By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
SLIDELL – When Daryl Larson was introduced to a strong businesswoman at a car show fundraiser around 10 years ago he got more than the woman who would become his wife.
Daryl and Karen Larson have now formed a great team with Larson’s Air Conditioning and Heating as Daryl brings over 40 years of experience to the table, while Karen previously worked in the same business as an outside sales person, along with obtaining business management experience.
Karen is the office manager and administrator for her husband’s business that has expanded on the North Shore to cover both east and west sides of the parish, offering residential and commercial sales and service. Daryl began working as a teenager with his uncle in the air conditioning and heating business in New Orleans, then later worked as a sub-contractor for major companies before starting his own business.
Even with the experience Daryl gained, including a great referral business thanks to quality work, he said the idea of creating a huge company with many employees has not been the way he wanted to go.
“I am content with our business at this level, with only a few employees, because I personally check every job and make sure it is done right,” he said.
Larson’s uses the slogan “Honesty, Integrity and Quality,” and Daryl said that is exactly what he promises on every job.
“I have gone to plenty of jobs where some other company was there before me and created a mess, and it’s usually because someone who didn’t care or have the experience to do it right was called in,” he said. “That’s why I make sure to go to all the jobs. Quality is the number one reason we have done well with this company and it’s the number one thing we promise.”
Daryl had a couple of quick stories to prove his point about some other technicians going out to jobs and creating problems.
“One job I went to the contractor did the job so cheaply that they put the return air in the attic so every time you wanted to change a filter you had to go up the attic stairs,” he said.
“Then another time we went to someone’s house and the woman showed us the thermostat that had been put in the master bedroom when it should have been in the hall. The homeowner wondered all along why it wasn’t in the hall, but it was clear someone just put it on the wrong side of the wall,” he said.
Daryl grew up in New Orleans where his father and uncle had their own air conditioning and heating companies so it was natural when a teenager like Daryl ended up working on the job. Gaining the experience of decades from his uncle, he still worked several different jobs as a young man before settling back into the business he knew so well.
In 1984 he began his own company, but mainly handled jobs for larger companies who hired him as a sub-contractor. After 10 years working for other contractors he began to build his own clientele.
Karen was also involved in the construction business at several levels and has worked as an office manager for a wholesale air conditioner company before handling outside sales in the air conditioning field.
“I loved it—not sure why, but I loved the business and was passionate getting things done right. That’s how I got to know air conditioning,” she said.
From there she was hired to manage a fleet of six trucks for a local company and was heading a fundraising car show when Daryl came along and asked for a date. The romance led to marriage and even though she was a stay-at-home wife for a short time she remembers Daryl coming home a couple of years ago and asking her to help manage his business.
Since then she has become the marketing director as well as office manager and gotten the Larson’s name out in the public with advertising through various venues. The business has expanded to the east and west sides of the North Shore, although Darryl said he still shows up at 98 percent of the jobs.
“When you get someone who is experienced and honest it can save you a lot of money because we aren’t going to do anything that isn’t necessary. I’ve gone to a lot of jobs where someone thought they needed a new unit, but it was actually a duct problem,” he said. “You would be surprised how often the duct layout is really why your house won’t cool.”
Larson’s is a Trane dealer and certified for duct testing, something that only came to them after attending classes and becoming a certified contractor to sell the top-rated product.
The company is also very supportive of many area non-profits, including organizations like Project Graduation, Children’s Wish Endowment and Rainbow Child Care, just to name a few.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact them at 985-201-6449 or find them online at larsonshvac.com.