Who is Pierce Fire Protection? (:45)
AFSA Trade Show and Inspect Point (1:11)
Who is Zach Pierce? (2:21)
Dad Was a Sprinkler Fitter (3:22)
From a Sprinkler Fitting Company to a Full Service Provider (3:40)
A New Recurring ITM Revenue Model (4:19)
Good Structure for Staying Organized (4:48)
The Inspection Drives Everything Else (5:20)
Inspect Point Transformed Pierce Fire Protection’s Business Model (5:27)
From 2-3 Techs Only Doing Tests to Everything in Fire Protection (6:04)
As Fast as You can Cycle Through the Cycle from Inspection Through Invoicing – the Better Your Revenue Will Be (11:10)
Runs Itself Other Than Doing the Inspections! (7:22)
Easy To Trace and Track Everything (7:35)
What do Techs Think of Inspect Point? (7:55)
Techs Don’t Even Have to Come into the Office! (8:43)
Automation and Other New Features in Inspect Point (9:18)
Proposals & Work Orders Were a Game Changer (9:33)
In 13 Months, Service Sales More Than Doubled (9:43)
Inspect Point Acts like a CRM (11:27)
Has Pierce’s Entire Sales Funnel (11:40)
Customer Portal as a Marketing Tool (12:31)
Can Manage All Your Building’s Fire Related Issues (13:36)
Amerex Partnership & QR Code (15:02)
Wrap It Up (15:45)
Fall Preview (16:17)
Discussed in this Episode: NFPA Research Foundation, NFPA Codes and Standards, Inspection Data Collection, Fire Fighting, Emerging Technology in Fire Protection, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance, Fire Pump Performance, Analytics, Fair Data Practices
This is episode 34 of the Fire Protection Podcast, powered by Inspect Point. Today, my guest is Zach Pierce of Pierce Fire Protection. Zach’s the service and sales manager at Pierce Fire Protection Family Run Company, in Warwick, Rhode Island, right outside Providence. It was good to chat with Zach about how they’re running their business now and utilizing technology to improve their reoccurring revenue and costing model. So, Zack’s a wave of energy. He’s a really cool guy. And, um, yeah, he’s always looking for technicians. So if any technicians listen to this podcast, their work ethic and the vibe in that office are excellent. So, check out Pierce Fire Protection at Pierce fire pro.com. So, onto the podcast with Zach here.
I want to tell everybody about the upcoming AFSA trade show, American Fire Sprinkler Association Trade Show, happening this weekend, September 18th, through the 22nd or 21st. Uh, that is in San Antonio, Texas. Inspect Point will be there. I’ll be doing some live podcasting and vlogging some videos from there of the Trade Expo floor. So, um, it’s a tough time for everybody to get out to a trade show. So, we’ll be there live on YouTube, our other pages, and social media. So check us out. We’re at Booth Inspect Points at booth number nine 10. I’ll be there with Britney Carroll of the customer success team and Chris Sharp of the business development team. So, excited to see everybody out there. And I know many Inspect Point adopters will be at AFSA, but feel free to stop by. Here’s the podcast with Zach. Thank you, everybody.
All right, take two. <laugh>. I’m the best audiovisual person in the industry. Uh, we just recorded 20 minutes of great content and whatever. So I’m here with Zach Pierce, the service manager at Pierce Fire Protection. They have been in business since 1997. Yep. You came into the industry, what, five, ten years ago?
Um, me specifically, it was about four. My family’s been doing it since 97, which is older than me. I was born in 99 but grew up in it, so it’s been interesting to see how things have changed since we started from when I was born to now. You know, I like repeating myself, but not to these. No. But, growing up, it was my dad, grandfather, and uncle.
And, um, you know, I would come home from school, and my dad would be covered in grease, and I needed to understand what everyone was doing. I just knew that he was a sprinkler fitter, right? So four or five years ago, we had slow and steady growth. But then we transformed in from a sprinkler fitting company to a full-service, a complete fire protection service provider. Right. So we started going into different avenues, providing more services, emphasizing inspection, testing, and maintenance, and trying to grow that division. And this is where we’re at today, and we’re offering sprinklers, extinguishers, suppression, emergency, ex-lighting, backflows, and fire pumps; as you name it, we do it. Yep. and we’re doing much more inspection than new construction retrofit. Sure, sure. Right. Yeah.
So a reoccurring revenue model where you could do everything you can if you’re under the building. Right, right. And it’s, it’s similar, but it’s different. And each one of, you know, and spec points workflows, and it translates the industry too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because an extinguisher tech differs significantly from sprinkler tech, right? So you have to treat them differently, and, you know, that helps with that. And, the processes, you’ve set up that, right? The workflows, everything. Yeah. Having good structure and staying organized helps you become more efficient. Cool. Um, so are you going to get an alarm at any point?
Maybe we’ll see <laugh>. Um, we, no, that’s good. Yeah. We have an excellent rapport with alarm contractors in the area. Yeah, yeah. We help everyone.
Everyone helps each other grow. Sure, sure. So we refer them, and they refer us. So we’ll see. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The future brings No, it’s good.
You have to be that, especially if you’re in that, you know, inspection, you know, the inspection drives everything else. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So you guys started on the platform with about three to four technicians just doing tests, and that’s it. And then, right. So they would schedule the test, put them on the iPad, submit them, send them to the customer, and that’s it.
Until I got in the office, I was like, wow, look at all this other stuff we can do. We can create quotes, we can look at deficiencies, we can have work orders, and we can do all these things with the platform. And then we started using that and incorporating it into other avenues, like making the extinguishers guy do it.
Right. Um, you are doing kitchen reports on here. Right. Quotes. And now our whole business other than accounting is run on inspect point. And if you go to anyone in the office, you go to their screen; they’re on the platform. What, yeah. There’s nothing else there would be on other than email out. Sure, sure. That’s what they’re using, using, yeah, exactly.
Saying earlier and how I explained the product to people is, we have inspection deficiency management proposals, work orders, and then invoicing. And you almost mentioned that you have a key person in each one of those roles. Yeah.so, you know, we have someone who, it’s their job to make sure we have the accounts and new accounts coming in. Once you have those new accounts established, you’ve got people scheduling the inspections, and the inspection technicians execute the test.
Um, then any deficiencies reported, a sales rep will quote those deficiencies, then someone will schedule the service work, and then service work executed it. And you turn that service report into a bill. Right. So as fast as you can go through that cycle and as many times, you’re better off. Yeah. And it’s all integrated, right? Yeah. So that’s, that’s where it helps. Once you have an account open and start an inspection, there’s only a little work to be done from an organizational perspective. It’s just doing the actual work where if, you know, you have the deficiencies, they carry over the quote, and the quote carries over the work order, the work order carries over to the right. Um, and everything is traceable with a few filters. Yeah. It’s like that all in, right?
What do the technicians say about it? Because that’s where we really focus, there are a lot of software platforms out there. Few are geared to fire. Um, and, honestly, the full workflow, I don’t think anybody has that full workflow mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But we did focus on the technician, um, and their user experience. So what pros or cons have you heard from the field?
You know, um, it’s easy to use. I told you in the last report that they can work an iPad if they can reset a drive-up. Sure. No one had an issue with any of it. And if someone submits something back to the office, someone checks on it and can bring that to attention, and then it’s fixed forever. They Right. As soon as you point out a simple mistake, you never have to worry about it again.
Really. Right. Um, and just keep on it. And they’re doing this every day, ten times a day. So it’s, it’s muscle memory now. Sure. And they’re not having any, and you were saying they don’t even come into the office much anymore cause you’re, Yeah. The service guys will come in because they’ll need to gather material. Right. Um, but yeah, the inspectors, you know, wake up in the morning at their house, have their list of things to do, the places they need to go, and the systems they need to inspect. Right. And previous reports to look at and reference. Right. Yeah. If they have a static that doesn’t match the last time, they can tell by looking at the previous report. Yeah. You know, maybe they had a water surge or whatever. Um, but yeah, so everything’s pretty much at the fingertips wherever they need it, and we’re trying to actually automate that even further to, like, they can just click the, the, the test and see the last test results.
You don’t even have to go to the last report. So we’re trying to. Oh, I’m kidding. Yeah. That, that’s in there now. And we’re trying to do that drive valves and some other functionality. Uh, now I know you went from inspection, and you said the proposal work orders were like a game changer because you’ve grown that side of the business, right?
Yeah. Um, over a year, like 13 months, we started doing all of our proposals for service work, through Inspect Point, contract work, we, it’s like a whole other separate animal. Right. Um, but for service work after, and I told you, since 1997 to now, we’d had slow and steady growth. That’s what you want. But after one year, service sales more than doubled. Wow. Um, it’s crazy. Yeah. And I, we did that without raising any prices.
Any markups labor rate has pretty much. Yeah. The labor rate has not changed. Yeah. Yeah. Um, it’s all just getting bills out the door quicker, doing more work, offering more services to our current customers, and then gaining those new customers. Sure. And with the deficiencies, you can get it to the office’s and customer’s attention sooner. Yeah. Whereas if you had a paperwork order on someone’s dash, it could be there for a couple of weeks before the office sees it. Right. It could be a week before the office writes a quote. And so this expedites the whole process, and the faster you get it done, the quicker you collect, the quicker you can continue to cycle with someone else. Yeah. We have a stat, one of our large clients says, and you’ve said it as well, and somebody else in the industry has said it, where if you get out a quote within 24 hours.
You have an 80% spike and accepted quotes. Right. We’re just getting that out there. So that’s, you know, the inspections tie to the deficiencies that then tie into that proposal, and you’re going to get that follow-up work because you’re right there. Yeah.
And what’s huge is that we need a CRM system. We just use inspect point. Um, you can track to see if it says it just says alpha quote, and it’s been a few days, you know, they didn’t even open it. Right. So if they didn’t open it, it’s still in, like, it’s the, you’re still in play. Right. Just resend it, call and follow up, and ensure they open it. If they viewed it, you could call and say; I see you’ve looked at it. Do you have any questions?
Sure. Um, the whole sales funnel is there. So, like coming from a sales background, you love it. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s a, and it’s a game to see how many you can win and how many systems you can get done quicker. Yeah. I always say it’s a, it’s a CRM design for fire protection. Yeah. We use Salesforce in our business. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is, it’s, it’s set up that way. It’s just that there are many CRMs out there, but they need to be more focused on fire. And to curtail them, you need that kind of niche. Niche. Yeah. You have to know the industry. Exactly. Any other highlights? Deficiency management work orders, talking about the customer portals? Excellent. Oh, right. Um, yeah. Show, uh, show your website. Yeah. Share our website. So when everyone calls and says, I need access to a port, we see that if they don’t have an account, we help them create one, which is a few steps.
It’s super easy, right? They do have an account. Listen, Google Pierce high protection will pop right up, click the website, and scroll on them over in the top right corner. You see where it says customer portal login. Yeah. I like where it’s located. Yeah. Just click that it’s top, and then I’ll say, what’s my email? Let me pull up your account. Oh, it’s this email. What’s my, uh, password? Oh. You’ll get a link to reset it as soon as you click this, and then you’re in. Right. And then whenever you need it, just go to our website; it drives traffic so people can see the different things we do, but that’s true. Also, you know, it’s at the, if it’s eight o’clock at night and you need a report, just go, it’s there. That’s true. You know, uh, that, that’s interesting that you. I’ve never even thought about that.
Yeah. If you send people to the customer portal, they will see all your stuff pop up. Right. That’s a great marketing tool; you want them to know you’re more than just a sprinkler company. We can manage your building, um, in anything fire-related, Sure. And help you out that way. You know, you’re talking to fewer people, and the communication’s there. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s great. Um, yeah, I was up at, uh, you know, their, their, their workflow for Sprinkler, and, that side is, it is one set, but, and every, every piece of the office in the back office is a little bit different. And their techs a different set, but you know, they’ve gotten into extinguisher the last, you know, five or so years. And that workflow, chase up Casey up in the shop.
He’s running the entire backend and scheduling the quoting, the reports, and everything. He’s the one backend user and does everything for extinguishers and suppression. Um, whether it be an industrial system, kitchen system, or clean agent, he’s managing that while communicating with the lead techs. Right. So whereas here you’re doing a lot more volume in three months and more, more of the stuff is annually and semi-annually over there. Right. They might have more customers doing that thing. Uh, because, um, more every building has extinguishers. Not every building has a sprinkler system. Right. But the frequency is less often. So he can do more things in that area and be an expert. Oh, gotcha. So he’s an expert in suppression, so we let him focus on everything. Yes. They have suppression. Suppression. Gotcha. Right. And yeah, I was up there, and you know, we have a, a recent partnership with Amerex where, uh, and they’re, they’re, it’s perfect because they’re an Air Max distributor.
Right. So that’s showing them all the workflows with the, the new QR code and I, you know, it, it kind of, wow. I mean, he’s going to show all the texts this, so, you know, and in a release coming up, we will, uh, essentially it’s a QR code to essentially you go up and scan it, and it fills out all but one piece of information for you automatically mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then you’re off to the next extinguisher. So, that one piece of information is just the location. Yeah. You’re going to have to put that at some point anyway, so. Right. Yeah. Um, yeah, really cool stuff. Again, thanks Zach for doing this and getting some highlights, and we’ll put something together; I appreciate all the support. You got it. We’ll do take three next. Yeah. Right. <laugh>,
Thank Zach Pierce and Pierce Fire Protection for being in the spotlight today of the Fire Protection Podcast. Again, excited to see what Zach and the whole crew have done with Inspect Point and what they’re looking at in the future. So, again, AFSAs this weekend. We will have a bunch of webinars and content throughout the fall as well, and some other spotlights of some other fire protection companies. So stay tuned. Thanks again.