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Fireside Chat: Unlock answers to challenges and greater success in 2024

Diana Lamirand
February 9th, 2024
13 Min Read

Did you struggle to make a profit in 2023? Many contractors found themselves in the same boat, as economic uncertainty, high prices, and material shortages and delays forced them to navigate choppy waters and stay afloat.

For contractors like Above and Beyond Service Co., which relied on ServiceTitan field management software and its Pro Products to implement best practices, systems, and processes, the rough seas turned into a wave of success the company plans to ride well into 2024 and beyond.

Operating as a multi-trade service company based in Edmond, OK, Above and Beyond grew its revenue from $1.54 million to over $7 million in the past two years, and the company is on pace to reach $10 million this year. Even more inspiring, owner Jason Brady says his team beat its revenue goals for 2023 despite doing half the number of HVAC installs as the previous year.

“We ended last year, I think, at $7.4 million,” Brady says. “Everybody knows the industry was down, but we actually did that number based on half of the residential changeouts that we had the previous year.”

Brady’s HVAC Service Manager Chelsea Myers says the company leaned heavily on its commercial and service divisions to make up for the lower number of installs. 

“We had to really get creative this year to even hit our goal from last year,” Myers says. “So, when we saw those numbers, we were even shocked. We were like, ‘Wow, from 305 to 150 [residential changeouts].’ And we still beat our revenue goal from last year. Not by much, but we still beat it.”

And while getting creative had something to do with Above and Beyond’s success, Brady attributes much of it to making one important realization along the way.

“We stopped trying to make ServiceTitan fit our company, and started making our company fit ServiceTitan and doing things the way they did,” Brady says. “When updates come out, we don't have these catastrophic failures that just screw everything up. We don't have all these issues that we see posted. And by doing that, it becomes easier to implement the things ServiceTitan has. When that happens, we can do things that are just monumentally more efficient.”

In a recent ServiceTitan webinar, Brady and Myers joined Angie Snow, Principal Industry Adviser at ServiceTitan and shop owner, to provide insights into their best practices, how they’re using ServiceTitan and other Pro Products to overcome today's challenges, and how they inspire change within their organization.

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

How to make ServiceTitan work for you

Snow first points out how Above and Beyond currently boasts a Titan Score of 242, which places the company in the top 1% of all ServiceTitan users.

“You really are a pioneer of innovative technologies,” Snow says. “When you find out there's another way to automate or improve, increase efficiency, drive revenue, you're digging in and you're finding a way to make it happen.”

Take ServiceTitan’s configurable payroll, for instance. Before Above and Beyond upgraded to this premium feature, Myers says, the payroll process for a small team took four to five hours each week. To increase efficiency, the company adopted the configurable payroll feature, but then determined its payroll process didn’t fit the way this new feature was meant to work.

“So, do we try to force these and have manual changes every week, or do we just get rid of these and implement something that will work?" Myers explains. “That's how we've done it with all of our ServiceTitan implementations. We take a look at the business, ‘Okay, ServiceTitan isn’t made to work this way. Let's look at our processes, see what we can change to make it as easy as possible.’ And I think that's really been the best thing that we could have done from the very beginning.”

Brady admits it’s not easy to take this type of approach with ServiceTitan, especially if you’re a smaller company with fewer resources.

“There are tons of other software out there that are going to tell you how easy it is. But I think if you want the most out of ServiceTitan and you want to grow your business and be the best, it’s about implementing ServiceTitan the way ServiceTitan is meant to be run,” he advises.

Adopting strategies to meet today’s challenges

Challenge #1: Stagnant revenue growth

Like many contractors in the service industry, Brady and Myers view stagnant revenue growth as one of their biggest challenges. So, what did Above and Beyond do to get the phones to ring?

First, CSRs focused on making outbound calls, Myers says, and the company added bonus incentives to drive competition among them. 

“This is probably the first year where we had to lean so heavily on our outbounding because the phone wasn't ringing,” she says. “We also got really creative with free memberships.”

For any customer who spent $500 on any repairs, Above and Beyond offered a free membership for service and maintenance. The company gained no revenue from membership dollars, she says, but signed up 250 new customers.

“We’re out the membership dollars. But if you look at the long game, we have 250 more customers who we're going to be visiting again in April and then also in October,” Myers says.

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“And we're not paying to get them from GLSA [Google Local Service Ads], PPC [pay-per-click], or some other revenue stream,” Brady adds.

In addition to outbound calling, Above and Beyond utilized Marketing Pro to send targeted, automated emails to customers they hadn’t engaged with in over a year and who owned HVAC systems older than 12 years, offering a tune-up special offer.

“We can use that segment of the customer base to help drive revenue, which is exactly what happened with us,” Brady says. “‘Get them talking with you first’ was kind of our big thing.”

Using the powerful functionality of Audience Builder in Marketing Pro, Myers says, she easily built targeted outbound call and campaign email lists to make the day-to-day job easier for CSRs.

“With Marketing Pro, you literally put some attributes in, ‘I want to see this, I don't want to see this,’ and it will spit out the list for you,” she says.

The company also used ServiceTitan to segment its customers and job types based on three categories of equipment age—0 to 5 years, 6 to 12 years, and 12-plus years—then defined what it viewed as a “replacement opportunity” in the customized settings.

“We leaned on the software to help us identify those opportunities and we got away from just going to every customer,” Myers adds. “We got really intentional in who we were trying to service.”

Pro Tip: Make “age of equipment” a required field for your CSRs in the ServiceTitan settings, then train them to ask the right questions to narrow down the answer.

“We want everything that's 12-plus,” Brady says of Above and Beyond’s target audience. “We're going to send them a special tune-up offer that nobody else gets because we know those are the people who are ready for equipment replacement possibly.”

Above and Beyond also made it easier for techs to offer integrated financing to more customers, and they worked with vendors to sweeten their financing offers.

Challenge #2: Increasing customer expectations

Today’s customers seem more demanding, Snow says, especially when it comes to booking a job when and how they want to book it. How does Above and Beyond handle rising customer expectations?

“Customers are getting more demanding. They want what they want when they want it, and if we don't offer it, someone else will,” Myers says. “In the last few years, we’ve really tried to adopt the ‘customer is right all the time’ mentality. And that's very hard to do. But we’ve tried to improve our customer satisfaction as much as possible.”

As part of that solution, Brady says, Above and Beyond utilizes ServiceTitan’s adjustable capacity planning feature so the CSRs know exactly which technicians with the right skills are available for specific calls at any given time to better meet customer expectations.

The company also uses the Scheduling Pro tool to allow customers to book online at their own convenience, which helps to take the load off of CSRs during busy times of the year and gives the team more time to turn prospective clients into actual customers.

“We found that we have a higher booking rate and higher average ticket if our CSRs talk to a customer for three minutes or more. It's just how it is,” Brady says.

In addition to asking the right questions to gather the right information, the company trains CSRs to know when to schedule a customer and when not to. For instance, if a new customer calls during a big weather event, and their equipment is 5 years old or less, it’s okay for the CSRs to turn them away.

“We'll offer them our competitor's phone number. ‘We don't have availability, but you might try this person and see if they do.’ Because then, it still allows that CSR to help the customer, but it also prioritizes our calls for what's more important for Above and Beyond,” Myers says.

Challenge #3: Shrinking margins

“Margins are everything” when running a successful service business, Snow says. So, what part of the business do you focus on when you're trying to tighten profit margins, but not waste time or money?

“100%, it's labor,” Brady says. “If you send a technician out to a call that he's not equipped to deal with, and he's out there for four hours, when you could have sent the right tech out there, and he was out for an hour and a half, you literally just took two calls off the board for your company.”

And it doesn’t matter if the technician is making $25 an hour or $20 an hour, Myers says. It’s more about looking at the opportunity cost, or what you might be missing out on if you send the wrong technician to the job.

“It's really, really important for us to make sure we’re using our labor effectively, that we’re dispatching and booking the right tech to the right call,” Brady says. “Because if we're not, I mean, you can charge whatever you want, but you're not going to make any money.”

Brady wholeheartedly believes in the “right-tech-right-call’ philosophy, taking the time to set up specific tech zones and skills in ServiceTitan with the adjustable capacity planning tool. And Above and Beyond was one of the first companies to sign on with Dispatch Pro.

“Dispatch Pro literally does all the heavy lifting of who's the person selling, what are they best at, what's going on?” Brady explains. 

“We have a guy who is very customer-focused and very customer-centric, and sometimes it drives us crazy. But what we found is, and it's ironic and we never would've known this, he thrives in 12-plus opportunities. His second-best place is 0 to 5 maintenance. He sold $7,000 of IEQ in system upgrades on 2- and 3-year-old systems that we installed when we did new construction, and literally his average ticket for those zero to fives hovers over the $2,000 mark.

“And Dispatch Pro figured that out. We didn't. We had no idea. I don't know how the heck you figured that out, but that was the win. And so, when we look at ‘how did we beat what we did last year with half of the changeouts?’ That's how we did it,” Brady adds.

Dispatch Pro also gave Above and Beyond the freedom to hire a dispatcher with limited dispatching experience, then train her to do a variety of other tasks to benefit the company.

“She not only handles the dispatching for 25 technicians, she handles all the permits, inspections, equipment warranties, and registrations. She answers the phone in her downtime. She does the OKIE dig calls, she orders help services,” Myers says. “She does so many other things because she doesn't have to worry about the right tech, right job. The software does that for her. 

“As far as the day-to-day chess game, she doesn't have to play that,” Myers adds.

Making decisions to inspire change 

One of the most noticeable changes Brady made to inspire his team and grow his company involved rebranding his logos and service vehicles to a more feminine pink color.

“We looked at our demographics and decided it should be pink because 95%-plus of the people who call us are women. So, we need to be focusing on our demographic, not what Jason likes, or Chelsea likes, or somebody else likes. We need to focus on what's important to the company and what's important to our customers, so we did pink,” Brady explains.

And it worked! Customers love the new color, techs began lining up to get their new truck wrap, and the supply houses stopped making jokes about Above and Beyond.

“It's funny because we went from four or five vans to 10, to 12, to 30. I mean, it just blew up,” Brady says. “And nobody laughs anymore about the pink trucks. Because customers saw it, remembered it, loved it, and then that just became that.”

Beyond the rebranding and aligning the business to run efficiently with ServiceTitan, Above and Beyond always starts with explaining “the why” to the team before implementing something new.

“You have to start with why,” Brady says. “We found that if we go to our influencers, the people in the company who everyone looks up to, and we get their buy-in, they help the other guys buy in. Make sure they understand it and then it just goes a million times easier. It's not a fight. The fight becomes when you try to just shove it down their throat.”

And if a particular change doesn’t work out, Myers thinks it’s important to offer an apology and thank them for making an effort.

“Just having that open communication with them. They're a part of your team, too,” she says.

And, finally, automate as much as you can and whenever you can to make the job easier for your technicians, dispatchers, and CSRs.

“That has to be your daily goal…automating the materials for them, automating the job summaries for them, automating the invoice summaries with AI, and just making their lives as easy as possible,” Myers says. “There are so many things that you can automate—and without even using any of the Pro products.” 

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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