies, it is the first time Zerr has started his own business.
"I had thought about it for a long time and then the company started going through changes, which helped me decide that I wanted to take that next step," he said. "I believe this is an underserved market and with the growth Minot is experiencing I think I can do some good."
Cool Fish, which offers service plans and one-time repairs on heating, air conditioning, humidifiers, heat pump equipment, and small and large-scale appliances, does 24-hour emergency services as well as non-emergency work during normal business hours for commercial and residential properties.
"The bigger, uglier and nastier it gets, the more I like it. It gives me a proper challenge," he said.