Trevor Lively is a proud third-generation president of Blue Jay Irrigation in London, Ontario – a man who grew up in the business working for and with his grandfather and father.
Blue Jay’s service area comprises the South Western Ontario “Golden Horseshoe” – which includes Niagara Falls, Windsor, St. Catharines and Brantford, where “The Great One” – Wayne Gretzky – grew up.
Like all growing companies, Blue Jay faces its own set of challenges, but Lively said growth and expansion in new markets has been aided by ServiceTitan, a cloud-based software for the trades that Blue Jay started using in January of 2021.
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“We’ve gone from Windows 95 to Windows 10 in one big upgrade,” he said.
Blue Jay’s customer base is split about evenly between commercial and residential accounts, though it has a larger number of residential customers because commercial brings in more revenue. Think of a job at a golf course compared to a backyard.
In the spring, commercial has more startups, but in the winter residential keeps people working because of winterizing. Startups typically are booked from mid-April to late May, winterizing in September and October. The summer is booked with midseason jobs.
In 2021 Blue Jay had 3,000 startups and 4,000 winterizing orders. Lively assigns separate techs for residential and commercial.
“I wanted to separate it out, so I could really understand the peaks and valleys within residential compared to commercial, and the revenue that's coming in,” he said. “And to give more capacity planning, understanding how many technicians we need for which type of service because they each take different service.
“Commercial, you're not as much customer interactive, but you tend to get more difficult problems. So maybe you need a technician who is a little less personable, but has a lot of our field knowledge. As a residential you need someone who's a little more personable than necessarily needing that in-depth field knowledge.
“The one thing that we're debating is what we need, because (with) commercial you have such a wide variety of sizes and the amount of time required on site. So it's almost a struggle. Do you get multiple job types so that you can have different lengths of time based on the size, or do we stick with just the one commercial job type but we manually adjust the capacity planning?”
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Add growth and expansion to the mix. Blue Jay’s main office is in London with a branch in the Niagara region. In 2022, he plans to add another branch in Kitchener. When expansion is complete, Lively expects to grow from a 200-client base in Kitchener to 1,700 or 1,800, and from 100 to perhaps 1,000 in Niagara.
He listed several benefits to the switch to ServiceTitan:
The ability to quote in the field, especially for commercial jobs. “They want budget numbers before we start repairing,” he said.
More easily managed accounts receivable in his commercial work. With his old software, “the AR side of it on commercial was really bad -- 30, 60, 90 days,” he said. “(It’s) much more manageable in ServiceTitan.”
More complete information to technicians, which allows them to be more efficient. “The technicians can also see that information in the field, which makes it easier for communication,” he said. “We can get more verbal confirmations in the field, which in the past it just, it was very clunky. A lot of it was writing in notes and then having to get the note to a salesman, to send the estimate. Just very inefficient.”
Easier renewals for his automatic memberships. “For not just my office team, but even the customer in general,” he said. “They just get renewed and they get an invoice and they can, they can pay it. Or if they want to pay per visit, we just set them up with a renewal and we move on.”
Much higher efficiency with payments. “Paid faster, paid on time, AR is down,” he said. “And I would attribute that to the fact that with the credit card link right in the invoice file and email.”
Easier to assess performance in different locations for several different factors – including but not limited to how each technician is performing, sales, leads, estimates and total dollars sold for each location. “ServiceTitan pulls a report super easy for us,” Lively said. “Before it was a lot more manual. It drives our profitability as a company.”
There are elements to the software Lively would like to see improved, and he’s communicated that to ServiceTitan, and knows help is coming. But overall, Lively said, the software works “probably easier than any other software I’ve used,” which has driven growth in new markets in ways he simply could not have achieved before the switch.
“ServiceTitan has really transformed our business,” he said. “It makes it easier to manage, has a lot of great features. But more than anything, it makes it a lot more connected because we are location-based. So our locations can easily be connected. …
“It's creating value at every touchpoint, which has been fantastic.”
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