CEO Warrior Member Opens a Garage Door That Ultimately Drives His Company to Huge Success
In 2001, Vince Heuser moved his concrete business from Kentucky to Florida to meet the demand for skilled wall pourers. It was a lucrative seven-year ride, until the bottom dropped out of the new construction market in 2008. Suddenly jobless, in an industry with no foreseeable future, Vince returned to Kentucky to reinvent himself. He went to work for a garage door company, thinking he could eventually buy a franchise. 90 days later, he left to start his own garage door company, Absolute Overhead Door. In 2019, Vince launched Absolute Services to tap the plumbing and HVAC market and grew both businesses, now on track to hit
$17 million this year. And both companies have made Inc. Magazine’s list of 5000 growing private companies, three years in a row.
Vince’s garage door business did well for a while, but eventually hit a four-year period of stagnation. Realizing he lacked processes and didn’t understand marketing as well as he thought he did, Vince turned to books and podcasts for answers. He listened to a podcast with CEO Warrior Co-Founder Mike Agugliaro, read his book and decided he wanted in.
“CEO Warrior invited me to a Service Business Live event,” says Vince. “They claimed I would learn everything I needed to know at that event. I met guys generating big revenue in their HVAC and plumbing divisions, and quickly saw what my garage door company was doing wrong. We had no system for running calls. I took what I learned at Service Business Live back to Kentucky, implemented check lists, tracked average tickets and closing rates, and overnight, every technician doubled their output.” Then Vince tapped into the CEO Warrior Den. “I lived in the Den and implemented everything. Revenues doubled in a month, and my mindset changed because I saw what was possible.”
When Vince joined CEO Warrior in March of 2019, revenues for his garage door business were at $1 million. By the end of the year, he had hired nine technicians and a service manager who he took to another Service Business Live event, just six months into membership. “At that meeting, I heard CEO Warrior talk about multiple trades, so I decided I would add plumbing and HVAC divisions, and I would do it within 90-days. CEO Warrior advised against building a division that quickly, but because I like a challenge, I did it in 60.”
“We were terrible at HVAC at first because we didn’t have quality installers,” Vince lamented. “It was a big mistake for me to think that just because someone had a state issued license, he could do the work. So, I stepped up the resume and interview process.” Vince also made the mistake of thinking service managers would be as driven to grow his business as he is. After burning through two of them, he promoted one of his dedicated HVAC techs who now runs the HVAC division. Vince says, “I took him to Service Business Live, where he engaged with CEO Warrior and got excited about the process and growing the business. He has been a major asset to our growth ever since.”
In 2020, Vince was approached by an experienced electrician who offered to start an electrical division. Vince decided to move forward, but after six months of offering the service, the electrician moved away. Dedicated to continuing to grow the division, Vince hired a long-time friend who was teaching electrical at a local high school. He took him to Service Business Live, and as a result, the two-year-old division will hit $2.5 million this year. “The demand for electrical work from our HVAC division propelled our electrical division because of add-ons to existing systems that require mini splits,” says Vince. “Rather than being dependent on other electrical contractors to do the work, we do it ourselves.”
Absolute Services went from the lowest level of CEO Warrior membership to emperor status in just eight months. Serving customers in Louisville, Lexington, and Elizabethtown Kentucky, Vince grew his company to $3 million in 2019, $5 million in 2020, and $10 million in 2021, and is confident he will hit $17 million this year. Because he had the foresight to apply CEO Warrior’s systems and processes to garage door sales and service, that division continues to be a major part of his success, owning 40% of the business.
Vince plans to more than double revenues next year. “We would have doubled this year, but I had to fire almost my entire plumbing department from leadership down,” Vince says with regret. “I made bad hiring decisions and didn’t have a purchase order process.” These mistakes led to $50,000 in employee theft of services and products used for side jobs, so he fired his entire plumbing department in June of this year and started over.
“We no longer give techs the ability to buy things at will,” says Vince. “They go through a process to get beyond what’s available in the warehouse. I would be a lot better off if I would always listen to the advice CEO Warrior gives me. They just did a site visit and pointed out every inefficiency in my business, most due to a fast rate of growth.
We weren’t showing up to install jobs on time, and our dispatch methodology isn’t where it should be. So, we’re working on it.” Vince says he also ‘stubbed his toe’ in HVAC, bringing people in who didn’t buy into company processes. “They wanted to do things their way, and it impacted our margins.” HVAC processes are really dialed in now, with 6-7 full installs per day, and expecting to be in the 20 per day range next year. “I make a point to get all techs to Road Warrior technician training, something I value, implement, and follow across all trades. We also have a stellar management team now, and new in-house training in sales and technical that we do twice a week. It’s propelled the HVAC division.”
Without CEO Warrior, Vince says he’s 100% certain he wouldn’t be where he is today. “I never would have had the guts to take on more divisions. I’ve never worked in plumbing or HVAC, but CEO Warrior told me how to do it and encouraged me along the way.” He also may not have been inspired to open a side business that is now the largest wholesale garage door company in Kentucky. “We’ll do $9 million with that business this year, selling garage doors to Absolute competitors.
No desire to retire
Vince is a professed workaholic with no plans to retire any time soon. He says he will most likely work until the day he dies. “I wouldn’t be happy not running a business. I was tempted to sell when my plumbing division was failing, but Mike Disney, Chief Operating Officer of CEO Warrior, talked some sense into me. I realize I could sell my business and never work again, but I want to continue to build a future for my family and the business we work in together.” Given his competitive nature, Vince has some other aspirations as well. “I want to hit $100 million by 2026.” I want to be the big guy nationally and be in the one percent of the one percent club.”