Other Industries, HVAC, Management, Operations, Business Tips, Success Story

Not just a rumor: Cockburn Refrigeration has more efficiency, freedom with ServiceTitan

Brendan Meyer
April 21st, 2023
5 Min Read

For years, a rumor circulated in a small Ontario town that one day David Valiquette would buy and take over Cockburn Refrigeration.

The origin of the rumor wasn’t hard to trace. Dale Cockburn, the owner of the commercial shop, started it. He was inching closer to retirement, and his daughters weren’t interested in taking over. So for years, he’d drop hints, telling people that one day his star technician and manager, Valiquette, would be the owner.

The curious part? For years, Valiquette had heard about this only through the grapevine.

“He’d hear through friends like, ‘Oh, I heard you're buying Cockburn,’” Haley Valiquette, David’s wife, said. “And he's like, ‘This is news to me.’” 

But a few years ago, Cockburn finally approached David Valiquette and made his intentions clear: Would he be interested in purchasing the company? 

He was intrigued. He talked about it with his wife, who was a stay-at-home mom with trades experience in painting and general contracting. If they bought the company, she’d need to run the office side of things—something she’d never done.

She was interested, but under one condition.

Cockburn Refrigeration was a successful and organized shop—but they didn’t use any software. Now that they would potentially be owners, Haley pushed hard for a technology switch to make dispatching, reporting and payroll easier.

“I’d like to do this sooner rather than later,” she told him.

On March 1st, 2022, the Valiquettes officially became owners of Cockburn. A few months later, they started using ServiceTitan, the all-in-one software for the trades.

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Seeking more efficiency

The idea for software at Cockburn Refrigeration wasn’t a foreign idea. David has worked for the company for 17 years, but when he was promoted to manager five years ago, he suggested they make the switch to software.

But Dale, the owner at the time, politely declined. Cockburn’s was a successful company with smooth processes—even though some of those processes weren't the most efficient.

“(For example), it was one or two people's job to try and figure out the tech's handwriting and type it into QuickBooks to enter an invoice,” Haley said. “I once asked them, ‘How do you do this?’ They said, ‘Sometimes we hold it far away and squint our eyes a bit.’”

Processing timesheets could also take as long as five hours, because the person in charge had to go back to every single completed job and reference the handwritten sheets that techs would fill out every morning.

And that simple task—techs manually filling out their timesheets—took precious time.

“Techs were doing paperwork at the office every morning for 30-45 minutes. That was time that wasn't being charged to a customer,” Haley said. “Multiply that by the days in a month, and it's a lot of time that's not being charged out.”

Cockburn wasn’t a small business, either. They had about 12 technicians and four office people. That’s why Haley pushed for software right after she and David decided to buy the business.

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Saving time and money

The Valiquettes decided on ServiceTitan because they wanted a software that could seamlessly integrate with QuickBooks Canada, and also one that was fit for commercial use. Since implementing it almost one year ago, they’ve seen immediate positive results.

Here are some of their favorite features:

  • Invoices: By manually inputting (and somehow deciphering) handwritten invoices, billing customers fell months behind. With ServiceTitan’s Invoice Generator? “We're (now invoicing) within the week,” Haley said. She also loves how the feature gives her visibility as to whether a customer has viewed their invoice or not.

  • Pricebook: The people who were once in charge of entering handwritten invoices now have plenty of time to keep Cockburn’s pricebook up-to-date using ServiceTitan’s Pricebook feature. 

  • Timesheets: It no longer takes five hours for Cockburn Refrigeration to process timesheets. That’s because the company saves time on back-office payroll preparation and employee sign-off with ServiceTitan’s timesheets and performance pay. “(Timesheets) maybe take 20-30 minutes,” Haley said. 

Even better? Techs are no longer spending 30-45 minutes of their mornings manually filling out timesheets.

“That basically paid for ServiceTitan,” Haley laughed. “Because now we're charging the customer that time.”

More freedom and flexibility

In all honesty, Haley was nervous about starting this new role as office manager one year ago. But anytime she expressed doubt in herself, David built her up.

“He was like, ‘I know you can do this. You're so organized,’” Haley said.

Onboarding with ServiceTitan was a lot. The many meetings and information overload was overwhelming at times. But one year later, Haley is Cockburn’s ServiceTitan expert.

“I became the person that everyone goes to and asks questions,” she said. “And if I don’t know the answer, I can be on the phone with someone (at ServiceTitan) in a couple minutes and they will help me.”

Haley knows it’s a robust software that she’ll continue to learn more about every day. She’s planning to take the certified administrator course and is also part of the Lady Titans Facebook group. Every morning on her drive to work, she listens to ServiceTitan’s Toolbox for the Trades podcast.

Surprisingly enough, she’s noticed that the more she learns about ServiceTitan and how to automate processes, the more flexibility she has with her day.

“I like that I can be there for my kids when they get home from school. I can run errands. I can catch up with stuff at home,” Haley said. “And I'm not fully depleted.”

The Valiquettes’ long-term goal is to continue to grow Cockburn. But personally, Haley hopes to give time back to David, who manages and works in the field.

“I would like to give him more freedom, because I enjoy my freedom now,” she said. “I’ll show him how to automate more reports so that he ultimately has more time.”

ServiceTitan Software

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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