All Industries, Management, Operations

Bradham Brothers — Part 6: We’re all creatures of habit

Mike Persinger
June 10th, 2021
5 Min Read

Bradham Brothers, an HVAC and electrical company in Charlotte, N.C., is going through onboarding with ServiceTitan. With 50 employees and about 20 trucks in the field, taking on a new software can be a challenge. This company took ServiceTitan along for the journey. 

Part 6: We’re all creatures of habit

Pete Bradham is greeted by name at the door of the Sports Page Deli, a popular restaurant with the locals in the Coulwood area of Charlotte.

He’s buying lunch for four members of his Bradham Brothers leadership team and his son, Boyd. A place where everyone knows your name is always a good choice.

The talk at the table turns to an endangered species once Bradham Brothers switches to ServiceTitan’s cloud-based software—Install Manager David Rhyne’s clipboard.

With paper invoices and work orders going away, replaced by digital versions available everywhere, in real time, on a tablet. The clipboard can go away. Maybe.

“I don’t know if he’s going to be able to give up that clipboard,” Bradham jokes. “For him, it’s like being at a wedding. You always have to have something in your hand.

“Maybe he’ll just clip the iPad to it.”

When things have been done one way for so long, it’s hard to change. The trades, in particular, can create creatures of habit.

The clipboard is just one example.

The demise of the paper check sheet

It’s not that Rhyne doesn’t see the value of ServiceTitan. He does.

The biggest benefit? It’ll get rid of a lot of paper. And that’ll make his job, and that of electrical manager Bill Thomas, much easier, especially on communications for a company that does 20 install jobs per week.

Right now, that means a lot of paper communications between estimators, electricians and the install crews.

“Our estimators go out and they look at the panel, they look at the sizes, they measure the unit, that's there,” Thomas says. “And they tell the install guys, hey, this is the cabinet that was there. This is the cabinet we're installing, if it's bigger or smaller.’”

They pass that information to Rhyne, and his install teams. On paper.

“They may come to my desk at the end of the day and hand me six different papers,” Rhyne said. “Then I have to sort all those out.”

In ServiceTitan, information transfers electronically between managers, technicians and the office. In real time.

“Every department has a check sheet,” Rhyne said. “That's why we're trying to implement all that into ServiceTitan. And it's all digital.”

It’s also more immune to errors, easier to communicate as part of the service address history—and less dependent on Rhyne’s clipboard.

“It's going to make it 10 times easier,” he said.

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‘Never thought about changing’

Rhyne doesn’t have a hint of doubt about the switch to ServiceTitan because of his trust that Pete Bradham will do the right thing for everyone. He joined Bradham Brothers shortly after high school—15 years ago—and has never worked anywhere else.

“I knew college wasn't for me,” he said. “I wanted to get into a trade and start right away, and my family knew Larry (Pete’s uncle, and one of the original Bradham Brothers) a little bit. My mom called Larry and got me interviewed, and that's history. Best thing I've ever done, to be honest.

“It's a great place to work. I’ve never thought about changing.”

Rhyne trusts Pete Bradham to do what’s right for the company, but he trust doesn’t eliminate all concern.

“Anything you do new, you're going to have a little anxiety build up,” Rhyne says. “Change isn't a bad thing, but when you are used to something for the 15 years that I've been here, it's kind of, OK, how's this going to go?

“But once you get in the swing of things, I think it's all going to work out for the better. I'm excited about it, and I'm ready for it. And we'll see how it goes.”

‘Once we get started … it becomes a lot easier’

Thomas hasn’t been with Bradham Brothers for as long as Rhyne, but he grew up in the trades. His father, he said, had an electrical license before Thomas was born.

“So I didn't have a choice,” he said. “Kind of like Pete, 25 years ago my dad and I had our own electrical company. And then 2017, Pete and I got to talking, and then the rest is history.”

Also part of that history? Software changes at Thomas’ previous companies.

“It's not as bad as the buildup of the anxiety level,” he said. “Once we start getting in there and touching it, actually feeling it and doing it, it becomes a lot easier.

“Repetition is the best thing for everybody. Once we start doing it over and over and over, I think you'll see that everybody will jump on board and be excited about it.”

It will become … habit.

When there is no choice …

When the server comes to take the Bradham group’s order, she jokes with Pete about the people at another table being stuck in a rut because they always get the same thing. He chuckles.

“What are we having?” she asks.

Bradham and all three of his managers order the vegetable plate, picking four from the rotating list on a paper list of daily specials.

Creatures of habit.

Bradham’s son orders last. He too orders the vegetable plate.

Habit? Influence of the group? Like father, like son?

It’s not clear. Quiet and respectful, he’s in town after finishing the semester at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

His major is Business Operations. But Pete Bradham insists his son has a choice.

UP NEXT: 'Pete's Business'

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