I wrote a blog post about my experience with Hobiaca Services. I was the recipient of a new HVAC unit as part of their BEGIN (Business Entities Getting Involved in our Neighborhood) program. A lot of you had questions or comments about the program, the other recipients, etc. I’ve dedicated this page to that purpose.
Let me start with the disclaimers.
- Yes, I received a new heating and cooling unit from Hobiaca. They’ve asked for nothing in return.
- I do not work for Hobiaca Services nor have I been compensated for this page. (See above.)
- I do not work for or speak for Hobiaca.
These days, the story of corporate indifference and greed is cliché. We’re all well-versed in organizations that cut corners and squeeze their work force to increase profits. I often feel we’ve gone from “the customer is king” to “customer be damned.”
I am cynical by nature; not prone to feel-good stories, fuzzy bunnies or kumbaya moments. I’ve been more inclined to look favorably on these things since my experience with Hobiaca. I’ve need to analyze that carefully. I’m suspicious of “nice.”
I needed to know if my experience was unique. I had the opportunity to talk to other BEGIN recipients. Across the board, I heard the same things, service, integrity, professionalism…kindness. And I’ve heard from a number of Hobiaca customers who echo these same sentiments after they read that blog post, not one had a negative word to say about Hobiaca. I heard from long-time customers who were now on a second or third unit and trusted no one else. Every one gave glowing testament to the quality, honesty and professionalism of this company.
It’s refreshing to find a company with a focus on “doing right.” I respect that a family-owned, local business invests in the community where they make their home. They’re giving more in this single community than many larger companies are doing nation-wide.
Every one of the Hobaica employees I’ve talked to through this process seems to love their job and the company they work for. They get decent wages and benefits and they’re treated well. When your employees are part of your community, of course you treat them well.
If the measure of character is doing what’s right when no one is looking, then Hobaica’s character is sterling as these stories illustrate.
Thank you again, Hobaica Services for investing in your community, for offering a hand up to some folks who have fallen on hard times and for being a model of honest service and community stewardship in Phoenix.
When we talked, Reverend Kevin was still nursing a deep bronchial cough developed during the time he and his family were without heat.
Reverend Kevin, his wife and three children share their house with their fledging church. One Saturday they were preparing for choir practice. “It was just me, my family and our pianist in the house” Rev. Kevin recalls. “I was in my office preparing and suddenly the house filled with smoke. Fast. Real fast. It is a blessing that everyone escaped unharmed.”
By the time the fire department arrived, the fire, which was contained to the electrical components of the family’s air conditioner, had burned out. The fire department did a thorough assessment and determined that the house was safe to re-enter – provided the family didn’t turn the breakers to the AC unit back on. “They didn’t need to worry about that” Rev. Kevin said “There was no way we were going to try to turn it on again.”
During this time, the Phoenix valley experienced an unseasonable cold spell. “We’re in an outlying area so it gets colder here than in the city. It was in the 20’s a few nights.” Mornings were the worst, trying to get the day started in a freezing home. The family relied on the radiant heat generated by sunny Phoenix afternoons to warm the house before the dark… and the cold returned. “You get used to being cold.”
“We used lots and lots of blankets.” Rev. Kevin recalled. He and two of his sons developed deep bronchial coughs that required medical treatment. Their conditions were attributed to the lack of heat in their home, especially those very long, cold nights.
Church services were difficult in a home with no heat. “People were shivering during service. We had to wrap up in blankets during church.”
Rev. Kevin’s HVAC unit was only five years old but it had already required expensive repairs that strained the financial reserves of the family. “We knew we just had to tough it out and save enough to buy a new unit before summer. It’s hard to live without heat but it would be even harder to live without air conditioning; especially for our congregation.”
Rev. Kevin’s mother saw a news story about Hobaica Services and the BEGIN program. She secretly submitted the family for consideration to receive one of the eight units Hobaica donates each holiday season.
“One day my mom calls and says ‘you’re going to get a call in just a minute from Paul Hobaica, he has some questions but they want to give you a new air conditioner. “ Moments later, Hobaica called to learn more about the issues Rev. Kevin’s family faced.
“A few days later Mike Hobaica came out to look at our unit. I kept thinking ‘Yeah right. Probably not.’ I’ve never won anything before and I couldn’t imagine them giving us an air conditioner.”
Mike’s inspection revealed that the unit was indeed faulty and needed to be replaced rather than repaired. He also discovered that the ductwork in the home was insufficient to the job of heating and cooling the home. As part of the project, Hobaica also replaced the ducting in the house and added several vents. “Our A/C bills were running $400 a month in the summer. We’ll save a lot of money in energy costs.” Money the family will devote to their ministry.
“Hobaica was an unbelievable blessing to my family and my church.”
Recalling the day of installation, Rev. Kevin’s laugh reflected his sheer joy. “They were most amazing! So courteous and professional.”
I no longer had to coax information from him, his excitement animated the conversation. “They wore shoe covers! Every time they stepped into the house they put on shoe covers! I’ve never seen such professional service. They were all really nice and very polite.”
Hobaica installed the new unit and ductwork the day before Rev. Kevin’s birthday. “We woke up warm for the first time in a long time. That was a great birthday present.”
I asked Reverend Kevin if his experience with Hobiaca Services’ BEGIN program had impacted his preaching. He thought for just a second. “It’s amazing to see people care about others in the way that we preach. They’re living the Word. “
After a pause he finished “Hobaica has been a reminder of how God loves us and takes care of us.”
I only wish that I had the opportunity to sit with Myra in person, enjoy a cup of tea with her while we chatted instead of meeting her by phone. Time passed so quickly listening to her talk.
Myra is nursing a couple of broken ribs from a fall. She was taking her friend shopping when her vertigo hit her hard and she fell getting into her car.
“When I got home from the ER, my neighbor told me smoke had been pouring out of my heat pump. I called the repairman out and he told me it would cost nearly as much to repair the compressor as to replace then whole unit.”
So, Myra shut off all the rooms in her home except her bedroom and relied on a small space heater. “I slept in 3 layers of clothes at night. Even my shoes and wool hunter’s socks. I was still freezing cold by morning.”
Myra, a widow, lives paycheck to paycheck and didn’t know where she would find the money to replace her faulty unit. Her friend, Judy, nominated her for Hobaica Services’ BEGIN program. “Judy called me and told me I’d been chosen to receive the final unit. I couldn’t imagine that I had been picked from all the entries.”
As we talked, Myra told me that her old unit had been trouble from the start. Speaking of the contractor who installed her heat pump she said: “We had to call them out several times and it was always something different and there would always be a big bill to go along with the problem.” The last time the repairman was out, he suggested she investigate the contractor and see the number of complaints lodged against them; it was the repairman’s last day on the job. “I couldn’t believe how many complaints there were. No wonder I had so much trouble with my heat pump.”
She talked about saving money to replace her unit in the spring. Her goal was “to find someone honest” to install her new unit. “I don’t trust contractors anymore.” Myra lamented.
Regarding her experience with Hobaica Services Myra told me: “Night and day difference compared to the other company.” Speaking about Hobaica’s technicians she said “They were so fast! They laid down cloths to protect my things and they wore booties in the house!”
Myra is no longer plagued by the issues her old heat pump caused. “I like how they positioned the unit lower on the garage roof for less noise in the house. It’s so quiet now!”
Troubled by her ribs broken in her recent fall along with arthritis the cold compounded her pain. Showering in the unheated home was an issue as well. “I have to be careful not to move too fast and cause more vertigo but when you’re showering in the cold, that’s all you can think to do.”
The lack of heat in Myra’s home was more than source of discomfort. Her doctors worried for her health. “My doctor kept telling me to be careful not to catch a chill. I could get pneumonia from it.”
Learning that she was going to receive a new unit courtesy of Hobaica allowed Myra the peace of mind that her health would no longer be threatened by her lack of heat.
The new unit is more energy efficient than the heat pump it replaces. Myra expects to see her heating and cooling bill go down. Every dollar counts on a fixed income.
As we talked, it was clear that Myra’s experience with Hobaica Services had restored her trust. She was as impressed by their professionalism and quality as I had been during my installation. “I can tell they’re honest.” She said.
“Everyone was so nice the day of the installation. I kept thanking them and thanking them.” Myra told me.
I asked if there was anything she wanted the folks at Hobaica to know. There was.
“Thank you Hobaica. It’s wonderful to wake up in a warm house.”