A Florida heating and cooling company has acquired three Colorado Springs firms as part of its bid to consolidate the fragmented heating, air conditioning and ventilation industry nationwide.

Air Pros USA Air Conditioning Services, based in the Miami area, bought Climate Solutions in January, Wright Total Indoor Comfort in May and Advanced Heating and Air Conditioning this month to become one of the industry's biggest players in the Colorado Springs area. The three deals gives Air Pros 30 to 35 employees locally, a fleet of 25 vehicles and nearly 60,000 area customers. More than 754 companies are licensed by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department to complete residential or commercial heating and cooling work.

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Anthony Perera, Air Pros' founder and president, wouldn't rule out more acquisitions to reach the company's goal of becoming the area's dominant heating and air conditioning contractor within 18 months. The company began its acquisition binge in Colorado Springs late last year after connecting with Climate Solutions owner Randy Chappell through a social media group for the heating and cooling industry.

"We look for good operators, acquire their businesses and help them grow through aggressive marketing and then backfill in the same market with additional acquisitions," Perera said. "We look to extend our footprint in the Colorado Springs area, so if another deal comes up we would like to have that conversation to grow through acquisition or organically by attracting more customers."

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Air Pros has completed 11 deals in the past 12 months, including companies in Dallas, Spokane, Wash., and four locations in Southern Florida. The company also has expanded by opening an Atlanta location and now operates 10 locations with 250 employees and 200 vehicles serving more than 600,000 customers in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Washington. Air Pros typically tries to retain existing employees and management, though the owner of Advanced is remaining only for a transition period and Wright's owners exited the business.

Perera said he plans to expand Air Pros to locations within an hour of every major U.S. city within five years. Although the company doesn't have any outside investors, seeking investment for growth "isn't off the table," he said. Denver is high on the company's target list — Perera said the Mile High City is an "obvious" expansion location within the next six to 10 months.

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"This industry is so fragmented that many owners who started in the late 1990s are looking to get out. It is almost a recession-proof industry because people still want to make sure their homes are warm in the winter and cool in the summer," Perera said. "This industry has even thrived during the (COVID-19) pandemic because it (the virus) has shown the need for clean, quality indoor air."

Perera joined with his father, a heating and cooling industry veteran, to start Air Pros in 2017 with one technician and a single truck after starting an off-road vehicle magazine and expanding into events and online media and retailing. He brought that same marketing approach to Air Pros, using direct, online and social media marketing and splashy branding on the company's vehicles to reach new customers.

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