Management • Operations • Business Tips • Industry Insights • 31 minutes

Getting Out of the Comfort Zone: A Second Gen Owner’s Succession

January 24, 2023

Episode Overview

Pete Bradham was an introverted child. Good with his hands, but not a spotlight seeker and definitely a reluctant public speaker.

His father and his uncle ran a highly respected HVAC company in Charlotte, North Carolina. When it unexpectedly became his turn to take over and lead Bradham Brothers, he realized it was time to step out of his comfort zone.

Bradham took the leap of faith.

“Some things come unnatural to us and are out of our comfort zone,” he says. “When you get out of your comfort zone, that's where you really can grow and develop those skills that are important to you. It's uncomfortable, but that's where the positive comes out.” 

Bradham didn’t want to initiate huge changes. He recognized that the core company values–sacrificing for customers, always doing the right thing–had to stay in place.

“The one big thing I wanted to ensure as we grew and changed through my leadership was that we would keep those strong morals and foundations,” he says. “One hundred percent of our goal is to give customers the best experience.”

Having a succession plan in place for the family business was crucial, Bradham says. 

He notes that at the point in time when he needed to take over, the family business still had a stellar reputation and lots of word-of-mouth referrals. Still, Charlotte had changed, and the city had grown.

“We’d never had a budget for advertising or branding,” Bradham says. “But we had to get the market back. I slowly started to change things and channel that brand awareness.

The measured approach worked.

“It shows up in our reviews,” Bradham says. “That’s how we addressed it: slow, calculated, not trying to change the world in two years. We pushed forward but built on what was already a great brand.” 

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

  • Why communication is a valuable skill in the trades. (3:41)

  • The unexpected transition in leadership from father to son. (10:50)

  • How multiple mentors helped Pete stay the course. (20:52)

  • Focusing on repeat service. (24:52)

  • The power of slow, methodical growth. (27:04)

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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