A third generation plumber, Mitch Kenney started out working at his father’s company in Colorado, then branched out and tried a couple different entrepreneurial opportunities. However, he found his way back to plumbing and opened his own business in San Diego.
“My grandfather and my dad were plumbers,” Kenney noted. “I’ve always wanted to have my own business, and didn’t think plumbing was for me. It wasn’t my first choice, but it beat going to college because I really didn’t like school. I tried to take over my dad’s business out there and we were just kind of butting heads. I decided to try to start my first plumbing business back in 2008/2009 and that went under. I filed for bankruptcy just because I didn’t know what I was doing with it. I tried a bunch of other entrepreneurial things along the way, but I kept getting pulled back to plumbing.
“I’ve worked at a bunch of companies and I’ve done really well at the sales side of the businesses I’ve worked at in between. Finally, I just decided that, I was going to be 30 soon and I really had to commit. So I decided I was going to commit to starting my own plumbing business. And that was about five years ago.”
The company has since grown to 34 employees and 20 vehicles. A majority of the vehicles are Nissan NV 2500 High Roof vans. All 20 of them are wrapped with the new branding — done by KickCharge Creative’s President Dan Antonelli — which features a blue, green and orange color scheme and a cartoon hot pepper in sunglasses holding a wrench. The company’s website was also changed to match the trucks.
“At first glance many people think we are a taco truck,” Kenney said laughing. “But we’re getting noticed and not only that, but we’re being remembered. Our old truck wrap was noticeable, but not memorable. Also, I have couple of different branding ideas that we can do with the pepper logo.”
The company slogan — “Tell the gang we’re coming. It’s Colepepper Plumbing.” — is also memorable and included as a jingle sung by Kenney and his daughters in all the radio ads the company does.
“I was trying to find something to rhyme, because I knew I wanted a jingle and something different,” Kenney noted. “And usually, a lot of times the husband will call the plumber and he’ll tell the whole family, ‘All right guys. The plumbers coming.’ And so that’s how I kind of came up with it.”
In addition to the radio ads, the company also does marketing via TV and other mass media outlets.
“We also do a lot of sales training and a lot of relationship training to get the customers to really like us and feel comfortable with us,” Kenney said. “We place a huge amount of value on the relationships we build with our customers. We really try to take time to get to know the customer and provide a good experience for them.”