What Trade Contractors Can Expect From ServiceTitan After Its Acquisition Binge

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Founded in 2012, ServiceTitan has the benefit of more miles under its belt, more revenue and more customers and employees and more critical mass than the current bumper crop of start-up construction technology companies. And over years in the market, it has through acquisition and evolution become a rich and broad operating system for trade contractors—a solid platform on which to profitably grow a business while measuring performance against and delivering on customer requirements.

With a couple thousand employees, about 12,0000 customers with 90,000 field technicians, ServiceTitan towers over other players in construction like ServiceMax, Jobber and WorkWave. ServiceMax goes a lot further up market, but is focused on asset repair rather than residential or commercial services. In order to get a field service management solution with backing of a larger organization, contractors would need to jump the fence into applications that are owned by broader enterprise software suites and portfolios, like:

But even then, that field services solution competes for development, hiring and other resources with other solutions and industry initiatives. And it may not be optimized for construction.

Well-funded by just over $1 billion in venture investment, ServiceTitan has gone through a flurry of acquisitions starting in 2019, but even before that, they had a coherent front-to-back field service management solution for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, garage door contractors. The product was truly quote-to-cash, encompassing:

  • Accounting
  • Inventory
  • Scheduling
  • Reporting
  • Dispatch
  • Sales and marketing
  • Customer service

At ServiceTitan, there is still only one software priority—field service. But through acquisition it has gained multiple additional products in new industries that ServiceTitan will either absorb or continue to market, develop and support into the future:

  • June 2022, Schedule Engine for online service appointment booking             
  • January of 2022, FieldRoutes for quote-to-cash field service management    
  • June,2021, Aspire Software for ERP, crew management and property measurement
  • February 2021, ServicePro for pest control, tree and lawn care service 
  • October 2020, Servant Systems Inc, business software provider for franchise brands
  • May 2020, Pointman for paperless field service, custom forms management and proposals      
  • December 2019, WaterSoftWare for the water treatment industry             
  • November 2019, JaRay Software for the residential plumbing industry             
  • July 2019, C-U-C Software, Inc. for all-in-one software for residential, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and home services                        

These new solutions and markets will demand some investment in research and development, sales and customer success. But in our Product Deep Dive debriefing with ServiceTitan Senior Vice President for Commercial and Construction Sendur Sellakumar trotted out the story of ServiceTitan Ara Mahdessian and Vahe Kuzoyan in 2007 moved back to Glendale, Cal. after college and as a one-off project developed a software application for their fathers, who were both contractors.

“We are centered around residential service on a cloud-based product on Azure and connect into Android and iOS applications in the field,” Sellakumar said. “… The size of the organization has allowed us to first focus on residential service and replace contractors. But over the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve expanded into commercial service-and-replace as well as residential construction and commercial construction. We see that as a symbiotic relationship—they can be very complementary for a lot of folks. Our goal remains to be, to use a term coined by our founders, an operating system for the trades—whether you are in residential or commercial construction. It does not matter.”

Sellakumar said the company does not disclose information on how many people they employ in the departments that touch net new customers—sales and customer success or services. Independent estimates put the number of sales headcount at more than 500 and about half that number in customer success. Sellakumar said the company is hiring aggressively for both groups, and a rough estimate of where they sit now and their focus on hiring bodes well for the company’s ability to grow and to take care of the new joiners.

ServiceTitan research and development

But where the rubber really meets the road for ServiceTitan and its construction footprint is in research and development. To Sellakumar’s point, the company is expanding to address construction project lifecycle revenue, expense and operations. They are also bringing in the vendor catalog data that can streamline estimating and purchasing. Prior to this, a contractor would need to import a spreadsheet from a third party source like Profit Rhino to populate a price book, and that would need to be updated manually each time. Now, updates can be made automatically as prices, images or specifications change.

This is not the only external data now brought automatically into ServiceTitan—Price Insights lets contractors do a reality check on their estimate based on prevailing market prices. Also new is Titan Intelligence or ti, which gathers aggregate operating data from ServiceTitan, mashes it up with weather, property and other types of external data sources and acts as that “guide on the side” for contractors. It is ti that underpins Price Insights, for instance. In time, company sources say ti will grow to deliver optimized inventory planning, preventive maintenance, and dynamic pricing recommendations.

Contractors involved in field service will also benefit from Smart Dispatch, a machine learning application that assigns service calls to technicians based on geographical zones and the technician’s skill sets and sales performance. The direction and execution here will come from ServiceTitan CTO Anmol Bhasin, who came on board at the end of 2021, bringing with him what he learned leading engineering at Einstein, the AI program inside of customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce and other roles at Groupon and LinkedIn.

What contractors now find with ServiceTitan is a digital workflow from bid to bill. Once a project is initiated, ServiceTitan wraps it in functionality including a performance dashboard, financials, a project summary, a consistent schedule of values and tools for invoicing, application for payment and analytics to ensure expenses don’t run too far ahead of revenue. And after project close-out or as a standalone service, a contractor can use ServiceTitan features like drip scheduling to deliver maintenance and repair services. The software adjusts the service schedule in real time based on drive time, geographic zone, the labor cost of drive time and parts inventory on each truck. The software then “drips” one job at a time to the technician, sending them the next based on changing priorities as they finish the last.

ServiceTitan tech stack

Any time a business software vendor goes through acquisitions, there is a shaking out period afterwards as they figure out how to make their various products function as more than the sum of its parts. Some vendors like Procore have evolved their tactics for this from rebuilding the acquired product within its core product architecture for seamless integration and towards selecting acquisitions for ease of integration without completely melting the product down and recasting it. Trimble Construction One is relying on a foundational approach, reworking the data structures under its acquired products to work and play better together as part of a coherent suite.

Some field service management software vendors including WorkWave are keeping some products as stand-alone tools for specific verticals, but also exposing bits of their functionality as microservices that can be used within other products. This is one approach ServiceTitan is using.

READ OUR IRONPROS PRODUCT DEEP DIVE ON WORKWAVE

“Our older acquisitions have already consolidated,” Sellakumar said. “We solve for customer outcome first—that is more important than the tech stack. We are consolidating the tech stack where it makes customer sense. Aspire, which we acquired last year, is focused on the green space. We don’t focus on green space with our core product, but there are things we are consuming from that product through microservices. We have just started this journey, and are looking to cross-leverage marketing, routing—base, primitive capabilities.”

ServiceTitan is pretty much a Microsoft shop, using .NET in the front end and React in the middle tier. The application relies on SQL server across multiple availability zones on the Microsoft Azure Cloud for cross-region protection. New product is shipped every six weeks, with separate penetration testing protocols for open source content like React.

For smaller contractors, ServiceTitan is often integrated with QuickBooks while larger ones will integrate with Sage 100 Contractor, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, a legacy implementation of ViewPoint or Microsoft Dynamics GP or Dynamics SL or Sampro. These accounting systems may handle accounts receivable and payroll, although ServiceTitan has some basic prevailing wage and union labor rule tools that Sellakumar said will be evolved further soon.

Pricing and market

ServiceTitan charges a subscription based on the number of field technicians, with no per-user cost for back office users.

Some of the tech is supported at least in part by in-app purchases, including Marketing Pro are charged by fintech-based transaction fees. Pricebook Pro is paid for through an additional per-tech subscription fee.

The contractors ServiceTitan can help depend on the trade discipline … even the smallest service and replace contractors, like the founders’ fathers, would be a fit. Residential construction contractors start to enter ServiceTitan range as they hit $3 million in revenue, and applicability for commercial contractors kicks in a bit further up market.

ServiceTitan has grown to dominance in a field where contractors who a decade ago would have few options that fit their quote-to-cash cycle now have multiple options ranging from Jobber to WorkWave to newcomers like HippoBuild. But ServiceTitan has the organizational heft to develop their application even further along the road towards being a broad enterprise suite that can manage projects as well as service. This moves it further towards core construction ERP than other applications like Clockshark that are evolving to become competitors in field service.

To figure out which way to jump between the small contractor software options on market, a contractor may want to press for references in very directly related trades and of similar size to their own who have solved problems they want to solve. Or at least ask the vendor for an accounting of their track record for contractors like them.

Bottom Line: ServiceTitan is devoting substantial resources to going deeper into construction by expanding past repair-and-replace contracting and into residential and commercial construction. They are bringing intelligence into the product in ways that are accessible and leverage the broad data set across their customer base into additional value for contractors. There are gaps ServiceTitan will likely fill through acquisition or organic development, including takeoffs and deeper estimating functionality. Rather than ongoing step changes in functionality, they may benefit from a partnership or even deeper relationship with emerging trades estimating tools like Patabid, taking advantage of the disruption in the market caused by merger and acquisition activity of estimating solutions for mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors. But given the state of most trade contractors’ technology stack, ServiceTitan seems like a sound move towards a digital front-to-back workflow that should rapidly become more powerful and performant in the months and years to come.

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