John Akhoian’s residential plumbing business rebounded out of the pandemic bigger and stronger than ever.
He attributes the success of Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air partly to the strength of a shared-service business model and to being purposeful about company culture.
The numbers don’t lie. Los Angeles-based Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air is one of the largest businesses of its kind in California. Before COVID, they were a $50 million company. Today, they’ve nearly doubled that revenue figure, have 11 locations, and are on the verge of opening three more.
“I’ve always enjoyed growing,” Akhoian says. “I like working on the business, and I like starting things, though I’m not the guy who likes to finish it. I always get the first 20% going, and then my team picks up and keeps it going.”
With his shared-service business model, Akhoian can identify go-getters in the company and provide them with growth opportunities. Internally, entrepreneurism can be rewarded without the employees necessarily risking their own capital.
“They also have networking amongst themselves–because iron shapes iron,” Akhoian says. “We have a great group of people doing kind of the same thing and helping each other out.”
The key is sharing information.
“A lot of them are trying different things, and if it works, they share it with others,” he says. “It’s a really good internal infrastructure where you get better by the day–because the group’s getting better.”
Akhoian also points to the practice of sharing honest input and feedback about company culture as a catalyst for success.
“We talk about our values when we bring people in,” he says. “We talk about the kind of company we are.”
That straightforward approach even spills into the way Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air does job postings.
“Before, we used to put all the good things in the ads,” Akhoian says. “Now, we’re also putting in expectations and what the company culture is–because not everybody likes an entrepreneurial culture.”
Akhoian believes in letting people know what to expect.
“We talk about compliance measures and what people are responsible for,” he says. “We don’t want people to hit a hiccup and think, ‘Oh, I didn’t sign up for this.’ Being honest with people is what it takes.”
For fast-growing Rooter Hero Plumbing & Heating, honesty has been a financially rewarding policy.
John Akhoian recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 7 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Ahkoain’s thoughts on:
The lessons in his new book Temporarily Broken: The John Akhoian Story
The strengths of a shared-service business model
How peer groups contribute to personal development
Working with the team on the frontlines during COVID
The benefits of being an accessible CEO
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