Management • Business Tips • Industry Insights • 44 minutes

Brain Surgeons of Plumbing: The Tough Stuff is the Good Stuff

May 2, 2023

Episode Overview

Some business owners would call 15 locations in five years a rapid expansion. Ellen Rohr saw it as a well-executed starting point.

Since 2022, she’s added 20 more companies all over the country to the ever-growing list of Zoom Drain franchisees.

“We connected with a franchise sales organization,” Rohr says. “This was well-planned, well-thought-out. We've got investors. So, wow, even with all our strategy it has been a wild ride.” 

Rohr jokes that she has all the scars from the lessons learned and mistakes made in the process.

“Our overall philosophy is that we plan it, we execute, and then we measure results and debrief,” she says.”We ask, ‘What can we learn from this and keep going?’”

It’s not exactly brain surgery, but her plan involves degrees of precision. The Zoom Drain philosophy includes always trying to make processes a little bit better.

How? In part, by leaning into any problems that arise.

“One of my skills is I will talk to people, I'll have difficult conversations,” Rohr says. “I'll look at what we can do within our hula-hoop, and we will always lean into a problem. We'll always go in the direction of transparency and try to do what's right for everybody.”

In a business context, she believes tough stuff like this is the good stuff.

“The tough stuff is where our lessons are going to be,” she says. “That's where the procedures are going to come from. It’s where our reputation will be made. That's where your character will be developed. That’s actually the good stuff. Don't shy away from it and you'll be fine.”

That kind of transparency has to be part of your vision, for whatever size of company you want to be, Rohr says.

“And if you want to get big, you have to put systems in place,” she says. “That's why the vision and the mission are so important.”

Ellen Rohr recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 8 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Rohr’s thoughts on:

  • (11:55) When to consider pivoting strategies

  • (13:21) Building strategic relationships through referral marketing

  • (21:48) ServiceTitan’s upcoming Pantheon 2023 trades conference

  • (27:46) Keeping up with innovation and change

  • (32:02) Connecting back to your “why” during big changes

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

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About the Show

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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