2019 Western Contractor of the Year: Eternal Plumbing Solutions
The Las Vegas plumbing company’s team works with unity and integrity.
To Kyle Lessard, owner of Las Vegas-based Eternal Plumbing Solutions, the business is more than just a plumbing company; it is a service company focused on the customers’ experience. Lessard was 24 years old when he started the company, which made him the youngest plumbing company owner in Vegas. He is also one of the fastest growing companies in town.
He started the company in 2016, with just him driving around in his truck. It was after his first weekend alone that he knew his company could be very successful.
He was running nine calls a day in his first week and hired his first employee a month later. He currently has 17 employees and 20 vehicles. His five-year goal is to have 80 employees (65 field and 15 office).
“This company is growing, and it’s growing very fast,” says Jason San Roman, field service manager. “It still has a smaller company feel though. Everybody knows each other and we all feel like a family. We all go out together. We’re not a big corporate company where you just feel like you’re a number.”
Although most of Lessard’s employees are older than he is, they are comfortable with the dynamic in the office. He finds most of his employees through referrals. When he needs to add new talent, he holds group interviews and invites his employees to sit in. Afterward, Lessard and his team review the resumes and together decide who they want to hire.
In its first year, Eternal Plumbing Solutions did $1.3 million in sales. The company finished 2018 with $3 million and is expecting to do around $7 million this year. Lessard is in the process of adding HVAC services and rebranding under the name Eternal Services.
He also hopes to one day add a training program next door to his building. He already owns the space and is just waiting for the right time. With how quickly the company grew its staff, Lessard is pressing pause on hiring and looking at how to be more profitable.
Areas of focus
The company covers North Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City and focuses mostly on residential remodel, service and repair. Commercial construction is only on a case-by-case basis.
“We focus on the experience and all of my service experts are dedicated to customer service — commercial is a totally different beast,” Lessard says. “It’s hard to focus on both.”
The most common jobs Lessard’s team gets called to are bathroom remodels, tankless water heater replacements and water filtration installations.
Most of Eternal Plumbing’s supplies come from Van Marcke Trade Supply in Las Vegas.
“They work with us really well, and they work with our needs,” Lessard says. “There are a couple of other small places we shop at. Then some big ones, such as Ferguson. I try to keep supply houses almost on the same terms I would with an employee, so that they know where I’m headed and what I need. They all know that we’re going to be the biggest company here.
“We don’t shop directly from the manufacturer often,” he adds. “We do have a local company that builds the softeners for us, which would be the closest thing to shopping from a manufacturer that we do.”
Lessard joined CEO Warrior as a means of sharpening his focus.
“I went to a Tony Robbins seminar on business mastery in January of last year and I met the owner of CEO Warrior, Mike Agugliaro, there,” Lessard says. “I didn’t know who the guy was when he came up to me and said, ‘I can really help you.’ He then went into this whole speil, and I said, ‘Okay. Sure.’
“Then a couple months went by and I still had his card, so I looked him up and started listening to him on YouTube, then I signed up with them,” he continues. “They doubled my monthly revenue almost the first month being with them. Then they help us with management. If I ever have questions like, ‘This or that is going on in my company, what do you think I should do about it?’ they have plenty of mentors that will talk you through it.”
Keeping it green and smart
Lessard notes that Las Vegas is under heavy regulation to conserve water.
“We don’t sell products that waste a lot of water,” he says. “We try to replace aerators, and if they don’t have aerators we offer to install them. We take the same initiative in regards to toilets; we offer low-flow toilets only. Even the water filtration systems and water softeners dump way less water than they used to. Everything is completely green at our company, and we’re completely paperless as well. All of our invoices are paperless and we recently launched our Eternal Plumbing app, which allows our fans to refer our company and earn money by doing so. We have a pretty small footprint here.”
The company uses ServiceTitan to accomplish its paperless initiative as well as its dispatching and GPS tracking needs.
“All the vehicles have GPS tracking, and it helps with dispatching so we can keep everybody on schedule,” Lessard notes. “ServiceTitan also directly imports over to QuickBooks, so accounting is easier as well.”
With the industry getting smarter tools, Lessard hopes it will attract more people to the trade.
“There is a shortage of people coming in to the trades and that’s why I hope to one day open a trade school next door,” he says. “All these kids are coming out of high school and the kids that don’t go to college, they’re working minimum wage jobs — gas stations and fast food — and those are all going to be taken over by computers. In 10 years when there is not a checker at Walmart and there are no cashiers, besides maybe the drive-thru cashier at fast food restaurants, we’re going to have a bunch of people that don’t want to go to college and won’t have a minimum wage job to fall back on.
“I think the biggest reason nobody wants to get into trades is because they think it’s grimy, but they don’t realize most tradespeople make $50,000 to $100,000 a year,” Lessard continues. “Also, it’s not as dirty of a job as it used to be. The tools we have now allow for cleaner, smarter work. Like our camera, for example. We have two different cameras, they both link up straight to our phones. You can have the screen on the tool itself, and that same screen can be seen on the phone. This way you can hand the phone to your client, then camera the line so they can see what you see.”
The other industry problem Lessard notices right now is a poor workmanship stigma.
“Homeowners are hiring people that are unlicensed — one man shops that don’t have any warranties or insurance — to save money,” he says. “Those contractors don’t answer their phone if they mess something up and that leaves us with a big hurdle. They cause issues of mistrust and make the companies that are doing everything by the book seem unreliable in homeowners’ eyes because they’re now scared about hiring those bad people. My biggest fear for my clients — or anyone in general — is that they hire someone who would leave them with a poorly completed project.”
Lessard’s field service manager San Roman goes over all calls and makes sure the homeowner is happy with their work. He also calls back the homeowners who decided not to do business with them to see if it was anything the tech did or if they were just getting multiple quotes.
“I think our core values here are pretty strong and that helps,” San Roman says, in regards to how they fight the stigma. “We’re very ethical. We make sure we do what’s right for the customer and everyone here is onboard with that. We worry more about the customer than us.”
Lessard’s employees describe him as bubbly, social and kind. He was also dubbed “The singing plumber” because homeowners would hear him hum and sing as he worked.
“I will always fight for my team,” he says. “If the company is slow one day, I will have my whole team on the phone calling previous customers and really hitting it hard, so I know my staff is taken care of, and their families are taken of as well.”
Theo Renney, office manager at Eternal Plumbing, is the yin to Lessard’s yang when it comes to leadership.
“Kyle never wants to upset anyone, ever,” Renney says. “Which is fantastic for most things. However, when it comes to management and discipline, putting your foot down is where he has a little bit of trouble. But that is why he hired me. I was in the military for six years, so I definitely support Kyle in that leadership role.”
The team at Eternal worked together to come up with the core values based on what is important to them and what they think amazing service from a company should look like. The company has four core values:
Wow service: To provide world class service by going above and beyond the call of duty for clients, prospects and anyone they come across in order to brighten someone’s day;
Unity: To work together as one single force to establish a resonating culture and unbreakable bond among the team;
Safety first: To ensure the safety of the team members, their families and the clients by always following safety procedures and not taking unnecessary risks that could potentially cause harm to anyone; and
Integrity: To always operate on the highest level of integrity by acting with the best interest for the client and the company.
One example of the company’s Wow service is the techs call the homeowner when they are on their way and offer to bring them coffee. To make sure these core values are being implemented the team meets three days a week.
“Sometimes it is technical training, other times it is customer service training, and sometimes it’s just to get together and review where we’re at for our targets,” Lessard says.
Renney oversees the meetings which are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“Depending on the day we might do a little role playing,” he says. “You know, like, fake knock on the door and have someone else pretend to be a customer just to get the guys more comfortable with our procedures and how we like to do things. We try to make it uniform for all of our technicians.”
In addition, Lessard has a different manufacturer come in every week to offer product knowledge and installation training. He also send his staff members to CEO Warrior for training as well.
There is also a focus on after-the-sale service.
“We do a quality follow-up call, generally within a week, and then a month, and then six months,” he says. “We check up on them and see how everything is going. We send cookies and thank you cards to every single one of our clients.
“Our warranties are also a part of our after-sale service too, in my opinion,” he says. “We do a five year parts and labor warranty — beats anybody in town, and that’s because we stand behind our work. We also do a lifetime workmanship warranty and a clean house guarantee. If we don’t leave a customer’s house as if we were never there and they give us a call and let us know, then we’ll send a maid out to clean their entire house, not just the one spot, at no charge to them. We go above and beyond for the aftercare.” RJ 2.0