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What do Unique Indoor Comfort and Vin Diesel have in common? Fast and Furious

Pat McManamon
December 7th, 2022
5 Min Read

To some, Fast and Furious is a movie franchise.

To Nate Kukla and Unique Indoor Comfort near Philadelphia, fast and furious is simply life.

In the past 18 months and buoyed by a partnership with a private equity firm, Unique Indoor has added 10 entities to its business, and now includes companies that work in HVAC, plumbing and electric.

“It’s coming at us kind of fast and furious,” said Kukla, a founding member and the President and CEO of Unique Indoor Comfort.

Eat your heart out, Vin Diesel.

Through the process, Kukla said the business relied on ServiceTitan to bring cohesion and focus to all of its entities under the Unique Indoor umbrella.

“ServiceTItan is looking to catch the trades up to the rest of the world,” Kukla said.

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Kukla’s personal tale shows how his past influences his present.

He started his post-Penn State college years selling pharmaceuticals, but did not find it especially rewarding.

“I was learning about a bunch of medications and potential drug interactions that, quite frankly, I didn’t have any interest in and had a hard time pronouncing,” he said. “I don’t have a science mind.”

He also found that he was not influencing behaviors, merely selling a drug in a particular area. An uncle by marriage recommended him for a sales manager job in the trades, and he took it, in part because he felt like the process in the trades brought more meaning.

“In HVAC, the product is about customer interaction and customer experience along with the quality of work,” he said.

A move, and a mindset

Five years later, he was one of the founding members of Unique Indoor. Five years after that, Unique Indoor partnered with private equity and grew. But with a specific mindset.

“Our message to other business owners is that we are looking to create an exceptional experience for homeowners-and we're really looking to provide career opportunities and exceptional experience for our teams,” he said. “There's a thing within the trades that most people are out there working a job.

“We're really trying to shift that paradigm and make it a career.”

Kukla and Unique Indoor want to obliterate the past stereotype of the trades.

“We're looking to offer the people on our teams opportunities for opening their eyes,” he said. “You can start off in the warehouse, get to install, then you have the option to go service or lead installer.

“And, from there, you work on your people skills, you can become a supervisor, a field supervisor, a manager, go into sales, get into marketing. Whatever it might be, there's your path.”

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Moving well past paper

As the company grew, obvious complications and challenges followed, which is part of the reason Kukla was pleased to have ServiceTitan. Unique Indoor joined with the cloud-based software for the trades in 2016. His company had been using what he called an “archaic software” that was based on paper tickets. The mantra “let’s go paperless” was a big reason Unique Indoor switched.

Kukla said he has learned the benefits of having consistent processes with one software – all of Unique Indoor’s businesses either use ServiceTitan or will soon – among many companies.

“Numbers reporting and talking the same language, that all will be far easier,” he said. “A benefit to us is we’ll be able to pool reports easily, up-to-the-minute reports. It’ll allow us to have dedicated staff that can help everybody with their dispatch software – and that’s more than just the operating software.

“And technical support is easier because we’re all using the same platform.”

Unique Indoor’s focus is residential, with some dabbling in commercial. Its business is mainly on the East Coast, but stretches as far “west” as Ohio. The business has done its best to adopt similar practices with ServiceTitan over all its business models, which produces consistency among brands.

“Every business is slightly different,” he said. “You've got different sizes, you've got different markets, you've got different personnel for support. There's going to have to be some flexibility, but we do have one (model) we're building, and have been building, that we're looking to run them all.

“So that if you're in ServiceTitan you can switch within companies and it's the same setup.”

Consistent KPIs and more

Unique Indoor runs analytics the same for all businesses, as well as weekly KPIs and sales opportunities or leads. Kukla said each unit is using the same approach.

Individual units have even developed a monthly competition to see who can get the biggest increase in Titan score, a measure of utilization within the software. Kukla said unit presidents post them and try to one-up each other.

“They’re just looking for a way to supercharge and take it to the next level,” he said.

Attending Pantheon, ServiceTitan’s annual conference for the trades, opened Kukla to the possibility of Marketing Pro, Smart Dispatch, Adjustable Capacity Planning and even AI, all of which he called “pretty neat.”

Kukla estimates that Unique Indoor has tripled in size the past few years, and though he does not attribute all the growth to ServiceTitan, he called it one of many positive factors that facilitated that growth.

“I will say that it’s much more manageable with ServiceTitan,” he said. “I can’t imagine managing or running a business without a proper software.”

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