Midwest Heating Cooling & Plumbing is a family-owned business that’s been open in Martin City for over 50 years. The company specializes in residential heating, cooling, and plumbing services, and its stellar reputation comes from loyalty to its customers, employees, and the community.
Bill Lambert and his brother-in-law started the business in 1964. Lambert’s sons, Jack, John, and Jeff, took over the day-to-day operation when Bill passed away in 2001.
“We take pride in what my dad started,” says Jack Lambert. “We feel it has gotten bigger and better, and we want to pass it on to the 3rd generation to keep it going.”
When the company started, it specialized in new construction, but in the mid-2000s, the owners could see a housing market crash coming so they began focusing on HVAC replacements and maintenance services instead.
“We would rather do a one-day job for existing homes, than work on new construction,” says Lambert. “I love traveling around, meeting people, and helping them solve their problems.”
Creating a Family Atmosphere
Midwest Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing employees live all over the Kansas City area so Craig and Lambert try hard to create a positive team atmosphere when they come to work in Martin City.
“Our goal is to develop our employees into team members who want to work with us, not train them up so they can go work for someone else,” says Craig. “Many have been approached by other companies for more money, but they aren’t interested. They will be here forever,” he says.
The company puts a lot of effort into grooming employees and promoting from within. Kenny Craig is a great example. He started as an installer in 1998 and was soon promoted up the ranks to a management position.
“When I started, I never thought I would be a manager,” says Craig. “I was at the bottom and worked hard and stayed loyal, and the Lamberts remained loyal to me.”
Midwest Heating Cooling & Plumbing is now approaching 70 employees, and Lambert hopes the business continues to grow.
“Many of our employees worked for companies that made promises they didn’t keep,” says Lambert. “That’s not how we operate here. The biggest challenge for us is in finding skilled people who care about quality work. We’re only limited by the number of great people we can hire.”
Bill Lambert built the company’s reputation on loyalty to customers, and they’ve remained loyal to the company in return. Craig and Lambert say their favorite customers are those who are initially unhappy but are so impressed with the work, they refer them to their friends.
“Our customers know we keep working until it is done right and everyone is happy,” says Craig. “We do far less advertising than bigger companies in town, but we have grown because of word of mouth and loyal customers.”
That success has led to the company winning the “Dave Lennox Award,” 31 years in a row! In fact, only one other company in the nation has accomplished the same feat. The award is the highest honor Lennox hands out, and only 25 out of 7,000 dealers in North America win the award each year.
“Most of the people who work for Lennox in Kansas City call us to fix and service their own homes,” says Lambert. “Many of our competitors are bigger and nationally-owned, but they lose customers who do not remain loyal to them. We get repeat business because our customers know we will take care of them.”
Growing with the Community
As a fixture in Martin City for 50 years, both men say Martin City has been great for the company and they love doing business here. The location has been a key factor in their success.
“We do work all over the metro, from Platte City to Lawrence and Oak Grove. Martin City is a good location for us because of the accessibility to highways and other parts of the city. We don’t plan to leave,” says Lambert.
“Before, Martin City was only known for a couple of businesses,” adds Craig. “Now, it is a social area and people know it for all kinds of reasons. When you come here on the weekend, it’s a madhouse! There’s so much more activity going on here now.”
The Next Generation
Lambert believes the family has been able to continue to build on what his father and uncle created, and he hopes to one day pass the business on to the family’s next generation.
“When my dad was in charge, he didn’t have a lot of support and it was harder to grow the business. Today, we have great people working here, from the front desk and management to the delivery drivers and installers,” says Lambert.
“I think Dad would say ‘You guys have done a heck of a job, and I’m proud of you.'”