MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: APPLIANCE 911, A 2021 HONEYWELL SMALL BUSINESS CELEBRATION FAN FAVORITE
Aug 26, 2021
Appliance 911 is only three years old, but this Honeywell Fan Favorite from the 2021 Small Business Celebration has been quickly growing from day one. Husband and wife team Justin Gandy and April Weber-Gandy launched Appliance 911 from their bedroom on the night they designed their own logo, created a website and hit the ground running. Six months later they had 9 employees. “It exploded,” said April. Justin agreed. “It was controlled chaos. We didn’t have policies in place, we didn’t have procedures. I was literally hiring people that I thought had the right experience, so we went through a phase where we had enormous growth.”
That growth was good, but also challenging for the business. Although their employees had experience, Justin said many came with corporate habits that didn’t fit in with the culture of Appliance 911. “We want to make customers for life, which doesn’t always mean we make money. If it isn’t in their best interest to get something repaired, we are honest about it and we tell them ‘You don’t need a repair,’” said April. “What sets us apart is our customer service.”
After “untraining” many of their employees Appliance 911 shifted how they were growing their workforce. Justin said they decided to “hire good human beings who wanted to learn and be part of something that we feel is going to be great, and invest in our company.” The teaching came naturally for both. Before starting Appliance 911 they had several different roles including fifth grade teacher, graphic designer, and fitness instructor for April, and Justin spent five years providing investment banking services for veterans.
Just two years after “untraining,” Appliance 911 has grown to four locations: Olathe, Overland Park, KCK, and Mission Hills. They have a staff of 10, just expanded their services to include HVAC, and are currently looking to hire more technicians. That’s not all, in just the past year, Appliance 911 is now able to offer their employees health insurance. Employees pay a small portion, but the business covers the rest.
“We decided early on we were going to give up some on the front end, so we could provide incredible jobs and give something different,” said Justin. “We’re going to profit share with our employees and provide career opportunities for our team instead of us getting rich.”
Along the way they’ve had some famous customers, including Trent Green. After a service call, the former Chiefs QB was so pleased with the service that he not only agreed to write a good review, he also agreed to do a video for endorsing their service. “We didn’t write anything for him to say or tell him what to say,” said April. “We just told him he could say what he wanted. He wasn’t paid or anything. He was just really happy to support us after receiving quality service.”
Quality service isn’t a surprise when you see Appliance 911’s values: family, respect, and helping to change lives by providing high paying quality career-based job opportunities. The couple also prioritizes community involvement. They are on the Board at Kansas City, Kansas Community College, they are involved in Camp Encourage, and are part of the Appliance Alliance, a group of appliance technicians whose goal is to make a better appliance industry across the country.
“If you look at a lot of the jobs that both Justin and I have done in the past, service is a big factor. It’s just how we run our business,” said April. “It’s always ‘what are we doing for other people’ or ‘how are we making the world a better place by what we’re doing.’ And we certainly hope we’re doing that through the opportunities we can provide at Appliance 911.”