Big-City Plumber’s Approach Exudes a Small-Town Feel

Ranshaw Plumbing & Heating calls the New York City borough of Queens home, but that doesn’t mean it overlooks important business values often associated with smaller communities

Big-City Plumber’s Approach Exudes a Small-Town Feel

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Working in an environment like Queens in New York City, where residents are numbered in the millions, might seem overwhelming to a non-urban visitor. Yet the enormous number of moving parts come together in ways very similar to places where only handfuls of people live and work.

Example: When Anthony Carnazza hired on at Queens-based Ranshaw Plumbing & Heating to do some marketing, what resource did he use to get the real story on his new company? He simply chatted with folks in the area surrounding the office, which is pretty much what he would have done in a smaller community as well.

“In speaking with people in the neighborhood, I heard nothing but positive things. They said it was a good place to work,” Carnazza says.

It turns out “word on the street” informs New York City borough residents just like it does people in a small town. Company reputations are built on such chatter because good customer service is best validated by word-of-mouth.

“We actually hear people say, ‘Wow! We appreciate that you even called us back.’ We are very conscientious about returning calls. It’s part of our DNA,” Carnazza says.

And the word gets around.

Another urban constraint can be union rules that impose artificial barriers on workers. In New York City, plumbers in new construction are unionized, but Ranshaw and many other private service companies are not. This means in practice that company technicians are able to cross over in their service calls.

“Mostly, plumbers plumb, heating techs do heat, and installation crews install,” Carnazza says of work assignments at the firm. Yet a company heating technician might diagnose a water-leak issue and inform the property owner and then call one of the company’s licensed plumbers to do the work. Or, while a plumber might do a tune-up on a heating unit, he would not try to repair a boiler. This flexibility creates a cohesive service team.

In city apartment buildings, another kind of partnership has developed. A resident maintenance person generally takes care of minor fixes, but Ranshaw gets the call when larger issues loom.

“If it’s gas work, they aren’t certified to do that certainly. It has to be a licensed plumber, so they call us. Generally, we help whenever the maintenance man doesn’t have the technical knowledge or the license for a job,” Carnazza says.

This small-town feel to big-city relationships was tested when COVID-19 struck. Ranshaw altered its interactions with customers to reflect the infection threat and, for a while, things came to a standstill. The stunned community of customers hunkered down. 

“Few calls were coming in. Everyone was putting things off. We were doing emergency work only,” Carnazza says. Then people started reaching out to one another again. “In June, we got back into full swing, with the full staff back. Now we are very busy again. While our strict health and safety protocols remain in place, you wouldn’t even know the COVID-19 thing is going on.”

Read more about Ranshaw Plumbing & Heating in the February 2021 issue of Plumber magazine.


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