Case Studies

ServiceOne Inc.

Providing diverse mechanical services to residential and commercial customers

John Churchill purchased ServiceOne Inc. (ServiceOne), a former division of a public utility company, in 2003. The business has been around since 1989, though it changed focus when it was bought out. John had been in various aspects of the energy business in addition to the plumbing, electrical, appliance repair and the HVAC industry for decades before purchasing the company and continues to apply his experience in a leadership position. Working alongside his son, Jeff Churchill, John leads a team of more than 100 skilled employees.

Jeff serves as the company’s vice president. He has been with the business since 2011, when he transitioned into the industry to join his father. “I grew up surrounded by this work,” he explains. “When I decided to join the family business, I did so knowing that the work was worthwhile and that we have some of the best people in the industry on our team.”

The business has a headquarters in Omaha, Neb., as well as a second office in Dubuque, Iowa. Each location serves customers within a 50-mile radius, providing diverse mechanical services for both commercial and residential applications. In recent years, the bulk of work has been in the residential sector. ServiceOne performs all work in-house, applying the skills, experience and professionalism of a seasoned team.

Diverse services

ServiceOne’s target market includes commercial and residential developers and builders as well as future homeowners. The business currently has 13,500 warranty customers. “We do a lot of work with the direct owners of businesses,” Jeff elaborates. “Our team has worked for Best Buy and Walgreen’s, for example. We also work with three or four national property management companies and several local property management companies for apartments.”

Most of the team’s work in new development has to do with HVAC and plumbing work. ServiceOne is on top of industry trends and changing technology. In recent years, the business has had more and more business in converting old systems to more efficient setups. These systems help to keep home systems operating effectively while simultaneously reducing energy costs for home, business or property owners.

“We are doing more work in geo-thermal heating systems as well as ductless split systems, meaning there is no duct work to be done when installing these heating systems,” Jeff says. “We are also working with more automated systems, such as heating and cooling systems that can be controlled by a tablet or smartphone. We can also provide automation for door locks, lighting, appliances, garage doors and other household features in addition to cameras. There is growing potential to apply this automated technology in the commercial sector, as well. That is an area of potential growth for us in the coming years.”

Right now, ServiceOne is working on the construction of a large new house. The project will showcase many of these high-tech developments and the home will be equipped with geo-thermal heating and smart home technologies. The house is 7,500 square feet. When the project is complete, there will be an open house that is being advertised on both the radio and TV. All proceeds from the event will go to Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

The ServiceOne difference

John, Jeff and the team are focused on quality and service. The business operates with integrity, from building honest estimates to giving back to the community. ServiceOne’s customers have come to rely on the team for this demonstrated dedication to good business. When the crew takes on a project, a home or building owner can rest assured that experienced technicians will perform work properly and efficiently.

Business has been stable over the last few years, despite the economic downturn that hit other regions of the United States. The company’s unique home warranty has kept revenue coming in. A lot of work now comes through upkeep and retrofit contracts throughout the area. ServiceOne also has strong relationships with suppliers, a factor that helps keep costs low so the team can pass on greater value to customers.

Success for John and Jeff means more than profit margins. “We do worry about the numbers, but we gauge our performance on other things,” Jeff explains. “We look at how many contracts we sell, maintain and lose over the year. Our reputation in the community is huge and that is what gets us out of bed in the morning. We are happy to know that we are doing our jobs well in an honest and fair manner. We are a family business and we want our team members to feel they are part of our family, too.”

In the coming years, the family business is looking into some expansion. “We want to get into a couple other markets, either in Des Moines, Iowa, or Lincoln, Neb.,” Jeff continues. “We see ourselves growing. We have a good footprint of success that could carry-over into new territory very well.” Through organic growth and a few strategic acquisitions, the business is on track for continued growth. Prioritizing what is really important in the warranty, appliance repair, electrical, plumbing and HVAC business, ServiceOne Inc. will keep growing the right way: through honest business and hard work.

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