Contributor II

Aqua Clear Water Systems.png

Welcome to...

Water Treatment Spotlight, a recurring interview article series in ServiceTitan Community, where I sit down with a Water Treatment organization to shed light on their business and ServiceTitan journey.

In this article, Aqua Clear Water Systems takes the stage and provides insights into their highly successful Water Treatment operations, the benefits of being a family-owned business, their favorite ServiceTitan features, recommendations for new users, and more...

Aqua Clear.png

We're joined by...

Lydia Brewster - Purchasing & Marketing Coordinator
Mark Haste - IT Manager & ServiceTitan Certified Administrator
Patrick Messing - Accounting Manager

Where's your organization located?

We are in Knoxville, TN.

How long has Aqua Clear been in business and how did you get started?

We’ve been in business for over 17 years.

My dad [David Brewster] has been in business for over 25. He worked for different companies that sold different manufacturers and finally settled on Kinetico being the best quality, and so we moved to Knoxville in order to start our company and sell Kinetico products.

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What originally interested your team in signing up with ServiceTitan?

The fear of falling behind, not staying up with the times, and not taking advantage of technology that’s out there.

It’s just incredible [in ServiceTitan] what you can see, what you can understand, how can you can communicate, what you can backtrack, the full visibility from an owner’s perspective of where’s my money going, when it’s going, who’s moving it, how much of my product are they using, is there good product margins on jobs, etc. 

Has your organization seen any growth since adopting ServiceTitan?

Over a million [dollars] a year — we definitely do not take it lightly here!

ServiceTitan has improved our processes, the way we view business, what business to do, and [has helped us] make good business decisions. It’s been the main reason we’ve grown in the last few years.

What are some unique attributes of the Water Treatment Industry?

Rentals is probably the biggest, as well as the complexity — not every softener can fit every home, we have to do little updates.

We’re solely based off water chemistry and water chemistry changes from home-to-home. Even if [a home] tests one way one year, it could test completely differently another year. Water is a soluble and is ever-changing.

How has being a family-owned business helped your organization in reaching the point where you are today?

We have dad [David Brewster] who has all the knowledge and expertise.

JB [Jonathan Brewster] — the oldest [sibling], has been in the industry for a long time, I think seven years. He is the fun one who finds new technology, new software. He’s the one who found ServiceTitan. He’s always researching, making us top-of-class in the water treatment [industry] since the trades can easily fall behind in those types of things. 

You have my mom [Krista Brewster], who gave up her career to come work here. She’s the nice one who keeps the “glue” in the community, who knows everybody, remembers their names and builds customer rapport over the phone and in-person. She’s our good reputation.

You have me [Lydia Brewster], who’s the “doer” — I take the ideas from both of the brothers and I make sure it gets done. So in the office, [I am] perfecting the trades and making sure everything is going how they envision and how they want to see it in the future.

My younger brother [Robert Brewster] is the sales mastermind — his revenue is just the best we’ve ever seen from any salesperson, ever. He’s fully perfected the sales process of being in a home. It’s really cool to watch him grow. He’s definitely helped — (Laughs) — money coming in helps!

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Are there any features in ServiceTitan that have become essential for successful Water Treatment operations?

Tags were probably essential in onboarding CSRs, where I can say these fifteen pieces of equipment are all softeners, so you know this person has has a softener. When you talk to them on the phone, you talk to them in a way that acknowledges a softener.

I would say Recurring Service Events. Knowing when they’re due — that’s exactly what the CSRs do. They query everyday as they’re trying to book future jobs. That functionality is critical for them.

I agree with Recurring Services … I would definitely say that, and Reputation Management [Marketing Pro] — how I can respond to reviews all in one place. We can improve our ask for reviews and automate it so that way our internet reputation gets improved. Water Treatment has a really bad reputation, so if clients can see you actually are serving the community well — that’s changed our game — we hear that a lot on our end.

Estimate Templates. We’ve gone through a lot of detail in our estimates so that when we sell the estimate, it pulls everything that we need into the invoice.

We do bulk pricing. I describe it as you go to McDonalds and you buy the meal for $6. That includes the burger, the fries and the drink — but you’re not selling those at list price. You’re selling those at the set price. I think that’s probably a little bit different for us than others who may not sell in packages.

From an Accounting standpoint, real-time inventory for those that are using Inventory in ServiceTitan.

Have you experienced any notable challenges within ServiceTitan, and if so, how did you overcome them?

Like any service or product you’re getting to know, of course there’s been challenges. It’s hard for change and to learn software.

Ask questions rather than just jumping the gun and assuming things can’t be done. Allow space for troubleshooting, but also verify information yourself because no one understands your business like you do.

The major way we [overcame the challenges] was figuring out TitanAdvisor and [monitoring] our score so we knew how to maximize things.

Screen recording — that would be the biggest [factor], so ServiceTitan understands what I’m going through, what my work process is, what the issue actually is, and when it occurs. Screen recording has been the biggest [tool] I’ve used to overcome issues, and I normally can find an answer, and if not then [ServiceTitan] will update it in the next [software] release. That’s what I love about ServiceTitan.

How important is communication with your ServiceTitan Customer Success Manager (CSM) and what does that partnership entail?

It’s essential. If you don’t know how [ServiceTitan] is supposed to work, you have to ask, and if you are not in communication with [your CSM], you’ll just end up being frustrated in the corner and never find answers.

Having open communication and planned meetings [with your CSM] is something anyone’s up to do, but actually putting in the time and showing up [is different]. Everyone’s going to get frustrated if you have a product you don’t know how to use, and you’re never going to know how to use it until you fully put in the time and effort.

Make your Success Manager your partner in crime and put in the time and it will return tenfold!

I see the CSM’s role as our advocate, which is really important because anytime we have an issue we can go through [our CSM] and they can help get us to the right person and monitor and escalate. I think that’s critical and that’s all based on communication.

We’ve dealt with a few CSMs who were not very helpful and it cost us, especially in the beginning, when we really didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t understand ServiceTitan well and, quite frankly, we were led astray and it took us a while to get to where we are now. So it is important. If someone is not communicating or not happy with their CSM, they need to request a new one — they need to get somebody that will be their advocate and will work with them.

Aqua Clear has consistently ranked in the Top 10 of ServiceTitan accounts in relation to the TitanAdvisor Weekly Leaderboard — how important is TitanAdvisor to your team?

TitanAdvisor made me aware of certain things we could be using that we weren’t, and also showed us what functionality doesn’t work — or at least doesn’t work for us right now. It’s awareness and it [has been] vital.

Anytime I hear TitanAdvisor my brain really goes to, “Gotta play the game!” You have to play the game to get the points.

Beyond that, [TitanAdvisor] does help. It points you into directions where you can improve the way you do business. It’s a best practice [guide]. With your heads down, working every day, you don’t know really know what the best practices are … access to TitanAdvisor and reading about how things can improve is a big thing, so it’s beneficial.

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Your team attended this year's Pantheon — did you benefit from attending and would you recommend this event for other Water Treatment organizations?

Yes — getting to know how to use [ServiceTitan] in a different way and the conversations were super important. The people you meet, networking, and asking good questions [were all beneficial]. You can make some really cool relationships.

The actual conferences themselves, the speakers, learning about new products and vendors — it opens your eyes to possibilities and gets you ready to understand the software more than you would just by talking to a salesperson or Success Manager.

If you had to pick your top three favorite features in ServiceTitan, what would you say they are and why?

ServiceTitan Mobile. The mobile application Service Technicians use takes some work to get used to, but it’s very powerful as far as what we allow to be seen on the mobile device and what isn’t allowed to be seen.

Permissions. From an IT perspective, the granularity of permissions that you can control is really good with ServiceTitan … I’ve worked with other systems that do not go to the granularity that ServiceTitan does, as far as permissions of what you can see and you can’t see.

The Dispatch Board is very powerful … we have a TV that is in the hallway where everybody can walk by it and see that, and the visualization of the different statuses of the jobs is great. It’s a very good way to communicate what’s going on.

That’s a great breakdown!

I would say Tags are really nice for onboarding or understanding at a granular level the connections you can make to them, whether it’s an Alert or a piece of equipment. I think those are just phenomenal, as well as “date of installation” being up there — equipment gray tags — love that!

The Pricebook — how it updates instantlyhow you can add [items] and literally use them within the next second, as well as creating a piece of equipment and attaching multiple materials to it. Just the ability to accurately job cost from the creation of Pricebook.

I’m enjoying the Inventory tracking. The Items Overview screen has been awesome for me. Knowing where my equipment is, when it’s moving, when it was on a purchase order, how much of it is in the warehouse, how much is on a truck, etc.

The ability to make Forms required based on what it is [the technician] is doing, and within those Forms making certain questions required, is very helpful.

The Accounting Screen … you have everything there: what invoices are ready to be exported or not, payments, who has paid what invoice on that day, inventory transfers, vendor bills, inventory adjustments — all on one screen.

When you attempt to export from ServiceTitan to QuickBooks, you get immediate results as far as the batch went through and successfully exported, or here’s an error and you can dig into it and see what that error is and potentially quickly resolve it … you have your Accounts Receivable available as a menu item. It’s crazy powerful. 

Reflecting on your ServiceTitan journey, what sorts of recommendations would you give users who are just getting started in ServiceTitan?

Sit down with a company that uses ServiceTitan well, that is in your same industry, to see how they use it. Don’t try to figure things out yourself that other people have already people figured out because you will waste a lot of time doing that. If you put the time and effort in on the front end, it will make the transition a lot of smoother in my opinion.

And try to get an understanding of what works well and what is still being worked on. For example, if you’re using QuickBooks with ServiceTitan like we do, there are some things you have to work around and learning those was not easy for me.

Fully understand your process what you need out of [ServiceTitan]. I’ll echo the fact that you need to talk to professional to know how they’re fully utilizing [ServiceTitan].

Build out your Pricebook correctly. Make everything a material — not just a piece of equipment — in order to have accurate job costing.

Utilize Tags and make sure you understand when and how to automate that.

Understand how to communicate with clients through the platform so that way you can be providing a really good experience.

Finally, build out Forms so that way all the information you need is housed in ServiceTitan the way you need it.

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What are your company goals for the future? What's next?

We’re looking to expand. We’re looking to open up more locations, increase our customer base and our offerings as well.

And in order to do so, we have to review our existing systems and see what’s working and what’s not, see what systems are out there that may improve and help us grow, including looking at a new accounting system, if necessary. We’re just trying to get away from as many manual processes as we can.

The future looks like continued improvement, continued education and definitely the outreach of our arms and knowledge, whether that’s with a client or helping other companies. We would love to get into the consulting gig as we have built a really cool, seamless operation.

"Changing Water, Changing Lives”
-Aqua Clear Water Systems

New Contributor II

This is great!    I identify with so many points brought out in this conversation.   I look forward to any opportunity in the future to meet this family team!   Thanks for sharing!

New Contributor III

Thank you Adam for sharing our story!!

ServiceTitan Certified Administrator
ServiceTitan Certified Administrator

Lydia and the Brewsters have an amazing team and attitude.  They are brilliant when it comes to ideas and using ST.  I would recommend that anyone that has questions should reach out to them.  They have been extremely helpful for myself and how we use ST better. @lbrewste