“If you want something you’ve never had, then you must do something you’ve never done.”
After graduating from the University of Kansas in 1987, Chuck Hall returned home to Washington D.C., where he landed work selling advertising for Easy 97.1 WASH-FM. Shortly thereafter, the radio industry’s regulations shifted; Chuck moved to WTOP, where he believed that opportunity and earnings would be abundant.
“It turned out to be an adversarial management style, not conducive to my 24-year-old mind,” Chuck remembers.
Through happenstance, Chuck was offered the opportunity to enter a new industry.
“A friend was a partner in a home-service business with chimney, gutter, and residential window washing divisions. It was named after his partner, Winston,” Chuck remembers. “Long story short, I worked the spring and summer with them and broke a lot of records. I was offered an opportunity to open my own company as a new corporation in Northern Virginia.”
Chuck accepted the offer to open a new branch office of Winston’s. He was given a list of clients, a Chevy Astro van, and the support to succeed.
By 2009, the recession caught up with the Maryland/D.C. office, and it was forced to close down. Chuck stepped in, acquired the proper licenses, and went to work across the river.
“We added $500,000 to the top line the following year in Maryland and D.C.,” Chuck remembers. “We have since sold our residential window washing and gutter companies, and now we concentrate solely on the chimney and fireplace side.”
In the past decade-plus, Chuck has helped build Winston’s Chimney Service into the area’s premier chimney shop. They inspect, sweep, repair, and install wood and gas fireplaces and chimneys. In addition, they are equipped to do masonry for both residential and commercial chimneys. Winston’s Chimney Service has 55 employees, and they are running around 20 trucks.
Difference Makers: Serving the Real Estate Community
Chuck believes that one of his primary difference makers is the level of training he and his staff possess.
“We hear it every day: ‘Wow, you are the most knowledgeable chimney person that has ever been in my home,’” Chuck says. “I also call it ‘staying in our lane.’ We can run a lot faster in our own lanes. The training starts with the people answering the phones to the technicians inspecting the fireplaces with the newest video inspection systems to the installers and bricklayers to the master gas fitter running the lines and hooking up your new gas fireplaces. We try to get it right the first time.”
Chuck has also served as the President of CSIA (Chimney Safety Industry of America), and he is the current President of MACA (Mid-Atlantic Chimney Association), which oversees Maryland, D.C., Virginia, Delaware, and West Virginia.
Real Estate Relations
“Our service is best utilized during the home inspection process with the buyer’s agents,” Chuck explains. “Or, top producers can bring us in when you are about to list the home, thereby taking it out of the equation and eliminating any surprises during and after the home inspection.”
Chuck is committed to helping deals get completed, yet his primary objective is transparency.
“Once we insert the camera in the flue, we can only relay what the truth of the situation is,” he says. “That’s why it is better to call us as you are preparing the home for sale.”
One of Chuck’s biggest successes is when he’s able to save a deal for an agent by getting to the heart of an issue early in the sales process.
Kaizen: Continuous Improvement
Kaizen is the Sino-Japanese word for improvement. The principles of Kaizen are often applied to businesses when there is a focus on continuous improvement of all functions. It engages every employee, from the owner/CEO down the line. Chuck has taken a liking to the concept and applies it daily with Winston’s Chimney Services.
“I am practicing a lot of Kaizen, or constant and never-ending improvement, with my company,” Chuck says. “I am not out in the field as much unless I am walking the site at an important project or meeting a client that needs to have the boss there. Making the business grow and mature is exciting to watch.”
For more information, please visit www.winstonsservices.com.