For consumers, one plumbing company looks pretty much like any other. The experience from one to another is equally similar. Here are nine actions you can take to help your company stand out.
1. Create a USP
A unique selling proposition, or USP, is a short tag line that identifies why someone should do business with your company, why you are different from other plumbing companies and/or where you are superlative.
You could be the tankless specialist. You could be the oldest company in your area. You could be the company that specializes in a specific suburb. Dutton Plumbing in California uses the USP, “The plumber you’d send to your Mom’s house.”
2. Fully wrapped trucks
One white truck looks pretty much like another. They blend together in the consumer’s mind. Make yours stand out with a full truck wrap. Pick a background color that provides good contrast to your logo. Cantilever the logo, so it breaks the plane. Make it as big as you can. Make your website address larger than your phone number. Include your USP. Do not forget to wrap the roof so that anyone looking out of a second story window or from a small rise can see it.
According to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America, vehicle wraps generate 30,000 to 80,000 exposures per day, depending on the population density of your market. This is a huge opportunity to build brand familiarity in your market. Don’t blow it.
3. Social media presence
Social media has become particularly noxious in 2021. It’s the home of cancel culture, social justice warriors — and your customers. Make sure your company has a social media presence; just avoid politics.
In the bi-annual survey of the customers of Service Nation Alliance members, the most frequently mentioned turn-off for field service personnel is poor grooming. Sadly, an easy way to stand out today is a crew of plumbers with neat haircuts who shower every morning and try not to look like slobs.
If you pay for your plumbers to wash their trucks, pay for them to get haircuts. Make it an employee benefit. Cut a deal with a local barbershop or bring a barber in one day a week.
A t-shirt and dirty jeans do not constitute a uniform. Sharp-looking uniforms, maintained by a uniform company are another way to make your company stand out. Uniforms are not rocket science, but neither are they common.
6. Service agreements
Service agreements are a way to bind customers to you, provide work during periods of low demand, and generate cash flow. You should price them based on marginal revenue over marginal costs. Do not burden your service agreement pricing with your full overhead. The service agreement needs to be a no-brainer for the homeowner.
Make sure your service agreement is providing real value. Flush water heaters, dye test toilets, replace flappers, clean out faucet aerators and so on.
7. Friendly customer service representatives
The first customer contact most consumers have with your company is the person who answers the phones. How are your phones answered? Can you even understand the greeting? Is it friendly and cheerful or cold and rushed? Hire friendly people to handle your calls.
Raid the hotel industry for front desk personnel who are not well-paid but are well-trained. They can dress more casually in your office and sit down rather than staying on their feet all day.
8. Have fun
Try to have fun as an organization and give people the impression that yours is an organization where everyone likes each other. Host fun events involving your team. This could be a Friday lunch, a rib-off where you buy ribs from area restaurants and have a contest to select the best. It could be a movie afternoon on the company.
Do not take yourself too seriously, but remain professional. For example, do not letter your trucks with potty jokes. Ed O’Connell’s USP was, “The only plumbing company highly recommended by my mother.” It showed humor without bad taste.
In another example, do not put the image of a guy on a toilet beneath the driver side window. Instead, do something like Kevin Shaw Plumbing where the wrap on the back of the truck featured a picture of Kevin opening the door and waving.
9. Community involvement
One of the best ways to stand out is by standing up in your community. Find ways to give back, to be a part of the community. Join a service club. Be active in the chamber of commerce. Support local organizations like the humane society, the high school band, and so on.
Your community involvement will be especially beneficial if you should ever find yourself the target of a TV hit piece. Community service over the years, builds a reservoir of goodwill that will help offset the negativity of a sting.