- Tech Insights
According to Bryan Benak, CEO of Southern Home Services, no one should be without prompt and effective assistance when their pipes leak, outlets break, or their heater fails on a cold night. "We offer a world-class experience with some of the best specialists in the industry, treating you and your house with care," says Bryan. "We tackle routine problems and large repairs with strict quality standards." When you trust us with your property, we'll fix it properly.
Bryan has an in-depth operational background with an understanding of the importance of the functional areas that support the business. While he looks to numbers, metrics, and other data points for decision-making, he keeps an open mind and is willing to do things differently if it means winning in the local market.
Bryan advises business owners to begin with the customer and work backward from there. "Customers should be at the center of your business's operational strategy," he says. "Treat training like R&D and invest wisely to ensure your employees can deliver on your company's promise." According to Bryan, training should be designed primarily for the middle 60% of your workforce, since this group usually has a greater opportunity, motivation, and propensity for improvement than the top or bottom 20%.
Bryan also stresses the importance of managing our organization’s bandwidth without spreading employees too thin. "While it may be tempting to ’boil the ocean’ as a leader, do not. Pick no more than three to five projects on which to devote 80% of your effort. "
"Build your teams with individuals who have strengths in areas where you’re lacking," he continues. "Ensure that while your team members have a diverse array of backgrounds and perspectives, they’re unified by the same business-relevant ethical beliefs—treat people fairly, honestly, and with a high work ethic; challenge the status quo; and always look for ways to improve the business." Most importantly, be humble.
Bryan is very open to criticism and looks for people on the team who want to debate and challenge how he and the organization operate. "Nothing is worse than groupthink or a refusal to improve—both individually and as a company," he says.
It is Bryan's belief that meritocracy, training, and development are all important when it comes to dealing with underperforming employees. Bryan explains, "If someone is having difficulties, we will provide further guidance and assistance." Even so, at some point in time, we must make the difficult decision to extricate ourselves from a relationship that is no longer working.
Bryan also believes that, as a service company, Southern Home Services differentiates itself through its employees. As a manager, I look for the best people available and set up an environment where they can perform their best work with minimal supervision and bureaucracy. I give out awards based on performance. Secondly, I concentrate on getting things done. Anyone can come up with a great concept, but unless it is put into action, it has no value. We do what we say we’re going to do, he adds.
Bryan also highlights Southern’s focus on growth through new applications of technology. Firstly, new CRM software that is regarded as the best in class for the home service industry is being implemented. New mobile applications for our field service and sales staff are included in this package, which results in a more pleasurable customer experience and a more user-friendly interface. Secondly, we've shifted a large portion of our marketing budget from traditional to digital. An excellent return on investment has been achieved because of this change. The company is also considering several new investments in technology that would simplify pricing for consumers and allow the company to monitor equipment deployed on customers' properties in real-time. "In order to minimize disruption and annoyance for the customer, we will be able to perform work ahead of time."
Bryan also highlights that young people aren't entering the trades as much as they were pre-pandemic, causing a dearth of trained workers. "We're building our own ’Southern Home Services University to recruit inexperienced workers," says Bryan. "We can then teach them the Southern Way." We want to use wearables and ’Facetime’ technologies to supervise and train new staff on the job, all of which will benefit customers and staff."
"Our greatest achievement has been our growth since 2021," says Bryan. Through both organic growth and acquisitions, we have more than doubled our sales in 18 months. Our ability to integrate acquisitions and grow by double digits in an established industry has been phenomenal. "Bryan is very proud of what the team has been able to accomplish and is excited about continued growth in the future.
Southern HVAC provides Air Conditioning, Heating, Electrical, and Plumbing repair and maintenance services throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. Our ongoing objective is to continue growing and expand to new markets!