Felipe Pinales grew up working in the garage door installation business, learning the trade from his father, who owns and operates their family-owned AAA Garage Door company in Fremont, Nebraska. Servicing, repairing and installing garage doors is a skilled trade Pinales knows well by now.
“I grew up in it, so I was around it all the time,” he says. “We started going out to jobs really young, so I just learned over the years."
“It has its ups and downs; more ups than downs obviously, because I'm still here. But I was definitely put to work early at a young age, that's for sure.”
AAA Garage Door services both commercial and residential garage door customers in eastern Nebraska, with six service technicians. As office manager and a fully trained garage door technician himself, Pinales says he often splits his time between the office and the field.
He’s also in charge of AAA Garage Door’s growth initiatives, which included transitioning to ServiceTitan’s garage door software in July 2019.
In 2018 the company moved from a pen-and-paper operation to its first software provider, but switched to ServiceTitan after continuing problems with the other platform’s QuickBooks integration, pricebook sequencing, and more.
“I was the one who actually introduced us to ServiceTitan, and that's why we're on the platform today,” Pinales says. “ The other service allowed us to get our feet wet. Now that we have some experience with using field service software … it made the transition, not easy, but much easier than it would have been.”
We asked Pinales, as a newer ServiceTitan user and someone who has tried other technology solutions, to explain the benefits of the all-in-one software for garage door companies.
Q: What prompted AAA Garage Doors to make the switch from pen-and-paper to a software provider?
A: I saw an ad on Facebook for the other software company, and my dad belongs to some industry-related forums on Facebook. There was a lot of talk about field service management, so I looked a little more into it. (That software) was the best fit for us, economically and with its capabilities. We had four technicians at the time.
Q: What was that like? How did onboarding go with your previous software provider?
A: It was a living hell for about six months, and then it was the best thing that ever happened. It was just learning the new system, trying to get everything to work, and figuring everything out.
It was—bar none—one of the most challenging things we've ever done on the operational end of the business. We changed a lot of the ways we do things.
Our technicians are fairly young. We didn't even have to train them on how to use (the other software). They just picked it up and figured it out. It's very intuitive, very easy to use on the tech side.
The office side is where most of the hassle came from, just in terms of how we process paperwork from physical paper to electronically, how scheduling was done, and how it synced—or didn’t sync—with QuickBooks.
Q: Describe some of those hardships with QuickBooks.
A: We had a hard time with a couple of things. If the pricebook item in the software didn’t exactly match the item in QuickBooks, it would create a new item. We had duplicate items all over the place … our pricebook in Quickbooks became a mess.
We also found out that once you upload your pricebook the first time, that’s the only time you could do it. Revamping or changing the pricebook wasn’t an option, which proved to be a serious hassle over the long haul.
Q: In comparison, what is that process like for you now in ServiceTitan?
A: When we first set up our pricebook (with ServiceTitan), I loved being able to download it from Excel and change it within Excel. I think I uploaded that pricebook probably like 30 or 40 times. It was definitely nice to be able to do it so fast. Just setting up the pricebook, but more specifically being able to edit the pricebook, makes a really big difference.
Q: Describe your onboarding experience with ServiceTitan compared to the first software provider?
A: For ServiceTitan, the onboarding representative was great. He took his time with us and answered any questions we had. If he didn't know the answer to something, he was able to figure it out. Working with a bigger company, I didn't know how the customer service was going to be. But I was genuinely impressed, and I know my dad was impressed as well. We work in the service industry, so we have pretty high expectations.
With (the first company), we got a demo and a brief setup. We had to do a lot of figuring things out for ourselves. But, to give them the benefit of the doubt, it's a pretty black and white system. Their support wasn't the greatest in terms of figuring out the QuickBooks integration.
Q: What immediate benefits did you experience once you turned to ServiceTitan?
A: The scheduling feature is pretty nice … and the marketing campaigns. Arrival windows, I didn’t even know that was a thing until a month or two ago. That’s been great, because that's how our company is set up. We have three arrival windows or three service blocks, essentially, in the day.
The dispatch board is awesome. It was a little confusing to learn at first, because there was a lot going on all over the place. But, it’s so much easier to read than the other software. Being able to hover over the dispatch board or a specific job, and seeing a larger breakdown of the description, is just great. It's so much more intuitive, so much easier to use.
Call booking is really nice. I have the CSRs set up with two open ServiceTitan windows, one is the call booking screen and the other one is the dispatch board. They have both of those screens open on two separate monitors pretty much all day. Being able to see the live updates on the dispatch board is fairly instantaneous, and being able to know when a technician is finishing up has proven to be a pretty powerful tool as well.
Q: What other big differences did you notice with ServiceTitan, as compared to the other software?
A: The online booking is night and day. For the other software provider, it was very, very slow. Our website guy told me the average load time was about 1 minute and 15 seconds, which in internet time is forever.
We integrated with ServiceTitan's online web scheduler, and the difference is remarkable. Our conversion rate is just through the roof on the online requests for appointments. I think there's a little more commitment involved when you have to select a date and time. It might reduce the amount of online forms we get, but at the same time I like it better that way, because we get a more qualified lead.
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