Best of 2021: Plumbers Offer Advice and Insight

Here’s a look back on some of what contractors shared in the pages of Plumber magazine in the past year

Best of 2021: Plumbers Offer Advice and Insight

Carrboro Plumbing, Carrboro, North Carolina

It’s again that time of year that is typically reserved for some reflection. Here we reflect on some of the industry knowledge that has appeared in Plumber magazine in 2021. A lot of contractors are featured in the magazine over the course of a year, and whether they have decades of experience or are still fairly new to the industry, there is often something to learn from their experiences:

“In the end, it’s really all about making customers feel comfortable and being honest. Some people have bad experiences with plumbers and are distrustful. But we’re straightforward — we look them in the eye and answer whatever questions they have. We do what’s in their best interests instead of trying to upsell them on things they don’t need.”

— Chris Kreutzer, Carrboro Plumbing, Carrboro, North Carolina

“We believe an organized, well-designed service van allows us to be as efficient as possible on service calls. With that in mind, our vehicles are designed with an intelligent storage system, allowing for easy storage and convenient access to a complete inventory of plumbing and heating tools and parts. We arrive prepared for any job. Despite all the storage, there’s still ample room to maneuver and work productively.”

— Rick Bonelli, Ranshaw Plumbing & Heating, Whitestone (Queens), New York

“We want to make sure clients get a good quality job every time. But we’re not infallible and I will never claim to be. So when screw-ups happen, we remedy them right away, even if we lose money on the job. I’ve learned over the years to just say, ‘We screwed up and we will make it right.’ And we do.”

— Steve Peña, Valley Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Mesilla, New Mexico

Kegonsa Plumbing, Madison, Wisconsin
Kegonsa Plumbing, Madison, Wisconsin

“I knew what I wanted to create — an enjoyable place where you’re appreciated for what you do. At larger companies, you often hear that you’re just a number and can be replaced. But you have to give employees the respect they deserve. Employees usually don’t quit over money. They quit because of their bosses. That’s where company culture comes into play. Everyone wants to be treated well and respected. When you don’t need to run ads to find employees because people come to you unsolicited — that’s when you know you’ve done it.”

— Luke Elsing, Kegonsa Plumbing, Madison, Wisconsin

“Everything that feeds into a septic system comes from the plumbing inside a house. So when we’d do septic and drain cleaning work, it often would lead to needing a plumber. It got to the point where that was happening every day. We’d try to out-source the plumbing work, but when you need it that often, it just isn’t feasible to keep out-sourcing it. So that’s how it evolved. Customers love the idea that we can do everything. When they have a problem, they hate having to figure out whom to call. And if we can’t fix their problem, I’ll find them someone reliable who can.”

 — Jamie Miller, Miller’s Services, Saluda, Virginia

“Customer service is everything to us and we really feel like it’s a lost art these days. Our slogan is, ‘Serviced once, customer for life,’ and we mean it. As cheesy or corny as it might sound, we really care about our customers. And it’s just as important that everyone we hire feels the same way. We hire good, solid people that we usually find through referrals, which is a safe bet for us when it comes to hiring people. It’s important to us that they’re also personable and courteous, since they go inside customers’ homes every day.”

— Paige Grover, Modern Plumbing & Heating, Kalispell, Montana

Bearden Plumbing Solutions, Northern Georgia
Bearden Plumbing Solutions, Northern Georgia

“You have to be fluid in your learning. There always are new materials and technology coming out and if you are not on the cusp of that you are going to be left behind.”

 — Daniel Bearden, Bearden Plumbing Solutions, Northern Georgia

“The [franchise parent company] isn’t hardcore about what you have to do. If you do something different, but it’s inside the guidelines and it works, they’re OK with it. But I’m happy to comply with the guidelines because they’re tested and they work. To succeed, you need uniformity and consistency in a lot of areas — that’s the bottom line. And quite honestly, if this was my personal business, I’d run it the same way as a franchise. Without good processes, you’re not going to be successful, franchise or no franchise.”

— Rich Vigil, Ebbdar Inc., dba Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Houston

“The plumbing world is constantly evolving and we have to evolve with it, meeting the constant change head-on, rolling with it. I think my grandfather, if he were still alive, would be lost. There are hardly any plumbing procedures or truths still around from a hundred years ago except that sewer water still flows downhill.”

— Pat Armbrust, Armbrust Plumbing & Heating Solutions, Carol Stream, Illinois

“I think it’s nuts to charge customers extra for inspections. You’re doing a service for clients, plus it gives you more opportunities to get inside their homes. It gives us about 35% more [drain] business — and we’re not waiting for the phone to ring when someone has a backed-up drain. You have to maintain a full call board and keep revenue flowing in as well. So we proactively call customers to see if they want an inspection.”

— John Gribble, Pronto Plumbing & Drains, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania


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