Jered Williams’ career began in fits and starts.
Like a car driving down a potholed road, it got to where it needed to be, but not without some bumps.
Now, though, Williams’ work has taken off like a jet airplane. Without a lot of turbulence.
To the point that Williams owns and operates a $6 million business in Fairbanks, Alaska, while living in Pensacola, Fla.
“I was a lifelong Alaskan,” Williams said. “But we’ve got a pretty good general manager, so we’ve been working from Florida for about a year now.”
The decision was part to escape the brutal Fairbanks winter, part for health reasons. Distance has had no negative effects.
“My life in a short timeframe just completely changed into something that I didn’t even think was possible,” he said of the business he and his wife founded, Prospector Plumbing.
Williams’ story started when he joined the plumbers union in Alaska when he was 20 to support his family. He wound up working industrial and commercial jobs in Fairbanks.
After the five-year process for earning his journeyman’s license in Alaska, he and a friend started their own residential business, but only in hours when they weren’t working for their other job.
A year later he realized he was not making enough money, so he shuttered the business. A year after that, he reopened but had to work 70 or 80 hours a week to make ends meet.
“I got tired of that,” Williams said.
He then took a job working at Eielson Air Force Base, part of a team that built hangars for F-35s. But that meant “working seven twelves trying to get this four-bay hangar done for these airplanes.”
So he again started his own business, and the third time was the charm.
“We started as J-Rod's,” he said. “At that point in time, I got a mentor who helped teach me how to price properly and how to present my services properly, and who showed me what ServiceTitan was.
“From there it was off to the races.”
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A deep dive into ServiceTitan brings growth
He added ServiceTitan in August 2020, but didn’t fully utilize it until the first quarter of 2021, when he finally had the team and time to dive into the software.
Williams hired his first technician in January of 2020. By October he had seven and a general manager. Business in 2020 was at $2.8 million in sales, but the next year with ServiceTitan fully implemented it jumped 79% to $5 million. Now it’s headed to $6 million.
“With the same amount of people,” he said. “So it’s kind of cool.”
The brotherly effort is a lesson in marketing for the community.
The Prospector name comes from Fairbanks’ history as a gold-mining town. The mascot is a cartoon prospector (think Stinky Pete the Prospector in “Toy Story II”), complete with hat, overalls, purple shirt and a green bandana – colors that match the company’s.
“It was an immediate fit into the community,” Jered said. “We named the prospector Pedro, after the town mascot. (Felix Pedro, or Felice Pedroni, was an Italian immigrant who discovered gold in Alaska’s interior and started the Fairbanks Gold Rush in 1902).
“Just gave us instant credibility. Right?”
Prospector digs into a successful plan
Prospector now serves an area within a 20-mile radius from Fairbanks, a town of 32,000 and almost 12,000 households. Prospector is the only plumbing business in the Fairbanks area that uses ServiceTitan, and Williams said its implementation made an immediate difference.
“Night and day,” he said. “My guys had been going through multiple steps to get something done. Now (with ServiceTitan) they were able to get something done quickly and efficiently. And we went from not knowing what they're actually doing to actually being able to see what they're doing. And then it also led to us being able to track data accurately and then use that data to make better-informed decisions on how to operate our business.”
Williams built the business on three core premises:
Charge at least $400 and work with a flat rate
Hire a marketing company and stick with it
Offer premium service that keeps customers happy, and coming back
“If you can nail those three things, then you can grow really easily,” he said.
Specific benefits flowed from ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro, which encouraged reviews after jobs. Combined with emphasis on service, Prospector in August 2023 had 705 Google reviews, with an average rating of 4.7 stars out of five.
“We have a really good customer-to-business match,” Williams said. “People call us, they know we're expensive, but they know that we're good. So when we can deliver on this seamless experience, getting there quickly, doing high-quality work, it's like a no-brainer for the customer to leave us a five-star review, which then just furthers the snowball rolling.”
Williams also implemented an unsold estimate campaign through Marketing Pro, which generated $500,000 the first year and $780,000 the second – all from a simple email campaign that reminded customers about their estimate.
He cited technicians getting good data that allowed them to plan ahead for jobs, plus the customer receiving the text message when the tech was en route — along with other reminder text messages.
“The response from the customers on that was awesome,” he said.
Turning others into The Wealthy Plumber
Williams doesn’t just want a successful business though – he wants to give back. To do that he founded The Wealthy Plumber, a coaching business to help other small plumbing businesses. He also has a social media business called Plumbsocial, which helps plumbing businesses grow their brand through social media.
While ServiceTitan may not contribute directly to the extra businesses, the efficiencies provided by the software free Williams to delve into his other work – and to live in Florida. It’s better for his wife’s health, and allows him to maintain constant contact with his team in Alaska. All while poring through the insights and data ServiceTitan provides.
“If you can get a software on board like ServiceTitan and then use it the way that it's meant to be used, 90% of the processes and systems in your business are done for you,” he said. “Then all you need are some supplemental processes and systems, SOPs to go with that, and you're done.
“It really just makes the whole thing easier; the software literally does everything for you.”