Justin Breault needed a job to help pay for college, so he found one clearing sewer lines and drains for a septic and waterproofing company. He worked full-time, while also attending college and studying to become a physical education teacher.
Four years later, the college graduate decided teaching P.E. wasn’t the right career choice, after all.
“I had managed to work myself up to a foreman in this (septic) company, and I was making about $20,000 more a year as a foreman than I was going to earn as a P.E. teacher,” Breault says.
Calling it essentially a no-brainer, he decided to stick with the skilled trades.
“It scratched an itch for me,” Breault explains. “I'm an immediate-gratification kind of person, so being able to have somebody with a problem, then get in there and fix it, that made me feel good. And I became addicted to solving other people's problems.”
Breault continued solving customers’ plumbing and septic problems at that company and a few others before starting his own, Drainworks Plumbing & Septic, in 2017, serving customers in Columbia, Conn., and surrounding areas.
Today, Breault is the company’s vice president of operations and his wife, Jasmine, is president, handling the administrative side of the business. Drainworks employs a staff of five, including two installers, a dedicated service expert, a waste-haul technician, and a CSR.
With a mindset for operational efficiency, the small septic business initially utilized basic software programs to help run the business—before making the switch to the comprehensive ServiceTitan platform this year.
Breault says he didn’t think his small company was ready to take the leap when he watched a demo of ServiceTitan’s septic business software in 2020.
“I wasn't at a place where I understood the value of a tool like ServiceTitan,” Breault says. “It just didn't make sense in the confines of my business. But at the end of last year, going into the fall, that's where it all started to come into play.”
He knew Drainworks was outgrowing its current software, especially after listening to the “big dogs” in the industry talk nonstop about the importance of key performance indicatos, or KPIs, on various podcasts.
“I'm like, ‘All right, I understand that concept, but I have no way to access KPIs.’ It would take hours of spreadsheets and data to come up with that information,” Breault says.
That’s where ServiceTitan came into play.
After using the ServiceTitan software for only one month, Breault says it gives him the right tools to see what’s possible for his small company, and allows him to achieve his goals sooner. “We just put jet fuel on top of our business,” he says.
The #1 newsletter for the trades.
Easier to train 5 employees, rather than 50
Sometimes, smaller service companies think ServiceTitan caters only to large, enterprise companies, or that they won’t gain enough value from using the software to cover its costs. For Drainworks, Breault says he simply wanted to grow faster, sooner.
With his physical education background, Breault viewed his business software strategy much like a football coach executes a winning game strategy.
“If it's a sports team and you've got a starting quarterback, but he's starting to struggle, you want to cut him early rather than cutting him late,” Breault explains. “I would rather switch to ServiceTitan early than late. So I said, ‘Let's do it now,’ because we have five guys in the field, rather than 10, 15, or 20. It's going to be easier to manage these guys.”
Breault focuses on training his plumbing and septic team incrementally as the company grows, as well as paying attention to how each person learns and delivering the right messages in the right way.
“Everybody's a different learner,” Breault says. “Some people have to touch the hot iron; some people, you can just tell them it's hot.”
With only five employees, Drainworks earned $1.2 million in revenue in 2020. This year, Breault wants to surpass $2 million, as well as transition his employees from hourly pay to performance pay.
“Now my guys are working, they have control of their income. If they work smarter or more efficiently, they can have a larger piece of that pie. That's a win-win for everybody,” Breault says.
“We’ve only been on ServiceTitan for a month.”
Breault describes his previous software service as an annoying little brother trying to emulate an older sibling.
“They're trying to be ServiceTitan,” Breault says of the old software. “That's where they want to get, but they're 10 years behind the ball at this point. And I'm not going to wait for them to catch up.”
While bold in his decision to sign on with ServiceTitan early, Breault says he focused on transitioning his plumbing and septic team slowly, at first dedicating only one service technician and a CSR to utilize the software tools.
“Instantly, that competition was there for both of them,” Breault says. “They wanted to know what their numbers are. They're looking at the dashboard. What's my closing rate? What's my conversion rate?
“Instantly, it had the intended effect of pushing them to be better than maybe they felt possible, and giving them a metric to gauge that, giving them a scorecard on how to win the game,” he adds.
His service tech really took the ball and ran with it, Breault says, communicating any issues he experienced out in the field to make sure the software worked seamlessly on the office side as well. The tech even noticed when one particular service call dropped his star average for the day on reviews, even though he was “killing it” with happy customers before.
“A month ago, he didn't know what his average for the day was, but now that's important to him,” Breault says.
The CSR also immersed herself in the ServiceTitan platform and wanted to learn more. She now gets excited to report 100-percent closing rates for the day, and she immediately notices when the percentages drop. Either way, Breault says, she fully understands the importance of her role in the business.
“Getting it, and understanding the importance of how she's the front door to the business,” Breault explains. “If that door is locked, well, there's no business happening behind it. She understands how important her first response is to these consumers. She sees directly how her efforts correspond to the totality of the business.”
A slow transition to ServiceTitan
It takes time and effort to transition to a new software, Breault says, and it requires a company leader to set the right tone and send the right message.
“We have to change the way we do things on a certain level, and I think a lot of people want to fight that,” Breault says. “They want to just say, ‘Well, this is the way we always did it.’ Well yeah, but you just changed a big component of that, so you're naturally going to have to change.”
Breault believes making the transition to ServiceTitan early on works in his favor.
“Being so young, I think it's easier for us to change. We're a little speed boat right now. We're not the Ever Given (the colossal cargo vessel recently stuck in the Suez Canal),” Breault says. “We can make small moves, small changes.
“Because we're so small, agile and dynamic, we can make quick adjustments, where some larger companies—to get everybody’s buy-in on any changes they make—probably take more time,” he adds.
For instance, Breault now sees a way forward to switching from hourly pay to performance pay for his entire team, and using the mobility of ServiceTitan to expand Drainworks’ geographical service areas to grow its customer base.
Rather than add trades to his business, he plans to stick with plumbing and septic work for now.
“I want to be really good at what we do, and get to a point where the business runs itself,” Breault says. “I had a vision for a company that I wanted. I think ServiceTitan helps us get there sooner than later.”
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.