At age 62, Paul Cleary has been in the trades for 44 years. He went to vocational school in Connecticut and then joined the union after high school. He was just 34 when he founded his company, Cleary Plumbing & Air, which is a family-owned and -operated business.

In 2008 his son, Chris Cleary, came home from college to join the family business. They have a great combination of old and new thinking when comes to running the business. Cleary Plumbing & Air has strategically focused on only doing residential and commercial service and installation. With that focus, Cleary Plumbing & Air is able to strive for the best customer service in the business.

Some of their fondest memories still to this day is when father and son would work together every summer.

“I started when I was 12 years old — it was back when you were still allowed to do that,” Chris Cleary says. “I would carry my dad’s tools in out of so many homes throughout Palm Beach County. I recognized at a very early age what the smile on my dad’s face meant, every time we left a customer’s home. I knew the customers were happy with the service and in return that gave my dad great satisfaction knowing he provided exceptional service.

Today, they work side-by-side, and are still building on that great foundation created so many years ago. 

“A customer should expect that we will meet or exceed their expectations every time,” he adds. “The experience starts from the first call and it does not end. We follow up that day or the next day to make sure the customer is happy and we follow up throughout the year with tips, recommendations, events, etc.”

“Cleary Plumbing & Air has a great team that all share the same core values as my dad and I,” he notes. “They actively train on a weekly basis to improve in areas that will ultimately heighten the customer experience. The company has grown each year because of our Cleary family. We truly believe that once someone has used Cleary Plumbing & Air, they are no longer a customer but family. We know the team member we send out to customers’ homes will be providing the same level of service that puts a smile on both my dad’s and my face.”

A proud heritage

Cleary Plumbing & Air has just under 30 employees and a total of 15 vehicles — a Sprinter, five Pro Masters, five Nissans, a Chevy van, a Chevy truck, a Ford truck and an NPR box truck. 

“We are only going Nissan from here on out,” he says. “We love the Nissan NV2500. It has a 100,000, 5-year warranty, which is nice. We have had only routine maintenance done with no big issues as of yet. They come standard with back up camera and the pickup is good. They are also very tall inside, drive well and my team members say they are comfortable. They are unique looking too, so they really standout around town.”

Being Irish, it was important to the Cleary’s to have the colors green, black and gold represented. They also added blue for water and wind because it contrasted well with green. 

“We tinkered a lot with the wrap,” he says. “We wanted it to be loud and noticeable, and still speak to our branding. Our wraps are to-the-point about who we are and what we do. One side has waves of water for plumbing and the other has a gust of snowflakes for air conditioning. 

“People constantly were adding L to our name, calling us Clearly instead of Cleary,” he adds. “So we used that as our motto and jingle. Our mascot Clover — which customers absolutely love — now has a speech bubble on some of the vehicles that reads ‘Clearly the best.’ Our jingle is, ‘Cleary … Clearly the best.’”

Keep on trucking

Because the logo was changed a few years back, the vehicle wraps are all the same now. The only difference is the Clover might be saying or doing something different. Some of the other things he says include: “We keep you staying cool,” where he is wearing glasses and a coat; or “We do leak detection,” where he is sporting some leak detection gear.

Chris Cleary designed the wrap and collaborated with Planet Signs in West Palm Beach, Florida, to get it on the vehicles. The logo features classic Irish font and was chosen to portray a both modern and vintage look, “like a beer sticker on a bottled beer.” 

“Clover gets everyone’s attention, and customers constantly say they saw our trucks on the road and they remembered the duck,” he says. “When you have a truck that stands out like that, they immediately think you have way more trucks than you actually do. We know this because they are always saying, ‘We always see your trucks around.’ We also hand out ducks to most customers to help them keep us top-of-mind.”

A part of Success Group International, the company “hasn’t skipped a beat” during the pandemic. In fact, they had their best month ever as a company back in March 2020 when the pandemic was hitting hard. 

“Safety protocol and procedure has been front and center,” he says. “We are asking the right questions before booking appointments to make sure both parties are safe. We are coming to people’s home with a mask and sanitizing everything regularly. We are expressing to customers that their safety matters and we will do anything we need to make sure working in their home does not compromise that safety and trust.”