Learning More and Doing it Right is Key to Triple Service Success
Gabe Wade was a plumber’s helper and ditch digger in high school. Eager to keep learning and doing things right, he got his plumbing license when he turned 21. Gabe is now the third-generation owner of Triple Service in Mendota, Illinois, working alongside his high school sweetheart, Michelle, his wife, and business partner. With guidance from Gabe’s parents, this dynamic duo has taken the company from $600,000 to $3.7 million.
“I started working in the business part time in 1996, answering the phone and processing paperwork. At that time, customers walked into our business to request services,” explains Michelle. “I wrote down what they needed and gave the order to Gabe or his dad. Then at 5:00, I put on my mom hat and headed home, while Gabe kept learning, always eager to learn more and do it right.”
Education, experience, and family values chart the course
A desire to be on the leading edge of education and knowledge led the Wades to One Hour, where they became franchise owners in 2003. At the end of their 10-year contract, they exited due to changes in the One Hour business model, and a commitment to staying true to their values. Gabe says, “We got back to the family values we always had. As you grow, you take your vision and continue to shift it with the times, always learning and evolving. We got to the point where there were no longer things we had to do, but things we wanted to do, based on what’s right for our clients. And that is always most important.”
Two years later, Gabe attended a CEO Warrior training event, now known as Service Business Live. During the experience, he called Michelle and asked, “I’ve found the missing piece for us.
Do you trust me?” “Absolutely,” she replied. Gabe’s intuition and Michelle’s vote of confidence resulted in a CEO Warrior membership that has propelled Triple Service to annual growth built on a foundation of hard work and good decisions. “Gabe has always liked having a group of people to bounce around basic and wild ideas,” says Michelle. Gabe adds, “We’ve learned by trial and error, but it’s better to learn from our fellow members. And CEO Warrior taught us how to work the numbers.”
Moving forward with CEO Warrior
Michelle also feels strongly that changing their marketing changed everything. As plumbers, Triple Service had always done bathroom remodels when requested by clients, but they never marketed remodeling. It’s now an option presented on every bathroom plumbing call, with particular attention to clients who express a desire to age in place. Michelle admits, “We bring it up and they say, ‘You do that?’ and the next thing we know, we’re doing a tub to shower conversion.”
The Wade’s value the unique skills of every Warrior member they encounter. Gabe describes it like this, “There is so much combined knowledge and experience that save us from costly errors, and it’s good to be there for each other as we face challenges.”
Gabe and Michelle get ongoing support from their individual Advisory Implementation Meeting (AIM) groups that they joined separately. One of the benefits of belonging to two groups is doubling the output of ideas and experiences. Michelle also values other benefits, stating, “It gives me the opportunity to speak honestly without my husband present.”
CEO Warrior and AIM group support was critical as Michelle and Gabe navigated through staff turnover in the aftermath of Covid-19. “We powered through the pandemic, without missing a day, but it took a toll on some employees, and some walked away,” says Michelle. “By putting significant revenue growth aside for a while and focusing on onboarding and training, we’ve been able to replace all but one person with great people who are eager and willing to learn.” Michelle is quick to give her husband credit for this smooth transition and describes him as a fabulous trainer. “Gabe has a way of captivating and engaging people. He makes them want to learn. When he trains, you feel his energy, and he engages shy people without them even knowing it.”
When it comes to clients, the Wades have found a better way to serve them with the help of CEO Warrior. They say they had a good baseline, but tweaked some things, along with implementing check lists, and set procedures for techs to follow, so they don’t get called back to a customer home. And after 20 years without providing electrical services, they’re back in that game with a staff electrician, resulting in additional revenue.
Honoring local veterans in need
Giving back to the communities they serve is important to Gabe and Michelle. Every year, with the help of community partners, Triple Service installs a new heating and cooling system in the home of a local veteran. Michelle describes their commitment to the Comfort a Hero program. “Members of both of our families served in the military, and we want to support veterans. Rheem Manufacturing donates the heating and cooling system, we donate installation, and a local radio station gets the word out to invite nominations. It’s been great to meet and help deserving veterans.”
As the Wades continue to move towards reaching $5 million, they’re pleased to be honored by CEO Warrior who has recognized Gabe as Ambassador of the Year. Gabe embodies the true Warrior spirit with his commitment to helping fellow warriors, learning more, and doing it right. Michelle proudly says, “People look up to Gabe for guidance. He values the life skill of working with your hands, he is always learning, and his mind is always in motion. Warrior helps us be true to ourselves while building our very best future and legacy.”