Business Tips • 35 minutes

How Investor Partnerships Can Help Service Businesses Scale

April 9, 2024

Episode Overview

There are situations in the trades where an owner wants to sell 100% of the company and ride into the sunset.

Those are not the scenarios Redwood Services CEO Richard Lewis is looking for.

Rather, Redwood is the type of investor-partner looking for trade company owners who are seeking financial and infrastructure support but still want to run the day-to-day operation. 

“We do not acquire businesses,” Lewis says. “We don't purchase assets. We invest in partnerships.” 

The partnership plan is working. Today, Redwood Services has 29 people on staff. And the company has 15 partners based all over the country–from Fresno to Washington, D.C. Those 15 businesses add up to roughly 1,700 employees.

Lewis says this model works because Redwood’s partners have the necessary local connections.

“Customers want to work with local brands,” he says. “Customers believe in local brands. They want to work with someone who lives in their neighborhood.” 

Making these partnerships work is a two-way street, Lewis says. One of the first things they look for when hiring new internal staff members is an ego-free mindset. 

“Our job at Redwood is to support our partners,” he says. “And if you're looking through the lens of, ‘What's good for me?’ you're already off to the wrong start.” 

Lewis’s own background is in the finance industry. He uses that experience to identify opportunities for growth across different sectors of the trades.

However, those growth opportunities are always approached with a people-first culture.

“What happens after the transaction is way more important than what happens during the transaction,” he says.

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

  • [05:24]: What makes Redwood different from other private equity firms

  • [12:00]: Why Lewis felt the partnership process could be done differently

  • [15:58] How success stories happen

  • [20;05] The difference between good and exceptional trade companies

  • [22:19]: What an ideal investor partnership looks like

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 ServiceTitan

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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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