Ohio Plumber Finds Continued Success as a One-Person Shop

Linda Hudek was last featured in Plumber magazine two years ago. In the time since, she has made some improvements to her business while still staying true to what has consistently brought her success the past decade.

Ohio Plumber Finds Continued Success as a One-Person Shop

Linda Hudek when she was last featured in Plumber magazine in September 2018.

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Linda Hudek of Fairfield, Ohio, was featured in the September 2018 issue of Plumber magazine. At the time, Hudek, daughter of a plumber, was eight years into running her company LH Plumbing Services all on her own. 

In 2020, Hudek is still running LH Plumbing Services as a one-woman show, although she’s made a few adjustments. She hasn’t yet brought any other plumbers into the business, but she also hasn’t ruled it out for the future.

“I did finally hire a part-time bookkeeper — my own stubbornness prevented me from doing so before. But I’m over it,” she says. “Paying a bookkeeper costs far less money than paying myself to do so. I’ve also come out of the Stone Age and moved to digital notes and scheduling. I used to write everything down in a planner — again, my own stubbornness costing me time and money.”

Hudek has made some improvements to her office space and shop: adding a small kitchen, which will also act as a break room if she does add employees someday, and putting new shelving in the shop area to organize her tools and supplies.

Linda Hudek
Linda Hudek

Hudek is still the go-to for many local plumbers in her area of Ohio who don’t own drain cleaning equipment or wish to pursue that service. Half of her calls are related to drain cleaning, locating and inspection. She purchased a new RIDGID 200-foot Mini Reel and Versa monitor and a second RIDGID L100 microReel at the end of June to keep up with the high demand for inspection work. The 200-foot Insight Vision Camera Opticam she has will remain her backup camera setup.

Networking and developing relationships with other plumbers has never been more important than it is now, Hudek says, especially for smaller plumbing operations.

“As smaller businesses are selling out to larger outfits and nationwide franchises, many customers are seeking small companies to work with and want to support locally owned and operated companies. They also like the personal touches that smaller plumbing companies — one-man shops like mine or shops with under 10 plumbers — offer.”

Hudek keeps up her relationships with other local plumbers through simple phone calls, Cincinnati Master Plumbers Association meetings and gatherings, or brunch when they can make time.

“I am also now vice president of the Ohio PHCC. And when I am overwhelmed with work, I refer it out to other plumbers, and they in turn do the same for me. It’s a win-win situation. We aren’t competitors. We’re allies. And in doing so, it helps keep business local and betters our local economy. It also helps to keep the market competitive and diversified, instead of all the smaller guys selling out to the larger companies.”

One change no one expected for 2020 was dealing with the emergence of COVID-19. Hudek says her phone was fairly quiet for about a week and a half at the start of the pandemic.

“But for the majority of the time, work has been steady and sometimes extremely busy. Some specialty material items coming from states with stricter shutdowns have taken longer to arrive. Supply house hours have shortened. Prices have gone up on some materials, while others have dropped. All things considered, things have panned out much better than I anticipated.”


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