HVAC, Productivity, Management

N.C. HVAC startup uses free EmberSessions to help build an efficient company

Pat McManamon
June 8th, 2023
6 Min Read

Dustin (Dusty) Doyle started his business, Home Comfort Systems, in 2005 with “$6,500 and a dream.”

“I went out and bought a $3,000 raggedy van,” Doyle said. “Then I went to a supply house and bought some capacitors and contacts and coil cleaner and went from there.

“So here we are now.”

Where he is now is building a business in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area that takes care of people, in the field and in the office.

“I did want to create a company where we as owners are giving our employees everything they need to succeed, not only for the business, but for life,” Doyle said. “It is my dream. We have a long way to go to get there, but that's where I'm coming from.

“I'm all in, I have no backup plan, no safety nets. So either it's this or this is it.”

Doyle had worked as an HVAC installer in Raleigh and became an information sponge. Example: The last business he worked for did $50 million in revenue, but lacked processes to make sure things were handled properly – for the customer and the team.

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Revenue is important, but does not have to come at the expense of customers or culture. When he decided he needed to do better for himself, he studied business and leadership.

A couple of years later, Doyle cashed out his 401(k) and gathered what savings he could to open Home Comfort Systems.

Doyle’s partners: His two brothers, Patrick and Jeremy. Patrick had been helping while he took business classes at Wake Tech Community College, and his training there helped him see Home Comfort’s potential. He now handles business duties in the office.

Jeremy had worked in pharmaceutical manufacturing, and brought his knowledge of systems and processes to Home Comfort.

“All three of us are very competitive,” Dusty said.  “We played football together, we joined a rugby team just to see if we could do it. And not only did we do it, we went out there and dominated. Pretty much everything we do, it's 100%.”

Inspired by an industry titan

The Doyles worked for several years using QuickBooks and a dated and ineffective pricebook Dusty had found on the internet. They tried a software, but it required too many add-ons.

They knew they needed more – especially the more they listened to Tommy Mello, author of “Home Service Millionaire” and founder of the wildly successful A1 Garage Doors. Mello spoke highly of ServiceTitan, so the Doyles discussed what adding ServiceTitan meant, including cost, and decided the investment was worth it. Home Comfort Systems, they figured, would grow with the all-in-one cloud-based software for the trades.

Home Comfort Systems added ServiceTitan in October 2022, and quickly understood that onboarding would take time and work. The business basically consists of the three brothers and one of Dusty’s best and longtime friends, so learning everything at once was a lot.

Instead of simply taking advantage of ServiceTitan, Home Comfort did what they could to make the software work for them. They quickly learned that ServiceTitan was ready from the get-go to handle their needs.

“(ServiceTitan) kind of directs you to kind of look to see how it’s meant to run instead of how we were able to just get it to work for us,” Jeremy said.

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Enter: EmberSessions

They gained that knowledge through remote EmberSessions, small groups of noncompetitor Service Titan users who meet over six sessions to better understand and implement ServiceTitan during their launch stage in TitanAdvisor. The free, one-hour sessions are run by an expert ServiceTitan facilitator. Dusty said Ember “helped us start putting together a road map” for best practices with the CRM software.

“It opened our eyes to how much we were not doing,” Dusty said. “You think you’re utilizing (ServiceTitan), and then you’re like, ‘Oh, this goes a lot deeper than what we’re doing.”

An example: Dusty said participating in Ember immediately improved Home Comfort’s closing rate.

“It helped light a fire and led us to really start digging into ServiceTitan,” Jeremy said. “That motivated us to keep digging deeper. And with me looking to put in a lot of systems tracking and processes, we would start looking at ways to track certain things we needed to track.”

That showed them the software was set up to take care of Home Comfort’s workflows from the start.

“There's already a system in place,” Jeremy said. “There's already places to enter that data where you can search and find it so much faster than trying to create your own system. And it was really great to really show us what ServiceTitan can do.

“We're still digging deeper every day. And I really do think a lot of that comes back to Ember getting us started on that.”

Jeremy then used the metaphor that would make anyone at ServiceTitan smile.

“Think of the name Ember,” he said. “I think that’s what it really did. It helped light a fire with us to really start digging into ServiceTitan.”

An implementation scorecard, built in

Home Comfort also found that Ember helped them improve their TitanScore, which shows how well a business is taking advantage of ServiceTitan’s benefits. The TitanScore increases each time a business implements practices that more fully utilize ServiceTitan.

Displayed as a green-highlighted number in the top right-hand corner of the dashboard, the TitanScore also has a dropdown menu that shows what businesses are using, and which they are not and should be.

“We started seeing the needle move a little bit, and the more it moved, the more we just got fired up and started digging into it,” Dusty said. “It's showing right on the screen what it wants you to do, just follow the directions and do what it tells you to do. So we just dug into it and just did what it said to do.”

To the point that Home Comfort’s TitanScore topped 200, an impressive feat for a company for its size.

The next step for the Doyles will be SparkSessions, hourlong peer-group sessions via ServiceTitan that meet once a month to discuss a specific topic and industry best practices. The 11-month series includes sessions on Dispatch, Projects and Follow-ups, Memberships, Integrations, and more. A ServiceTitan facilitator starts the discussion; the users and peers take it from there.

“Absolutely ServiceTitan made us more professional,” Dusty said. “And as we grow, ServiceTitan’s going to become a lot more efficient, a lot better.”

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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