Building a multimillion-dollar home services business requires taking a few important steps along the way. Your hopes and dreams may simply fade away if you fail to establish a good plan right from the start.
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“I think a lot of businesses get started and they don't have a plan,” says Tommy Mello, owner of A1 Garage Door Service, a home-service company that now operates across 29 markets in 19 states and is on pace to hit $150 million in revenue this year.
“They kind of say, ‘I just want to get bigger. I want to make more profit. I want to spend more time with my family.’ But then they never hit those goals,” because they never had a real plan, he says.
Establishing a plan with specific and measurable goals is just one of nine critical steps contractors in the trades must take to grow a multimillion-dollar business, says Mello.
The successful business owner, book author, and Home Service Expert outlines all nine steps in a recent ServiceTitan webinar, along with Jody Underhill, founder of Rapid Hire Pro, and Adam Cronenberg, A1 Garage Door’s COO and executive vice president.
The 9 Critical Steps to Hit $150M in Annual Revenue are:
Have a plan
You need to own Google
Recruit and train A-players
Get clear on your offer
Don’t go where everyone else is fishing
Use multichannel engagement
Embrace what ServiceTitan offers
Become a true Titan
Maximize your investment in ServiceTitan
The expert trio explains each step below, going into detail about why owners must lead, delegate, and get out of the daily grind of the business; why it’s important to hire for attitude and train for skills; and how to reframe sales training to develop and nurture top-performing techs.
Here are the key takeaways:
Step #1: Have a Plan
Think of having a plan for your business in the same way you might set goals for losing weight or improving your golf game, Mello says.
To lose weight, you cut calories, exercise regularly, and set a goal to lose so many pounds per week, per month, or per year. That’s your weight-loss plan. To improve your golf game, you practice deliberately, set goals to hit this many greens or this many putts, and you know what part of the game you're working on. That’s your golf-game plan.
“The same thing applies in business,” Mello says. “Successful business owners who really kick butt — they’ve got a budget, they’ve got a plan, they’ve got goals, they’ve got key performance indicators. They’re always working on something.”
For Mello and A1 Garage Door, he always tries to set at least three “Tommy goals” — a big stretch goal, one to tell the bank, and one that’s actually attainable.
“Not a lot of us spend enough time on our plan, our vision, our goals, and write them down, and actually have obtainable ones,” Mello says.
Step #2: You Need to Own Google
When it comes to marketing your home services business, Mello says you need to own Google.
“In home services, the best clients don't come from HomeAdvisor, they don't come from Angie's List, they don't come from Thumbtack. They come from Google,” Mello says. “The first one at the top of Google gets the best calls, just like the phone book used to be. So Google literally, in this sense, is God.”
Google offers four avenues for marketing:
1. Local Service Ads: LSAs are Google-guaranteed, which means the company passed a background check and Google verified its legitimacy by checking licensing, branding, signage, vehicle registrations, etc.
“If you’re not on Google Guarantee, I promise you, you’re losing money,” Mello says.
2. Google My Business listings: This is one you can’t pay for, but you need to make sure your company’s name, address, phone number, and any other identifying information appears the same across the board for every online listing.
“There’s probably 2,000 citation sites, and all of them need to look alike,” Mello says. “If you get this all really, really dialed in, it will get you a ton of calls — almost as much as a Google Guarantee could get you.”
3. Organic Search: When potential customers search for “garage door service near me,” they may see A1’s LSA and Google listing at the top of their search results, but they also might see A1 in the third spot based on organic SEO traffic.
“People don’t really focus on that anymore and it’s a shame, because there’s a lot of leads we get through that,” Mello says. “When you’re in all three spots, you get 900 times more chances of hitting.”
4. Pay-Per-Click: Businesses choose a collection of keywords to rank on Google, and set a maximum amount they’re willing to pay for someone to click through to their website. Typically, four ads show up above the search results. The higher the ad ranks, the more the click costs.
“This needs to be your top priority,” Mello says. “If you’re not on all four at the top, you are losing tons and tons of money.”
Step #3: Recruit and Train A-Players
Mello believes so strongly in recruiting and training A-players that he just spent $600,000 on a new A1 Garage Door training center and recently opened his doors for other contractors in the trades to experience it during Vertical Track, a home services networking event in May.
“I think it's so important because A-players, when we’re able to recruit them properly, they get you 5-star reviews, they recruit for you, they get you more jobs, they get higher conversion rates, higher average tickets, they do their inventory, and you don't get these headaches,” Mello says.
At A1, Mello worked with Jonathan Whistman, author of “The Sales Boss,” to study his technicians and training processes, and they came up with a test to give all new recruits.
“The deal about this test is it’s the right training and the right person for us,” Mello says. “If they don’t score high on this test, they’re probably not going to make it.”
The test is called the Perception Predict, and looks for the following:
Success Mindset: Service technicians are highly motivated and committed to getting things done to achieve goals and success.
Sense of Urgency: They prefer getting things done or making things happen quickly without delay. They are output-focused and good at multitasking.
Hopeful: Techs are hopeful and approach problems with an optimistic mindset, cherish a desire with anticipation, and expect positive outcomes with confidence. They establish clear goals, imagine multiple workable pathways toward them, and persevere, even when obstacles get in their way.
Self-determination: Techs hold themselves accountable for their own actions and believe they are in charge of their success or failure rather than viewing themselves as victims of life and bad luck. They thrive in the face of challenges and tend to work hard to achieve the things they want.
Patience: Techs have the capacity to endure under difficult circumstances or in the face of likely negativity. They exhibit self-control and tolerance when under strain, especially when facing longer-term difficulties.
Trusting: Techs have a general tendency to trust other people.
Optimistic: Techs expect things to work out for the best and believe good things will happen in the future.
Materialistic Values and Goals: Money- and status-oriented, techs believe material possessions and wealth are a necessary means to achieve important life goals, such as happiness, success, and desirability.
Sales Confidence: Techs are confident in their capabilities to successfully perform sales tasks. The more capable a sales rep is, the more effort and persistence they will exhibit in prospecting new customers, maintaining relationships with existing customers, and generating sales.
Desire to Compete: Techs have the desire to compete, win, and be better than others. They’re motivated by competition because it allows them to satisfy their need to win, and it provides the opportunity or reason to improve their performance.
Lively and Energetic: Full of vigor and energy, enthusiasm and determination, techs are always on alert and prefer to be active.
Zestful: Techs perform tasks wholeheartedly and approach work and life positively with anticipation, energy, enthusiasm, and excitement.
Step #4: Get Clear on Your Offer
Everyone’s hiring, so how can you make your company stand out as one of the best contenders for new recruits?
“What is it that you’re offering to someone?” asks Underhill of Rapid Hire Pro. “Because today, whoever they are, if they’re worth their salt, they’re already working for someone else.”
If your company offers an hourly rate plus bonuses or performance pay, spell out exactly how much a new recruit could potentially earn in a year. Explain your benefits and demonstrate how your company’s culture rises above the rest. Then ask current employees why they like working for you and share their testimonials with others.
“Get very clear on what it is that you’re offering,” Underhill advises.
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Step #5: Don’t Go Where Everyone Else is Fishing
“If you’re fishing in the same place that everyone else is, there’s not a lot of difference between you and the other people,” Underhill says.
Posting on job boards these days is like going to the unemployment line to look for help, the job recruiter says. Did you know that one in four Americans weren’t searching for a job when they found their current job? Or that 79% of job seekers say they use social media networks to job search?
“What we found is that whenever you get your information in front of passive job seekers, you tend to get a better-quality applicant generally,” Underhill says, so use social media to your advantage. “Getting it in front of them, you’re fishing in a pool where not everybody has their line in the water.”
And don’t just regurgitate a list of job requirements in your job posting. Think of advertising for employees the same way you think of advertising for customers, and try to make it enticing.
Step #6: Use Multichannel Engagement
Today’s job applicants prefer to communicate in various ways, so always offer information and explain what’s next via text, emails, and phone calls to ensure they receive the message.
“What we find is that 4% to 6% of prospective workers would rather hear about the success of a job application via text than through email or phone call,” Underhill says. “You’ve got to let people know what’s going to happen next.”
Also, consider the following stats supplied by Underhill during the webinar:
76% of job seekers state that not hearing back from a job application submission trumps the frustration of not hearing back after a first date.
78% of employers felt they did a good job setting expectations and communicating to new recruits, but only about 47% of job seekers agree.
Step #7: Embrace What ServiceTitan Offers
Cronenberg serves as the ServiceTitan guru for A1 Garage Door, and says he often talks to contractors about how to use the ServiceTitan software to its fullest advantage.
“They either feel overwhelmed, or they feel like they have their own way of doing things and ‘ServiceTitan doesn’t support my way of doing things,’” Cronenberg says. “We’ve been on the software since 2016, and we’ve seen it evolve immensely.”
He offers the following tips to embrace the full functionality of ServiceTitan:
Get started; you don’t need to roll out every feature all at once.
ServiceTitan is a Ferrari type of software, but you have to go through the gears.
If the software can’t support your workflow, you might need to ask yourself if you have the proper workflow.
Get a dedicated ServiceTitan person who has authority across your organization to implement change.
“If you’re going to drive the Ferrari that is ServiceTitan in second gear, you’re really leaving a lot of your investment on the table,” Cronenberg says.
When a software system fails for a business, there are usually three basic reasons:
You have no system in place.
You have the wrong system in place.
The system is not being followed.
Step #8: Become a True Titan
Leverage the help of others in your industry, Cronenberg says.
Join the Torch Network and contribute to the Titan Community.
Go to Pantheon, ServiceTitan’s annual conference for the trades.
Get inspired by what others are doing and achieving.
Ask for help.Titans are here to share.
Go visit other shops. Every single shop has some little gold nugget you can learn from.
“The biggest and best contractors in the world are on ServiceTitan,” Cronenberg advises. “It really is the community that you get with ServiceTitan. Literally, they will bend over backwards to help make you a success.”
Step #9: Maximize Your Investment in ServiceTitan
To maximize your investment in ServiceTitan, you need to continue to add and adopt new features, and explore options using Titan Advisor to learn what additional features you could be using. Some of the amazing ServiceTitan resources include:
“One of the beautiful things about ServiceTitan is they are always improving,” Cronenberg says. “They’re always coming out with new product launches. We’re able to really operate very lean because of the tools in ServiceTitan that we have.”
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.