Sixteen years to a teenager represents that moment when they can drive a car.
For Robert Peterson, the president of Air Temperature Specialists, 16 years means driving a business from the basics to the future, from using Word and a fax machine to send proposals to using the cloud and technology to leverage growth.
That’s what happened when Air Temperature Specialists–a commercial HVAC and plumbing business in the San Diego and Riverside area--joined ServiceTitan in 2022. The chaotic days were left in the past.
“It was the Wild West compared to what we ask (technicians) to do now,” Peterson said in a recent interview.
Extend the driving analogy to its limit, and the Wild West represents covered wagons and spoked wood wheels. The present means driving a high-class car with all the technology pre-loaded.
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No more double, or triple, input
The old days for Air Temperature Specialists meant using paper and pencil, which meant at times losing track of jobs and payments, which meant thousands of dollars in lost business, Peterson said. Efficiency, shall we say, was lacking.
One example: In the earliest of the old days, Air Temperature Specialists took after-hours calls with an employee writing all information on paper. Now, the world has changed.
“There's so many more options available to us,” Peterson said. “People can be sitting at their dining room table while they're at home on the weekend, and a call comes in and they can enter the call into the system. The technician then has it on their phone.
“It's completely different than it was, and for the better. Because that's how calls don't get lost.”
Ashley Jines, Air Temperature’s Vice President, said vendor bills had to be input in three places, with different platforms for each.
“ServiceTitan, I just put it in ServiceTitan, and then I export it to QuickBooks,” she said. “It saves probably hours of time a week. That's just for the purchase order aspect. With billing, we don't need to be referencing our spreadsheet or QuickBooks where the bills are, because they're already on the job.
“It's just streamlined a lot of duplicate work that we were doing, and it saved so much time. Now it’s all in one place.”
From $10,000 to $10 million
Peterson’s journey began when he became one of six employees at Air Temperature Specialists in 2006. At that point, one $10,000 job in a week meant the company met payroll.
Slow growth started a few years later, with faster growth the past seven or eight years. That’s when Peterson knew he needed something more from his software, which led him to ServiceTitan.
“Our next goal is $10 million a year,” Peterson said. “I know that’s small compared to what some other people do, but starting from the $10,000-job-a-week-makes-payroll position, getting to that $10 million mark is a big deal as far as we’re concerned.”
Air Temperature Specialists’ commercial work serves businesses in San Diego, Riverside and surrounding counties, with offices in Temecula and El Cajon, Calif. The bulk of its work is in projects worth $50,000 or more.
“We have a couple multimillion-dollar projects this year,” Peterson said.
He knew that ServiceTitan was originally written for residential business, but he recognizes that it has grown into commercial. He and Air Temperature Specialists are ready to grow with the software. As he pondered whether to go with the software, he asked some hard questions, of himself and of ServiceTitan.
“For the extra expense every month, where's the benefit?” Peterson said. “For this work that we do, how does this save us time and resources to justify the extra expense?”
He now can see the answers, starting with job costing.
“That was one of the things that brought it over the finish line,” he said.
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A tool for improving culture
Another bonus was integrating all of payroll for the 35-40 technicians, including commissions, into one application. That became a tool for improving culture.
“We like to pay people,” Peterson said. “I love seeing the technicians doing well, so I want happy technicians. If they're making more money, they're happier, and happy technicians attract other technicians.
“If our guys are going into supply houses grumpy as can be and hate working here, that is not going to attract any new talent, at least not any that's good. So that's definitely a huge, huge benefit.”
Other benefits Peterson sees include customizing the dashboard, and seeing a customer’s history easily and in one place. Efficiencies offered by the software make for a more efficient business.
And a tool that’s still improving
Peterson concedes that he and Air Temperature Specialists are on the learning curve with applications like Projects, but they anticipate things ending well.
“The people from ServiceTitan are working with us on all of these things,” he said.
A key element to Air Temperature Specialists integrating the software has been the support the business has received from ServiceTitan.
“The fact that there's that level of support and the technology is very forward-thinking, to me, that's the selling point,” Peterson said. “ServiceTitan is looking at what it could be. That's the make or break for me, because we're constantly changing, so I would like to work with software that is constantly trying to adapt as well.”
As he reflects, he understands it’s been worth the effort to work through the challenges, that as understanding grows so does efficiency and revenue.
“I am definitely pro-ServiceTitan,” he said. “I like all of the potential, especially after hearing about the stuff that's coming in the pipeline (including new uses for artificial intelligence and machine learning).
“This is a difference maker for taking this company to the next level for sure.”
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.