Raised by a father who ingrained in them the value of hard work and self-employment, brothers Travis and Tyler Ringe grew up in Arizona learning the trades and working with their dad in the custom home construction industry. That is, until the housing market crashed in 2008.
Get a recession-proof job, he told them then. Home services will always be in demand.
The Ringe brothers followed their dad’s advice, obtained their Arizona plumber licenses and began working for a local plumbing company. Soon after, the brothers decided to go into business for themselves and started ProSkill Plumbing in 2009 as a one-truck plumbing company.
At the time, ProSkill only serviced customers in a small area of North Valley around Anthem, Ariz., near Phoenix. They built ProSkill with a no-service-charge business model that fostered a reputation for good service and value.
“The economy was horrible, so we ran our business on a very-low-overhead model,” Travis Ringe, the younger of the brothers, says.
The business model worked, and ProSkill Services expanded into HVAC in 2012 with a loyal customer base built almost entirely on word-of-mouth. But the expansion required change.
Managing growth with modern technology
Wanting to ditch the company’s rudimentary scheduling system, operated from an exchange server in Tyler’s house, Travis began searching for an easy-to-use software platform that offered a digital pricebook and electronic invoicing.
“We’d grown pretty rapidly and just couldn’t manage all the jobs anymore on one calendar,” Travis says.
In 2014 he found ServiceTitan, the leading all-in-one software for residential HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and other home service businesses.
“ServiceTitan has really been a game-changer for us. It’s what helped drive our company to where it’s at today,” Travis says.
Since signing on with ServiceTitan six years ago, ProSkill Plumbing, Heating & Air has achieved year-over-year growth of more than 30 percent—despite spending less than 4 percent of the company’s annual revenue on marketing, Travis says.
ProSkill now operates with more than 50 trucks, covering northern Phoenix and the entire North Valley, and brings in over $14 million in annual revenue. The company also offers water treatment services and added electrical services in 2019.
The Ringe brothers credit most of ProSkill’s success to treating employees and customers well and letting word-of-mouth marketing do the rest. Partnering with ServiceTitan keeps the multi-trade home services operation running smoothly.
“ServiceTitan is as important to our company as the tools and the trucks we use every day to accomplish the job,” Travis says. “I don’t think you can run a large operation with 50-plus trucks and still deliver a great customer experience without ServiceTitan.”
As a seasoned ServiceTitan user, we asked Travis Ringe, co-founder of ProSkill Plumbing, Heating & Air, to describe how the business software has helped to grow his home services company.
Q: Before ServiceTitan, how did ProSkill handle scheduling and estimating residential service jobs?
A: We had our own server and just a basic Outlook kind of program with contacts and a calendar. Everyone could log into it to see their jobs for the day. There was no customer history or way to track memberships. It was very, very basic.
I would spend all day out in the field and then go home at night to type up every estimate on Microsoft Word. I was copying and pasting a lot, and then adding a bunch of different fields.
It took forever, and it was a horrible time in my life.
Q: Did ProSkill have its own pricebook at the time?
A: I think by 2014 we were at $2 million or $3 million in total revenue, but even with that we still had no set pricebook. We trained all of the guys who worked for us on what our pricing was, and they just remembered it. We did alright, just basically determining pricing in the field.
(But) I was looking for a software solution that would take us to a digital invoicing system and pricebook.
During the onboarding process with ServiceTitan, we decided to build our own digital pricebook. We spent a couple of weeks on it and thought it was really thorough, but then realized how many holes we still had once the guys started using it out in the field, but we worked through it.
Q: What changes did you notice after building your ServiceTitan pricebook?
A: Initially, I loaded in the scope of work for new systems and our unit matchups, so I could actually get pricing on-site for new systems. Our close rate went way up when I started doing that. We also started tracking revenue, purchase orders and job costs. That enabled us to see where we were making or losing money.
We started saving time in the field once our pricebook got built out further. The guys weren’t writing invoices anymore, just clicking on the item. We didn’t have to worry as much about invoices getting turned in, which was helpful because some of the guys didn’t come into the shop every day and they’d end up losing invoices.
Q: What’s it like working with your brother for the past decade?
A: The short answer? It’s great. We’re best friends, so it’s not a big deal.
Our first business venture together involved selling these little China-made trinkets to other kids at school in exchange for their lunch money. We also started a decorative landscape curbing company. We had to buy the trailer and all the tools and stuff, but we couldn’t drive so our dad would drop us off after school, we’d do the job and he’d pick us up.
We’ve always been really close. In high school, I was the quarterback and he was the tailback. We’ve always done everything together, but we’re totally different, too. He’s a visionary and does a lot of our marketing and concepts. I’m more of the follow-through guy, I make sure it actually gets done.
Q: How has ServiceTitan improved its product over the last six years?
A: Being able to access the customer’s history and greet them by name with a few clicks on the mobile app really helped to skyrocket our customer experience. Just going paperless did a ton, but what really sets ServiceTitan apart is the customer experience and how many features are constantly being added to improve that.
Customers love the live tracking feature, which allows them to see when our techs are scheduled to arrive. That was a huge added benefit for us.
We just started with ServiceTitan Marketing Pro, which helps us leverage all of our customer data to deliver hyper-targeted email marketing campaigns. Our first campaign returned $6,000 in revenue in 24 hours, which was fantastic!
ServiceTitan is a big company at this point, but they still consider the clients’ feedback and consistently make improvements to always progress and change.
Q: What would you tell others in the trades about ServiceTitan?
A: Competitors are out there claiming they have 95 percent of ServiceTitan’s features in their own software at a third of the cost. I’ve watched one of their demos and … they have no call stream, no purchase order system, and all of these funny workarounds on how to do stuff.
I can’t run an enterprise on that software. I always tell people, ‘Hey, if you’re never going to go beyond two or three trucks, it’s a good option. You don’t need the robust capabilities of ServiceTitan. But if you’re planning on growing, just bite the bullet and get the software you need.’”
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