Three years ago, Devin McGrath walked into a packed conference room at Atlantic Refrigeration of Hudson, prompting the same thought from everyone seated in the room.
Who’s this guy?
Soon, they’d have their answer. McGrath had just purchased Atlantic, and now, for the first time, he was nervously addressing his 15-person team. With a master’s degree from UCLA and a general business background, he wasn’t who anyone at Atlantic Refrigeration pictured.
But McGrath stressed that he was eager to learn from them about the trades.
To alleviate any concerns, he said he wasn’t going to immediately make any major changes to the company, which had provided commercial refrigeration and HVAC services for almost five decades in Hudson, Mass. But he was going to focus on continuing to digitize the business, use less paper and aim for more efficiency.
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McGrath already knew how he’d accomplish it: ServiceTitan, the all-in-one software for the trades.
“I was aware of ServiceTitan before [buying Atlantic Refrigeration]. I've always thought it was best in class,” McGrath said. “And then, fortunately, ServiceTitan moved into the light commercial space, and that's when I pulled the trigger pretty early on.”
At first, his co-workers were a little skeptical of McGrath, along with his push for tech-enabled changes.
“That day (after I introduced myself to the team), I got an emoji from one of the guys of this nerdy-looking guy on a computer,” McGrath said. “I think that was (supposed to be) me.”
But he took the teasing in stride because he saw the potential of ServiceTitan to power the business. It was just a matter of time before his team saw it, too.
Embracing the learning curve
It’s not that Atlantic Refrigeration didn’t have tech tools in the past. But, almost immediately, McGrath could see that the software the company had been using wasn’t ideal.
“It was clunky, it wasn't giving us the data that we wanted, and projects were an issue,” McGrath said. “The analytics weren't there. I just thought it was extremely dated and not a forward-thinking platform.”
If McGrath was going to turn Atlantic Refrigeration into a nimble, paperless company, he wanted software he could trust.
Even with all of these capabilities, the team wasn’t entirely convinced it was the right move. After all, McGrath said, “I was handing a team iPads when they’ve been used to paper for the last 50 years.” But it was a learning curve the team would have to overcome quickly: Only a few months after Atlantic Refrigeration joined ServiceTitan, the pandemic began.
“We really had to highlight the benefits [of ServiceTitan] to technicians and to the business,” McGrath said. “There were a lot of question marks around what Covid is and what it isn’t, but (we knew) we had to be prepared to all work remotely—and not having to process paper was a big selling point.”
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Now fully onboarded onto ServiceTitan, here are some of Atlantic Refrigeration’s most-used features:
Dispatch: ServiceTitan’s dispatch board is designed to efficiently pass information between dispatchers and techs. With the ability to quickly reschedule bookings, add notes and tags and include the customer’s recorded calls, it’s a lot easier for the entire team to access need-to-know information, whether they’re in the office or on the road to a job.
Job costing: With ServiceTitan’s job costing tool, McGrath can make effective, data-driven decisions. His team can see gross margins for each job and customer, which can help them decide when to support certain accounts, and when a customer might no longer be a good fit for the company.
Reporting: While Atlantic is still developing its best practices for inputting job and customer data, McGrath is excited to leverage the reporting features ServiceTitan offers. It’s easy to run a quick report to see insights around job prospecting, staffing and customer service, which can lead to better business decisions.
Pricebook: Quickly after joining ServiceTitan, Atlantic Refrigeration started using the pricebook feature. Today, McGrath is revisiting the tool to make it more efficient for his team. While it’s a work in progress, he’s currently thinking through new ways to optimize the feature, like using AI to write product descriptions and setting up a tool that automatically updates prices instead of doing it manually.
‘The best is yet to come’
Three years after McGrath walked into that packed conference room, it’s surreal to think of how much he’s grown. “I’ve learned so much about the trades, about business, about myself,” he said.
And the company has evolved, too.
“With all the changes that we've gone through with the team, with the processes, with technology, I think we're on the cusp of really doing some good things,” he said. “I think we are building something special with the team at the core, and ServiceTitan is supporting us.”
Atlantic Refrigeration now boasts over 50 preventative maintenance contracts, up from 16. The company’s service revenue grew from $1 million to $1.8 million over the last three years. According to McGrath, the software certainly helped in that growth.
And, while he still gets an occasional joke about returning to hard-copy paperwork instead of technology, McGrath knows nobody seriously wants that anymore. It’s even become a selling point.
“It's starting to be an expectation for a younger technician that we're not on paper,” McGrath said. “It's a recruiting tool.”
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.