Water Treatment, Marketing, Operations, Management

Think ServiceTitan is pricey? So did Donamarc Water Systems Co., until they calculated its actual cost

Brendan Meyer
June 27th, 2023
6 Min Read

A couple of years ago, Brandon Mantel was ready to switch software. He found ServiceTitan and knew it was best-in-class.

Then he saw the price tag.

“It was absolutely scary to me when I realized that we were (thinking about) going from the cheapest software available to the most expensive software available,” Mantel, president of Donamarc Water Systems Co., said.

So he did what any good businessperson would do when contemplating a large financial decision: He crunched the numbers. 

A big change was needed at the Akron, Ohio, water treatment company. Started by his father in 1983, Donamarc had plateaued. Mantel noticed shortcomings, like the month when he lost out on $5,000 due to improper billing. It felt like he was “getting run over,” and the stress was overwhelming.

“I was not enjoying what I was doing, and that goes against my motto,” Mantel said.

So he came up with a list of goals that he needed his new software to accomplish. He wanted to press maintenance contracts. He wanted to intertwine sales with service. He wanted to automate forms and dramatically cut down on improperly billed jobs. He measured his profit margins and realized that “it was costing me way, way more not to go with great software,” Mantel said.

But ServiceTitan’s expense still intimidated him. 

It wasn’t until he calculated Donamarc’s true daily costs of ServiceTitan when he committed to the all-in-one software for the trades in January 2022. That daily cost?

“It was $10-$11 a day,” Mantel said.

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Ditching the dinosaur

To understand how Mantel got to this number, it’s important to learn the structure of his business.

Donamarc is a chemical supplier that also does the full spectrum of water for residential, small public water systems and commercial industrial. The company does everything from well drilling to pumping systems to water treatment. Donamarc also runs bottled water and salt delivery routes, and does contract operator work for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

For more than 10 years, Mantel used a cloud-based software to help him run his business.

“(At first), we thought we were using a pretty progressive cloud-based software,” Mantel said. “Eventually, I started realizing the amount of jobs that weren't getting properly billed and the lack of reporting. I thought that we were progressive, and I became the dinosaur.”

For example, even though Mantel’s software was cloud-based, it wasn’t really set up for email. That meant Donamarc still printed mounds of paper, and used pen and paper out in the field. It also meant that Donamarc had employees whose primary jobs were data entry, running credit cards, scanning and shredding. With so much manual work, human error occurred, like a technician writing down the wrong credit card number.

With ServiceTitan, Donamarc could automate these jobs, dramatically reduce errors, and put talented people on different duties.

“I could save their dollars and wages, and then move them over to something that's more productive with higher payoffs,” Mantel said. “For example, (ServiceTitan) has allowed me to (divert) my CSRs who used to do the data entry work to following-up with customers and backing up the service techs in a more practical way.

“That was just one way of justifying and realizing the savings (of ServiceTitan).”

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A record-breaking quarter

Last year, Donamarc did $5.6 million in revenue. In the first quarter of this year, the company is up 36%. 

“We've never had a quarter—ever—where we've grown as much as we did in the first quarter of 2023,” Mantel said. “ServiceTitan is critical to that (number) in a very practical way.”

Mantel credits the reporting and KPI features for giving him an overview of what’s working and what isn’t. ServiceTitan has also allowed his techs to receive payment in the field and press maintenance contracts. 

Here are more of Mantel’s favorite features.

  • Customer experience: Ten years ago, Donamarc customers would call the office and ask for a report of what their technician found, and expect a call back in a couple days. But in recent years, they’d call 10 minutes after the tech left, expecting the report instantaneously. “We’d have to respond, ‘We don't have the paperwork back yet,’” Mantel said. “But now with ServiceTitan, I love the fact that it's real-time. The technician inputs his information and is able to email it to somebody or is able to call and leave a voicemail (right away).”

  • Customer communication: Donamarc runs about 800 to 1,000 calls a month. Pre-ServiceTitan, an unfortunate percentage of those customers were people who forgot they’d scheduled a call. That meant Donamarc’s techs would arrive and nobody was there. “This was an all-the-time challenge to the point where I think with our number of calls, we might get five a day (that were like this),” Mantel said. “Now (with ServiceTitan), our system texts people (automated reminders) at 5 p.m. the day before (as a reminder).”

  • Pricebook: 2022 was a tough year with equipment delays and cost increases. Thankfully, Mantel could update his pricebook in real-time. “I didn't realize how critical it was. We used to have paper pricebooks and such,” Mantel said. “(But now,) we were in real-time updating prices like crazy in ServiceTitan, and the guys would have those updates every day in the field. If we hadn't had that, I can't imagine how bad '22 would've been for us.”

‘I'm working with a company that really is listening’

Back when Mantel was crunching numbers and contemplating ServiceTitan, one concern popped in his head: He’s a water treatment company, and a service software doesn’t precisely appeal to his industry.

“I didn't want to go with a software that I felt like I was going to become a dinosaur (again),” Mantel said. “I wanted to go in with a software that could help me double and triple in size.”

With ServiceTitan, Mantel thinks he found the perfect fit. Another benefit of the software is its community. Mantel went to ServiceTitan’s Pantheon conference last year, and absolutely loved it. 

“It made me realize that (I’m) with a software company that's way bigger, way more passionate than just software,” Mantel said.

He’s also been impressed with the company’s response rate whenever he has a question or concern.

“I remember there was one particular situation fairly early in the process where I said, ‘Hey, this is a problem.’ They pushed it through, and I'd say within four weeks we saw something come through that matched up exactly what was needed. And I realized, ‘Wow, I'm working with a company that really is listening.’”

Looking ahead, Mantel is excited to dig into Marketing Pro, which Donamarc recently implemented. That product has the capability to help Donamarc push memberships and continue its first-class customer communications.

As for the price of ServiceTitan? It’s certainly worth the $10-$11 per day, Mantel said.

“Sometimes I’ll hear people in my industry say, ‘Oh, I love ServiceTitan, but I can't afford it right now.’ And I'll say, ‘OK, but what if I said that your service tech could make an extra $30 a day profit if you had good software to manage it properly, build things out, and save time? And what if I told you that the cost for ServiceTitan is a couple dollars a day by the time you factored (all of that) in?’

“(Then) I say, ‘Your extra profits would be double what ServiceTitan costs you.’”

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