Truck of the Month: The Polite Plumber, Ledgewood, N.J
The Polite Plumber prides itself on maintaining high personal service standards, resulting in a loyal customer base. In business since 1948, the third-generation, family-owned and -operated residential plumbing service company began with Robert and Roseanne Hughes.
Later Hughes enlisted the help of his son, David Hughes. They worked together for many years until eventually David took over and ran the small shop for more than 35 years. In 1990, Willy Hughes, David’s son, joined the company. He worked alongside his father before taking over the business in 1995. It was then that the company started to expand outside of the small town of Hopatcong, N.J.
Today, Willy Hughes and his wife Kathy are the owners and operators of the business.
“We have strived to always maintain the personal service standards that my father and grandfather insisted on,” he notes. “My job requires me to address two simple questions each day: How can I make my employees lives better and how can I solve my customer’s problem in a way that will make them feel we genuinely care? How you make others feel is what really matters most.”
In 2003, Hughes took a leap of faith and changed the business name from Hughes Plumbing to The Polite Plumber. “This was a very big decision, but we feel it was the best decision we ever made,” he explains. “We did a lot of research, attended many seminars and learned that an unforgettable name and tagline was exactly what would propel us into the next stage of the business. In addition to the name change, we added the tagline: ‘We’ll never ask how it happened!’”
Offering residential plumbing service, well- and water-treatment service, and drain cleaning to Northern New Jersey, the company focuses on the communities surrounding Lake Hopatcong. It currently has six employees and six service trucks: four 2002 to 2007 Mitsubishi 130 FEs with Supreme bodies, one 2005 Dodge Sprinter and one 2015 Dodge Ram ProMaster 2500 (pictured).
“My favorite is the ProMaster 2500,” Hughes comments. “The large body and extended ceiling height has made the transition from large box truck to van easy and allows for the identical work-bed layout. I also was impressed by the rear-view backup assist camera and front wheel drive, which is a necessity for our New Jersey winters. I really like that the rear step is low and easy on the technician.”
Rather than a wrap, Hughes decided to go with a unique color and lettering instead. The box trucks are white with red lettering; the Sprinter and ProMaster are a little different. The lettering was provided by Sign-A-Rama, located in Ledgewood, N.J.
“Our business name and tagline are so simple we did not need to go for a wrap on the truck,” he says. “Instead, we chose large white letters against a burgundy color. It is sharp and crisp. We like how it describes the type of service you can expect and has a bit of humor, too.”
Looking to grow its business even further, the company has a few billboard campaigns as well as extensive postcard and Valpak coupon mailings. “We also have strong search engine optimization thanks to the wonderful staff at Market Hardware,” Hughes says. “We are always looking to get our name out there. We consider all avenues of advertising. I think a local television commercial may be on the horizon.”
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