Before Andrew Alexander started his service company in November 2003, he worked for a plumbing and heating company that used all different kinds of trucks, so he was pretty familiar with what service vehicle would be right for Andy's Pipe Dream.
"The cube vans with a cab over design seemed to have less maintenance issues," Alexander says about his two 2004 U.D. 1200s. "Plus, it's a truck, not a van; they are just designed all around for heavier use."
Both vehicles feature custom-built aluminum shelving, and use plastic bins to organize the company's full inventory system by part number.
"We carry pretty much anything you would need for a service call. We know what brands of plumbing are in our area and set up our trucks for it. We rarely have to leave a job to get a part," he says. The vehicles carry approximately $9,000 worth of inventory on each truck.
Andy's Pipe Dream added radiant heating services in 2004, but he says they don't do very many projects, as it hasn't really caught on in his part of the country yet. "We mainly install them on remodels or as upgrades to existing homes," says Alexander, who spent two years as a plumber in Denver where they were much more common.
The catchy company name and stylistic graphics took a bit of a leap of faith for Alexander, who was surrounded by traditional competitors' names like "Bob's or Joe's Plumbing."
"When we set out to name the company, we wanted to be different. We came up with a name and slogan, and then turned it over to our graphic artist to do the rest." Todd Meyers of Shawnee, Kan., designed the logo, truck graphics layout and business card setup. The company uniforms also feature the color and logo to nurture the brand image. "We were extremely pleased with his creativity."
His advice for choosing the right truck body style to get the job done?
"You need to choose what is right for the type of company you operate. We provide demand service; our customers want service done right and now. That requires us to carry a lot of inventory." Alexander definitely recommends spending the money up front to purchase the trucks that are right for you. "If you buy what is cheap or think that you cannot afford to spend money on a better truck now, I question where you will be in the future when that truck stops running. How much money will you lose ... on a truck that is not up to the task?"
When we asked him about the inspiration for his logo, Alexander suggests you try to have fun, but it's worth the investment to trust a professional. "I'm a plumber, not an artist. Would you hire an artist to fix your plumbing?"
The choice to hire a professional to design the Andy's Pipe Dream logo seems to have paid off. "When people see our trucks they can't stop looking. We get a lot of calls from people just saying they like our trucks."