Portraying a Professional Image

These companies highly value showcasing their professionalism in various ways in order to attract and retain customers

Portraying a Professional Image

“A truck’s appearance reflects on the kind of work you’ll do. You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” says Julius Voss owner of Julius Voss Plumbing & Construction in Cleveland, Mississippi. “I get compliments all the time how neat and clean the truck is. When I’m out running errands or on jobs, I leave the rear door open so people who walk by can see how neat and organized it is. It lets people see me as a professional.”

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Arizona’s Nu Flow Phoenix and Tucson boasts an impressive high-profile list of clients that include property management firms such as CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield, school districts like Yuma and Chandler, and the City of Tempe. The company has also been tapped by some of the region’s prominent medical facilities, manufacturers and industrial plants.

Part of the recipe for attracting such customers is Nu Flow’s focus on professionalism.

“We are really focused on having a good mojo and bringing on the right people that have the right personality, are respectful and professional in their language. Even though we work with sewers, we don’t talk like we do,” says Eric Eaves, co-owner of Nu Flow Phoenix and Tucson.

Maintaining a strong image of professionalism is important to many companies and there are varied ways to approach it.

Julius Voss, owner of Julius Voss Plumbing & Construction in Cleveland, Mississippi, has heavily relied on what he calls his “super truck.”

It features a $6,000 blue, orange and white vinyl wrap emblazoned with the company’s name, phone number and slogan, “One call, that’s all” — a testament to his one-shop-stop business mentality. Inside, Voss built his own shelf-and-bin storage system. To make it lighter, he used steel supports instead of wood for the framework. The result is better gas mileage and less wear and tear on the engine and tires, he says.

“A truck’s appearance reflects on the kind of work you’ll do. You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” Voss says. “I get compliments all the time how neat and clean the truck is. When I’m out running errands or on jobs, I leave the rear door open so people who walk by can see how neat and organized it is. It lets people see me as a professional. I can’t count how many customers I’ve gotten from displaying my truck like that. Sometimes a customer’s neighbor comes over and sees the truck and says, ‘This is impressive — I’ve got some work you could come and do.’”

Then, beyond the professional image his truck displays, Voss makes sure he properly follows through during the job. That means wearing a uniform, providing impeccable craftsmanship and cleaning up afterward, he says.

“Customers don’t know what you did under the cabinet. But what they’re going to look at is the finished product, so it better look really professional,” he says. “And I always bring a mop, a broom, a dustpan and some bleach … the walls and floors where I work are going to look and smell really nice. I often get thank-you notes from customers who say they never had a plumber do things like that before.”

Bizzy Bee Plumbing of Raleigh, North Carolina, emphasizes that on-the-job cleanliness as well. Technicians wear uniforms and are trained to treat customers’ homes like their own. They use things like dropcloths, shoe booties and countertop drop mats to keep homes clean, says Robert Schwachenwald, owner of Bizzy Bee.

Bizzy Bee also focuses on continued education and training for its employees in order to maintain a high level of professionalism. Ongoing training ranges from defensive driving courses to working with scissor lifts and obtaining certifications to become authorized installers of certain brands of water heaters and other products.

“Training and education are some of the most important values you can offer your staff,” Schwachenwald says. “Whether it’s the dispatcher, the apprentice on the shovel or the lead technician, constant training is stressed here. Our customers know that not just anyone is walking into their homes when our technicians arrive — they’re well-trained and well-educated professionals. We provide opportunities for professional training and classes for certifications, plus we recommend reading materials. We also hold weekly staff meetings, which cover things like what we did well the prior week, what we can work on and best practices that technicians may have found. I’ve set very high standards for providing our clients with quality craftsmanship at a reasonable value. Whether we’re called out to repair a leaky faucet for a residential client, contracted to work in commercial buildings or hired to complete an extensive trenchless project, quality and professionalism is of the utmost importance and can never be compromised.”

For Campbell Plumbing & Drain Cleaning of Eastlake, Ohio, maintaining an image of professionalism includes wearing company-logoed T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. In addition, service vehicles feature hand-painted lettering in an eye-catching red, white and blue color scheme. Business cards and other company materials all feature the same lettering and colors to boost brand recognition. Technicians are trained to be polite, courteous and clean.

“At the end of the day, customers are hiring plumbers, not lawyers and doctors,” says co-owner Scott Haymer. “We can be a little rough around the edges, but we’re always nice. We introduce ourselves, take off our shoes and clean up our messes. We’re there to do our jobs in a way that impacts customers the least. If it looks like we weren’t there when we’re finished, then I know we’ve done our job.”

Haymer also believes that using newer machines and equipment and advanced technology — such as inspection cameras and water jetters — contribute to the company’s professional image. It also helps customers understand why some repairs cost so much.

“After they see all the equipment you’re bringing in and the technology you have, price objections sometimes go away,” he says. “If they ask why a job will cost so much, you can point out the cost of things like cameras, jetters and locators. Once you do that, they have a better understanding of where the costs come from.”


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