Bates Air Conditioning & Service Co, Inc.
Finding Their Comfort Zone In Uncertain Times: Bates Air Conditioning & Service Co, Inc.
Anyone who’s ever sweated out a Texas summer understands the importance of climate control. So it should come as no surprise to learn that not even COVID-19 could cause Bates Air Conditioning & Service Co., Inc. — more popularly known around their hometown of Houston as Bates AC — to suspend its operations.
Since 1964, Bates AC has offered comprehensive refrigeration, ventilation, and HVAC services to its fellow small businesses. Its primary customers include property management companies, restaurants, fitness facilities, and retailers. Unfortunately, those industries were among the most negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Calls for HVAC maintenance and repair services dropped to nearly zero by late March of 2020 — ironically, around the same time that Harris County officials designated Bates AC an essential business. New construction kept moving forward, but not quickly enough to make up for the revenue lost due to widespread business closures. Consequently, Bates AC’s income shrank to a mere trickle.
That made April 2020 an uncommonly difficult month for owners Andy and Ann Mahoney. Andy and Ann — who acquired Bates AC in 1986 — do their utmost to treat their employees like family. The company is fully bonded, licensed, insured, and regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Ann and Andy invest in job training and ensure their technicians have access to the most up-to-date tools and technology. Above all, they take great joy in watching their employees grow, achieve success, and thrive.
“We were very worried for our people,” recalls Ann. “What if one of them contracted the virus and got seriously ill? What would happen to their family? And what if we had to go into quarantine and shut down entirely? Sometimes the anxiety could be overwhelming.”
Relief came in the form of an email from the Mahoneys’ accountant. He followed the news closely and had learned that Congress’ COVID-19 economic stimulus package — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act — included several small business lending programs. As more details about these lending programs, most notably the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), were made public, he continued to email the Mahoneys and encourage them to fill out an application.
The Mahoneys acted promptly, but their relief proved to be short-lived. Their financial services provider’s efforts to secure PPP funding for Bates AC did not succeed. Although the Mahoneys were disappointed and more uncertain about their business’ future than ever, they kept their cool and took stock of their remaining options. As it turns out, their accountant wasn’t the only one who had emailed them about the PPP. So had Lisette Clark, a banker at Guaranty Bank & Trust’s Katy, Texas, location.
“Lisette had been our business banker for many years and always took excellent care of us,” Ann explains. “But when our bank changed their business model, we lost Lisette. Thankfully, she kept in touch and was truly excited to work with us again.”
Lisette and her colleagues worked tirelessly to assist the Mahoneys. Their first task: help Bates AC switch banks. Once all of the company’s business accounts were transferred to Guaranty, Lisette collaborated closely with Andy and Ann. After a week of all-day — and sometimes late-night — document gathering and form filling, Bates AC was ready to submit a new and improved PPP loan application.
“Lisette and Guaranty were clear and precise in their requests,” Ann says. “They knew exactly what we needed to do in order to qualify for and receive the loan. They vetted each section of our application and double-checked all our paperwork.”
The Mahoneys only had to wait another seven days before learning if Guaranty’s due diligence had paid off. It did. The Small Business Administration (SBA) approved Bates AC’s request for $608,000 in financial assistance. In full compliance with PPP requirements, the Mahoneys used these funds to cover payroll and employee benefits, rent, utilities, and transportation expenses.
Fast-forward one month. Texas had just entered Phase I of Governor Greg Abbott’s reopening plan. Bates AC had implemented new health and safety protocols, both in the office and on the job site. Demand for the company’s services was growing, and its cash flow was returning to something resembling normal. And both the Mahoneys and their employees were beginning to look ahead — not with trepidation but confidence.
“We plan to keep servicing our customers in an error-free and timely manner, bidding on construction jobs, and helping each other out,” Ann affirms. She also says that Bates AC will continue to strengthen its relationship with Guaranty Bank & Trust. “Guaranty applies a human touch that other banks just don’t. Their systems are easy to learn and use, and their people are so knowledgeable and supportive. They’ve been the lifesavers our business needed.”
You can learn more about Bates AC, their state-of-the-art services, and how they’ve grown to become one of the Houston area’s most highly regarded HVAC systems contractors by visiting the company’s website.
Guaranty Bank & Trust’s bankers appreciate that small business owners have unique banking needs, especially when times are tough. They’re also local experts who understand the importance of community investment and believe that shared success makes for the most sustainable growth. Learn how you can depend on Guaranty by calling our Customer Care Center at 888-572-9881 or booking a video appointment today.