An Appealing CompanyEconomists say we’re staring down a recession, but Texas hasn’t gotten the memo just yet - it’s still booming.
“It’s incredible,” says George Johnson, owner of The Katy Plumbing Co. He has been plumbing for about 20 years. He started his company in 2000, and recently purchased two new Sprinter trucks.
“I told my son that when he got his journeyman’s license, I’d buy him a brand new truck. He got to work on it right away, installing shelves and then he went to work on the graphics.”
Anthony Johnson definitely had a plan. He wanted to reach a specific market - women aged 30-40 - and he achieved this by wrapping the Sprinters in bold photography. One is a picture of a woman relaxing in frothy bubbles. The other is an image of a smiling baby in a bathtub.
This friendly choice of graphics has made The Katy Plumbing Co. a very approachable company.
“People tell us they see our trucks all the time. I’ve had people stop me on the road and ask me questions about service.”
The Katy Plumbing Co. is a proud member of PHCC and the Quality Service Contractors. “We’re not business people, we’re plumbers. And we’ve learned so much from our QSC group. They’ve been there, and it’s really helped.”
For example, Katy, Texas, is a city filled with many dual-income families and typical middle-class residences. The company learned to address its service hours by modifying its shifts so that a call can be completed after 5 p.m. without charging an after-hours fee.
Otherwise, Saturday calls are way up. “We have one truck running on Saturday, but I may add a second one,” Johnson says.
The company employs three licensed plumbers and three apprentices, as well as office and accounting staff. It dispatches its techs from their homes first thing in the morning, so there’s no need to stop at the office.
While it saves on fuel, it more importantly increases billable hours. “At the office, the guys would just stand around, eating donuts and talking. It’d take them 20-30 minutes to get going. Now we get them going and keep them going throughout the day.”
Johnson says there is a demand to work for his company. “No one really wants to drive in to Houston. Ours is one of the few companies that just services this area, and I think this makes our company appealing to plumbers who live around here.”
Also attractive to employees is driving around in the brand new Mercedes-class service trucks. “The a/c works, the stereo is great. The techs have a good attitude when they show up to the job. I think it also helps the technicians feel good about themselves, and feel they deserve their top-dollar pay. Having the trucks has helped us keep our techs.”
Johnson says a well-designed truck definitely shows you take pride in your work, and homeowners respond to that. “Nine times out of 10 you take care of your customers the way you take care of your truck.”
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