In order to smash the stereotypes of the construction world, David Williams combined his construction background with his love for plumbing to create 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. It took years of hard work, long hours and dedication to prove to his customers that quality and service superseded everything else, but after 25 years, 128 now has 48 employees, 34 vehicles and a list of more than 15,000 customers served.
“We are proud to be making waves in our niche of the industry and really blessed with an incredible team that works hard for our customers every day,” says Ryan Williams, general manager and co-owner. “As the son of a master plumber, and having grown up in the trade, many thought I would pick up the tools when dad was ready to put them down. But, my dad had a different plan for me. He wanted me to think bigger and pursue my education. Well, I did just that, and after graduating college and pursuing a few entrepreneurial ventures, I came back to the industry that gave my family everything and it was time to give back. In 2014, I got serious about the plumbing, heating and air conditioning industry. I was lucky, though — my father has always thought big and has always been a visionary. He gave me incredible insight, education and the opportunity to master my craft in business.”
Located off of Route 128 — the major beltway around the city of Boston — the company serves Boston as well as areas within a 50-mile radius of the city. They focus on residential retrofit service and replacements for plumbing, HVAC, drains and electrical.
“We’ve been advised to change our name and brand before,” Ryan Williams says. “But, remember: Not everyone knows our own market like we do. Our name sticks out because it’s our highway that people recognize. It says we’re local and right around the corner.
“This past October, we ran a fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Every time someone took a picture of our truck and sent it to Facebook, we donated $25 in that person’s name. Our customers loved seeing our new, bright truck design attract the eyes of many on social media.”
Of the 34 vehicles, the 2015-2017 Ford Mid-Roof Transits and the Ford E350 cab with 12-foot Dejana box are the favorites.
“The roll-up door allows for the most accessibility for large items for our installation team,” Ryan Williams says. “The 12-foot box creates ample space for technicians. The lightweight aluminum Ranger shelving is really great for its length. For times where we need 10 feet of pipe for a project, this extra space is pivotal. The ability to stock trucks and standing in the back make every project easier and more efficient for the technician.”
The two-tone color of the truck, oversized logo and the easy-to-read services listed out in big letters help these vehicles stand out from the crowd. The phone number and website also incorporate the name and are easy to remember.
“We’re building off of our brand equity of 25 years in business,” Ryan Williams continues. “Our initial design from 1992 was cutting-edge at the time. In 2014, it was time to expand on it. Naturally, customers over the years started using the phrase ‘call 128,’ so we built off of that for our website and phone number. The bright and exciting design capitalizes on the fact that it’s a rolling billboard. It’s meant to be seen. You have one chance to make a first impression when someone sees your truck.
“One of our core values is that ‘Service is Everything’ to us. We want our impression to resemble our quality and great workmanship — and deliver trust.”
This article was originally titled “A local name for a Boston company” in the March 2018 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.