Truck of the Month: Third generation success story
Herman’s Plumbing | Midwest City, Oklahoma
Founded in 1961, Herman’s Plumbing has the distinction of being a thriving third-generation family-run business. That’s quite the achievement, considering only 30% of family run businesses survive into the second generation and only 12% of those make it to the third, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Herman “Bud” Weese was a farmer at heart until the 1950s when his brother Jack Weese asked him to help with his plumbing company in Midwest City. They worked together for 12 years before Bud Weese left to start another plumbing company with his cousin. They founded AMCO Plumbing in 1960, which became Herman’s Plumbing a year later when Bud Weese bought out his cousin and renamed the business.
Bud Weese’s sons Doug and Gary Weese both began working for the company while still in high school in the 1960s. Doug Weese continued working under his father until purchasing the business in 1995. He decided to add HVAC services shortly after taking over, and he continued to grow the business until handing over the reigns to his son, Kirk Weese in 2015.
Kirk Weese promptly decided the company was in need of rebranding. He also made some additional changes by implementing paperless service calls and increasing the number of trucks in the fleet to 15.
“Rebranding was important because I didn’t want us looking like a handyman doing plumbing services,” Kirk Weese says. “We added a new, sleek look to the logo, wrapped our trucks — which are our mobile offices — and implemented uniforms so we have well-dressed men you wouldn’t mind having in your home. We may not be the cheapest plumber in town, but we will always be there when you need us.”
Herman’s Plumbing is truly a family business, employing Kirk Weese’s wife, Brandi Weese; their son, Justice Weese; a cousin, Trebor Brown; as well as additional family who serve as consultants. Currently, the company has 28 total employees.
All of the company’s vehicles are black 2018 Nissan NV 3500s.
“We absolutely love our Nissan vans because of their reliability,” Brandi Weese says. “And we upfit them with American van shelving.”
When it came to rebranding and choosing the van wraps, Kirk Weese decided to go back to the company’s origins by incorporating the business’ original colors. They employed a graphic design artist to help with the wrap design.
Kirk Weese liked the design because it jumps off the truck.
“The wraps are a mobile billboard,” he says. “We get calls all the time saying, ‘I saw your trucks!’ or ‘I see your trucks everywhere!’ or ‘My son loves your trucks!’”
“You can’t miss Herman’s Plumbing coming down the road,” Brandi Weese adds.
Midwest City is a very competitive market, she notes. So the company endeavors to differentiate itself through its phenomenal customer service and creative marketing commercials. In one commercial, a Herman’s Plumbing technician is so clean cut, he is mistaken for the bachelorette party entertainment.
“We think staying relative to today’s customers sets us apart,” Brandi Weese says.
“We use ServiceTitan, and all of our customers get text messages for appointment reminders and a text saying we are on the way. Our customers really like that. They can also review us immediately. And, If we ever get less than a 4-star review, we are on the phone to ensure we make that customer happy.”