All Topics • 45 minutes

The $40 Million Answer: Make Your Customers Feel Seen and Heard

June 25, 2024

Episode Overview

In 2020, after 25 years in the industry, Lawrence Castillo accepted the role of president of Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning in Los Angeles. The company had been in business since 1945, but it was obvious to Castillo some changes were long overdue.

Castillo knew that change in management can be traumatic for employees, especially ones who’ve been in their jobs for decades. He came in with a goal of being intentional with his communication.

“It's important to me that the people feel valued and that they feel heard,” he said. “And that they understand that we're not there to do anything but to make the business better.”

The business definitely got better. In just three years, annual revenue increased by $33 million. And the number of employees bumped up to 160 from 34.

Castillo implemented a number of changes, and hired a recruiter dedicated to replenishing talent and hiring new talent.

Eventually, he determined that the best way to grow a solid pool of employees was to hire people who may not have much relevant experience and train them in the company’s own school. 

“Creating our own school is how we're going to sustain our growth going forward,” Castillo says. “We just turn our own people out.”

It’s working–and graduates of the school have learned how to create urgency in the field in a town like L.A. where the weather doesn’t usually get too hot or too cold. Machinery doesn’t break down like it might in cities with more extreme temperatures. 

“The way we create our urgency is to go into a house and put on the kind of show that they've never seen from a service company before,” Castillo says.

He believes that educating customers is the key.  

“We educate them throughout the process so that they understand why they need us to be out there every year to do the maintenance,” Castillo says.

Lawrence Castillo recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel on the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Castillo’s thoughts on:

  • [18:32] What to do when you get pushback from the old guard

  • [22:44] The first thing to do to help your business grow

  • [30:41] How building an HVAC school leads to a winning talent pipeline

  • [37:44] How to create your own urgency

  • [41:17] Maintaining a good reputation

To hear more stories from the trades, subscribe to “Toolbox for the Trades” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, 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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