In the “old days” at Intown Plumbing, techs and CSRs and dispatchers spent a lot of time on their phones.
Not talking, mind you. Scrolling. Through text messages and photos.
Brittany Grose, Intown’s Director of Business Operations, said the old days meant using saved photos to describe jobs, text messages to communicate with the office.
It was not, shall we say, streamlined.
Time not well spent can mean lost money, so Intown (based in the Dallas area) looks back to 2021 as a turning point. After trying two softwares that did not adequately track projects, Brittany and Intown moved to ServiceTitan. In the cloud-based software for the trades, Intown found a software that provided many solutions in one platform.
“I think the majority of (employees), if you ask them, they’re 100 times happier,” said Grose, who runs Intown with her husband, Michael. “Now everything is housed in ServiceTitan, and it just makes it a lot easier.”
Some examples she mentioned: Jobs can be dispatched from ServiceTitan, which has an integration with Google Maps. Tags provide details that techs appreciate – from whether a customer has a dog (if they do, don’t forget a treat) to the code for gated communities. And employees can see real-time hours and how their paycheck is accumulating as they go through a week.
On a personal level, Grose appreciates ServiceTitan allowing her and their 4-year-old to see more of her husband, who in the old days usually worked extra hours into the late evenings.
She learned marketing and the importance of software while working in marketing at Rheem Manufacturing, which managed 50,000 contractors with ServiceTitan. To her, the software is about “efficiency and accuracy.”
“I came from the corporate world,” she said, “so I knew there was a better way to do things than how we had it going. (Michael) literally came from plumbing. He started in the trenches digging and doing all that. So he's always had that paper mindset. Very not techy, right?
“So I don't think he probably would've ever imagined this. Me? Maybe a little bit more, especially just because I've been in digital marketing. But some of the stuff that (ServiceTitan) does, I mean, I'm like, ‘Oh wow.‘ I get really excited about it.”
From picking a route for a truck to drive to optimizing the route to the pricebook to the dynamic pricing to setting rates and calculating them, the time saved is significant.
“And it makes things more accurate too,” she said.
Intown has three service trucks and three new-construction trucks, with some work subcontracted. Most of its work is on new construction and remodeling, but the business is trying to grow service, which totals about 15% of the revenues.
One of the most important ServiceTitan features to Grose is project tracking — though she suggested that labels in this area need some refining.
“But being able to label certain phases and certain things and customize what you want to track for our individual business, I don't know of any other software out there that does that other than manually updating and manipulating an Excel spreadsheet,” Brittany said. “That is so archaic compared to this.
“Just being able to customize it to where we can see our rough, top-out, trim, and the different materials and different labor types, like subcontractor labor vs. our technician labor. Being able to categorize it and visually see that is huge for us.”
She also is able to better track work-in-progress (WIP).
“Especially with some of the new features that they've rolled out for projects and being able to customize statuses as well for jobs,” she said. “I'm creating a dashboard right now for our construction WIP meeting that allows us to see how many jobs are in a rough phase, a top-out phase, a trim phase.
“Because it’s customizable, it's endless.”
That's where ServiceTitan is key — being able to track. Having our accounting people watching the money flow. And from the project management side ... it holds everybody accountable. Because if I'm behind, somebody is going to see it.”
Grose listed several other factors that have benefited Intown:
Dynamic pricing, especially in the service sector. With new construction, Intown gives customers 30 days to lock in a price. If they don’t, the price can change. Where dynamic pricing can help Intown is with service, she said.
Breaking down the production and profitability of each truck. Intown’s goal is to have each truck be profitable each week. While the company now tracks trucks by the week, eventually it wants to track by the day. Intown signed up with BDR, Business Development Resources, which created eight to 10 profitability reports within ServiceTitan that Intown needs, especially to grow the service sector.
“They're starting to help us get reporting all pulled together where we can truly, real time, see and track that information,” she said. “Our end goal is obviously to reward the technicians that hit their weekly profitability percentage and reward them with a merit or something toward a day off or something like that.”
Protecting profits. Tracking expenses and profits while completing projects is not easy. Work is completed in stages, supplies are purchased as work progresses. Adding to the complexity is the fact that several people or departments may be tracking some facet of the project.
“That's where ServiceTitan is key,” she said. “Being able to track from the finance side, having our accounting people watching the money flow. And from the project management side, having them watch their parts.
“And it holds everybody accountable. Because if I'm behind, somebody is going to see it.”
Strengthening the team with needed hires. Creating reports and assessing the information provided Intown with digital fingerprints about staffing needs. In one instance, Grose said she had a valued employee working in dispatching and CSR, among other duties. Analyzing the reports told management they were asking too much of one person. They hired another CSR, and moved the employee to dispatching.
“It wasn't her; she just had too much work on her plate,” Grose said. And being able to see and pinpoint that was helpful in adding that other person. The reporting shows that.
“If there's a detail or a note on a job or a form that's not filled out or something, you know exactly who to go to. Especially in tasks, which really helps us as well with projects. Being able to assign certain tasks to people gives you daily reminders, so that holds people accountable as well.”
Brittany and Michael received an even better view into the future when they went to Pantheon 2022, ServiceTitan’s annual conference for the trades. There, the old days were an afterthought, and the future became the present as Brittany learned about the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning, both of which are coming to ServiceTitan via Titan Intelligence.
“When you have AI right in front of you on a visual dashboard and you're able to see it, that's exciting,” she said. “I guess maybe that's weird to say, but it makes it fun to see, especially when you see that your business is doing well.”
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