Live from the RUUD Pro Partner Conference in Las Vegas, President & Owner of AccuTemp Services Josh Davis joins To The Point! Since taking over his father’s company, Josh has accelerated its growth and continues to push the business to new heights. What propels him forward isn’t the revenue, but rather seeing the impact on the opportunities he is creating for those around him.
Josh’s father was an air conditioning contractor that workly mostly with commercial refrigeration. When Josh was 14, he started working for his dad in the summers. Even as a freshman at LSU, Josh was still working for his dad every other day. Then, one Sunday morning at church, Josh met the love of his life. He quickly fell head over heels and a few months later married at the age of 19. Reality struck, and Josh realized that he needed to start making money so they could have a place to live.
Josh went to his dad to tell him he was dropping out of school to work with him full time. While his father didn’t like the idea of him dropping out, he understood the situation and agreed. Josh started to realize that his dad, while being an incredible service technician, wasn’t really focused on actually running the business. He was more of a “chuck in a truck”, and didn’t have any intentions of growing the company. Josh asked his dad how he priced jobs and found out his dad was essentially just either matching what other companies were charging or taking the cheapest price to get the job for an install.
Recognizing that there was a lot of room to improve the business, Josh asked his father if he could try to learn some things and implement them, to which his father agreed. Josh went to a Barnes and Noble and bought Small Business for Dummies, a book he still owns today. A few years later, they had added on a handful of employees and started growing! However, this turned out to be a different vision than Josh’s dad had for the company. He didn’t really enjoy it being so big and didn’t want the additional problems that come with the growth.
Josh understood that their visions for the company weren’t aligned. Josh saw the potential of the company to grow, and his father just wanted to keep things simple. So, Josh presented his dad with two solutions: he would move to another city and start his own business, or buy the business from his dad. If he bought the business, he told his dad he would pay him for the next 15 years and he wouldn’t even have to come to work unless he wanted. His dad took option 2, and Josh began the next big chapter in his life.
It took a few years to finish the purchase because of family dynamics and lawyers, but in October 2015 the paperwork was signed and the business belonged to Josh. Since he had started working full time, the company had grown to 3.5MM, doing a mixture of commercial and residential services. Josh knew that their strength was delivering 5-star service, and focused on moving towards just residential service and replacement. Today, AccuTemp Services is about 90-95% residential and on pace to finish 2022 at 26MM!
When Josh took over the business, he was just 25 years old. He finally had the keys to the kingdom. Things really started to change and he’s enjoyed a lot of success. In order to take the next step, they’ve partnered with Turnpoint Services (backed by OMERS), a collection of 42 like-minded brands. The company is now in a position to grow to even greater heights.
As one can imagine, being only 25 and owning a business comes with an additional set of trials. Josh was determined to learn whatever he needed to grow, of course. Still, there were plenty of lessons he had to learn that have helped him grow his company from 3MM to nearly 30MM in well under a decade.
Even before the paperwork was signed, Josh was essentially running the company. In 2010, he was handling operations at the age of 20 while his dad worked as a service technician. Josh was managing people in their 40s and 50s; many of them having been in the trade longer than he had even been alive. He had to figure out the dynamics of how to effectively communicate with them and get them to respect him.
A big part of getting the technicians to respect him was becoming great at the craft himself. Even to this day, Josh works really hard to stay relevant and be an incredible technician in his own right. He actually really enjoys the technical side of the trades, anyways, and loves having those in-depth conversations about new products and being really nerdy about it with his technicians. Technicians respect people that know what they’re talking about when it comes to what they do. Josh being passionate about it and willing to put in that time and effort was important to them, too, and it went a long way in helping earn their respect.
In addition to earning respect, Josh had to figure out how to be a great leader in order to best serve his team. Josh feels strongly about being a servant-leader and sees his role as helping his team grow just as much as his duty to grow the company. Working hard to be a great leader at a young age is something he feels was critical to his success. He knew that if he couldn’t get these guys that were double his age to see how much he cared and wanted them to succeed, they wouldn’t buy into the vision that he could grow AccuTemp Services.
Like many of our successful guests on To The Point, Josh recognized quickly that learning from others was a key to success. He would network with people at conferences for RUUD, ACCA, and others, and ask them for guidance or just a few nuggets of advice. He’d go visit their facility to learn if he could. Finding people who were smarter and/or more successful to find out what they were doing was imperative. Josh notes that when you’re doing one replacement a day and walk into a shop where they’re doing 12, you think how is this possible? And then you learn how it’s possible, which is a big deal. The years it took them to learn, you get that information for free. You might have to make it your own a bit, but implementing that and incorporating their knowledge is huge for your growth.
When you’re a smaller company, you can pretty much bring your team forward on your back. Once you get to that 10MM and up in size, though, you’re really going to need rockstars who can see your vision and help you out! You have to create a vision that will not only allow your team to buy in but also one that is big enough to fit the dreams of your team members. After all, they’ll want to know they can grow as well! When Josh is sitting with his management team, he can look around and see people who have joined and since gone out to get their MBAs, which he helped pay for. As a college dropout, Josh might be the least educated person at the table but the important thing is that he is surrounded by rockstars.
When you have that clear vision and your team has bought in, you’ll see success. It helps to be humble and get your ego out of the way. Even if you aren’t the smartest person at the table, that’s a good thing! Your team is there to support your vision and help you achieve it.
If you’re in the trades right now and have a business of any scale at all, you have people knocking on your door every single day asking if you want to sell, partner, or be a platform. Josh was continuously saying no, I’m not interested at all. About 6 months before he eventually partnered, he made the decision to simply start talking to them just to learn what it’s all about. More information can’t hurt, right? A lot of the groups were interested in starting a platform – they liked Josh’s relatively younger age, the culture and style of the business, and the platform route made sense to Josh. He talked to a lot of existing platforms, but nothing seemed like a good fit.
One of Josh’s friends was about to partner and recommended that he get on the phone with the CEO of Turnpoint, just to connect. Josh did, and the way that conversation went was incredible. Turnpoint has a growth plan and servant/leader model that really lined up with what Josh wanted, and he felt a spiritual moment of knowing it was the right partner. See, the typical corporate model is leadership telling a bunch of brands/companies here’s how we do things, and everyone follows suit. The Turnpoint model is sort of a reverse hierarchy where the 42 current brands on top, and the leadership supports them from the bottom. Everything is fully opt-in, so if leadership comes up with an idea and no one likes it, it doesn’t get implemented!
This incentives leadership to come up with really good solutions because if they aren’t, no one will do them. There’s a lot of collaboration at the top, with companies everywhere from 5MM to 120MM getting together and sharing wtih each other. It’s a billion-dollar group in residential service and replacement.
Josh reflects on the fact that a 19-year-old college dropout fell in love and started this. It’s amazing for him to create these opportunities for his team. Training and empowering them to grow and thrive in the organization is incredibly rewarding. Of course, he continues to look at growing AccuTemp to increase the opportunities he provides for his team. Partnering is one such way he’s going to be able to do that. In 20 years from now, if someone recognizes Josh at the store as the CEO of AccuTemp, he wants to hear that they love his company. Reputation is a huge deal! While Josh wants to see his company grow from 30MM to a 100MM+ regional player, it’s not about the money. It’s about creating opportunities for 100’s of his team members to grow. It’s about the people.
Want to connect with Josh? You can find him on Facebook or LinkedIn, but he’s not a big social meda guy. Instead, email him at [email protected] or shoot him a text at 225-577-3144. He’d love to help!