The first-ever guest on the Toolbox for the Trades podcast was industry giant Ken Goodrich. He’s back to help celebrate our 100th episode—and shares more entrepreneurial wisdom on scaling businesses, assembling top-notch management and capitalizing on private equity.
With more than 30 years of experience in the trades, Goodrich is currently CEO of Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing. The $250M business was recently recapitalized by 'The Cortec Group' at an industry-leading valuation.
Over the past two years, Goettl has grown over 250% in revenue and has grown to over 1000 team members.
How do you achieve that much growth in such a short time period?
“I've been able to find some very unique talent,” Goodrich says. “Frankly, without taking the risk of sounding boastful, I believe I have one of the top management and leadership teams in the industry.”
He says building the team was intentional.
“I'm an industry guy, and I believe in industry guys,” Goodrich says. “But when I had a chance to bring in somebody that could apply deeper thinking or deeper experiences to the model, I grabbed them.”
The majority of his general management staff is not from the industry. Most are MBAs. One of his highest performers is a recently retired F-16 pilot.
“Don’t be afraid of hiring people that are smarter than you,” Goodrich says.
After three decades in the industry, the co-author of E-Myth HVAC Contractor (with Michael Gerber), points to the benefits of partnering with private equity sponsors.
“At any point in time you want to execute on the value of the business, sell it, partner, whatever you want to do,” Goodrich says. “You can because it's ready for that. It will be performing the best it possibly can because you've built it to be a value creator, not a lifestyle business, right?”
He emphasizes the need to be working constantly on building a business that is improving and growing in value.
“Have a solid management team in place,” he says. “Be a visionary, chart the course, drive the culture of the business and have high-level initiatives. “Continue to grow. That's the place you want to be in business.”
Ken Goodrich recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel for the finale of Season 6 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Goodrich’s thoughts on:
Pushing the envelope and building a $250 million company.
Recruitment pitches that work for today’s labor market.
How private equity can help grow your business.
How to deal with investors at scale.
Learning the art of management.