Commercial contractors need the right platform and the right strategy to deliver a remarkable customer experience and scale in today's market. Being able to access all of your commercial operations on one platform is critical to success.
And while ServiceTitan originally launched as a tool for residential home service businesses, the commercial platform currently serves thousands of commercial contractors of varying sizes and trades in completing more than a million jobs annually.
“Think of ServiceTitan Commercial as our end-to-end operating system for leading commercial contractors,” says Sendur Sellakumar, SVP of Commercial and Construction at ServiceTitan. “It's a mix of customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, field service management, payment management, and of course integrations with major GL (general ledger) packages like QuickBooks and Intacct.”
Sellakumar joined Shane Jaeger, President of Operations at Lawton Group, in a recent ServiceTitan webinar to share how successful commercial contractors leverage ServiceTitan to grow their businesses.
Since onboarding with ServiceTitan in 2019, Jaeger’s four operating companies (Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Lawton Mechanical, Lawton Commercial Services, and Buckaroo Pest Protection) have grown revenue by 15% and profits by 1,324%.
Read on for Jaeger’s top tips for scaling his business utilizing ServiceTitan.
With multiple trades and markets, Jaeger knew he needed to standardize processes across his multifaceted business.
“We did not want HVAC doing something one way and plumbing doing it another — or San Antonio operating differently than Dallas,” he says. “We had to get our standard operating procedures streamlined so we were all moving in the same direction.”
Techs pricing the same job differently across locations was a particular pain point Jaeger hoped to solve.
“ServiceTitan’s standardized Pricebook and integration with our suppliers for real-time pricing was a game-changer,” Jaeger says.
In addition, the scheduling capabilities offered through ServiceTitan simplify dispatching and make more efficient use of techs’ skills.
To enable seamless communication between the field and the office, Lawton Group uses ServiceTitan’s chat functionality.
Tracking and leveraging KPIs
Prior to using ServiceTitan, Jaeger found it difficult to track the KPIs he knew his team needed to be successful. Now, he leverages the software’s automation to send reports weekly.
“Everyone on the team has a goal, all the way down to apprentices, and they have to get those reports,” Jaeger says. “If they don't know where they're at, they don't know where they're going to go. I have weekly scorecards sent all the way down to my techs and all the way up to ownership and board members.”
The key metrics Lawton Group tracks include project gross margin, overall profitability by division, and overall company profitability. On the commercial side, the business tracks billable efficiency and overall efficiency. On the residential side, it records close rate and average ticket size.
In addition to weekly emails, Jaeger displays real-time close rate and revenue metrics on a large screen at the office to spark friendly competition.
Managing commercial business profitability
To grow profits, Jaeger needed to rein in both labor and material costs.
“With ServiceTitan, you can run reports that tell you the difference between when techs clock in and when they arrive on the job or when they clock out of their last job and when they clock out for the day,” Jaeger says. “You can track billable efficiency by comparing the hours worked on a job to what you charged. You want to be as close to 100% there as you can, which means billing for every hour you're on the job.”
Job costing tracks materials, equipment, and labor for every project to protect budgets and proactively manage risks to productivity, inventory, and change requests.
“You can build an estimate and compare it to your actual expenses to see if you're under bidding for your labor or material, and if so where,” Jaeger says.
Being able to assign separate business units to techs within ServiceTitan lets Jaeger break down the numbers by each location and trade, and view residential versus commercial. When scaling, being able to analyze the big picture and the parts that comprise it prove critical.
ServiceTitan optimized Lawton Group’s billing process from 10 to 14 days to 24 hours, improving cash flow.
“When we were on paper, we had to get invoices from other cities to Dallas, where our invoice clerk manually entered them into the system,” Jaeger says. “Now with ServiceTitan Mobile and Pricebook, it’s seamless.”
The #1 newsletter for the trades.
Achieving operational excellence
While ServiceTitan helped transform his business, Jaeger notes onboarding with a new operating system may seem daunting.
“One of the huge benefits of ServiceTitan is that it’s module-based and you don't have to implement everything all at once,” Jaeger says. “In fact, you’re probably going to fail if you try to do that. Start with the most important parts you really need, then slowly implement additional modules. If one doesn’t work out for you, you can just turn it off. That’s huge.”
Lawton Group will close out 2022 at around $25 million and expects to be a $40 million business by 2027.
“That’s going to be done through natural growth, marketing, our sales team, and merger and acquisitions,” Jaeger says.
The standardization and processes put in place will prove instrumental as the business scales.
“As we're adding techs, the main question is: How fast can I get them in a truck and using ServiceTitan?” Jaeger says. “We've used several different softwares, and ServiceTitan is by far the most intuitive for office staff and techs to learn. And with the Training Academy, new employees can independently learn a lot of it.”
Ready to level up your commercial trade business? Get started with our Commercial Contractor Software Buyer’s Guide.