Plumbing, Productivity, Management, Business Tips, Success Story

CB radios to real-time communication: Prime Plumbing sees ‘unbelievable’ growth, and techs never had it so good

Adrienne Teeley
April 17th, 2023
5 Min Read

After 24 years in plumbing, Brian Ruggiero can’t help but laugh at how good technicians have it nowadays.

“I remember my first service van, we had CB radios,” Ruggiero said. “That's how the office would dispatch the calls to us. Then we moved up to pagers and Nextel radios to talk. The company provided fax machines, so at the end of the day we'd fax over our material list to the office and the warehouse guy would pull it.”

Ruggiero was just a kid back then. He’d become hooked on the trades as a teenager, going out on service calls when he was still a junior in high school. It’s no surprise that his deep industry knowledge eventually led him to his current role as the vice president of Prime Plumbing in Umatilla, Fla., which primarily deals with residential customers, along with some commercial and new construction.

Now, he wants to make sure his team never has to struggle with unwieldy technology like he did. It’s why, in April 2020, he introduced Prime to ServiceTitan, the cloud-based, all-in-one software built for the trades. 

Through the platform, his techs are equipped with tools such as a dispatch board, estimate builders and cloud-based customer records that make their jobs easier. 

“I'm kind of jealous of the guys out there,” Ruggiero said. “I never really got the experience to use ServiceTitan (in the field).”

But ServiceTitan isn’t just for technicians. From the front office, Ruggiero has access to powerful invoicing, reporting and sales features that show him how the business is doing, and where it can improve.

With these tools at the team’s fingertips, Prime has seen record growth. In 2021, the company pulled in $3.8 million in revenue. Last year, the company hit $6.1 million. “The numbers are unbelievable the way they’re going up,” Ruggiero said. “We've increased our prices a little due to inflation, but not much whatsoever to make numbers like that.”

» Want to grow your business? Click here to get a demo.

Don’t leave money on the table

Technology wasn’t always so reliable in the trades. 

Before joining ServiceTitan, Ruggiero remembers struggling with another software system that was more aggravating than helpful. 

“That was just brutal back then,” Ruggiero said. “(You’d be) three-quarters of the way through a $10,000 estimate and, all of a sudden, (the system) crashed, you’d lose it all and have to start back over.”

That’s almost as bad as when Ruggiero first started in the industry and had to navigate a price book “the size of the phone book” just to pull together an estimate. 

Thankfully, with ServiceTitan, techs have access to an estimate builder that lets them easily whip up quotes. With templates that look professional, techs can quickly build out several options for customers, then display them in a presentation mode. 

“The guys love it, being able to show options, show pictures of what we're going to install,” Ruggiero said. “It's made it easier to talk to the client and educate them on what we recommend.”

It’s also easier for Ruggiero to see how many estimates are being generated, and hold his team accountable for following up and getting the customer to book their appointment.

“Seeing $1.4 million sitting on the table at the end of the month is astronomic. It's like, ‘Wow, why didn't we capture that? Let's follow up.’ In (the old software), that's not even a thing.”

The #1 newsletter for the trades.

When it comes to moving faster, ServiceTitan helps keep Prime on track. Here are some of the team’s favorite features:

  • Dispatch: Appointments can change quickly, and ServiceTitan’s dispatch dashboard allows the office and techs to stay in sync. By using tags for different jobs, anyone can quickly see if a service call needs to be rescheduled, if a permit is required, or if the call is with a repeat customer.

  • Invoicing: With advanced invoicing features, ServiceTitan enables Prime to bill customers faster, and get better insight into when payments are due. For complicated projects, Ruggiero can easily tag a manager for a quick review before batching and sending invoices to customers.

  • Customer relationship management: Prime’s techs can easily communicate with customers through ServiceTitan’s platform, and share photos of any job via text message. Because ServiceTitan records calls and stores information about previous jobs, techs can get a better picture of the customer’s needs—without going through a dispatcher.

  • Marketing: If Ruggiero ever gets curious about how Prime’s Google AdWords are performing, he can open ServiceTitan and see how much the company has spent and how many clicks the site is getting. “I couldn’t do any of that before,” Ruggiero said. “We were just sending out money, ‘Here, Google, have some money. Here’s some more money.’” Now, with clear data, he can home in on conversions and build solid marketing strategies.

From the front office to the field

These days, Ruggiero boots up five computer monitors to track Prime’s operations. If the company is going to double its revenue and hit $12 million this year, he has to make sure his team is performing effectively.

But sometimes, he gets to put on his work boots.

Prime Plumbing has several large commercial customers with complicated service requests. In those cases, Ruggiero will personally go to the site, bid the job and figure out what needs to be done before sending in his install team. 

“I tell my guys all the time, ‘If I was out in the field, I’d blow you all away,’” he said with a laugh. “It was the middle of December, and I said, ‘My numbers are behind. Just wait, let me go out there, I’ll go find a job to sell.’”

That month, Ruggiero scored the second-highest amount of sales. 

But for all of the good-natured ribbing Ruggiero gives his team, they serve it right back when he goes on service calls. Like his techs, Ruggiero shows up to every job with a tablet in hand loaded with ServiceTitan. “Sometimes,” he admitted, “I’ll press the wrong buttons.”

“I’ve never really used (ServiceTitan in the field) on a daily basis,” Ruggiero said. “The guys are like, ‘Don’t you know what you’re doing?’”

In these moments, the camaraderie and opportunity to solve problems remind Ruggiero of why he fell in love with the trades back in high school. 

“Those days I wake up, I put my work boots on because I know I'm going out, and I'm so happy,” Ruggiero said. “I'm like, ‘Ah, back out in the field.’”

And the best part? There are no pagers or fax machines required.

ServiceTitan Plumbing Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive plumbing business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

Learn More

Related posts