One Year Later Customer Story
A Fresh Start and a New Career
When Joe Register retired from 24 years of active duty in the United States Air Force, he wasn’t ready to stop working. After serving a tour of duty in Vietnam and rising to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, the highest non-commissioned rank in the Air Force, he refocused his energy and experience to learn heating and air conditioning by enrolling in the local vocational school. In May of 1979, he began Register Heating & AC, setting up a small office in a corner of the family kitchen. Starting a small business from scratch can be a daunting task, but Joe and his wife Sandy were up to the challenge. From those humble beginnings, their business grew steadily as word spread of Joe’s commitment to quality work at fair prices. As their business continued to grow, the Registers were eventually able to add on to their home to create an office for the business (and reclaim their kitchen). In 1985, Joe’s son Bill joined his father in the business and Register became Register & Son.
Integrity First and Service Before Self
The U.S. Air Force has three Core Values that set the standard of conduct for their cadets and service members, the first two of which are “Integrity First” and “Service Before Self.” Joe carried these core values into his business. According to Joe’s wife, Sandy Register, “Joe said ‘I can’t stand it when companies take advantage of people, especially elderly people, to replace a part when it could be repaired.’” She added, “We carefully track everything we do for people so we can show them what we’ve done and better serve them.”
Word of mouth spreads quickly in a small Southern town, which is what Valdosta, Georgia was when Register Heating and AC first began. People find out in a hurry whether or not someone does good work for a fair price, and all the advertising in the world won’t make up for a bad reputation. As Sandy phrased it, “I believe if a person deals honestly with someone else and wants to serve them and not gouge them, those people will tell others about it. We have found that to be true.” Thus, it’s not surprising that the business has sustained healthy growth over the years, with clients ranging from homeowners to professional businesses to several churches and local ministers. “We’ve been able to build a business that can support two families.” says Sandy. And it is still going strong today. You won’t find a website for Register & Son because they don’t need one—over 90% of their business comes from word-of-mouth referrals. Apart from a Yellow Pages listing, the only other advertising they do is in the local high school football program. This is a testimony to the effectiveness of Joe’s pledge when he first started the business. According to Sandy, “Joe said, ‘I’ve never taken advantage of someone, and never will.’”
“A Hard Person to Sell” Buys Cougar Mountain Software
It was Sandy Register who first discovered Cougar Mountain Software. When Joe began the business, Sandy was serving as the office manager for a local dentist. Although she had previously worked as an accountant, she had no experience with computers, and in 1985, faced the “terrifying challenge” of overseeing the installation of a computer driven accounting system for the dental office. She initially tried two different software programs that were “thoroughly unsatisfactory” before finally searching out Cougar Mountain online. She was surprised at how quickly a Cougar Mountain representative responded to her request for more information, and was even more pleased by the results. “I’m a hard person to sell to, I don’t want to just look at statistics but want to talk to someone who has experience with the program” she said. It was readily apparent she had made the right choice: “It was just so easy, very very easy to learn and has all the basic things you need.” A new dentist took over the practice in 1990 and wanted to switch to different accounting software, but Sandy would have none of it. “I told him ‘This software works really well and your CPA will be really glad you’re using it.’”
As a trained accountant, Sandy initially filled out all of the reports for their CPA herself, but as the business grew, the task became overwhelming. “I had to compile all my data in order to come up with the correct reports. That took an inordinate amount of time for me and there was always the risk that my figures were not entered correctly, so it was check and re-check a number of times.” That is why last year, Sandy once again turned to Cougar Mountain Software. And one year later she (and her CPA) have been very pleased with the resulting time savings and accuracy of their reports. “It is a time saver and as I said previously, it was so very easy to learn and use. I would recommend Cougar Mountain Software to anyone.”
Like Register & Son Heating & AC, integrity and service are also core values for Cougar Mountain Software, and a big reason why so many small businesses have continued to rely upon Cougar Mountain Software to help them meet their accounting needs.