Client Story: Service Air

Client Story: Service Air

Service Air is a privately owned and operated air conditioning business located in Darwin, NT. The company offers heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) solutions to commercial and industrial businesses, as well as preventive maintenance and 24-hour repair services to both public and private clients throughout the greater Darwin area.

Thanks to the company’s growth in recent years, the team has increased their staff to 16 qualified HVACR technicians and apprentices, and moved from their old 200m2 location into a 1800m2 facility.

“My old business partner Erik Sandstrom, who finished up a little over two years ago, really helped me build the business up to what it is today,” says Ben Neck, who now serves as owner and manager. “Our success is also thanks to my employees – and a lot of hard work.”

“My advice for other business owners is to get to work early in the morning and get your invoicing done – cashflow management is so important. And always answer the phone,” he adds.

Challenges during the business journey

Fortunately for Ben and his team, the COVID pandemic didn’t slow the business down too much.

“Up here in Darwin, we really only had 2 weeks of lockdown, so COVID wasn’t so bad for us except when it came to employee illness and sick days,” explains Ben. “The NT Government brought out a home improvement scheme, which generated a lot of work for us.”

However, one logistical and financial challenge for Ben was buying out his original business partner Erik at the time of his retirement a couple of years ago – but luckily, Oreon was there to assist.

“Oreon has been on board with us ever since Erik left,” says Ben, “and they’ve had a huge influence on the business.”

Oreon Partners’ role in the business journey

Service Air has been an Oreon client for about three years. Oreon Partner Chris Gebhardt had worked in Darwin and Alice Springs with some of Ben’s friends and family members on other projects, and he was referred to assist Ben with a particular advisory engagement. After that – and with the retirement of Ben’s original business partner Erik – Ben made the decision to transfer all his accounting work to Oreon.

Chris and the Oreon team have assisted Ben with services including general compliance and accounting needs, performance management and finance reviews. Most importantly, they helped Ben with the sale of his partner Erik’s shares at retirement and assisted with overall business restructuring, providing for asset protection and tax flexibility that he didn’t have before.

“It gives Ben some comfort that the hard work of building net worth has a degree of protection within it, and we can now manage the tax outflows effectively,” explains Chris.

“To me, the best thing about Oreon Partners is that they know your business and what you want to do in the future, they point you in the right direction, and we have a few wines and laughs along the way,” says Ben.

Future of the business

Moving forward, Ben hopes to continue to grow the business and his team in the months and years ahead.

“I hope to employ another four or five technicians and focus on building up our asset management system for every site where we install a new system.”

To learn more about Service Air, visit their website.