Heather Langone, Managing Editor, sat down with Justin Carrol, President of P1 Service Group. They discussed the “people first” mission, the privilege to be able to enhance lives, and the role of ethics in business. P1 (People First) Service Group is an industry-leading national home services provider partnering with residential companies that want to collaboratively grow their existing brand while maintaining an extreme focus on our mission. of valuing people first.
1. How did you become president of the P1 Service Group
I was looking for a partner to help to invest in the growth of my company, Perfect Home Services. My primary focus was finding someone who wouldn't damage the culture that we created. After many months I connected with Jake Meister at River Sea Network. Together, with a business mentor in Denver, our CEO Jeff Belk and CFO Steve McConnell we formed a national home service company P1 Service Group.
2. What is the biggest challenge presently facing the company?
The greatest challenge is finding the right people to join us on this mission. We take it seriously.
3. What defines a good partnership?
For us, that is a company that has values that align well with ours AND a respectable leadership team in place. We also look for owners who are willing to continue to lead the business after we partner together.
4. What attracts you to a potential acquisition partnership?
First, the people, then a heavy focus on leadership – the leader at the helm is critical. I believe everything rises and falls on leadership.
5. What do you wish business owners knew – generally?
When you focus on people, great things happen. Most of the things that your business is struggling with, can be corrected through proper leadership and strong buy-in from your team. If you focus on people first, they'll scale mountains for you.
6. How has P 1 Service Group changed the industry for the better?
Along similar lines to what we've been talking about – we are mission first. It just so happens we do heating, cooling, plumbing, and electricity.
7. What was the most successful achievement for the company in 2022?
We held a strategy session in our business planning workshop for 2023, during which we took a significant amount of time to discuss stewarding our businesses. The unique responsibilities we hold as company presidents mean we can enhance lives. The goal agreed upon was to return to our respective businesses and a plan in place to invest in the people who work for us. An example – at my business, we decided to pay for employee life coaching! I’m very proud of the impact this has made on my employees.
8. What role does ethics play in business?
It is fundamental. If you are a partner of ours, you follow a code of ethics – it’s non-negotiable.
9. What is your definition of a thought leader?
Someone with a unique perspective, a high level of specialized expertise in a particular area, and someone to whom it’s worth listening.
10. Is there somewhere you go to be still before making an important decision?
Stillness does not come naturally to me, but I see value in it. For some reason, when I am around water, my mind slows. I live on a lake. When I take time to stare at the water, everything slows, and I can do some quality thinking.
11. Do you think interest in the trades rather than traditional education, is making a resurgence?
I'm not sure about trends – I rarely watch the news because there's so much negativity. But if there isn't a resurgence, there will be.
12. Is B2B /C marketing more complex in the HVACR industry as opposed to traditional business?
I'm not sure. I think we tend to look at other industries and form assumptions that aren't true. I can't say that I know enough about other industries to comment on their complexities or compare.
13. What would you say is the biggest learning hurdle HVACR owners face when starting a company?
Most HVAC owners got into the business as tradesmen first, not by way of a business degree. They don't necessarily understand how to run a business or read financials or marketing. It’s a hurdle, but not insurmountable.
14. Is there a book or resource that helped you learn?
The Nexstar organization. I will be forever grateful to them. They taught me so much.
15. How do you see this partnership transforming in the next three years?
Our potential is enormous, but growth isn’t necessarily the focus. If we never added another company to our portfolio, we'd be perfectly happy staying with the vision. At the same time, if we add fifty companies in the next few years, that's great too. It's about waiting and trusting in what God delivers.
16. Is virtual training realistic for HVACR owners when it comes to field services?
Yes. I feel like you get a slightly better impact by doing training in person. However, I think if you've created well-prepared training, you can offer very impactful virtual training.
17. Have you used any VR in your training?
Yes! Our VP of training, Dan Friesen, is one of the most talented trainers, not just in our industry, but in any industry. He was the former head of training at Nexstar. He conducts weekly training for us and trains our trainers at their locations.
18. What is your definition of a perfect home service appointment?
One that focuses on the client first and then the system. The average technician focuses on the system first and the client second. We stress the importance of meeting the client’s needs by providing a thorough evaluation of their entire system, asking a series of questions to understand, and then educating them on the options.
19. What is the most important advancement in home services technology over the last few years?
The biggest impact doesn’t come from technology. There was a time when I was too heavily focused on technology and not enough on the fundamentals of doing the kind of business that makes a difference. Technology tends to be a shiny object trap. I wish I could have those years back to focus only on the fundamentals – focus on humans, and processes, on how to conduct a proper service call, deliver on clients’ expectations, grow strong leadership, and deliver excellent training.
20. What defines a P1 Service Group partnership?
People – it truly is about the mission first.