Marketing • Management • Operations • Business Tips • 62 minutes

Finding a Mentor in the Trades

May 17, 2022

Episode Overview

It’s rare that business leaders go from mentees to mentors in just a few years. That was the case for the Davis family, who operates Express Plumbing Heating & Air in Boise, Idaho.

The company’s recent success speaks for itself. Ben Davis is CEO; his daughter, Chloe, is CMO and also heavily involved in management. 

“We grew $2 million last year,” Chloe Davis says. “HVAC is growing at 143 percent per month right now. Based on projections, our budget’s predicting $10.5 million this year. And, I couldn't be happier and prouder of the changes we’ve been making and the clarity we've been gaining.”

Specifically, she’s proud and excited that personal growth has led to better management of their team—and that clear expectations and company-wide goals have been set.   

Ben Davis agrees. He says he ran the company for nine years with the mindset of just trying to stay in business. For nearly a decade, he worried on several occasions that he might have to shut the doors. 

Father and daughter credit the fairly recent revenue spark to networking and mentoring.

Ben says good mentors firmly showed him what he was doing wrong with the business.

“I used to have bankers come around and say, ‘Man, you know your numbers so well, you’re so smart,’” he says. “But when you surround yourself with people just telling you that you’re good at something, you don’t realize how bad you are at something.”

Ben credits Tom Howard, ServiceTitan’s Vice President for Customer Experience, with spending days and days telling him all the things he was doing wrong and how to right the ship.

The tough love sank in.

“We’ve now gotten to the point where we have most of the answers,” Ben says. “Now it’s not a matter of getting more answers, it’s a matter of applying the knowledge.”

Not only have the Davises used the guidance they received to build Express, but they’re also actively sharing the valuable information that came their way.

The mentees have become mentors.

Chloe says she can relate to the struggle she sees in the less-experienced companies she’s helping mentor.

“We notice that when we say, ‘Alright, here’s X, Y and Z, companies would come back for the next meeting and say they didn’t have time to do it,” Chloe says. “Well, you’re always going to be busy.”

At some point, Chloe says, she hopes the companies she’s mentoring will see the big picture and realize—like Express did—that there is valuable wisdom to be gleaned from industry veterans who are very willing to share their insights.

 Ben and Chloe Davis recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 5 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included the Davises’ thoughts on:

  • Working with family members.

  • Getting mentored and then passing on that information.

  • Best practices for automating processes.

  • Implementing a growth plan.

  • Why personal growth and people management are intertwined.

To hear more tales from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.

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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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Toolbox for the Trades is a podcast where top service professionals share the tips, tricks, and tactics they use to succeed in their industry. Hosted by Jackie Aubel, this podcast is brought to you by ServiceTitan—the leading home and commercial field service software.

Episodes will feature stories and strategies to help contractors grow and scale their service business.

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