In this episode Drew chats with Mikiah and Curtis Jones of Commercial Fire Protection, Inc. Third generation fire protection professionals, and Inspect Point customers, they discuss their experience with the software, being part of Inspect Point’s beta program for Service / Work Modules, and much more.
Listen to the Audio
Commercial Fire Business (8:00)
Riding through downtimes with ITM / Service (10:05)
Why did you choose Inspect Point (11:40)
Moving out of the Paper Age (15:45)
Service / Work Order Module (18:50)
Involvement in the Beta Process (20:25)
Uploading Material Lists (24:10)
Emergency Service Calls (28:05)
Where does Commercial Fire Protection go from here (31:00)
3rd Party Compliance Software (33:25)
Quick Response Round (36:05)
Commercial Fire Contact Info (42:30)
Discussed in this Episode: CommercialFire.net
Happening this Week
Inspect Point has come a long way over the years in the fire protection industry. This week, Inspect Point debuts its Service and Work Order module to go along with their highly acclaimed Inspection and Sales workflow.
Drew Slocum: (00:10):
This is episode 23 of the Fire Protection Podcast, powered by Inspect Point. Today, my guests are Mikiah Jones and Curtis Jones of Commercial Fire Protection out in Washington State, out in the Northwest. Um, this is a little bit different episode that than we have ever done on the Fire Protection Podcast, because we actually talk about in Inspect point. Um, you know, the podcast is powered by it. You know, I’m the co-founder of the platform, head of Business Development, and we usually talk about new technology, but today, uh, we’re gonna talk about Inspect point. Uh, we have a huge release coming, uh, the second week of August. It’s our service work order and iPhone release. So I wanted to at least debut that, uh, and really talk about commercial fire protection and where they came from. What are they doing today, and what, what they’re going to be doing in the future with this platform.
Uh, they were part a part of the, the beta process with us, uh, for the service and work order release. So it’s really exciting to hear kind of, uh, Curtis being in the field as a technician from, uh, as well as Mackay, uh, Jones on the, on the back office side of things and how she deals with, with the admin and how it’s helped the process, um, with inspection, testing and maintenance and service for that fire protection company. So, um, really cool to get a customer on and kind of a real life scenario. So, again, hope you enjoy, uh, in the coming weeks or months. Uh, we have a couple really, uh, nice podcasts set up with, uh, one to discuss the fire protection foam market. I know I’ve done some in the past, but fire protection foam, foam and the environmental impacts are becoming more present. There’s a lot of false ditch charges happening throughout the industry and throughout the country and the world. So wanna re really bring some of that to light and that to the table. Um, as well as we’re gonna do another podcast on, uh, integrated testing and NFPA four, which kind of integrates the fire alarm testing with sprinkler and suppression testing, uh, and potentially get into some joint commission, uh, reporting and all the compliance that goes with that. So appreciate all the listenership, um, and hope you enjoy the podcast today.
Yeah, it is crazy that it’s blue sky out right now. It was literally outpouring I one minute ago, <laugh>.
Drew Slocum: (02:48):
Drew Slocum: (02:49):
Um, well, thanks for, thanks for joining mackay and, and Curtis. Uh, yeah, thanks for joining this podcast. This is the first one we’ve really done on the Inspect Point platform. Um, usually I try to get new technology out there, you know, from all sides of fire protection, whether it’s sprinkler or fire alarm, just new ideas out there. I had a, an augmented reality one on recently, which was kind of mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, pretty cool technology. But, you know, we have this huge release at Inspect point that we’re, um, actually releasing later this week. So this, it’ll probably be out the second week of August. It’s a, uh, it’s a service and work order module alongside our iPhone release as well. Um, that kind of just, uh, helps out with technicians in the field, just another device to use. But, um, yeah, appreciate you two coming on and, um, talking a little bit about your experience with Inspect Point.
Mikiah Jones: (03:45):
Yeah, no problem.
Drew Slocum: (03:46):
So, um, yeah, so sorry to interrupt, but, uh, yeah, let, let’s, uh, let’s just tell everybody who we are. I’ve, I’ve dealt with you Mikiah , I’ve just met you Curtis the other day. So, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, just give us a little background of, of commercial fire protection and, and, and what you guys do.
Mikiah Jones: (04:06):
Okay. Well, I’m Mikiah
Curtis Jones: (04:08):
And I’m Curtis.
Mikiah Jones: (04:09):
And we work with commercial fire protection. Um, excuse me. It’s a company that my grandfather founded, um, in the eighties, started out working with plumbing as a plumbing contractor, and when he had the opportunity to start doing some work in the fire protection industry, he, he took it up because business was slow and eventually he sold off the plumbing part of the company and just focused on specializing in, in fire protection. So, Curtis and I are the third generation working for commercial fire protection in the fire sprinkler and industry. The alarm part of the company, commercial alarm and detection. Our sister company came along a little bit later as we expanded, kind of laterally to cover more aspects of fire protection, trying to be kind of a, a one-stop shop for everything that you could have in your fire protection system from, you know, extinguishers and backflows to the crazy stuff. Fire pumps and pre action and special hazards, alarm panels, alarm systems. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, even a little bit of security systems and burglar alarms.
Drew Slocum: (05:30):
So you get involved in everything really.
Mikiah Jones: (05:33):
Yeah. We’ve got mm-hmm. <affirmative>
Curtis Jones: (05:34):
Just about everything. I mean, usually it’s about, if it’s related to fire protection, we, we service it. Yeah. And we’re probably one of the few local, uh, contractors in our area that is certified to work on and install and repair everything. Cuz that’s the way it is in Washington State. They have different levels of contractor for the fire protection stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,
Drew Slocum: (05:58):
Right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right. Yeah. It’s different all around the country, but that, that’s good. It seems like the northwest is, uh, it’s, uh, they do more, uh, avenues of fire protection than others.
Mikiah Jones: (06:09):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. It’s pretty tightly regulated over here, which is good cuz you know, you wanna make sure that everything’s done right and it’s gonna work when you need it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but yeah, it’s nice that we’re able to, you know, we can do the whole thing from install and maintenance and repairs and emergency calls, you know, can take care of the whole That’s
Drew Slocum: (06:31):
Great. The whole, so what do you, uh, what do you, uh, what are, what are each your roles within commercial fire?
Mikiah Jones: (06:38):
So, I work assisting the management team in our service department. Um, the last couple years I’ve been focusing on implementing and, and managing our service department software and all the devices. Um, keeping that process moving forward and doing the paperless transition.
Curtis Jones: (07:00):
Yeah. And I’m, uh, cer I’m just a service technician. I, you know, do the testing. Um, do we just, everything we do, basically we do backflows, extinguishers, uh, systems. Uh, I don’t do too much with the special hazards. I might help out on a couple of those projects.
Drew Slocum: (07:21):
You’re not just a service technician. That’s, that’s where the process starts. <laugh>,
Mikiah Jones: (07:26):
You’re the reason that we in the back office exists.
Drew Slocum: (07:29):
Mikiah Jones: (07:30):
Make the real money <laugh>.
Drew Slocum: (07:32):
Yeah. It’s funny, when we developed the platform, and we’ll get into it a little bit, we, we really focus, there’s two keys to the, the platform. It’s the, the, the service technician, the inspector, the service tech, um, you know, the licensed fire protection technician, whatever you want to call yourself. And then the back office, back office is just as key as the service technician. But the process does start and it can end right at that technician, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So you really gotta focus on that piece.
Mikiah Jones: (08:00):
Drew Slocum: (08:01):
Well, that’s great. Well, tha thanks for coming on and, and talking about commercial fire and, um, uh, kind of your impact within spec point. Um, uh, what, what is, I guess, you know, the world’s changing, you know, it seems to be day to day and all that. What have you guys experienced anything? Uh, I mean, what, what is your realm in for commercial fire? Are you, uh, mostly install? Do you do mostly inspection and service? What does it make up usually?
Mikiah Jones: (08:32):
Um, it’s pretty balanced. Yeah. Um, we do a lot of install work. I don’t work with that part of the company as much. Um, but it always, they really go hand in hand Sure. That whenever there’s install, we try to take care of them after the fact and keep going with their testing and, and maintenance and such. Especially it’s under warranty. Right. Um, but also, you know, when when things slow down a bit, you know, when there’s economic downturns, you know, the service department keeps going even if the construction industry slows down a bit. Um, so they really support each other. Right. Um, we probably have roughly the same amount of service techs as we do install techs. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, I think we’re around 10 each.
Curtis Jones: (09:21):
Yeah. It’s kind of hard for us to keep track what goes on on the install side, cuz in Washington state is totally, totally opposite, like, uh, certifications and whatnot. You have to be a, a pipe fitter to do the installs, but pipe fitting stuff is totally unrelated to the i t and M stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> required,
Drew Slocum: (09:41):
So Yeah. That’s interesting. And
Mikiah Jones: (09:43):
They work. Mm-hmm. They work really early in the morning <laugh>. Yeah. Don’t the service side, we, we try to stick to nine to five when our, when our customers are awake.
Drew Slocum: (09:54):
Well, yeah. You also have to get up at 2:00 AM and fix that, that break. Right. Oh,
Curtis Jones: (09:59):
Yeah. That, that happens.
Mikiah Jones: (10:01):
The, the emergency calls and the night are always fun. Yeah.
Drew Slocum: (10:04):
Yeah. The reason I ask that is it’s, it’s good to get a good, uh, overview of, it seems that the companies that are involved in inspection and, and service, and I’ve talked about this on previous podcasts, are gonna be, you know, there’s gonna be, there’s already been some economic disturbance. Right. And what are we gonna do going forward? Depends on where you’re in the country. But, um, you know, backlogs seem to be diminishing a little bit, so the companies with that inspection and service, uh, realm are gonna get through it like they did in 2008 and
Mikiah Jones: (10:36):
Drew Slocum: (10:37):
You know, and then before that. So, um, so you’re already set up and you kind of have a lot of that optimized, which is great. Mm-hmm.
Mikiah Jones: (10:44):
<affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. We were really glad that we started this process before. Um, so that now when we’re trying to do more contactless and, you know, working from home, um, we’re able to still dispatch work out to the techs, um, even though our office has been dispersed, um, and also the techs are able to do the testing and turn it in without having to hand papers over and, you know, bring things into the office and transfer that information. It’s, it’s been really nice being able to do it all paperless and contactless and just keep things flowing smoothly through all this craziness that’s been going on.
Drew Slocum: (11:29):
Yeah. Yeah. You don’t have to, uh, you know, your customers can be virtual and you can send all the, the information to them as well. Same thing with fire marshals.
Curtis Jones: (11:38):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. <affirmative>.
Drew Slocum: (11:40):
So, uh, that gets into my kind of next question. What, uh, I mean, that’s, that’s a great result of, uh, of inspect point, but what, you know, I think you’ve been with the platform for about a year and a half, um, or so what, uh, why did you choose it? What, what went into that process? And, um, I guess what have your experiences been so far?
Mikiah Jones: (12:03):
Well, I did a lot of research. Um, this has been something that was in the works kind of as a, a goal for several years. And I got the project, so I, I did a lot of research. I interviewed and did demos with about eight different service Oh, wow. Provider companies. I didn’t
Drew Slocum: (12:21):
Know it was many service software, <laugh>, <laugh>,
Mikiah Jones: (12:25):
And narrowed it down kind of to three top ones. And eventually it came down to Inspect Point, just being the best fit. Um, because you’re kind of a, a newer company, um, really, and I really appreciated how dynamic the platform is and how it was able to be customized kind of to fit our
Sure. Our workflow and our needs. Um, whenever I had issues or, or questions, I could send you an email and, you know, it would be, you know, I’d have a solution right away. And I just really liked how we were able to kind of grow with the platform. Right. In a way, and being part of this beta testing has, has just been another aspect of that. You know, it’s a feature that we kind of talked about when I was doing those initial interviews, and now being able to be part of the process influenced the way that tool is built, um, was really something that I saw being a possibility, and I really liked that. Yep. Instead of, you know, a different company maybe has their whole software just locked in place and they’re like, this is the way we do it, and if you wanna use it, you do it this way. Yeah. And which is, is good in some circumstances, but I really appreciate the flexibility of inspect points. Yeah. How we’ve been able to really make it work for us.
Drew Slocum: (14:01):
Yeah. No, that, that’s great. I mean, we, we try to make it as, as flexible as possible. We’ve, we’ve kind of focused on the fire protection realm, uh, industry, and that’s where my background is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but there was also a need for something like this. I, I feel like there were, there were decent platforms out there that had been around for, for, you know, 20 years or so, but they weren’t, um, a lot of ’em weren’t cloud-based and they had to convert to the cloud and it, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they weren’t, they weren’t open to customizing to your kind of business workflow, so. Right. Um, and then the, the other side of that, there’s a lot of service platforms out there that, you know, they’re great for your H V A C contractors, your, um, pest control contractors, which, you know, if you can sell that to a broad range of industries, you know, you get a lot more exposure. So, you know, right. Great for H V A C, great for pest control, but fire protections and it’s so niche and it’s tied to the code and there’s so many intricacies to it that you, you kind of need to be a little more flexible. So I’m, I’m glad you brought that up. Um, so, uh, what, what, what methods were you using before? Were you guys on pen and paper? Pdf?
Curtis Jones: (15:18):
Yeah, we were definitely, uh, all about those. Carbon qua carbon copy quadrupling Oh boy. Forms. Oh, you know, the, oh yeah. That, so this is, this has really been a, a huge change for us, at least for the service techs. Cause uh, before you would get, you know, one of those carbon copies from, uh, the tech who did the same place last year, and really how prepared you were, depended on, uh, on their handwriting, how hard they pressed when they were writing it out. Oh boy. And, uh, also whether they, they were able to turn it in. So it’s really been a, uh, a huge, I personally, I think, a huge improvement because, you know, you’re able to keep track of where things are, you know, things don’t get lost. And, uh, as with those, those paper reports, there’s only so much you can fit on a piece of paper. Right. You know? Right. Especially when you try and keep it in something that, that isn’t overwhelming, you know, so trying to keep it on a single piece of paper, you know, there’s only so many questions, uh, only so much room for notes. Right. But, uh,
Mikiah Jones: (16:27):
Yeah. And you’re only gonna be able to get the tech to write so much stuff because they have to write it out all by hand. Yeah. And they don’t wanna be copying the same information every year.
Curtis Jones: (16:36):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yes. Yeah. And then you knows, it would really become a hassle sometimes when we do some of our bigger clients where they have, you know, several sites, you know, with several different addresses and systems and, you know, for a single job you’re filling out 30 reports or something. Sure. You know, it’s, it get, it would really, a lot of things would end up slipping through the cracks there. So
Drew Slocum: (16:59):
What is it, what have been, I know your point of view occurs it would’ve been the other technician’s point of view, cuz you know, technicians are very experienced down to, you know, ones, you know, that are pretty young coming out, coming into the industry. Mm-hmm. Has there been a, a difference between, you know, the seasoned veteran technician versus the, the newer one?
Curtis Jones: (17:21):
Uh, I think definitely being a newer technician, you know, only been doing this not quite three years yet, but, uh, definitely not having as much of a habit, you know, as much of a set way made it easier to get used to a different way of doing things. Sure. Because, you know, in spec point, you do have to learn, you know, with any program you would just have to learn how to use the program. It’s a different tool. But, um, I think most of our techs now that are out there, you know, they’ve pretty much figured it out by now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, after about a year, everybody, we, we don’t really get too many, uh, issues with it other than you forgot to sign the form. Right. Yeah. You know, it’s about the only thing. Yeah.
Mikiah Jones: (18:08):
Yeah. Even we have a few older techs that, you know, weren’t really comfortable with using the iPads or weren’t really comfortable with technology and they really adapted really well, and I think they appreciate having all the information that they need, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, we have the old reports in there. We’ve got all the valves, the history, the contact information, you know, pictures and maps that we can load in as they need it. And I think they’ve come to appreciate having all that at the tips of their fingers.
Drew Slocum: (18:46):
No, that’s great. Yeah. And there’s, there’s even more stuff coming out with, um, you know, kind of transitioning into that is you, you, uh, or we actually announced it this morning. We had a big webinar, um, uh, for our service and work order module. And that’s, that’s been probably the biggest release in our platform, uh, to date, you know, in the, in the seven years or so that we’ve been doing this. But, uh, you know, we’ve had inspection, we’ve, we’ve tied that to a lot of the different N F P A style reports out there. We’ve can customize that per the HJ as well, you know, full California feature for, for the California forms down there. But, um, uh, you know, we, we, we had that process worked out pretty early on. We, we then had this idea we need to get service out because, uh, service and work orders, yes, inspections a big piece of the company, but a lot of times it’s driven by how much service you’re producing.
So that’s mm-hmm. <affirmative> a lot where the real dollars come in. So we knew we kind of needed to get into that. So we, we created this full proposal feature, which, which got out quotes for your customers, um, which kind of roll rate into that service and work order module. So it’s been really exciting. Um, I think they’ve been working on it for probably six to nine months at this point. Um, you know, with that, we had this, it’s probably, we’ve, they’ve had two or three big releases. This by far the biggest one. But we had this beta program, um, which I know you guys were involved in. You stepped right up to the plate. We, we put it out to pretty much every customer. But you guys signed up for that pretty, uh, pretty quick. What, what, uh, yeah, what was that process like and, uh, what, what did you like about it?
Mikiah Jones: (20:35):
Um, it was, it was really good. Um, when we started out, we were kind of just messing with the module, seeing what we could do with it. Um, Curtis is always my Guinea pig. Um, <laugh>. I would, you know, make up test jobs and send him to his iPad and call and say, Hey, what does this look like? What, what can you do? How do, how does this work? How does it feel when you’re in the field? Sure. And, you know, then as we worked through it and got more instructions and, and training from Jennifer, I was able to put it on the iPads for a few of our, our testing techs that are more technology savvy and was able to get feedback from them that I passed on to the development team. And is, it’s just worked really well. It seems to be a pretty smooth transition, um, from scheduling in the office to getting it on the iPad and then getting the work back. Um, it, the beta testing program really felt pretty natural. Really.
Drew Slocum: (21:43):
Yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s great to hear cuz it’s, it, it, it’s, we’ve done ’em before, but this is, this was very official. Jennifer and her customer success team and our customer success team put it kind of put everybody through the ringer. Um, got a lot of feedback. Uh, did what? There’s any specific feedback that you did give that you remember?
Mikiah Jones: (22:04):
Yeah. Um, I got a, a request from one of the technicians that they’d be able to add in a, a file attachment
Drew Slocum: (22:12):
Oh yeah. From the
Mikiah Jones: (22:13):
Field. And that’s now a live feature. Um, I sent in some emails about, um, having a more dynamic text field that could expand when you put a lot of notes in the problem description and they got that out right away. And also, um, having more options for filtering mm-hmm. <affirmative> in the backend. So to filter by tech by status, um, you know, all the, all the different filtering options. So you can really narrow down like, what do I still need to process and get through to billing. Um, which that, that feature is also live.
Drew Slocum: (22:54):
Yeah. I know it’s going, it’s going fully live, I think believe this weekend. But, um, yeah, we kind of have the full workflow with that now. And, uh, thank you for all the help with within that beta, you know, <laugh>, you’re, you’re the one using it every day. We’re not using it. So
Mikiah Jones: (23:10):
A frequent flyer with the support emails.
Drew Slocum: (23:13):
Yeah. No, that’s good. Um, have you used, I know we have this and, and this is kind of, kind of transitioned to little tidbits on some next pieces of the platform. Um, have you seen anything with the material lists or the material, uh, with the service and work orders yet? Have you messed with that?
Mikiah Jones: (23:33):
I, I poked around in it a little bit. I haven’t done a whole lot with it since we only have a few of our techs working with the beta program. Sure. I didn’t wanna roll it out until, you know, all the texts could be on the same page. Um, but I did see Jennifer going through and, and teaching, demonstrating how that materials list works and it, you can really, you can really put a lot in there, <laugh>.
Drew Slocum: (24:04):
Yeah. There’s, there’s a lot to the platform, but there’s a lot to this, this service piece, the material. Um, and this came from my background being coming from Viking Supply and that, and then Tyco Ansel before that. Um, but you’re able to upload your material list that you would need for a job or, you know, you know, there’s thousands and thousands of, of sprinkler items out there. There’s thousands and thousands of alarm devices out there. Um, you know, similarly on the suppression side, all the different extinguishers mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, um, you’re able to upload that via CSV or Excel into the platform with your costing. And then you could actually put that, put a price in there. So when you do work up a quote, whether it’s in the field, whether it’s in the office, all of that materials there ready to go. Um, and what’s coming, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna put this out there now and I, I guess I better follow through with this, but, uh, <laugh>, we’re looking at partnering with, uh, various suppliers out there, um, on this material. So essentially you reached out to, you know, X vendor, they will then give you a list in, in spec points, formats pretty simple to CSV or Excel and it uploads your pricing immediately into there. So all of your quotations, all of the part numbers, all of your model numbers from tech, all the, all the way to the back office kinda line up.
Mikiah Jones: (25:31):
Drew Slocum: (25:31):
So, um, and then we have some advanced features coming with that as well. Um, that I won’t get into just yet cuz I don’t wanna put pressure on Jennifer and the development team yet. Yeah. Um, but yeah, I mean you can use this, you know, you can kind of customize it to your workflow or do what you guys have done and kind of pick away at it, you know, over, you know, last 18 months you’ve probably implemented day one looked different than day 90, right? Oh yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that looked different from a year, from year into it.
Mikiah Jones: (26:07):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it’s, it’s interesting getting to where we are in the year we’re testing locations through in inspect point that we did through Inspect Point last year. Right. And coming back around to those inspections. Sometimes it’s like, what in the world were we doing last year? <laugh>? Yeah. This is, this isn’t right at all. You know, as our, as our flow has changed and we’ve really figured out how the platform is supposed to work, circling back around to these places that we’ve tested before, we’re able to fine tune all the information that we have in there now and get it, you know, every time around gets a little better.
Drew Slocum: (26:46):
Yeah. I’m sure. And, um, if you do implement service with within the company, uh, we, we, we tile that service to the inspection as well. So, hey, if you, you know, if you fix a valve or you, you know, fix a mm-hmm. <affirmative> alarm device somewhere the next inspection you go there, that technician is gonna immediately sees that service documentation of what happened mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, even if it wasn’t on an inspection, if it was just on a, you know, a random service call. So that’s, it’s always great information.
Mikiah Jones: (27:19):
Yeah. And it, it makes so much sense to have the service module because before, you know, we would do an inspection and find all these issues and then, you know, they’ve turned in the inspection, we have to go through a different system and send them with some paper work orders to go and do the repair. Right. And then it, it got kind of confusing trying to get those paperwork orders back Sure. Because they’re used to doing it through inspect point. So it’s so nice just to have everything through one channel. Yeah. That it just, they, they flow naturally into each other.
Drew Slocum: (27:54):
No, no, that’s great. Great to hear. Um, anything else on the, on the work order module you wanted to chat about? It’s kind of all the questions I had so far.
Mikiah Jones: (28:04):
Um, yeah. The, the emergency calls feature is pretty cool. Um, from the field perspective.
Curtis Jones: (28:14):
Yeah. I’ve, uh, being able to, uh, plug in the emergency call, like all I get really is, uh, you know, a call from, from Mark. So it’s like, Hey, so and so they have a trip system or they had an alarm, uh, can you go reset it? I was like, okay. And I just, uh, grab my tablet and I’m able to, through a few clicks, just add in an emergency call and then, you know, go do it. Write down what I did. But what’s really great about it is it doesn’t get forgotten. Right. Because what would happen a lot, especially during freeze break season, you know, the first freeze of the year, you know, you get all, it gets, you know, nuts cuz uh, like not all the inspection and testing companies around here can do repairs. So we end up getting not only our customers that, you know, didn’t drain their drains, but we end up getting a bunch of other people mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, trying to get their stuff fixed. So we just end up with so many extra emergency calls that many years in the past, you know, stuff would just slip through the cracks cuz you’re just writing stuff down on post-it notes or whatever, trying to make sure you keep track of what you did. Yeah.
Mikiah Jones: (29:27):
And every technician’s going off to five different emergency calls. Yeah. Things get a little crazy,
Curtis Jones: (29:32):
But now, you know, you just plug it in. Now it’s getting kept track of and you know what you did and you’ll be able to remember,
Drew Slocum: (29:41):
Uh, how long you did stuff. Yeah. You know, and then it shoots it back for an invoice or, or processing the office. Exactly. Things actually get billed <laugh> same, same day, hopefully, you know, <laugh>
Mikiah Jones: (29:53):
And you don’t have to call your service writer at two in the morning to have them put in an inspection. Oh, that’s, yeah. You could just do it from the field, which is really, really cool.
Drew Slocum: (30:03):
Yeah, I know we added that I think probably during this beta. We didn’t have that initially and it was pretty early on. We’re like, yeah. You know, and so if somebody’s on call, we’re gonna, we’re gonna need to implement that. Mm-hmm.
Mikiah Jones: (30:16):
Drew Slocum: (30:17):
No, that’s great. Um, and I know we have some, uh, scheduling and dispatching coming out. We, we’ve got a, um, an integrated map. Um, I think that should be done by the end of the summer mm-hmm.
Mikiah Jones: (30:30):
<affirmative>, but, uh, something out there, I’m really, really excited to see the new scheduler come out when it, when it makes its way through the process, that that looks like a really exciting tool as well.
Drew Slocum: (30:41):
Yeah. Yeah. That’ll, that’ll be good for work orders and then and pending inspections, but, uh, no, it’s great. I’m glad, I’m glad, uh, um, that you were involved in the process and, and got involved with some of that. So, um, I guess kinda transitioning, uh, to the future, I guess where, I guess what, what has inspect point or just a conversion to this new digital age? Um, where does it put commercial fire and, and where do you want it to go? You know, five, you know, a few years down the road. Is there any, is there any aspirations? I know you’re the third gen, the third generations of the <laugh>, uh, of the company, but, um, I, I’m always intrigued on, on what your, you know, one year plan is versus your five year plan. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>
Mikiah Jones: (31:32):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, well, it’s been really helpful for the company, I think to bring our, our reporting up to more modern standards. I think we’re able to do much more thorough job on our reporting and, and get a better picture of what the systems really look like to the customer and to the fire marshal, especially as more fire marshals are requiring, um, online and third party reporting mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, we’re one of the primary service companies in our area. We don’t service a huge area. We have five, five counties that we work in. But as one of the, the larger service providers in that area, we’re really trying to get more efficient in serving our customers. Um, we kind of serve a, a dense group of customers through, you know, through local business relationships and through just being local. Um, and we have a really good service team right now, but trying to continue to improve our communication between us and the customer and us and the fire marshal and to improve that efficiency. Our have a quick turnaround when we find issues, getting ’em taken care of really quickly. Um, getting the customer their information and also focusing on our, on our local area so that when there are issues we can be there as quickly as possible. And, you know, they, they know that they can count on us being there to fix the problem as soon as Sure. You know, as soon as we can. Um, just to try to continue to build that local customer base and do our best to really take care of them
Drew Slocum: (33:28):
Now. That, that’s great. I, uh, you kind of hit, hit a little point in there of, of the third party compliance software, so, um, you know, hopefully in the near future I’ll have another podcast about that. But, uh, yeah, we’re looking at some third party integrations out there, which, um, yeah.
Mikiah Jones: (33:46):
That’s, that’s exciting too. It is.
Drew Slocum: (33:49):
It helps everybody. It helps, you know, it helps, it helps the ahj, it helps the contractor, it helps the building owner and it, it actually helps the software companies too, so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, hopefully, you know, we have something kind of going by the end of the year, but that’s, it’s really exciting if we can get that into play. Um, because it just, it does help all the parties cuz it’s, it’s all communicating together. But, um, uh, anything else? Any Curtis and you kind of mirroring what mm-hmm. <affirmative> what mackay is saying on, on where you wanna go. I mean, yeah. How long have you been a technician with? Uh, commercial,
Curtis Jones: (34:31):
Like I said, not quite three years yet. I’m still, uh, trying to work on getting, you know, all my nice set mm-hmm. <affirmative> certifications and, uh, uh, hopefully, you know, get to level three not too long for now. Oh,
Drew Slocum: (34:44):
Curtis Jones: (34:45):
Wow. Who knows? Uh, I guess the, the, the hour requirements, the years, that might take a little bit longer. Sure. But, um, Uhhuh. Yeah. And I think it’s just been really great working here with commercial fire. I mean, it seems like one of the main differences between us and some of the guys that we compete with around here is, is really a employee kind of focus company and customer focus, not so much, I mean, I almost never hear anything from my managers about, you know, having to make money. Right. It’s usually about, you know, making sure we get things done and do it right. Right. And keep everybody safe. So it’s, uh, really good work environment and it’s really great being able to also do all this work and not have to, you know, travel all the way across the state or something. We’re able to stay pretty local and almost everything that I know of, unless it’s something crazy, you know, gets repaired same day if possible. Wow. You know, special things need to get ordered. Sure. You know, so it’s really a level of service that blows away a lot of our customers. So you gotta keep that up.
Drew Slocum: (35:54):
Yeah. Yeah. Keep that up. Don’t tell too many people about it. Sorry. The podcast out there, <laugh>.
Mikiah Jones: (36:02):
They, they keep us busy.
Drew Slocum: (36:03):
Yeah. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. No, that’s great. Um, well that’s, that’s all the questions I have. I, I mean, I’m, I’m gonna move into our, our quick response round, which if you’ve heard any of the podcast before, I kind of throw, I don’t, I don’t know you two that well. So, uh, these may may be a little off the wall, so we’ll, uh, try to have a little fun with it. Um, so I usually, it is just a quick response. Just give me an answer and we’re kind of gonna go from there. I, I know being, um, in the, uh, you know, the Washington state area you have, um, are, are you both coffee drinkers?
Curtis Jones: (36:41):
Drew Slocum: (36:42):
Mikiah Jones: (36:42):
So he’s a coffee snob.
Drew Slocum: (36:43):
All, all right. All right. There we go. So do you prefer, you know, the nice local brand of Starbucks, or would you, or do you go more niche than that and, and find your local coffee roaster and, and, uh, and, and buy from them?
Curtis Jones: (36:58):
Um, I’m sorry. Starbucks isn’t really that good, man. It’s <laugh>. They, they burn everything. <laugh>, but no, we definitely like the, like the more local places. We, I think we got a subscription going with Black Oak Coffee. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they’re actually from California, but man, it’s good stuff. California
Mikiah Jones: (37:19):
Good coffee. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there’s,
Drew Slocum: (37:20):
We have podcast
Curtis Jones: (37:21):
Notes. Maybe they should give us a discount.
Drew Slocum: (37:23):
Mikiah Jones: (37:24):
In our, in our small town here, we have about 15 different local coffee shops. Yeah. Wow. Um, if you include the two Starbucks <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, there’s a lot of coffee here.
Drew Slocum: (37:38):
Yeah. I was out in Seattle, I don’t know, probably seven or eight years ago at this point. And, um, I mean, I know that’s south of where you are, but there, it’s just, it’s just coffee everywhere. It’s kind of, I, I, I lived in Brooklyn for, for 11 years and it was, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there was roasters and, you know, it’s, uh, it’s kind of a cool space to be in
Mikiah Jones: (37:58):
<laugh>. Yeah. We were, we were in New York for a couple years as well, and I went into a little bit of shock when I went over there and there’s no, there’s no drive through coffee stands.
Drew Slocum: (38:09):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you gotta walk, you gotta, everybody’s walking, so you have to, you have to, you gotta walk <laugh>.
Mikiah Jones: (38:16):
What’s up with this? Where love the coffee.
Drew Slocum: (38:19):
You gotta, you gotta get it from the, uh, the cart on the street, which is the worst coffee ever.
Curtis Jones: (38:24):
Mikiah Jones: (38:25):
Drew Slocum: (38:26):
Mikiah Jones: (38:27):
Drew Slocum: (38:28):
<laugh>. Ah, that’s funny. Um, Curtis, this is a little question for you. I, I, I know you work, do you prefer sprinkler or suppression work, or are you just on one side?
Curtis Jones: (38:41):
No, I, I don’t do too much on, on suppression. I mean, like I said, I, I might be a helper for one of our more our, our special hazards guy. Uh, but I, I mostly do sprinklers and I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty fun, uh, doing sprinklers.
Drew Slocum: (38:59):
That, that being said, what’s your, what’s your favorite sprinkler system to work on?
Curtis Jones: (39:04):
Like, like you mean type or type or are
Drew Slocum: (39:06):
You going brand
Curtis Jones: (39:07):
And valve or
Drew Slocum: (39:08):
Something? No, no brand. I don’t, I don’t give brand loyalty here, but <laugh>
Curtis Jones: (39:12):
Drew Slocum: (39:14):
Um, now, yeah, just type, you know, wet, dry, Daish, pre action, water mist, fire pump.
Curtis Jones: (39:20):
I mean, uh, it all depends so much on, on how it’s installed, man. Because, you know, a, a well installed and, and maintained, you know, pre-action and fire pump can be a, a blast. But, you know, a a really crummy, installed wet system can be a huge headache, but it could also be the other way around. So it all depends. If it’s a good install, man, a good install is really, really nice to work on.
Drew Slocum: (39:47):
Yeah. It makes, makes things much easier.
Mikiah Jones: (39:50):
You, you seem to have fun with the big fire pump flow tests.
Curtis Jones: (39:53):
Yeah. Make, making big pedals is lots of fun. <laugh>, that’s <laugh>.
Drew Slocum: (39:58):
It is all, all the in, I follow a few people in, in New York City and elsewhere on, on, on Instagram and some of the other social media, and it’s all, it’s something always to do with a fire pump, you know? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> throwing water off a roof or, you know,
Curtis Jones: (40:13):
We have pretty good water around here. There aren’t too many fire pumps, but when there are, they’re, they tend to be pretty big over here, so
Drew Slocum: (40:19):
Yeah. Yeah. I guess I see ’em a lot in New York City and, and all that, but, all right. Last, last quick hit or quick response question. Um, uh, I, I know, uh, how, how is the working relationship since you guys are, are in a relationship? <laugh>,
Curtis Jones: (40:38):
Drew Slocum: (40:40):
Curtis Jones: (40:41):
I don’t know. He,
Drew Slocum: (40:41):
I have to say that because my, you know, Jen and Pat, the CEO are mm-hmm. <affirmative> are, are both, you know, husband and wife. So I, I always Right. I always ask them the same question.
Mikiah Jones: (40:51):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well, I grew up basically working for the company and, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative> for my, my grandpa and my dad, my uncle. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think our whole family has worked there at some point or another. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and working with Curtis has just, has been really great. You know, I can, I can send him all my funny questions and <laugh>, you know, test, test stuff on the iPad on him, and I know that he has to put up with me <laugh>, even if it doesn’t work, um, you know, can’t get too irritated about me testing new, new things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that’s nice. And
Curtis Jones: (41:30):
No, I, I, I wouldn’t say there’s been any, any bad, any damage or anything from working together. No. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Drew Slocum: (41:38):
No, that’s, that’s great. It seems
Curtis Jones: (41:39):
Fun. Yeah. Yeah.
Drew Slocum: (41:40):
Mikiah Jones: (41:41):
That’s great. The, uh, family dinners are always a little fire protection focused
Curtis Jones: (41:46):
<laugh>. Yeah. It’s way too easy to just end up talking about work all the time and Yeah. It’s funny, you see some family members roll their eyes at it, so <laugh>.
Drew Slocum: (41:56):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get that. I get that too. My wife’s like, uh, you know, you gotta, you gotta talk, start talking about something else here, but <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. No, that’s great. No, it’s good. It’s good to see that. And it’s good to see that, uh, you guys are doing well. Um, I do appreciate you being on the, you know, on the podcast today, giving some feedback. So, um, I guess let, let’s end this off. Where, where can, where can we find commercial fire? If you wanna give a plug, if you, you know, uh, you know where to find yourselves if you need to get in touch with you, but if, if it’s just your general website, that’s fine too.
Mikiah Jones: (42:32):
Yeah, we’re located in Mount Vernon, Washington. Um, we have a new website that should be live coming up very soon, um, commercial fire.com. And so that’s
Drew Slocum: (42:46):
Exciting. Wow. You got that. Ur that’s a good one.
Curtis Jones: (42:49):
Mikiah Jones: (42:49):
<laugh>. Um, we’re, you know, any, any questions or anything, you can always email us. Uh, office email is service one c fire pro.com. Our phone number is (360) 848-9093. And we have very friendly, very friendly service department people that would be happy to, to answer any questions.
Drew Slocum: (43:13):
<laugh>. Great. Very great. Well, yeah, I appreciate, uh, Curtis and McKay for you guys coming on today and, um, no problem. Yeah, it’s been great. Hopefully, uh, a lot more here coming in the future.
Mikiah Jones: (43:25):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, sounds good. Looking forward to it. Yep.
Drew Slocum: (43:28):
This was episode 23 of the Fire Protection Podcast, powered by Inspect Point. Again, I want to thank my guest, McKay Jones and Curtis Jones of Commercial Fire Protection. Uh, one quick note that McKay did tell me, uh, their website is commercial fire.net not.com. Uh, she quickly emailed me and reminded me just to update that. So, uh, thank you for all the listeners, and hopefully this is a little, I know it’s a little different, uh, podcast to talk about Spec Point, but it’s been a, a big project over the years, this, this whole software platform and, and we’re really excited to get it out to the, to the industry and, uh, see some feedback. So make sure to subscribe and, and liked the podcast. Talk to you soon. I want to thank Joe Meyer again for being on the podcast today. Meyer fire.com, Meyer Fire llc. Joe’s got a lot going, uh, wealth of knowledge from the professional engineering world, uh, on his site and with his firm. So, uh, yeah, I appreciate all the listenership. Uh, we’ve got a, a, a nice series coming up with a few more podcasts as well. We’ll as we’ll be talking about, uh, one with some pretty large features within Spec point that are coming out in August. So stay tuned and stay safe.