Applewood Plumbing celebrates 100th truck
"I’m colorblind, and I figured if I could see them, then everyone could."
Denver-based Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric put its 100th fully stocked truck on the road of its local community, a symbol of the commitment to its customers and employees over the last 44 years.
These bright orange trucks are a staple for the company and have been a large part of the company’s success. They allow for immediate access any tool required on site and quick responses to clients, allowing for greater than 96% on-time service record to more than 150,000 loyal residential customers.
Some may wonder where that bright orange came from.
“They are orange because I can see orange. I’m colorblind, and I figured if I could see them, then everyone could," Applewood President John Ward said. "The trucks are designed on the inside to be very functional with all the tools, equipment and parts needed to complete a job the first time. However, on the outside, the techniques for design were a little more abstract.”
When John executed the idea, he went to Apple1 Art Studios for help with the exterior.
Rod Rodriguez, production manager at Apple1, said he “had definite ideas on how he wanted to present his vehicles down to the reflective decal." He truly believed in that a company vehicle should have a particular color so that clients could immediately recognize who it is.
The vision hasn’t changed since that first bright orange truck. As the hundredth truck is now on the road, Robert Rodriguez reflects on admires the way the companies have worked together to create such a lasting brand.
“They have an idea in mind what they want and we can carry that out. It all starts with the branding that then allows us to morph it into something visual for them that results in a perfect balance of info and logo representation that others don’t have," Robert Rodriguez said. "They have stuck to their roots from the beginning because they would lose the personability of it if they didn’t."
The trucks have definitely made an impression in the community.
“Sometimes when I have a new client, I can mention the orange trucks [as a current client and they know who I’m talking about immediately],” said John Stanerson, commercial sales manager at John Elway Ford, where all the trucks are serviced.
What else has aided Applewood in their success over 43 years?
- Open seven days a week, alleviating the need for emergency calls and overtime rates.
- Top-notch service that earns the company a more than 60% repeat customer ratio.
- 100% of Applewood’s technicians are fully licensed.
- Family owned business that creates local jobs.
- Aim to build trust before service begins with an e-mail photo and bio about the service technician scheduled to visit a customer’s home.
- Denver Post’s top places to work 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
- Strong morale internally as the foundation for a great company and subsequently the external result of great service.
“I don’t see our employees as replaceable parts in the engine. I look at employees as the engine itself,” Ward said. “Strong morale internally is the foundation for a great company and subsequently the external result of great service. The 44 years of service provided to our clients is a testament to that principle.”
Applewood also created lasting business relationships, such as those with Apple1 Art Studios and John Elway Ford.
“There’s a good relationship between us and Applewood because we trust them enough to be able to," Stanerson said. "Trust in this business is huge. A lot of things go into getting those trucks on the road and the continuous follow through [allows for a great relationship on both sides]. This relationship goes far beyond just a company relationship and even extends to personal vehicles too.”
Applewood started in 1973 as a family business with only 40 employees and has grown into a company serving clients all over Colorado.