Above: Stacy (left) and Heather (right)
It’s no secret that we love our customers here at Funding Gates. We so enjoy getting to know each user, company, and industry that we wanted to share some of them with you all! We’re delighted to introduce everyone to one of our real users, Stacy, from Cano Electric in Texas.
In a rush? Skip straight to the Key Learnings at the end of this post to see what incredibly useful business lessons can be learned from Cano Electric’s best practices.
Faces of Funding Gates: Stacy Van Pelt
Position: Accounts Receivable & Billing
Company: Cano Electric, a family-owned and-operated business
Fort Worth, TX
About Cano Electric:
We’re an “On-Demand” electrical company. So we do not supply the electricity, but we furnish and sell and repair things that power electricity, from light fixtures to service wires running into homes, apartments, commercial buildings, to little things, such as repair requests like “my plug in my bathroom doesn’t work.” We primarily work with multi-family residential (apartments) and commercial buildings.
We say we are a “can do” company. This is sort of our logo, as a play on words. The motto is “Cano: A Can Do Company.”
How it all began:
The co owner (my boss), Larry Cano, has worked as an electrician himself for over 20 years! When Cano Electric started out, it was just Larry as a one-man operation for two years!
When things started taking off, his wife tried to help out as much as she could and then his older daughter, Heather, started working for him as the office manager. She’s the “brains of the operation”. I came on next (after working with Heather at another small company)!
Larry is an amazing boss to work for because he’s driven and ambitious, but he also really gives me and all the other employees the flexibility to feel empowered and make our own good decisions. Larry genuinely cares about his employees’ well being. If an electrician or other worker’s car gets a flat, but doesn’t get paid till Friday, Larry will lend them the money. He’ll help his employees out as if they are family.
The overall workplace culture is very supportive and everyone really values loyalty. Most people came from other family-owned businesses, and really love the small business mentality and culture.
In this office, there are more shared jokes and laughter than I’ve ever experienced at any other job, and I love it. I don’t know if I could ever not work for a family-owned business now that I know what it’s about.
What People Might Not Know About The Electric Industry:
There is a lot of training and education required to become “an electrician”. There are four years of apprenticeship, and that’s hands-on training, and then once they complete that four years, they have an intense exam (pass rate for the 2013 Journeymen test was only 21.4%). After that, they have required continuing education courses that they must take periodically to maintain their licensure.
There are three tiers of electricians: master electrician, journeyman (the journeyman level is required minimum on a job site), the apprentice.
Safety is a huge thing for this industry. We have monthly safety meetings with our technicians to go over topics like proper lifting or what to do in the event of an electric shock,
How Stacy Is Taking Her Job To The Next Level:
I enjoy my job very much, which may be surprising since it’s collections. I feel I can do so much more now that the Funding Gates app, The F|G Receivables Manager, has made my job so much more manageable. Overall, I get more done, which makes me feel more fulfilled.
I have been able to start accomplishing more at work since the actual process of collecting on past due invoices has been simplified (thanks to the app!). I now have the time to research ways to be more productive, and I find I am excelling at my job, not “just maintaining” as they say! I’m more proactive and I can now expand my training and knowledge into other areas of the business (as everybody can understand, you always want to move up the ladder!).
When it comes to just the Accounts Receivable aspect of my job, The Funding Gates’s app makes me super-human great. Collections used to take me two full, eight-hour days to contact, document, and everything else needed to run through every single customer. Currently, I’m down to a quarter of that time. I can finish my list in a half a day and now I’ve freed up the rest of that 75% to do whatever I want. It is amazing! You should record a video of me skipping up and down the hallway!
Our average days to pay have gone down too, thanks to the app. The average was 37 days to pay in 2012, and now it’s just 30! I shaved off a week in our AR average days to pay! I have to contribute most, if not all of that to Funding Gates.
Stacy’s Favorite FG App Features:
Collections companies are, for lack of a better word,”kneebreakers.” They’re tough guys, and they get the job done in a rough, tough way. That’s not my tactic, nor the business’ style. This is a family-owned business and I always want to represent us as Larry represents himself as a person. The F|G Receivables Manager has perfect templates, that convey the right message look great too! People have even complimented me on how great those emails look!
Our clients are busy, and need a quick, no-nonsense snapshot of their account. And the Funding Gates App (The F|G Receivables Manager) provides that.
Stacy’s Tips for The F|G Receivables Manager App:
Send reminders out in advance and include anecdotal tips from other employees in the notes. A great example is a comment like “Hey, I was onsite, and the customer said he was going to pay this Friday”. Notes like this are great to add, though they aren’t necessarily either a phone call or an email (typical ways in which people add notes to the customer profile).
Key Learnings: What is Cano’s secret to success?
Workplace culture: When it comes to employees, Cano Electric’s owners make sure everyone feels supported, and they give them the opportunity to feel independent and empowered.Monthly safety meetings with the field technicians to go over safety topics like proper lifting or what to do in the event of an electric shock. All industries can benefit from any kind of “refresher courses” for their employees.
Business Model: Customer loyalty and Upselling. They first get their foot in the door with a simple repair, and then grow the business relationship to include more comprehensive services. With many of their large scale clients, they’ve proven themselves to be a trusted option and get a great deal of repeat business. Word of mouth referrals have been a great source of new business for Cano Electric.