To the Point Home Services Podcast

The Home Services Podcast That Gives Back

Episode 104: The Path From Small Family Contractor to a Billion

January 25, 2022

Episode 104: The Path From Small Family Contractor to a Billion

Published: January 25, 2022
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Wyatt Hepworth is CEO & Founder of Any Hour Electric Plumbing Heating & Air out of Central Utah. About 6 years ago, Wyatt was the only owner. 6 months ago, Wyatt and his GM Jeremy were the only owners. Now, there are 41 owners. To say that Wyatt has experienced crazy growth is an understatement!

From joining Nexstar to partnering to raise capital, Wyatt has made several important decisions that have allowed him to grow Any Hour from 1.5 million to 75 million in just under a decade.

Hepworth Electric

Wyatt’s father and grandfather owned the company Hepworth Electric, started all the way back in 1961. They were great tradesmen, but didn’t really understand how to run a business. In fact, his father didn’t even want to run the business. When Wyatt joined the company about 20 years ago, his dad (who had taken over the company after his grandfather retired) didn’t have a home phone, company phone, pager, or anything else. He was literally running his company through word of mouth and face to face. Business cards were pencil on cardboard, or pen to a napkin.

Wyatt would work with his dad, Terry, during the summers in his early 20’s, but didn’t really want to be in the trades. Like many, he just didn’t believe he could make a good living. However, he found out he actually really enjoyed the work. He and his father would do everything from fixing fences and finishing basements to plumbing, heating and air and everything in between. At some point, his father lost his electrical license, and Wyatt had wanted to start his own business. So, they got his grandfather’s license, put Terry’s name on it, and started a business together.

Wyatt and Terry grew the company a bit, added a few people, and a few years later his dad decided to leave the company. This was around 1995. Wyatt put himself through electrical school, earning his Master Electrician license and went on to build the biggest new construction electrical company in the state of Utah at around 60 employees. Of course, the story doesn’t end there…

Big Changes

By 2005, Wyatt had grown the company to 4 million at 20-22% profitability. His wife was doing the books, and remained a big part of the business until she retired about a year ago. Wyatt made the decision to join Electricians’ Success International, through which he met Terry Nicholson. That’s when the big changes started to happen. They rebranded to Any Hour Electric, changing to red trucks with new wraps, and revamping their marketing completely. They grew from about $250,000 in service to $2,000,000 in short order. They were doing a lot of residential work, while still keeping the new construction side active but moving towards the former. New construction was fluctuating between 2 and 4 million a year depending on the economy, but then 2008. They got out of new construction, and then made the decision to join Nexstar.

Any long-time listener of RYNO Strategic Solutions knows what happened next. They started visiting a lot of different shops in the Nexstar network, and Wyatt discovered that they were wondering why he wasn’t offering heating, air, and plumbing services in addition to electrical. He was doing a lot of research, taking employees around from shop to shop and learned plumbing, heating and air. Any Hour would launch these services in 2010, and dump new construction all together. They haven’t gone backwards since. Since then, they’ve climbed from 1.5 million to 74 million in 2021 at well over 20%, all from one location.

Training, Training, Training

A major factor in the rapid growth of Any Hour is a focus on training. Wyatt and his team believe every employee needs training every single week. That includes management, too! They have a CEO of Training who hosts a 5-star training program for employees annually, and their combination of immersion training and in-house training has proven wildly successful.

With Nexstar, Any Hour propelled from 18 million to 25 million in one year. During that year, Wyatt was out of town quite a bit doing his own training. They leaned heavily on Nexstar, sending almost every technician and field employee to Nexstar training programs. The following year, they climbed all the way up to 32.5 million simply from taking and then implementing great training programs.

Recruitment and the Color Code

Training is only part of the process, of course. Recruitment and choosing the right people is another key component of success. Any Hour boasts a 95% retention rate, and their big focus on their people makes the company a very in-demand place to work. One of the things they do is host tours throughout the shop; open to anyone and held 4 days a week. Prospective employees can see people going through training and get a taste of the company culture. They’ve had as many as 30 people in a single tour!

They never hire on the spot, as their hiring process is much more in-depth than you’d expect. If a prospective employee gets past the first interview, they then take the Color Code personality test. Wyatt swears by this test, which helps them understand what motivates a person. The Color Code test places an individual into 4 different color categories. Reds are driven by power, Blues are driven by relationships/emotion, Yellows are driven by fun, and Whites are driven by peace. They also determine 15 strengths and 15 limitations of each employee. The Color Code helps the team understand each other and how to work together in a more effective way. It also extends out into the field, as employees begin to recognize the “color” of their customer, giving them valuable insight into how to best serve them!

The Decision to Partner

About 5 years ago, Wyatt was approached by Jamie Dimenico, who had just made a deal for his business. Jamie was urging Wyatt to meet with Ken Haines. Wyatt was adamant that his company and his friends (employees) were not for sale. Jamie said that’s fine, but there is a consolidation going on nationally. You’re either going to join it, or compete against it.

GM Jeremy and Wyatt went and met with Ken Haines, who took them to dinner and gave them an honest, in-depth look at the consolidation and what was really happening. He was open with them, and gave them valuable insight into the market. Wyatt realized Jamie was right. If you look at hardware stores, grocery stores, and all the Mom-and-Pop stores around the country, everything has been consolidated. The trades are no different.

Wyatt started to look into different platforms, and talked to all of the major private equity players. They found a great fit in Knox Lane, with whom they’ve partnered with to raise capital to really accelerate their growth in the near future. The only regret Wyatt has is not making this decision several years earlier. What really pushed him over the line is some simple math. If they grow by 20 million per year for the next 15 years and he retires at 65, that’s 320 million more than where they are at right now. That’s not a billion-dollar company, which they’ve been aiming to build for over a decade.

Walt Disney owned his own business, but in order to build Disneyland he and Roy had to bring in investors. That’s the only way they could do it. Wyatt knows he has a great business, but bringing in a great partner and joining a group that will help them grow is a no-brainer. Wyatt is still the owner, still running his own business, and not selling out. He’s bringing money and support through the partnership. Best of all, the PE group doesn’t take any dividends. They make money when Wyatt and his team do!

Sights Set High

Wyatt and Any Hour Electric Plumbing Heating & Air aim to be at $300,000,000 and top of mind by the end of next year. In 5 years, they plan on being a 3 billion dollar company. In 10 years, they have their sights set on 5 billion. They are getting ready to open new locations in Logan, Austin, and St. George, with a plan to expand heavily throughout Utah under the Any Hour name. Still, Wyatt believes they have plenty of room to improve and grow as a team.

If you’d like to get in touch with Wyatt, you can email him at [email protected], text him at 801-471-9505, or come down in person and visit the shop. He will also be at the 2nd annual RYNOx event this year in Phoenix if you’d like to see him in person!