UK: The company which pioneered the concept of independent air conditioning sales agencies has celebrated 25 years in business.
Established in 1993, the Hampshire-based Air Conditioning Agency specialises in providing a solution to all the trade’s cooling, drying and heating needs.
Company founders Steve Glover and Sally McPhail had originally worked together at Haydon Air Distribution back in the 80s before leaving to set up Airside (Southern) with Neville Hyde. The business operated from a warehouse and offices in Southampton, distributing Mitsubishi Electric and Marstair equipment.
When Airside was sold to Kooltech six years later, the idea of an independent sales agency was born.
“After the Kooltech acquisition in 1993, Sally and I both decided to break away from distribution in its truest sense and give being an independent and unbiased supply agency a go,” Steve Glover explains. “To my knowledge, no one had tried this before in our trade. Our concept was to set up agency contracts with as many manufactures and distributors as we could that were not active on the south coast, and receive a small commission instead of a wage based on sales to our contracting customers.”
There was a brief hiatus in 2006 when the goodwill of The Air Conditioning Agency was acquired by Daikin. Sally and Steve went to work for the Japanese manufacturer’s UK subsidiary for a period – just over two years in Steve’s case and four years for Sally. The Air Conditioning Agency, however, continued trading on a low key basis, supplying mobile air conditioners, window units and similar products that didn’t compete with the Daikin portfolio.
Today, The Air Conditioning Agency works with a number of manufacturers, offering a wide variety of products and services, from inverter-driven window type and all-in-one twin-pipe units to mobile air conditioners and evaporative coolers, VRF, wine and cellar coolers, dehumidifiers, roof top and bespoke packages and chilled water fan coils.
“Back in 1993 I can remember many thought it was a crazy idea to set up an independent and unbiased supply channel to the trade,” said Steve Glover. “We have now outlived virtually all the other air conditioning suppliers at the time and are still the best placed supplier, particularly of mobile air conditioners and evaporative coolers, because we do not rely on one source. Basically, as others run out, we still have options.
“We still successfully act as an agent on the south coast for a few out-of-area distributors, but the direct supply to trade side of our business has grown and grown. Most of our competitors are focused on the big projects where as we are delighted to “hoover up the crumbs”, and provide an effective service on plug-and-play air conditioners and the like.
Latterly, we have also found a new niche for us in nationally hiring out mobile air conditioners and evaporative coolers to our trade customers. This is only our second year in this market, but from what we understand, our prices are very competitive and our service very good.
The Agency has also recently re-vamped its entire website (www.airconagency.co.uk) to mark the the 25th anniversary. The website features a password-protected trade pricing section for installers that can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.