From “quarters” to millions,this company gets it done.

Then & Now

This month, PM's Truck Of The Month company was chosen for its sheer force of numbers. When you operate a fleet of more than 128 vehicles - of all shapes, sizes and styles - you win hands-down in our book. But this Columbus, Ohio-based company also wins on its ability to change and grow.

More than 18 years ago, TFH-EB Inc. purchased a plumbing company named Electra-Bore Industrial Inc., which was founded in 1935. TFH-EB principle, Tom Havens, renamed the company The Waterworks.

Times were rough in the early days, though. Back then The Waterworks gave its service team quarters every morning, because it couldn't afford radio dispatching. (The service team would “phone in” from a phone booth to receive information for their next job.)

“Today, the company has invested a significant sum in a sophisticated dispatching and communication system,” the company says.

In 1987, the company moved to a deserted mulch plant in Hilliard, Ohio. In the winter months, mice made nests in Havens' desk drawer. Today, the company is housed in a multimillion dollar location, and is the official partner of The Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team for plumbing and drain cleaning.

Then: the “fleet” consisted of six trucks, one of which was missing the front passenger's seat.

“Today, our service technicians drive more than 80 fully-stocked plumbing and drain trucks,” the company reports.

In 2000, the plumbing and drain cleaning trucks received a makeover. The new logo design features large drain pipes and wrenches. The company message is “We Respond When Your Plumbing Won't,” and the phone number (614-25DRAIN) is prominently displayed.

Some of the highlights of The Waterworks' and TFH-EB's immense fleet:

  • 10 pump trucks
  • 32 plumbing box trucks
  • 6 jet trucks
  • 2 dump trucks
  • 50 drain vans
  • 16 “operation” vehicles for staff
The company employs a full-time mechanic for vehicle maintenance, which is definitely a full-time job in this garage; each plumbing truck is stocked with approximately $15,000 in parts and materials.

“The residential plumbing trucks function as 'mobile warehouses' that are stocked with nearly everything the technician requires to complete the job,” the company informs us. “This saves the customer time and money, since the technician doesn't have to run to the supply house.”

Since its humble beginnings - when the owner served as the night dispatcher, cleaning staff and president - The Waterworks has grown to include an administrative staff of more than 30 highly skilled team members who continue to breed success.