Texas Medley freely admits he was flying blind when he started Medley Heating & Air Conditioning in 2016.
He had only dabbled as an HVAC employee for his dad, then worked as an assistant manager of a grocery store for a few years.
But long hours and busy days with creamed corn and fresh produce sent him back to work in HVAC for the company his father worked for, where he got his license, then started his own business. When his father retired, Medley bought that business from the owner—and hired his father to work for him.
Medley soon grasped that there was much he didn’t know. Perhaps more than much.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” Medley said.
He added a software that could produce invoices for him, but he wanted more. He tried ServiceTitan, the cloud-based software for the trades, but even after a rebrand in 2017 he wasn’t ready for what it could offer.
“I was like, ‘Way too complex,’’’ Medley said. “By the time I got to the end, I forgot what I learned in the beginning.”
He also struggled with onboarding, a process ServiceTitan has since refined. So he went with another software that he says was great but just didn’t offer enough. A year ago, Medley decided to go back to the future and take the full dive with ServiceTitan.
“We looked around, and that seemed to be the common thread about the highly successful companies,” Medley said. “They used (ServiceTitan) and it was very apparent that it offered them efficiencies that were not available to us.”
‘I want seamless’
The transition was completed in October of 2021.
“You go to ServiceTitan, get your information, pull what you want out of it,” Medley said. “I want seamless. I want easy. I want fast. I want reliable, I want quality, and I want it now. That’s what we saw.”
In the first eight months of 2022, Medley matched its revenues for all of 2021.
The business—based in Carrollton, Texas, north of Dallas—is not a behemoth. It has seven service techs, six installers, and 20-some employees, including Medley’s father, who runs the warehouse.
It is also not, Medley said, a company riding a rocket ship to the moon. Medley merely wants sustainable growth that shows a profit. Eventually becoming a “$50 million mom-and-pop shop” satisfies him, but he’s not trying to get there yesterday. His goal is to be at $5 million in the next two years, with appropriate and principled growth more important than runaway revenue.
“We want to grow in such a way that it doesn't lose that feel or that touch, that culture, both internally and externally, to the client,” Medley said. “We want them to feel like, ‘I'm proud that this company grew and that I was with them early on.’”
I could not imagine that the trades would have technology like this available to them. It's jaw-dropping. You don't have to be a billion-dollar company to have access (to advanced technology). The common company can. That is what really blows my mind.”
‘Remove human error, but do it better’
ServiceTitan has made a difference in the pursuit.
“It allows you to trim so much fat,” he said. “Taking it back to the grocery store, the butchers had very nice knives, very nice tools. They weren't cheap, they were expensive tools, but it allowed them to trim the fat on all those cuts of meat with precision.”
Medley also sees the software helping with dispatch, which he believes will allow him to add more techs with the same number of dispatchers. That means sending the right tech to the right job, considering the tech’s abilities and where they are in the service area.
He also is eager to see what Titan Intelligence, ServiceTitan’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Trades, can do.
“What excites me is AI has the potential to remove human error from the equation,” he said, “and not only remove human error, but do it better.”
Put it all together and the software helped him improve billable-hour efficiencies, see KPIs based on real data, and learn about his techs, especially those who are quiet, efficient and professional.
“You start to learn who really is a top producer, and who’s just got a big mouth,” Medley said.
That helps him teach and coach in better ways, relying on data and removing “any bias or emotion.” The data allows Medley to address if a tech is below his or her peers, if a close rate is low, if an average ticket is low. And to help them.
“We can coach up from that point because we know where they’re struggling,” Medley said.
Medley also takes best advantage of the reputation facets of ServiceTitan, one of his favorite parts of the software. The software delivers customers a biography on the technician before arrival, encouraging personalization.
“It'll say, ‘Your service expert, Sean Byes, from Medley Heating And Air, is on his way. He’s a 20-year HVAC veteran, and in his free time Sean enjoys going fishing with his 2-year-old grandson,’” Medley said.
“By the time the tech gets there, not only does the person have a certain level of comfort and trust established because they see who's coming, but now there's some common ground. ‘Oh yeah, you like to go fishing? Me too.’ It just makes rapport building very easy.”
The technology? ‘It’s jaw-dropping’
When it comes to assessing ServiceTitan, Medley stresses value. There are costs involved, but the value he draws from the software matters far more. The same benefits, after all, are there for companies of $5 million and $500 million.
“I could not imagine that the trades of all things would have technology like this available to them,” he said. “It's jaw-dropping. You get to be on the forefront of technological advancement because you're going to watch AI play out in real time. You're going to watch AI develop through the lens of an HVAC contractor. If you have any type of interest in getting in the trades and you have an interest in anything technology or anything computer, it's a cool time to start jumping in.
“You don't have to be a billion-dollar company to have access (to advanced technology). The common company can operate that way. That is what really blows my mind.”
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