Industry Insights • Business Tips • Technician Tips • 31 minutes

The Day I Almost Quit the Trades with NexGen’s Ismael Valdez

January 17, 2023

Episode Overview

Today, Ismael Valdez is an example of success in the home-trades industry. He’s CEO of Nexgen Air Conditioning Heating and Plumbing, a nearly $100 million Southern California company that just sold to the Wrench Group.

Life is good. Now.

In 2019, even as his company was growing past $30 million in annual sales, Valdez was falling apart, personally and professionally.

“It's one of the toughest things I've had to go through between being an alcoholic and having a bad business and trying to figure everything out myself,” he says. “That was probably one of the most stressful points in my life.”

He’s sober now–and has even kicked a cigarette habit. Those things took personal fortitude.

Valdez gives monumental credit to Tom Howard for stepping into his business sphere and showing him how to utilize ServiceTitan–to get his arms around P&Ls and how to properly track the company’s financials. 

After persuading himself to accept help, Valdez was able to get on the path to living his best life.

He’s well-known in the industry as a leader who makes himself available to help others looking to get over their business hurdles. 

If Valdez reaches out to you, there’s one caveat: You have to promise to also pay it forward.

“If I'm going to take my time out of my day to do it, you better go and help somebody else, too,” he says. “Because there's a ton of people out there that need help. In the trades, we all need to stay together to help each other.” 

Valdez advises anybody in the industry in the same boat he was in to put pride aside, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and ask for help.

“Open up more,” he says. “There’s no right or wrong answer…It’s about, ‘Hey, let’s try to figure things out and try to do it a different way.’ At least we try.”

Ismael Valdez recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 7 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Valdez’s thoughts on:

  • The moment when Ismael wanted to give up. (2:58)

  • Why struggling contractors need to open up and ask for help. (12:26)

  • Avoiding burnout during the yearlong business grind (17:42)

  • How it’s OK to be vulnerable. (24:53)

  • Not being afraid to make mistakes. (29:20)

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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