A Twisted Path Leads to the Start of a One-Stop Shop

Using his general contracting skills, plumber builds business on promise of helping customers with whatever repair they might need.

A Twisted Path Leads to the Start of a One-Stop Shop

  The team at Plumb Twisted includes, from left, Brandon Fischer, plumber; Dennis Dallos, owner; and Cody Dallos, plumber.

The name of the plumbing company is catchy, but also succinctly captures the breadth of the work that Dennis Dallos undertakes in central Oklahoma. After all, “Plumb Twisted” will fit in a logo a whole lot easier than might “Plumbing Work Twisted Into About Everything Under The Sun or Under The Ground for Just About Every Kind of Customer.”

The Cushing, Oklahoma, company is versatile, in a word. Example: One of its derivative applications is drain cleaning, which has grown from being an afterthought to accounting for 50-60% of the company’s business. “I didn’t expect to be involved in cleaning drains,” says Dallos.

Ever adaptable, the company owner says he simply responded to a situation. His plumbers frequently answered residential service calls and discovered that, along with an original plumbing problem, a homeowner complained of a slow or blocked drainpipe. “So, we started to buy some drain-cleaning equipment.”

The unpredictability of service calls. A twisted tale, indeed.

THE ROAD TO OKLAHOMA

Dallos is not an Oklahoman by birth. He grew up in and around New Jersey. As a teenager, he began to work part-time for a local plumber. It turned into a full-time job, he says, and the plumber became a mentor and life coach for a young man who needed some role modeling.

“He was a fantastic guy,” Dallos says, mentioning that the man had three daughters, which may or may not have been part of the attraction. In any event, Dallos learned the plumbing trade working for that company for the next six years. In 1999, he began working elsewhere, at first as a subcontractor to his original employer.

Finally, in 2002 as a 24-year-old skilled craftsman, Dallos went out on his own. He worked up and down the East Coast from Vermont to Georgia. One of his steady employers was a company that did contract work for Walmart stories. Another was a developer in New Jersey who was affiliated with 28 RE/MAX real estate offices. He then spent a year at a mountain inn, among other things installing a hydronic baseboard heating system throughout the lodge.

How did he get from a Vermont mountain lodge to plumbing in Oklahoma? The twisting path of fate led him to become friends with a tradesman who was moving back to the Sooner State. “He said he thought it would be a good place to raise my family,” recalls Dallos, by then the father of two pre-school-age children.

His wife concurred that the move made sense. So, the family quickly sold the house in Pennsylvania just outside the Pocono Mountains, bought a residence sight-unseen in the center of the country and drove over to Oklahoma.

In terms of his plumbing career, however, it was not a seamless transition. Because his adopted state didn’t reciprocate with New Jersey on licensing, he was unable to jump immediately back into plumbing. So, he decided to parlay his skills into a project management position with a pipeline company. Cushing is an oil town, a major crossroads for pipelines and home to refineries.

The pipeline gig would last for 14 years. “I met a lot of fantastic people and saw a whole lot of the country,” Dallos says, the quality of his work establishing his reputation as a manager and craftsman. When he decided in 2021 to return to plumbing, Plumb Twisted was the result. “I didn’t miss a beat. I got my contractor’s license and was off to the races.”

NO REST IN SIGHT

“Everything is really spontaneous” is how Dallos describes his busy days responding to service calls in and around Cushing and Stillwater. Business has been growing at a pace that sometimes seems breakneck. That was evident when a scheduled interview for this article had to be postponed three times.

“You tell a customer you’ll do something and sometimes you end up putting your foot in your mouth. What sounds like a simple call turns into something else,” he says by way of explanation. “We went on a call about a simple toilet leak and it turned into a waterline leak and then into total disaster.”

How busy is he? Until recently, he and his crew were working seven days a week. He cut back to 10-hour days Monday through Saturday, an almost leisurely work schedule. Three out of five plumbing calls are to residences. “We’re so busy with service work that we’re not even looking at new construction.”

Part of the company’s busyness can be attributed to its willingness to take on not only plumbing repairs but anything else that needs fixing. It stems from Dallos’ general construction work experience, as well as his desire to completely satisfy his plumbing customers. The slogan under the company’s logo reads, “Professional Plumbing and Home Solutions.” The latter phrase means, “We’ll fix anything.”

“We want to make sure a customer is 100% taken care of,” says the owner. “If we’re there and they have an issue with a soffit or roof guttering or a door seal — anything at all — whatever a customer throws at us, we’ll help them out. It’s a small town. You want your customers happy so when you go into a restaurant to eat you don’t feel like you have to avoid anyone.”

His crew consists of his brother-in-law, Brandon Fisher, and his 19-year-old son, Cody. Fisher left his work as a mechanic to join Dallos in the oil pipeline business, and then left that to plumb with Dallos. The son was scheduled to enroll at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater to start on an engineering degree, but the on-again, off-again COVID protocol confusion led him to take a year off after he discovered he liked his father’s work.

“I was swamped with work and Cody saw I had more on my plate than I could handle and asked me if I was needing some help. He came on board till school started and then learned he actually enjoyed plumbing,” says 44-year-old Dallos. “Brandon loves it. I never forced anything on anybody.”

The tools of the trade at Plumb Twisted include several pieces of RIDGID equipment, including FlexShaft drain-cleaning machines and a K-400 drum machine. He has an “off-brand” camera for his pipe inspection work but is thinking hard about buying a RIDGID SeeSnake. He flushes lines with an Amazing Machinery BossJet 4.4 gpm sewer jetter.

Hand tools are generally of two brands. “Everything is cordless, of course. My son is a DEWALT fanatic and I’m a Milwaukee fanatic.” Fisher’s fanatical tool bent was not revealed. When a line needs excavating, which occurs three or four times a month, Dallos rents a digger for the job.

He doesn’t have a favorite vendor of plumbing fixtures and appliances, never having bought into one brand or another. “I really don’t have a preference. They seem pretty much alike to me with different stickers.” The exception, he says, is Delta, which he opts for when appropriate because the fixtures are “so easily rebuildable.”

THE BIG PLAN

COVID continues to alter the way business is done, according to Dallos. Though Plumb Twisted’s work at restaurants continues, it has been affected by some restaurants having their dining rooms closed. Sonic Drive-In is a staple client. Last winter’s February freeze that hit Texas especially hard also was felt in Oklahoma, momentarily disrupting Plumb Twisted’s routine. “It was pretty eventful,” says the company owner. “Everyone’s emergency was a priority, so customers got frustrated.”

But, by and large, Plumb Twisted has been able to stay on track. The company now is bidding to do the work on a substantial new hotel project in Cushing. Dallos has a fondness for new construction plumbing work and is prepared to expand the size of his crew if he wins the bid.

He also is pushing a new maintenance agreement with apartment house property owners. “I do a lot of contract work with landlords. Last November, I started to push a ‘peace of mind’ plan that would involve a couple of visits a year to each residence. It’s a fairly new concept.”

None of that work expansion would be possible were the company not doing good work. One of its ways to complete work in a timely fashion is to send more than one plumber out on a job. “We have two or three guys on the job for an hour and it’s done versus sending one man who is there for half a day. It’s good for the customer and good for the business. We can do twice the amount of work, get twice the number of calls done.”

Plumb Twisted hangs its hat on the metrics of honesty, efficiency, punctuality and quality. “It is all about doing an honest tradesman’s work,” is how Dallos describes it. A sample of that is the company’s one-year workmanship guarantee on each job done. “What that means is we are going to stand by our work. I think it’s a good thing.”

Where does this all lead? “I think we are going to separate into two division, a drain-cleaning division and a plumbing division. Maybe later this year.” While that sounds ambitious, ultimately Dallos wants to franchise Plumb Twisted. “That’s my goal.” 



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