To The Point hosted an incredible live podcast featuring Ken Goodrich, CEO of Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing in which we were able to hold a Q&A session with one of the brightest minds in the trades! This very special episode was brought to you by Service Titan, the #1 field service software in the game. If you haven’t listened to this episode, you definitely need to.
Here are just some of the exciting, in-Depth questions we tackled:
What tips do you have on ways to create the culture that you want?
-Jeff Packard of One Stop Heating and AC
A: Over the years, Ken has heard a lot of talk about company culture like it’s a mystical thing. After studying the concept of culture, what he found is that culture is a system no different than any other system you employ in your business. You create your company values and code of conduct, document it, train your people using those documents, and then you enforce it! It’s not an accident; culture is by design. You can’t accept anything less than the culture you’ve established from your employees.
Is it better financially to get an investor, or be a platform company on your own? Or, would you get more from joining with an established vendor or an established investor like yourself?
A: It depends on where you’re at in the game. Early on, Ken would have preferred to have had an investor to avoid the cash crunches that come with growing a business. For current conditions in the market, Ken feels like if you want to be a world-class company, then align yourself with a world-class investor or company. If your goal is simply financial, take your best deal. Be careful to understand where the investors are coming from, because many are just looking to grow the company revenue and sell. If that’s not your end goal, then you might consider aligning yourself with an operator.
Could you give us a “how-to”, or where to start in building processes?
A: Based on his experience, Ken suggests the first thing you do is record your current processes. Then train your people how to do that thing that exact way, every single time, in the right amount of time, before you even go out and sell that service.
In business, the three legs of the stool are lead generation, lead conversion, and client fulfillment. Start with client fulfillment. Make sure your client is happy. With lead conversion, you need a sales system. Commit to one and use it. For lead generation, hire RYNO and get some leads.
For a small company, what’s the best way to start gaining market share with limited funds?
-Carlos Perez, of Air Choice One in Illinois
A: Before worrying about your market share, the first thing is to make sure your client fulfilment system is set up. If it isn’t, don’t go after market share. To use McDonald’s as an example, make sure you can make your Big Mac, teach people how to make your Big Mac, teach people how to sell your Big Mac, and then how to market and get leads to sell your Big Mac. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
In your book, you mention sharing your plan with your team. What level of details need to be shared about your plan, and to which team members?
-Brian Vardiman, of Best Service
A: For Ken, his top-level management gets full transparency about all aspects of the business. For the second level, or operations, he may not share minute financial details, but they know the monthly revenue, and the plan. For technicians and salespeople, they understand their contributions and part in the revenue share in the company. For the most part, everyone in the business is aware of the numbers, and it’s a key component of a successful business. Everyone needs a clear understanding of where the company is, and where it’s headed.
Thoughts on compensation plans and performance-based pay for installation departments?
-Jamie Vaughan of J’s HVAC
A: Because installers don’t typically sell things, it makes more sense to pay hourly and give overtime based on the hours they’ve worked. It’s hard to justify paying an installer more to install a more expensive system than a less expensive system when they didn’t sell the system. Ken prefers incentive programs as a way to reward an installer.
Could you speak more about the plumbing side of your business? When you started offering plumbing, was it easy to integrate?
-Ryan Grimes of Beltway Air Conditioning & Heating
A: Ken suggests not adding more services until you’re well established with your current services in your market. If you aren’t top three in your market, focus on getting to that top spot. Plumbing isn’t an easy transition or an easy business. There are many nuances and differences between plumbing and HVAC. Again, master your current service and systems before moving on to the next project.
What marketing works best for Goettl?
-Keith Flores of HVACGOD
A: You have to craft the story of your company. Build upon the story, and share that story with your people, and your customers. It’s all about the story. Tell your story, tell it well, spread it across multiple platforms, and you’ll bond with your customers on an emotional level.
In regards to moving into a new market, is it better to acquire an existing company in that market and rebrand it or build your brand from the ground up?
A: Ken focuses on finding the most profitable course of action. He doesn’t waste time or resources. Whether that means buying a database to find leads to grow a company, buying a company to add to his resources, or finding a company that is already running itself, he’s considering all of his options all of the time.
What is your view on commercial versus residential?
-Eric Rohowits of Temp Pro
A: Ken likes commercial. It’s a different animal, and the lead conversion and lead generation processes are quite different. The client fulfilment process is essentially the same, though. You have to understand that the buy process for the customer is completely different. However, residential businesses tend to be the most desirable for investors or consolidators. Ken’s customers are investors and strategics that want to buy his companies, so residential makes sense. He’s building what they want to buy.
Being as large as you are, do you have to build a different avatar for each location or can one avatar work from different locations?
-Tersh Blissett of Service Emperor
A: The short answer is that one avatar is enough. Ken’s story, and the way he tells it has produced the same reactions in every market he’s told it in. Every city is its own culture, so when you’re doing direct marketing without a story, you will have to create a different brand for different markets. When you’re telling a story and connecting with people on an emotional level, you only need one avatar.
I’ve read your E-Myth book, and was inspired. I’ve always wanted to start my own business, but have a fear of failure and a lack of funds. Where do you start when you have a dream? How do you take the jump and overcome fear?
A: Overcoming fear is just about having small victories. Take one step at a time, and bootstrap your way to success. Find the wins, and you’ll get to the point where you have nothing to fear. You’ll know what to do in case you stumble, and start taking leaps forward. Follow the book. Create your primary aim, your strategic objective, and start building your systems. Each little success you have will give you confidence to take the next step.
We want to extend a huge thanks to Service Titan for sponsoring this live Q&A. Also, we are incredibly grateful for Ken to spend his valuable time with us for this special episode, and we thank all who attended for supporting the event. As always, it is our hope that you find some valuable takeaways and tactical wisdom to make not only to improve your business, but to make a better and smarter version of you!