Chadd & Keegan Hodges, owners of Best Home Services
Originally published: 08.01.12 by Terry Tanker
Terry Tanker recently met with the father-and-son team running ServiceOne in Omaha, Neb., one of the 2012 Tops In Trucks winners, to discuss strategy, marketing, add-on acquisitions, and competition in their market.
ServiceOne was started in 1989 by a utility company that wanted to offer residential home warranty and service contracts for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and appliances. My father worked for the utility, and purchased it in 2003.
We’ve grown our commercial and on-demand work, but we’re still keeping a focus on the homewarranty and service-contract customer base, which is well over 12,000.
They were offered from the start. We’ve expanded into commercial and residential new construction and remodels, geothermal, main-line replacements and repair, boiler work, radiant floor heating, and controls.
Sixty percent is HVAC; 20% is plumbing; 10% is electrical; and 10% is appliance repair.
We offer appliance repair to existing customers and on demand customers. We run this
We are very pleased with the results we are seeing. We made major changes to our website last year. Our old website had nice graphics and very good content, but it was not very easy to navigate and was not optimized to be searchable. Our new website is very easy to navigate and is designed to be found by customers in need of service.
Networking and the Internet have become our main source for on-demand leads. Our current customer base is still our main lead-generation tool.
We do not have a dedicated webmaster, but we do use the expertise of our Operations Manager/IT “guru” and our Marketing Manager. We also outsource some of our SEO and design.
All types of marketing: television, radio, direct mail, sponsorship of events, Yellow Pages, vehicle wraps, etc. Over the last couple of years we have increased our investment in Internet marketing and lowered it elsewhere. Internet marketing seems to provide the most bang for the buck.
We have known for years that our trucks bring us many leads, so we thought it would be a good idea to increase our visibility in this area and make the vehicles even more eye catching.
The vehicle wraps cost two-to-three times more than putting our normal vehicle stickers on them, but we feel the extra visibility is well worth the expense. We have 68 vehicles, and at this point, we have wrapped about 20% of them. Moving forward all of them will be done.
We used the same logo that has been around for many years, so it would be recognizable to customers. The paint scheme was chosen because we feel the green swoosh is eye-catching and has a clean, environmental feel.
The extremely hot summer, along with two June acquisitions, has caused every ServiceOne team member to bring their A Game.
We are set up to have installers and appliance technicians help out with service technicians when needed, and vice versa. Most of our departments within Operations are cross-trained to help out in other areas. This helps us to balance the workload. The same thing occurs to some extent among dispatch, customer service, and our home-warranty departments.
We have a strong family feel at ServiceOne. We do our best to try and keep an eye on the pulse of the team members. If we get the feeling someone needs a break, we do our best to try and get them home early.
The majority of our calls come from customers with service agreements both commercially and residentially.
If a customer does not have an agreement with us, our goal is to offer one every time. It is much easier to obtain business from existing customerscompared to ones that are not familiar with our company’s work and service.
We will continue to focus on our core business, but we also see ServiceOne growing more and more into commercial, geothermal, and different areas of plumbing.
We will continue to look for and hire team members that have expertise in these areas and continue to train our existing team members in these areas. We will focus heavily on marketing and sales efforts, too. And, more acquisitions specifically related to geothermal, commercial, and or plumbing are possible.
Like any other market, we see a diversified range of competition. There are definitely a number of quality competitors that do things the right way, and there are also many competitors that we see cutting corners. The competition overall is good and fair in the Omaha market.