PHOENIX – We all have moments in our lives that we’ll remember forever. Weddings, graduations and the birth of children are just a handful of those significant mileposts. But for POWERHOME Solar founder and CEO Jayson Waller, who invested life savings to prolong the life of the business after a rocky first year of operations in 2015, he remembers the moment when the concerns and doubts from the first 18 months were largely erased.
After firing leadership staffers and assuming more control of the business himself, Waller saw things turning the corner in June 2016 just by looking at a 6 foot-by-4 foot tile board that hung in the hallway of the company’s home office in Mooresville, N.C. That board, whose squares contained all the installation jobs POWERHOME had on the docket, became full for the first time.
“It started with the tile board,” Waller remembers. “The tile board and black marker that literally scheduled our jobs. And that’s what we did. We would go in there and get excited, ‘Oh we got 8 jobs sold today, or 5 jobs today, and they would be written on the board as sold, and we’d forecast when they’d go in. I’m telling you, when we had to get a second board, I said this is a good problem to have.
“On the back end of that, we had people scheduled out 3-4 months away, because now we were selling and we couldn’t put it in fast enough. And I’m like, ‘Uh oh, we gotta build this up again.’ That was the seesaw that we had to keep dealing with, and you learn from it.”
POWERHOME a two-time honoree on Inc. 500 list
It was this moment that prompted Waller to call business partner Kevin Klink to shut down the duo’s other business, a call center operation, and come grow the POWERHOME brand with him. That growth was the basis of POWERHOME Solar earning the revenue that would place it on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2017, when POWERHOME was ranked No. 96. With vision, with expansion and with sweat equity, the company made the list again in 2019, and its leadership team celebrated that success Saturday night at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. POWERHOME backed up that No. 96 ranking from 2017 by placing No. 100 among all companies this year.
“The way this awards program is structured, each time you grow substantially in between year to year, it becomes more and more difficult to make the cut,” POWERHOME president Steve Murphy says. “And to make the cut at No. 100 again two years later when we’re almost eight times larger is extraordinarily exciting.”
Inc. magazine research indicates that only 1 in 4 companies to make its annual list have gone on to make the list a second time, which puts POWERHOME in elite company.
“It feels better every year to continue to make this list now multiple times,” said Klink, the company’s chief operating officer. “It’s something that we’re proud of, it’s a reflection of our team and our continued growth trajectory.”
POWERHOME is pushing to be on this list a third time in 2020, which has been made possible by the expansion into three new markets in 2019 in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, along with finding ways to heighten the efficiency of all parts of the business, from HR to accounting to sales to operations. There’s constant refinement taking place, and done so with top-flight digital technology to ensure that each customer’s experience is one conducted at a high level.
That’s light years ahead of those early days, when, in addition to using a tile board for scheduling jobs, POWERHOME staffers used manila folders to pass projects between departments.
“You gotta start somewhere. You just can’t go 0 to 100,” Waller said. “There’s 99 miles between them that you gotta be able to get through to get to that. … We had manila folders of every piece of paperwork. Oh my goodness it was a nightmare. Every contract, permit, everything. And the folders would have to be moved down the hall to the next department. So it would go from design, which was one person at the time, over to interconnections, which was one person, and they would do HOA, over to permitting, which was one person.
“And it was like, where’s that folder? I don’t know, I think they got it. So here we are screaming, arms up, find that folder, oh my goodness. All the customers that we were selling, we were literally moving manila folders around and putting them down on boards. But that’s where you start.”
The future is very bright for POWERHOME Solar
That’s where POWERHOME was, and yet look at the company now. Enjoying its success at an event with renowned comedian Ken Jeong as host (with the company’s leadership team even finding their way backstage to meet the man himself!), and zero thoughts about slowing down. Because the goal at POWERHOME is always to get bigger and better every year.
“There’s no status quo with them,” POWERHOME CFO Juan Ramirez says. “The hunger continues to be there, was there Day 1 when I met them, and now, it’s even more than ever before because they got to sustain it and they want to sustain it. It’s huge.”
POWERHOME has accomplished so much on the way to becoming one of the nation’s top energy efficiency providers, and those who join us in building a movement of renewable energy can help create a better tomorrow for ourselves and generations to come. We would love to see if adding American-made solar panels would make sense for your home or business. Call us at 800-765-2715 to learn more.
In time, maybe you’ll find us to be a three-time member of the Inc. 5000 list.