It’s a jungle out there.
At least, that’s how it can feel for customers searching for reliable plumbing and air conditioning services. And if it’s a difficult task nowadays, it was even harder to pick trustworthy vendors before the internet.
It was a challenge that Dallin Tippets’ father was acutely aware of when starting his plumbing company. “This was back in ‘99, when you’d grab the Yellow Pages, flip it open, point your finger at a company and call,” Tippets said. “You couldn’t even look up reviews back then. It was very much a mentality of, ‘It’s a jungle out there, so be careful who you pick.’”
With that in mind, Rainforest Works Inc. was born. Fast forward a couple of decades, and much has changed with the company: the addition of air conditioning services, a fruitful expansion into the commercial market, a growing residential vertical and a rebrand to Rainforest Plumbing & Air.
Rainforest has undoubtedly come a long way since the days of the Yellow Pages. But to continue growing, the business has to continue looking to the future.
That’s why, in 2018, Rainforest joined ServiceTitan, the cloud-based software built for the trades. With the help of the platform’s powerful tools, Rainforest has moved away from time-consuming manual processes and can now focus on growing the business more effectively.
“When we joined up with ServiceTitan, we were just cracking $12 million,” Tippets, Rainforest’s operations director, said. “In four years, we’ve hit the $22 million revenue mark for the 2022 calendar year. We've also gone from about 45 technicians or trucks on the road to 65, and moved from a one-acre complex to a three-acre complex.”
It might be a jungle out there, but by adopting modern technology, things at Rainforest feel more like an oasis.
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Doing business ‘the 21st-century way’
There’s no right way to handle billing.
But there are more efficient ways to do it—and it’s unlikely Rainforest’s billing department would willingly return to how things were before ServiceTitan.
“We would have a weekly crunch to get all of the invoices processed, because everything was on paper,” Tippets recalled. “That meant it was all out in the field with our guys, in their clamshell clipboards or scattered on their dashboards. There was a period of two to three days where they turned everything in, and then we had to get it all out.”
With ServiceTitan, Rainforest’s billing department no longer has to hunt down wrinkled paperwork to hit the company’s 30-day billing cycle. Instead, all invoices live in the cloud where they can be easily accessed by the entire team.
“Now, our billing department always works on yesterday’s invoices,” Tippets said.
That’s a big deal. According to Tippets, around 75% of Rainforest’s business supports commercial customers, largely multi-family homes. In that market, invoicing can quickly become complex.
Here are some of Tippets’ favorite ServiceTitan capabilities:
Progress billing: Because so much of Rainforest’s business is concentrated in multi-family housing, large-scale jobs—like repiping an entire apartment complex— come up often. It’s important that Tippets’ team is able to accurately group all jobs related to that one project, bill for portions of work that have been completed and have the ability to send one master invoice.
At-a-glance communication: As Rainforest has expanded, so has its workspace. Today, the finance and operations departments are located in separate buildings, which means features like notes and tags have become communication mainstays. “Being able to simply look over the board and see different colors and tags—and maybe putting an emoji in a tag—is a very quick way for teams to communicate without ever having to pick up the phone or message each other,” Tippets said.
Client portal: Through ServiceTitan, Rainforest has set up an online portal that allows customers to pay their bills, review their service history and request service.
Rainforest has embraced these modern tools. But some of the company’s customers are still catching up. It’s not uncommon for Tippets to work with a customer who asks him to print out a form, sign it, scan it and email it back.
“It’s funny, in some ways we still try to get pulled back to the Stone Age. With ServiceTitan, we have the capability to say, “No, we’re not going to do it that way anymore. We can do it the 21st-century way.”
Automating the busywork
Every week, Rainforest’s busy technicians take multiple service calls. After every call, the tech provides the customer with an estimate for the cost of services. Because most customers need multiple nudges to finally schedule their service appointment, the amount of reminder emails needed across the business can quickly snowball.
“The follow-up for a human to do is just insane,” Tippets said. “Really, we could only follow up once, because every day there’s a fresh crop of estimates to call on.”
Luckily, by using ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro, this unwieldy task can be automated. Instead of manually emailing customers, Rainforest automatically sends a follow-up 24 hours after an estimate is given. Several days later, if the customer still hasn’t booked, another email is sent without anyone lifting a finger.
“That’s hugely beneficial,” Tippets said, “In fact, it’s probably going to replace an entire position for us here at Rainforest.”
Building trust by staying in sync
In the hot summer months, air conditioning units have a knack for breaking. Since Rainforest has made a name for itself servicing multi-family housing complexes, the team is used to taking multiple calls per week from property managers who need service for different units.
With multiple jobs at the same site, things can get confusing fast—unless you’re using an easily accessible single-source of truth for customer information and job history.
“When you’re doing that many service calls at a particular location, you really need to be aware of what’s going on as a whole,” Tippets said. “You cannot do that if you’re not plugged into a cloud service that manages all of that. It’s just impossible.”
Before using ServiceTitan, techs would do their best to get up to speed by calling in to a dispatcher to get the full customer history. Tippets estimates that Rainforest’s dispatchers would have to spend around 30 minutes clicking through a customer’s job history, slowly relaying the information to the technicians.
Now, techs can simply pull up ServiceTitan and quickly go through customer records to familiarize themselves with a customer.
“In five or 10 minutes, [any] tech has what he needs, and is prepared to speak intelligently and demonstrate that we all know what’s going on in a given property, no matter who the tech is.”
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Building on feedback for a brighter future
For Tippets, the biggest advantage to joining ServiceTitan has been the overall experience Rainforest is now able to provide.
After all, the company isn’t just competing with businesses in the Yellow Pages anymore—they’re competing with the endless number of companies that pop up after a cursory internet search.
“For our customers, it’s clean, it’s polished and it looks like we know what we’re doing,” Tippets said. “Our technicians are happier because they have software that works, is easy to navigate and looks clean and professional. Our people in the office, who spend more time here than they do with their families, want to have an enjoyable experience when they sit down at their workstation.”
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.