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ServiceTitan gave Nova Basement Systems a path to 21st century

Pat McManamon
November 3rd, 2022
7 Min Read
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“The company that we want to be.”

That is how Mike Flores described what he wanted as he and his staff searched for new software in 2021. They didn’t want the platform to deal with what Nova Basement Systems was at the time, but what it could become.

Which meant they wanted software that could be adjusted to the business, not one that would require the business adjusting to the software. A software that would adjust to the company’s needs. A software that would grow and develop with the business–and allow the business to grow and develop.

An exhaustive internal study that included trial spreadsheets, countless downloads, and interviews with peers led them to ServiceTitan.

The main reason? “We want to build for the company we want to be, not the company that we are,“ Flores said.

Flores has worked for the La Porte, Ind., business for 16 years. He started as a CSR when Nova had nine employees. He had zero construction experience, but he found the work fascinating. In 2008 he moved to sales – “I got thrown to the wolves” – and enjoyed the human interactions. He eventually became service coordinator, and when the owner retired in 2015, Flores and three others bought the business.

One owner has since left, and Flores now shares one-third ownership. The business has grown to 32 employees, and crews and revenue have increased.

Mark Strauss is Nova’s Communications Director, and also the owner of Strauss Training, a consulting firm that focuses on the best practices of communication to grow revenue and enhance customer and employee retention. A former customer of Nova, Strauss said he believes in and stresses “a communication infrastructure based on relationships.”

Flores said Nova always believed in not overselling but in honesty. So when Flores and Strauss found each other, the mesh was natural.

When they started working together, one of their first decisions was to reduce daily sales visits and instead go more in-depth with the ones it held. Spending more time in homes allowed Nova to address issues and answer more questions. The pressure to meet a daily goal of visits was relieved, and their focus became more dialogue, a morale builder for the team–and a benefit to the business.

“Having those healthy dialogues, sales in the first year shot up 33%,” Flores said.

With ServiceTitan, the pair believes they have the right platform to enhance growth, especially because ServiceTitan can enhance their core value--communication, within the company and with customers.

“The software is a morale tool,” Strauss said.

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With its previous software, the team had to use digital cameras at jobs, then return to the office to download photos to a folder on a community computer. Someone then had to manually attach the photos to the accounts, print them and place them in a folder that techs would take back to the customer.

All that information now is available on iPads via ServiceTitan. That makes life easier for Nova’s techs, which provides another morale boost.

Flores said 90% of Nova’s business is residential. However, that work often involves major construction. In the waterproofing world, construction is not always “new.” It sometimes involves digging around a foundation, replacing a foundation, repairing a crawl space, tearing up floors to redo a foundation, pouring concrete. Many jobs are between $8,000 and $10,000, some as high as $20,000 or $40,00; many are multi-day projects.

ServiceTitan helped Nova see how it could deal with multi-day projects by creating multiple jobs and building a project workflow within the software. ServiceTitan listened to concerns and adjusted for Nova’s needs–often with the advice of industry experts who had been in the field and understood the requirements.

“One thing we are extremely grateful for that we didn’t even realize we were getting into is the constant evolution of ServiceTitan,” Flores said.

He called the addition of appointments for jobs “a complete game changer for our industry.”

“It's really, really exciting every day to learn something new and to know that the system is constantly evolving,” Flores said. “It makes it better for any company that uses it.”

Strauss said the software even alleviates factors that contribute to employee turnover by eliminating disconnects and keeping information easily available. Call it another morale boost.

“We're able to isolate challenges with employees rather than constantly feeding them with reasons to be victims,” Strauss said. “ServiceTitan is a huge piece of that.”

Two of Nova’s salespeople have a close rate consistently at 50%. One of the regular steps they take on their way to an appointment is to use the call-recording capability to listen to the initial call made by the customer.

“Because they want to get a read for how that customer was feeling,” Strauss said. “Then they make the call on the way to the client to let them know they're on their way. They're setting the relationship up from the time that they're driving to the house.

“You can't do that without this technology.”

Strauss also said ServiceTitan allows Nova to keep its pricebook up to date with photos taken at jobs before, during and after work is completed.

“I'm not just showing you a stock photo from our vendor,” he said. “I'm saying, ‘Here's the job. This is what we did.’ Having that go out in the electronic estimate, it's a seemingly infinite rabbit hole of tiny connectable consistencies within the application that allows us to think outside the box.

“We get to mold our business to the software rather than have the software define our workflows. That's another thing we love.”

Better monitoring of projects allows Nova to produce reports that break work down to components, to find out what works and what doesn’t. And then to offer those positive steps to teams. Some of it is based on ServiceTitan, some on actively listening to employee ideas and suggestions.

“We get to focus on the little things that I think ultimately make the biggest impact,” Flores said. “We call them smart goals. What can I do to help you become more efficient?

“Rather than saying what you are doing wrong, we can say, ‘What can we do to help you?”

That could mean recognizing a suggestion that buying a new tool for $300 will increase productivity and save in the long run. The employee gets updated equipment, and the satisfaction that his or her voice is heard. Morale, boosted.

Flores and Strauss concede that ServiceTitan is not used widely in the waterproofing business. Their experience tells them it should be. Flores offered a laundry list of how it’s helped: instant communication, the mobile app, ease of use for techs, access to data, taking advantage of available technology, use of reports. All contributing to communication and better (you got it) morale.

Strauss describes the software as “the curation of different solutions within the software.”

“We talk about the ease of follow-ups and reporting and videos and images and the way the data tables are organized,” he said. “When you go to a customer page, it's a lot of information. And to be able to very quickly understand where to look and how to get to it is very, very important. And that impacts the energy and the attitude and, by association, the tone that we use with our clients and with each other. That's the direct connection between the software solution and the morale and the customer experience.

“Our customer relationships are sculptures. The language we use and the technology platforms that we use are the wire frame, and now we can mold all the variables around that situation and that customer relationship. Without that wire frame, we have a lump of clay and it becomes exponentially more difficult to create the art that we want to create.”

Flores recalled a recent conversation with a team member.

“He told me: ‘This is the great thing about our company. We’re in the 21st century.’”

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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