Frank Gay Services recently split its business into residential and commercial divisions. The 130-employee company based in Orlando, Fla., is gearing up on the commercial side with ServiceTitan—and is unpacking the software-based benefits numerous residential contractors have already discovered.
Ryan Gay’s father started the namesake company in 1976. The younger Gay came onboard full time in 2006 and has filled several positions, including in administration, billing and accounting. Gay found his niche in marketing and now serves as marketing manager.
The residential/commercial split happened in 2019. Coupled with the ServiceTitan platform, profits are already on the upswing.
During the transition into a commercial-only entity, Ian Goldberg was brought in as president of the company. He came in through Apex Service Partners (a people-focused HVAC, plumbing and electric services group that partnered with Frank Gay Services in 2019).
Goldberg’s focus is on business infrastructure and strategy. He says ServiceTitan is helping enhance the business operation.
“Frank Gay Services is a great brand here in Orlando and Tampa, and the people are great—but it was a paper-based business,” Goldberg says. “The technicians were in and out all the time turning in invoices.”
Here’s a legacy look, and the view from a newcomer, on how a software shift can benefit a commercial trade operation:
A legacy look
Gay says his father started the company by doing calls around the neighborhood, focusing on plumbing and electrical. While the business grew, Frank Gay would carefully add to his team of technicians.
“Frank had solid business principles,” recalls Ryan Gay. “He didn’t like to have credit bills and he paid for whatever he could in cash. He wouldn’t bring on another employee until it was guaranteed that he would have at least a couple months work lined up for somebody.”
The business model worked for decades, but eventually needed to nod to the tech age. Gay wasn’t a fan of the company’s previous software system. He was definitely in favor of switching to ServiceTitan, even before the partnership with Apex.
Having had a hand in both sides, he says the software’s benefits work equally well for residential and commercial operations.
“The benefits that have been helping us the most lately are service and material linking,” Gay says. “You can see your most common services, link materials, and that will be added automatically.”
Customer-specific pricing is also a big plus, he says. “It’s going to be huge for us. Before, we had to find the labor rate that we had for a particular customer…and this took a lot more time on the back end. Especially for commercial, we have different markup for different customers.”
Other systems that work better now include:
Price books. “ServiceTitan has done a lot of good things with the forms,” Gay says.
Contactless features. “Now you can get contracts e-signed,” he says. “That’s great, especially during Covid-19.”
Duplicating commonly used forms. Gay says this is especially important on the commercial side. “A commercial customer might have 10 different rooftop units and they have different temperatures,” he says. “So, you need 10 different forms and it’s easier to duplicate a form and not just a section in a form.”
Just like on the residential side, commercial clients are also on service contracts. And similarly, contracted customers account for a bigger slice of the bottom line. Gay says half of the customer base has contracts, and those customers account for 80 percent of revenue.
The newcomer’s view
Before coming to Frank Gay Services, Goldberg worked at Equity Group Investments. He specialized in real estate and industrial-based investing and operations.
Goldberg spent most of his life working in the colder climates of Chicago and Boston. This is his first stint living in Florida.
A lot of change—both in winter weather and in business operation.
“We’ve gone through a lot of changes over the course of the past 11 months,” Goldberg says. “I’m working hands on with a lot of our managers and our customers, going through that quality control process. Really, it’s been just changing our operational processes. We are very much in growth mode.”
Goldberg says putting ServiceTitan in place gave the company visibility to issues it needed to address.
“I believe 99.9 percent of problems in this world are communication-based,” he says. “If your technicians can’t communicate what they’re doing in the field, how are you supposed to really run your business?”
Now, on a daily basis, he can see what techs are doing, and how much revenue they’re bringing in on a weekly basis. He can now truly do job costing.
“Frank Gay ran the business extremely well,” Goldberg says. “And now, along with visibility, ServiceTitan allows us to make pricing more uniform."
Frank Gay Services has been in the beta test for the commercial platform since December 2019. He says it was a painful start—to have new management at a company while rolling out a new software platform that still had part of it in beta.
Goldberg says the learning curve was short—and that general features like the dispatch board and the projects module are beneficial. Specific to commercial business, he says that big companies often demand more hands-on service—and communication is crucial.
For example, one of the company’s biggest clients is a major Florida-based supermarket chain.
“With a residential customer in the AC world, maybe you’re seeing them every 10 years,” Goldberg says. “But certain multi-site customers have so many stores. We see their managers on a daily basis. So, taking pictures, sending them to the people at HQ, that adds value. Your commercial customers are so much about adding value and understanding what you're doing.”
Goldberg says that, yes, some contracts they are seeking will automatically go to the lowest bidder.
“Anyone can do basic work, but showing you’ve done it, and having some accountability—like getting billing right—are things that add value.” he says. “It is all about communication. I use that word all the time—and that’s what ServiceTitan is all about.”
ServiceTitan is a comprehensive home and commercial services business software solution built specifically to help companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.
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ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.