Water Treatment, Management, Marketing, Productivity

‘Born in a brine tank,’ Lydia Brewster helps drive water treatment success at Aqua Clear

Pat McManamon
July 11th, 2023
5 Min Read

Lydia Brewster likes to joke that she was “born in a brine tank.”

Not literally, of course, and Lydia concedes she stole the phrase from her brother Jonathan, aka JB. This all goes back to the founding of Aqua Clear Water Systems in the Knoxville, Tenn., area.

Lydia's father, David, a spiritual man, started selling water systems on the advice of someone he met at church to make ends meet while he was in seminary school. After 9 years working for different dealers, David and his wife Krista moved to Knoxville, and established their own water treatment company.

Today, Aqua Clear has grown from one employee to 48 — and if you ask David, he will say his success is enhanced by the hard work from all of his children. Robert, the youngest, has an 80% close rate in sales; Lydia with warehouse processes; and Jonathan with digital, technology and innovation playing crucial roles in the business.

Lydia initially pursued a career in from her major Supply Chain Management from University of Tennessee and found success at a transport company in Fort Worth. However, she felt a fear of missing out (FOMO) when she witnessed the success of her father and brothers. When her dad put her face on the newly branded company trucks, she knew it was time to come home. She has been working as the Warehouse Operations Manager for the past 2 years, and is thankful for all the summers in the job growing up to help her success. 

Aqua Clear’s world is in the installation and maintenance of systems that remove contaminants and chemicals from water. It offers water systems, water filtration systems, softeners and related products, and analyzes water for hazards before offering solutions. Its East Tennessee location makes for unusual challenges, because the area’s water quality is good.

“We're in a really hard market to sell water, but we do it really, really well,” Lydia said.

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A 30% revenue increase, every year

One of her responsibilities was in helping to onboard ServiceTitan when Aqua Clear added the all-in-one cloud-based software for the trades in 2018. She and her brother have been the main proponents of ServiceTitan with the business.

The onboarding and adjusting to a new software took a year, but once that process was complete, Aqua Clear has seen a minimum of a 30% increase in revenue every year.

“It’s been pretty huge,” Lydia said. “The first year, that’s your setup. That’s the foundation. Since then, we’ve grown just because of the simplicity, the communication. It just saved us so much time.\“

Lydia has become such a believer in ServiceTitan that she and her brother now are strong advocates for the software. Both work as consultants in an effort to tell others about it. They discuss best practices for running a business and consistently highlight ServiceTitan's role in enhancing operations.

“The people who care about improving their business, that's where the discussions occur,” she said. “I have friends in the trades, in all different trades, and so when we're telling best practices of how to run a business, ServiceTitan has to be mentioned.

“I don't think most people know they have a software problem. I think they think they have a people problem.”

She related a story about visiting one business that initially did not want ServiceTitan. So the Brewsters set up proposal estimates on ServiceTitan and trained the team on ways ServiceTitan could help.

“We followed the 80/20 rule – we set up 80% of their estimates and then showed them how to personalize it,” Lydia said. “After three days, they were completely converted to ServiceTitan.”

Ask Lydia what she likes about ServiceTitan, and her response is blunt.

“All of it,” she said. “I mean, how long can a runway be?”

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‘All he got was dopamine hits’

As an example of what the software can mean, she brought up a real-life quality-of-life example about her father.

“He literally works six days a week, over 80 hours, 100 hours,” she said. “He does not relax. Very Type A, will show up all the time, wants to know every single thing, asks a million questions.”

But David was recently able to step away and take a dream vacation: 10 days in Greece following the path of St. Paul. Why could he do it? Because ServiceTitan’s efficiencies allowed him to step back.

“He can go onto his app and he can look and say, ‘OK, we did this much revenue,’” she said. “When he was gone, I just turned on this sold-estimate alert. So all he got was dopamine hits. You don't have to be in the office in order to know how to run the office.”

Her list of other benefits includes:

  • Making budget. “We’ve never made a budget before (this year),” she said. “But we could see all of that from ServiceTitan and we could extract that really, really easily.”

  • Increased accuracy on job costing.  “It's the only time we've had accurate job costing, because I can attach materials to equipment, and I can actually see what goes into it,” she said, adding AquaClear’s costing even goes to the point of push fittings for tanks and a single AA battery when needed.

  • Efficiencies. “The mindset of ServiceTitan has been integrated into these technicians, and they perform like that,” she said. “They know what their efficiency is on every single job, what their sold hour efficiency is. We can track that.”

  • Better reviews, better morale. AquaClear technicians are paid every Wednesday per reviews. Management goes over reviews with the team. “That’s something I track within ServiceTitan,” she said.

‘Cutting edge,’ ‘always growing’

ServiceTitan even helped Aqua Clear sell the water cooler portion of the business because the software showed the margins on that facet were not what Aqua Clear hoped. She views ServiceTitan as a tool to help with leadership.

“I think it gives the natural-born leaders the ability to problem-solve and communicate,” she said.

File that under the heading “knowledge is power,” because ServiceTitan’s data empowers company leaders to be more proactive in helping team members.

“ServiceTitan is cutting edge,” Lydia said. “ServiceTitan's always growing. Do you want your business to be stuck to an old model or do you want to become the new generation? Nothing stays the same in business; everything always changes. I have a software that changes and grows with me.”

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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.

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