Russ: Hi, I’m Russ Capper and this is Green Bank Business Builders. My guest today, Don Valentine, Owner and CEO of John Moore Services. Don, welcome to the show.
Don: Thank you, glad to be here.
Russ: You bet. So, for those who haven’t heard the commercial, ‘Call John and get more,’ tell us about John Moore.
Don: John Moore Services is a complete home service company, meaning therefor residential services for all of greater Houston. Our approach is to build a business around the customer. This is a family business, so bring that family spirit, that family culture to an old business and build it around benefitting the customer.
Russ: And today I think you’re on a pretty rapid growth path. Would that be right?
Don: We’ve been blessed, yes sir. We’re one of the largest, certainly the largest family owned home service company in greater Houston and one of the bigger companies. Big enough to know how to do the job right, but small enough to care.
Russ: It’s pretty easy to notice that you’ve expanded the services along the way. It just sort of made me feel a lot of business people like to try to do that but it’s not always easy. Has it come easily for you?
Don: Yes, because essentially the business we’re in is not plumbing, or air conditioning, or electrical. We are in the trust business. And so, the neat thing about it, we had a long history, a long relationship with customers as a plumbing company, and they actually would call us and ask, ‘Do you do AC repairs?’ And, a few more of those calls, and started looking at it, so we launched air conditioning officially in late ’97. And then customers would ask about, they started asking believe it or not about pest control. And so, we launched that business in ’98. And then, I think it was electrical service in 2005, and remodeling in 2010. We also had customers asking about financing of the work, so we started a separate company called Old Union Financial that does lending to our customers for John Moore Services.
Russ: Ok, interesting, financial services. So, we found you through Green Bank, so what do they think about you going into financial services?
Don: It was an interesting thing to start. Why would somebody in a home services business want to get in the financial business? And really, also a function of what was happening in 2007 and 2008 when the economy across the nation started slowing down, financial firms started tightening the strings. It became very hard for our customers to get loans and I saw an opportunity there. Approaching it differently than a normal financial company, looking at it not through a computer program but actually getting to know the customer. So, I hired an individual that was an expert, he helped me set it up, actually got me an appointment with Green Bank. I went in and told them what the vision was, and the dream, and why I believed it could be successful. And to Green Bank’s credit, and my appreciation, they did not look at the past they looked at the future. And they didn’t look at the numbers they looked at the person. They looked at the success of John Moore and they invested. It’s been very successful for both of us.
Russ: Back to this phrase, ‘Call John and get more;’ that actually started before you got here, right?
Don: Yes, I believe they started that in the mid 80’s, I believe, early 90’s. One of the first things I did when I joined was to take the call John and get more phrase and put it into the John Moore jingle.
Russ: So where do you see the company, say, five years from now? Do you ever plan to expand outside of Houston, Texas?
Don: When people ask me that question I go like this, I want to keep growing, but based on being the best and earning the right to be larger. As far as other cities, no not anytime in the near future. There’s still a lot of growth opportunity here in Houston. There’s economies of scale operationally and marketing-wise to focus right here. Whereas the industry trend is consolidation, big corporate owned entities. The big change in the industry in the twenty years I’ve been in it has gone from the single truck operators being 95% of the market to where it’s like 70% now big national conglomerates. We kind of are in that big category but it’s right here. We’re family owned, we’re keeping the money here in Houston. I have no desire to go outside. I don’t want to be a mile wide and an inch deep, I want to be a mile deep and an inch wide right here in Houston.
Russ: Well, Don, I really appreciate you sharing your story with us.
Don: Yes sir, Russ. My pleasure.
Russ: And that wraps up my discussion with Don Valentine, the Owner and CEO of John Moore. And this is Green Bank Business Builders.
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