The No. 1 price generating software company’s new API eliminates manual data entry and creates seamless communication The New Flat Rate, the No. 1 price generating software for home service contractors, announced a new integration with ServiceTitan, a leading software platform for home service professionals, that will benefit contractors by eliminating manual data entry while seamlessly Read more
The No. 1 price generating software company’s new API eliminates manual data entry and creates seamless communication
The New Flat Rate, the No. 1 price generating software for home service contractors, announced a new integration with ServiceTitan, a leading software platform for home service professionals, that will benefit contractors by eliminating manual data entry while seamlessly passing information between the two apps.
“Manually entering data is a waste of valuable time for service providers who would rather be focused on helping their customers,” said Rodney Koop, founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate. “The integration with ServiceTitan streamlines processes for the entire lifecycle of the service call. At The New Flat Rate, we want to make the lives of contractors less complicated and more profitable. This integration is a direct reflection of our mission.”
The New Flat Rate’s software provides field technicians with a variety of menus that instantly give prices for repairs and supplies the customer with multiple options to choose from. When given choices, customers buy more and the result is an increase in the average service ticket and customer satisfaction.
ServiceTitan is an all-in-one business solution that helps home service professionals streamline their operations, scale their businesses, and better serve their customers. With feature-rich tools for scheduling, dispatching, payments, and more, ServiceTitan helps industry professionals save time and cut the stress of paperwork.
“Partnering with ServiceTitan creates a positive impact for both companies and our mutual members,” said Danielle Putnam, president of The New Flat Rate. “With this new integration, contractors that use ServiceTitan and The New Flat Rate will be able to focus on providing premium services without the stress of negotiating prices. With The New Flat Rates robust menu options, contractors will get to enjoy a more streamlined process when closing sales.”
For more information about The New Flat Rate, please visit https://thenewflatrate.com/.
Designed for fast and easy installation, the Optyma™ Cooler is a compact and efficient unit cooler for walk-in cooler and freezer applications The Optyma™ Cooler, the latest offering from Danfoss Climate Solutions, is specifically designed for quick and easy installation and high efficiency. This unit cooler features unique cross-rifling inside the heat exchanger tubing, maximizing Read more
Designed for fast and easy installation, the Optyma™ Cooler is a compact and efficient unit cooler for walk-in cooler and freezer applications
The Optyma™ Cooler, the latest offering from Danfoss Climate Solutions, is specifically designed for quick and easy installation and high efficiency. This unit cooler features unique cross-rifling inside the heat exchanger tubing, maximizing air turbulence. A maintenance-free, factory-balanced variable-speed capable fan motor comes standard, ensuring high efficiency and food safety. Maintenance is easy thanks to the powder-coated aluminum-magnesium alloy for a corrosion-resistant, durable, smooth, cleanable surface and extended cabinet lifetime.
Users can get the most out of Optyma™ Cooler with the Coolselector2 app available for smartphones and tablets. Coolselector2 allows for easy optimization with other Danfoss walk-in products such as Optyma outdoor and indoor condensing units, electronic room controllers, and many other Danfoss components.
Other highlighted features include:
- Highly secure stainless-steel slotted brackets in both front and back
- Extra robust factory-fixed drain fitting
- Unique electric defrost coil design with coil-embedded heaters for fast and efficient defrost
- Wide capacity range with 6 FPI and 4 FPI, low/medium and high-profile models available
- Industry-leading warranty
“The Optyma™ Cooler is manufactured to the highest worldwide quality standard, based on decades of design and development experience,” said Douglas Custodio, Optyma™ Cooler product manager. “Its compact and powerful design provides maximum performance to ensure efficient and reliable operation.”
A. O. Smith Corporation (NYSE: AOS) announced today that Eddie Goodwin, senior vice president, president of Lochinvar, will retire July 1, and Stephen O’Brien, chief operating officer, has been named the successor. “Since joining the company over 40 years ago, Eddie’s vast experience and steadfast leadership has helped shape Lochinvar into the industry-leading, high efficiency boiler and Read more
A. O. Smith Corporation (NYSE: AOS) announced today that Eddie Goodwin, senior vice president, president of Lochinvar, will retire July 1, and Stephen O’Brien, chief operating officer, has been named the successor.
“Since joining the company over 40 years ago, Eddie’s vast experience and steadfast leadership has helped shape Lochinvar into the industry-leading, high efficiency boiler and water heater manufacturer it is today,” said Kevin Wheeler, chairman, president and CEO. “He has built a strong team committed to designing, manufacturing and selling high quality, innovative products that meet our customer’s needs. We thank him for his vision and commitment to our customers, our employees and the A. O. Smith values over the past four decades.”
In his new role, O’Brien will build on the strong foundation Goodwin and his team have established, by implementing the strategic vision for the organization and further expanding Lochinvar’s innovative product lines. O’Brien has served as chief operating officer for Lochinvar since August of 2021 and is uniquely qualified to assume the role of president going forward. O’Brien joined Lochinvar from Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS) and prior to that, worked for A. O. Smith Electrical Products Company for 14 years before the company was sold to Regal Beloit Corporation. He holds an MBA from the University of Dayton in Ohio and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from State University of New York at Potsdam.
“With his extensive experience in the HVAC industry, his strong leadership skills and focus on customer satisfaction, Steve is the ideal person to lead our Lochinvar business unit going forward,” Wheeler added. “I am confident the transition will be seamless, and Steve’s extensive background and business development skills will further strengthen Lochinvar’s channel partnerships and our presence in the market.”
It’s been quite the start to 2022 for Ryan Bickerton, owner/operator of Bickerton Plumbing and Heating LLC, Boston. Recently recovered from COVID, his phone hasn’t stopped ringing. He’s been busy, and that’s a good thing. Mostly specializing in high-end renovations, old houses in the historic areas of Boston and high-efficiency boilers, Bickerton has run his Read more
It’s been quite the start to 2022 for Ryan Bickerton, owner/operator of Bickerton Plumbing and Heating LLC, Boston. Recently recovered from COVID, his phone hasn’t stopped ringing. He’s been busy, and that’s a good thing.
Mostly specializing in high-end renovations, old houses in the historic areas of Boston and high-efficiency boilers, Bickerton has run his own company since 2014. At the age of 18, Bickerton started into plumbing, working for a larger residential company doing large multi-unit buildings where he worked for 2 1/2 years before moving to a smaller company doing mainly commercial work.
The itch started for Bickerton when he started in construction over the summers during high school, working for a roofing company and a general contractor, basically doing whatever was needed on a job site. “I tried helping whoever needed to be helped on the site—plumbers, electricians, carpenters—cleaning up, making coffee runs, etc. I remember those summers working for the GC and I enjoyed helping the plumbers more than anything else. I realized I was falling in love with the industry, and the rest is history,” says Bickerton.
Nevertheless, Bickerton was encouraged to make an attempt at college even though he didn’t really want to; he gave it a shot anyway. He lasted less than a year and decided that was it. “For me, it was a waste of time and money,” says Bickerton. “My parents were okay with me leaving after giving it a valiant effort, but my father said ‘pick a trade because you’re not going to be sitting around here all day.’”
Bickerton recalls speaking to his father, and a few other people he knew who worked in the trades, and was pushed in the direction of electrical or plumbing mainly because, “you’ll never be looking for work.”
After obtaining his Journeyman Plumbing and Gas Fitting License in 2008, Bickerton completely shifted gears and joined the United States Marine Corps where he was deployed to Afghanistan. It was a difficult decision but joining the military was something Ryan had always wanted to do. In 2008, it was the right time. After six years of service with the Marines, Bickerton returned to plumbing and got his Master Plumbing and Gas Fitting License. “I started doing more and more side work until I landed a few bigger jobs that motivated me to leap into owning my own company. I haven’t look back since,” says Bickerton.
Part of that drive came from his biggest role model, his father, who worked most of his life in a power plant in South Boston as a general mechanic—he could pretty much fix anything and everything that needed fixing. “My father is the hardest working person I know. I remember as a young kid not seeing him for days at a time because he was getting home late and leaving early before we were awake. I knew he was out working hard taking overtime to provide for us. He could and would fix most things around the house. I remember one year our water heater went out on Thanksgiving and he took care of it by himself. I thought that was pretty cool, and still do,” says Bickerton.
As for Ryan, he never considered himself a role model, but he tries to conduct himself that way. Any chance he gets, he’ll speak highly of the trades. “If any young kids ask me about the trades, I do my best to steer them in the right direction and let them know it’s a very viable option. It’s a rewarding career choice, and college and white-collar work doesn’t have to be for everyone,” says Bickerton.
Bickerton’s trade role model was his first foreman, Mike Sheehan, a plumber for 30+ years, his body broken from years of moving massive boilers and extra heavy cast-iron pipe. “But he still loved the trade. He taught me a lot of my early skills, and he would say that this trade has all the potential to do anything you want with it, which has really stuck with me to this day,” says Bickerton.
While respecting these two men’s work ethic, Bickerton knows that balancing work and family life is important. It’s probably his most difficult task, says Bickerton. “I’m usually out the door by 5 am and home around 5 pm, and the kids go to bed between 7:30-8 pm and then most nights I have to do estimates or invoices when they’re in bed so I don’t have as much ‘leisure time’ as I’d like. I try to make every second I’m home count.”
And the weekends are for family. Bickerton used to work every Saturday and even some Sundays. Lately, however, Ryan doesn’t work Sunday unless it’s a catastrophic emergency, and on Saturdays he tries to be done by 12 or sometimes not at all. “Like I said before, I love plumbing and working but I don’t think I’ll ever regret not working more and spending less time with my family so I try to best divide my time in the fairest manner possible.”
It’s clear that family time is most important. “In my spare time, more than anything, I enjoy hanging out with my wife and our children. My wife Micayla and I have been married for six years and our three kids are growing up fast. If I’m not working, I’m with them. They are starting to get into different activities, hockey, baseball, football, swimming, horseback riding, and I just enjoy every second of that. Even if it’s just hanging out and watching a movie, it’s never wasted time for me,” says Bickerton.
Perhaps family means a bit more to Bickerton because his daughter, Mallory, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Rubenstein Taybi Syndrome (RTS). In 2017, Ryan and Micayla, along with some close friends, started a non-profit organization called Mals Pals Foundation. “We have been very fortunate with Mallory. We live in the epicenter for healthcare; she has had an inclusive educational opportunity here in Boston and it helps that we are able to pay for anything and everything she has needed in order to thrive,” says Bickerton.
Mal’s Pals Foundation aims to ease the burden of other families who maybe are not as fortunate. The Bickertons raise awareness for rare diseases like RTS, and they help educate newly diagnosed families. “We are trying to make difference in other people’s lives even if it’s just a small one. You can check us out at malspalsfoundation.org.”
Mallory is now seven-years-old and doing well. “Initially, there were concerns, but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Bickerton.
Bickerton looks forward to going to work every day. “But the most rewarding to me is being able to sit back at the end of the day or at the end of a job and look at what I’ve done,” says Bickerton. “I like having something tangible, that I can look at and touch and say I did that, or I fixed that or I created that. Whether it’s fixing a leaking faucet, creating a bathroom where there wasn’t one before, plumbing a 5-unit building completely from scratch or providing someone with heat and hot water for the next 20-30 years. That’s pretty cool.”
In the end, Ryan really loves plumbing, even if he’s stressed out and jobs are behind, or he’s behind on paperwork, or he’s made a mistake and or redo something. “I still consider myself lucky to be doing what I love every day. And on those harder work days, I still get to come home to three beautiful children and a wife who loves me. Every time I walk in the door and they scream ‘DAD!’ all that stress lifts off instantly, and it’s all worth it.”
By Norman Hall A competitor recently asked how we can afford to spend so much time and money training our employees and our customers. My response is, “How can you afford not to train your people?” I would argue that education should be a prominent expense item for all contractors, wholesalers, and representatives in the Read more
By Norman Hall
A competitor recently asked how we can afford to spend so much time and money training our employees and our customers. My response is, “How can you afford not to train your people?” I would argue that education should be a prominent expense item for all contractors, wholesalers, and representatives in the HVAC and plumbing world. In this industry, where product and technical information can feel like a tsunami, customers rely on us to act as trusted advisors guiding them to the best solution. Our staff cannot simply exist as a walking, talking brochure. Arming our people with the knowledge and empowerment to think critically and to act with integrity has resulted in a thriving business and a dedicated customer base here at R.L. Deppmann.
“OK, Show Me the Boiler and I’ll Help you out.”
A few months ago, I was at lunch with a commercial mechanical contractor. By the way, it was a real lunch, not a Zoom meeting. The contractor started asking about the importance of the R. L. Deppmann seminar series for the winter season. He told me the story. Last fall he purchased some equipment for a project from a competitor. The equipment was installed and ran fine for a short time. In the spring he received a call from the owner. There were complaints of sporadic shutdowns of the boiler. The younger salesperson who took the original order was called out to the jobsite to assist in troubleshooting.
The rep stood in the mechanical room and asked the contractor to take him to the equipment with the trouble. The response was, “it’s right behind you.” Imagine the look on the contractor’s face. The young salesperson was embarrassed and the customer lost confidence. No one wants this to be a story in their company.
Starting in the Industry
Employees are valuable assets of any successful company. Today, it appears there are more positions available than people to fill them. The result is a younger work force that is changing jobs and careers. The person you are hiring may have little knowledge of the industry and certainly little knowledge of your company.
Exposing this new employee to knowledge about the company, the job, and the growth opportunities is paramount. The new employee will leave you or you may leave them if they are not successful in a short time. There is a roadmap to training if you are willing to invest in it.
The New Employee Education Road Map
Our company, R. L. Deppmann, is a successful manufacturer’s representative of hydronic, steam, and plumbing products in Michigan and Ohio. Our customers call us to help them solve problems because we have, and teach, the knowledge they need. How does this happen? Our hiring pool on the sales and engineering end is no different than other companies, but the training program is.
- Start with core values and what the company is all about. Our new employees are purposely exposed to the company business and culture three times in the first few weeks of their career. The HR department presents, the managing supervisor presents, and a senior manager describes the business and culture.
- Know the team that supports you. Our customers are contractors, wholesalers, and owners. It is important for the new inside or outside salesperson to understand the various departments of support.
- The new sales rep spends a short time in the warehouse, learning, seeing, and touching the products. They also begin to learn the ERP and CRM systems.
- Next, they move into the startup and warranty (service) department. Here they begin to see installed products and how they are commissioned. With the Service Tech as their mentor, the employee will gather knowledge of the terms used in the industry, proper installation, and troubleshooting. There is also a chance to interface with customers.
- Customer service/inside sales is the next stop. Here they begin the process of satisfying customer requests. They learn product, parts, and our business systems. They work in a team with open conversation about the hundreds of different product types and customer issues. The employee learns to help the customer make a better decision about what they are asking for.
- We have a strong new construction business. The salesperson will learn the plans, specifications, proper selection and sizing, proper detailing to avoid issues, and pricing. Here there is the baseline process of speaking with contractors, wholesalers, engineers, and coordinating with other employees.
- By this time, the employee is well into their training period. They now go out on calls with a senior sales rep. They are prepared with some understanding of product, installation, troubleshooting, selection, and quoting. Daily discussions with the senior rep will fill in the features, benefit, and competitive landscape for company and individual success.
- Now the employee is prepared to be a resource for their customer. They understand who knows what and the resources available to satisfy the customer’s needs. The new employee feels like they are part of a team. They may have developed a friendship with other employees. They feel like they belong.
Getting Started: How to Create a Training Program
This program may seem difficult to start. We developed this over many years. The departments a new employee is exposed to changes with their job. An accounting employee will go through the core ideology training. They may not experience the customer service department but warehouse experience in return goods or the purchasing process knowledge may help them do their job better.
Start with that core ideology process. Make sure the employee understands who you are, where you fit in the industry, and what to think about when making decisions. Next, just pick one support department for the job and list what they need to know about it. Communicate with all the department employees what the goal is and just try it out for a couple weeks. You will develop your own program.
Next quarter I’ll share the continuing training program we use once the employee is in the job full time.
Norman Hall is an engineer and leader at the R. L. Deppmann Company, a manufacturer’s representative, in Michigan and Ohio. Norm has assisted in the design and troubleshooting of hydronic and steam systems for 45 years.