“I have such incredibly mixed feelings about everything,” Paul Farmer II says. “I know this is the right thing to do. Really, the only thing we could do, and I think that our customers . . . are better off this way.”
Farmer’s sister, Jane Jantz, and their late father started the business in 1978. It grew out of their Roto-Rooter franchise.
Paul Farmer Sr. was looking for computer software to help manage his plumbing business.
“When we started, we had to develop a lot of the tools that didn’t exist,” Paul Farmer II says.
He says now, though, their platform is older, and they were having trouble updating it.
“Our customers were wanting a more modern look.”
He says his sister was wanting to retire, too, so they began looking at local partners to work with and then companies to purchase JaRay, which is named for Jantz and her husband, Ray.
“We wanted to keep it in Wichita. In fact, I tried really hard to get somebody to work with us,” Farmer says.
“There was always something that made it not work. Somebody was always going to lose out — either our customers or our employees.”
JaRay has 22 employees.
“I hate to see a good company like this leave Wichita, but there wasn’t much I could do about it,” Farmer says.
ServiceTitan had pursued JaRay’s customers.
“They had tried to get our customers, but they were pretty loyal to us,” Farmer says. “I don’t think they quite realized we had as loyal a customer base that we had.”
He says he noticed something about ServiceTitan.
“Our customers liked them. That’s kind of what bothered us.”
Now, he says it’s something that comforts him, and he hopes customers feel the same.
“They’re just a good, solid business,” he says. “They’re quickly growing.”
ServiceTitan has about 600 employees internationally.
“ServiceTitan was extremely gracious,” Farmer says. “In fact, I think they were excited about working with us.”
He says the company did a video to honor the firm’s legacy during the transition, which Farmer and Jantz are going to help with for a few months.
“All of our customers that watched the video cried. It was very emotional and very respectful.”