“I didn’t have much of a plan when I started the company,” said founder Justin Bailey. “I didn’t even have a phone. For $7 a month you could get a phone number so people could leave you voicemails. That’s what I had for the first few months. I built this little shed to store parts. My brother looked at it and said I would have a warehouse someday. I thought he was nuts.”
But the prediction came true. With help from the SBA, Bailey was able to purchase a warehouse space in Santa Fe in early 2020. The showroom/office in Taos makes up the outfit’s other location.
“We’ve grown more than six-fold in the last seven years,” said Bailey. “After 14 years of being a one- to two-person business, in 2014 I listed the core values of the business and published a mission statement, and little by little the organization grew and discovered it’s true purpose. Purpose, mission and values are the DNA, the code that makes it possible for us to be what we are and do what we do. We think of the business as a living thing, part of a larger ecosystem.”
Safety, Respect, Value
“Our purpose is two-fold,” he continued, “to keep you warm and safe in your home and to provide excellent jobs for great people. Our mission is to elevate the chimney service industry in New Mexico to the modern standard of care. Our values are Safety, Respect, Value, Making a Difference, and Integrity. Operating from these principles has made the difference between just muddling along to becoming the biggest, best trained, best equipped chimney outfit in the multi-state region.”
Another secret to success, according to Bailey, is continuous learning.
“We pay for the staff to do training with national experts and get certifications. Before COVID, we used to all go to Denver to do training, but lately it’s been Zoom. A lot of us are getting another certification this year, known as Certified Chimney Professional certification.”
Turns out, there’s a robust market for chimney pros with expertise, credentials and principles.
“There’s more demand for us than supply,” said General Manager Doreenda Martínez, who is now a partner in the business. “It’s late March and we booked 45 appointments today. This is supposed to be the slow season!”
“The challenge isn’t getting customers,” said Pat Rael, top performing tech and also a partner in the business. “It’s finding enough people who identify with our values that are willing and able to learn the trade well enough to be a part of our team.”
The sky’s the limit
Rael’s life has changed a lot since he joined Bailey’s five years ago. “Before I worked here, it was a struggle to provide for my family. Now it’s a very different situation. I have nothing but gratitude for this opportunity. The sky’s the limit here.”
“Our techs who become certified experts can earn over $80,000 a year,” said Bailey. “Our techs make a great living saving lives in a supportive atmosphere with full benefits. We believe a good job should be meaningful and fun.”