PM Profile: Ara Mahdessian
ServiceTitan aims to simplify contracting business owners’ lives while increasing growth and revenue.
Plumbing & Mechanical Chief Editor Nicole Krawcke recently had the chance to sit down with ServiceTitan Co-founder and CEO Ara Mahdessian during the company’s annual user conference, Pantheon 2019, held in Pasadena, California.
PM: What is ServiceTitan focused on in 2019?
AM: We’ve always been focused on helping as many hardworking contractors as we can, and today we’ve reached the point where we’re working with 3,500 of the most successful, most innovative, hardest-working contractors in the US and Canada, and we hope to continue to grow that. So by the end of the year and into next year, we should be at roughly 5,000 contractors. The other thing we’re working on is how to help these contractors to the greatest extent possible. The way we do that is by providing them with more functionality and capabilities, which is why we released two very amazing products. One is ServiceTitan Marketing Pro, and that is going to help all these contractors automatically become experts at marketing and drive more business. The second thing we released is ServiceTitan Phones Pro, which is an amazing phone system that is going to help our customers book more calls and provide more opportunities for their techs as a result.
PM: What sets ServiceTitan apart from the pack?
AM: If I had to summarize it into one thing, it’s actual business results. This is not about fancy technology, although it happens to be state-of-the-art technology. This is about the average ServiceTitan customer increasing revenue by 24% in nine months. For the contractor who’s doing a million a year, that’s an extra $240,000. For one doing $10 million, that’s an extra $2.4 million. Those are incredible results and they’re all powered by technology. Our software helps technicians sell better in the field and increase close rates on average tickets. It helps the call center and the CSRs to convert more phone calls into booked appointments. It helps these business owners make better marketing decisions so they can drive more leads with the same marketing budgets. Then, it automates everything in the office to eliminate cost.
PM: Tell me a little about Pantheon. This is your third year. How did this get started and what’s the purpose behind it?
AM: Originally, it was just an opportunity to bring all of our customers together so they could learn how to use ServiceTitan better. Now, all the best contractors are here. If you look at the most successful, largest contractors in the country, all of them are here — from Pillar to Horizon, to The Wrench Group to Service Experts and Michael & Son, every single one is here. It’s now evolved into more than just an opportunity to learn more about ServiceTitan. Now, it’s all about how fellow contractors can network with one another and help each other overcome the business challenges and opportunities that they’re facing. It’s become the world’s largest community of the most successful contractors. This event represents $10 billion of annual revenue in plumbing, HVAC, and electrical. There is no room in the world that has that kind of scale, except here at Pantheon. This is the largest industry conference, period.
PM: The industry is rapidly changing. How is ServiceTitan embracing that change and helping its plumbing contractor clients do the same?
AM: Every other industry has been disrupted in a very big way, right? You look at transportation, Uber and Lyft made taxis irrelevant. Look at entertainment: Netflix has made Blockbuster irrelevant. If you look at retail, Amazon has made Circuit City, Toys ’R Us, and everything else irrelevant. The reason why they’ve been able to do that is because consumer expectations have changed. Consumers want one very important thing and that’s convenience. This is the only industry I know of where the incumbent, the contractors, have not been disrupted. I think that’s because they have evolved and transformed in the process. They didn’t allow themselves to become disrupted. Fast forward to today and look at how all these people run their businesses. Customers call in and these contractors know who’s calling before they pick up the phone because ServiceTitan tells them that this is Nicole from whatever address and they served her six months ago. Here’s the work that they did for her. They greet customers by name and make them feel special. They send automated appointment confirmations, technician bios so customers know who is coming to their home and a link where homeowners can track the arrival of the tech so they’re not sitting at home for two hours waiting wondering, “Where the heck is the tech?”