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Proudly Serving the Big Timber, MT Area

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Proudly Serving the Big Timber, MT Area

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How We Got Started

No quality company springs from out of nowhere—often there’s a long history behind them. Cross Winds Heating and Cooling LLC is no exception. I’ve gone on a long journey both before and after founding the company in 2010. Some of the patches were rough as I learned how to turn Cross Winds Heating and Cooling LLC into a top service contractor for the area.

The story begins in the 1990s, when I got my start in the HVAC trade. I decided to get a two-year degree in HVAC from a tech school program at San Diego City College. Before enrolling, I started working for a company where I basically bounced around. I left and started at a better-run company, where I put in several years as a service technician. It was a fantastic company that cared about their people, and they took the time to teach each of us and improve our skillset. Because I worked both on service and installation, I got a holistic view of the industry at a young age. This is where I discovered the importance of being more than a tradesman. It was also important to be a craftsman and put pride into all the work I did.

Contact us with any questions you may have. Big enough to serve you, small enough to care.

Back to Montana

But my days in the world of Southern Cal wound down, and even though my boss offered to make me a partner, I decided to head back to Montana. There I worked for another service company before deciding to get a degree in Animal Science. (My other love is agriculture.) The college discovered I had HVAC training, so I worked for MSU–Bozeman as a service technician for a few years. I loved the job and the work. I was working on large equipment: 250–ton chillers, pumps, chilled water systems, commercial refrigeration, ultra–low chillers. If it heated or cooled, I worked on it! The college was fantastic about training: they sent me to several manufacturers’ schools for a week at a time and invested capital in helping me to become a better technician.

Then my father–in–law asked for help on his ranch, so I took a job with him farming and raising cattle. However the desire to get back into HVAC and have my own business started to grow.  My family moved just outside Big Timber, MT, close to the ranch. I took a job as an auto mechanic under the condition that I would be starting my own HVAC company.

Building My Business

Less than a year later, I had more business than I knew what to do with, so I struck out on my own. I quickly realized running my own company was far harder than just being a tech: the difficulty level was beyond anything I’d experienced. I loved the work and understood it—it was my world. But the business and the management side of it was out of control. The harder I worked, the more exhausted I got, which led to less conclusive ways to solve problems and worse decisions leading to less profitable work. It was a downhill spiral and not at all like my previous work experience. At the height of the insanity I was leaving my house at 4 AM, getting home by 10 PM, and trying to squeeze in paperwork in between—and this was seven days a week!

Somewhere during this mayhem, my wife and I had three kids in five years, decided to build a home where I did most of the work, had livestock of our own on the side, and my wife Cindy was nearly killed in an auto accident (while pregnant). 

If you’re wondering why I’m telling you all these personal details about starting the business, it’s because so much of the time it would’ve been easier to quit. Way easier. But I didn’t. I kept going.

Growing My Skills

Day–to–day business got in the way of actually working on the business (and excuses like "tomorrow," or "I’m too tired") and while I had the numbers, I didn’t look at them. But then I took classes, studied videos, implemented new policies, hired a bookkeeper, departmentalized. I found that if I offered a good value, the clients would pay a fair price for it. I realized I was doing my customers a huge service by charging a fair price: I could grow the business to provide the best service and take care of them the way they deserved.

I’ve met other fantastic contractors in my time, many through EGIA, a great nonprofit organization for contractors. There’s one contractor I still talk to every month. He’s sixty–five and did everything the hard way for the past thirty years. He told me I shouldn’t feel bad that I’m thirty–five and only turning things around now. Every day I try to listen to advice and use it as inspiration to improve and do better. It’s brought back confidence, belief in myself, and the hope in future. I’ve made an active decision to put no excuses in the way of completing my goals and giving my customers the best service and value. There really are no excuses. I intend Cross Winds Heating and Cooling LLC to be the superior HVAC service company for almost fifty miles in either direction of our current location.

We Serve the Big Timber, MT Area