All Industries, Management, Operations

Bradham Brothers Moves to ServiceTitan (Part 1: The Decision)

Mike Persinger
June 1st, 2021
6 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 1: The ServiceTitan Decision

When Bradham Brothers Inc. first sat for a demo with ServiceTitan in 2018, three years and a band-aid stood between the company and a cloud-based software solution. 

Even though Bradham Brothers president Pete Bradham knew he would eventually need a new, more robust customer relationship management (CRM) system, he wasn’t ready for the move. Yet. 

The company’s comfort level with dESCO/ESC, the management system they had used for 25 years, was a factor. ServiceTitan’s cost was another. But he was intrigued by what he saw from that first demo.

“I didn't necessarily know that I was going to ServiceTitan, but I knew that the ESC was eventually going to be basically abandoned,” he said. “ESC had decided that their new FieldEdge was the way to go, and I totally understand it.

“But it wasn't necessarily my only option and I knew that.”

In 2018, Bradham chose an interim option—even though ServiceTitan had left an impression. 

“I got interested in it, but I pumped the brakes on it a little bit,” he said. “At that time, really the only thing I wasn't happy about (with ESC) was the notification side of it.

“I knew that ESC was really bad at that.”

Enter, the band-aid: A third-party solution from Schedule Engine that improved the notifications but didn’t live within ESC. 

Still, he kept browsing, looking at other software, at trade shows and elsewhere. And ServiceTitan was never far from the conversation. 

“ServiceTitan is pretty aggressive,” Bradham said. “Once you have your first initial engagement with them, man, they are all about you. They won’t let you go. 

“They genuinely want to show you what they have—and they have a great product.”

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‘We were just hesitant, I guess’

Kelly Dowdy saw those demos with ServiceTitan, too. As a longtime employee at Bradham Brothers who started as a service technician, Dowdy is the company’s operations manager. 

While he liked what he saw …  

“We did several demos and we liked the product,” Dowdy said. “We wanted to do it. We were just hesitant, I guess.”

Cost and the size of the undertaking were the biggest reasons, he said. 

They also looked at SuccessWare, in addition to FieldEdge. But the more Bradham Brothers looked at their options, the more the signs pointed toward ServiceTitan.

“We looked at both, and they're both great,” Dowdy said. “We just feel like we like the ServiceTitan platform better, even though it may be a little bit more of a challenge.”

The robust nature of ServiceTitan caused some of the hesitance. So did familiarity. 

Decision time

In the midst of the pandemic, the time came to move forward. Bradham said he knew that at some point a software change would be necessary. ESC was going away. 

The time had come, the culmination of a years-long process. It was time to move. 

“I was comparing ServiceTitan to FieldEdge,” Bradham said. “They were similar, but it was very quickly understood that ServiceTitan was engaged more. They really wanted to focus on Pete. They wanted to look at our company and provide us with everything we needed.”

“A lot of times I didn't have the answers or know what I really wanted, but ServiceTitan knew what I wanted. 

“FieldEdge, they weren't near as engaged. Pretty much it was, ‘Hey, this is what we got. Do you want it? OK, that's great.’ I need a little more detail than that." 

Bradham said, looking back, he knew for a while that ServiceTitan was the right product for his company. It was when his eyes lit up seeing the data dashboard on ServiceTitan for the first time.

“Honestly, that first demo with ServiceTitan, which was way back when, I saw the speedometer gauges and, I'm like, ‘Oh my, this …’” he said. 

“I didn't even want to tell everybody, but I was like, ‘OK, you’ve already got me.’ 

“I thought, man, this is live and this is active and I don't have to go run reports. I can still do that, but I don't have to do it.”

Three years, a band-aid fix and several demos later. Bradham pulled the trigger. 

It was time for ServiceTitan.

The challenge ahead

A software change at Bradham Brothers, with 50 employees and 20 trucks on the road, wouldn't be a small feat—especially given the company’s history. 

“I knew that after 25 years a new software was going to be quite a challenge,” Bradham said. “When you're on something for two years and then you switch over to something new, it's not nearly as embedded in your brain. 

“And most everybody in our office has been with us for quite a while, so I knew it was going to be tough.”

A conversation with another Charlotte HVAC company confirmed that.

“The Horne guys down the street from me, they use ServiceTitan,” Bradham said. “I know they just went through the conversation and switching over.

“They tell me that it was a little more uncomfortable. It was tough. It was a big transition. It was a lot of moving parts, a lot of moving things to get aligned. 

“I respected that honesty, but I knew that. I knew that would come with it.”

Also coming with the change: Better reporting, the ability to monitor technicians in real time, more efficiency, and a software that doesn’t feel “old,” as Bradham put it. And a comfort level with the decision, no matter how long it took.

“I did pull the trigger a little later than I thought I was going to, but some of that was just me procrastinating,” Bradham said. “That's how I do everything.”

Honestly, that first demo with ServiceTitan, which was way back when, I saw the speedometer gauges and, I'm like, ‘Oh my …’ I didn't even want to tell everybody, but I was like, ‘OK, you’ve already got me.’ 

Pete Bradham

‘They would prefer it to be easy’

Trust in Bradham, and those who came before him, increases the comfort level. 

“I think most of us have worked so long with Pete—or even when his dad and uncle were there—they know whenever they make a decision, we're all comfortable,” Dowdy said. “We know that it's going to be the best for us and for the company. So that makes it a little easier.”

But a change of this scale is hard for any business, and the larger a company gets, the more challenging that change becomes. Bradham’s hope is that employees follow their managers’ lead, and absorb their excitement.

“They would prefer it to be easy,” Bradham said. “And me getting that transition to be easy is the most important thing for it to be fully used to its capacity, and those guys be fully engaged.

“Our brains get in such a pattern of doing the same thing, and it's just hard to get out of that pattern and convince them I'm invested.

“I'm totally invested. My employees are somewhat invested." 

UP NEXT: Bradham Brothers employees already dread the timing

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