Dave McCrossin’s company used to be called McCrossin’s Plumbing and Heating.
“That was too much of a mouthful to tell people on the phone,” McCrossin says. “I just ended up saying, ‘Tell them it’s Dave the plumber.’ I made it simple.”
That abridged version ended up sticking, and today Dave the Plumber Plumbing Co. is in its third decade as a one-man operation on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
McCrossin started his business, focused mainly on service and remodeling jobs, back in 1988 and made the new, simpler name official in 1995.
The company name, however, wasn’t the only branding change made. He also switched his company phone number to 508/398-DAVE.
“I was willing to offer $100 for the right number,” recalls McCrossin, who was rebuffed by a local resident for another local “DAVE” subscriber line identifier (the last four digits of a phone number). “These people ended up giving it to me. It was their parents’ house and they were going into a nursing home.”
The “398” exchange holds added significance for McCrossin.
“398 spells out ‘EXT,’” McCrossin says. “So my phone number is 508-Extension-Dave. You’re never going to lose that number and you can text it, too. You don’t need a numeric pad.”
A catchy name and easy-to-remember phone number pale in comparison to McCrossin’s main marketing weapon - his “yellow caution tape”-colored 2000 Chevy 3500 Series van. (The Supreme Cutaway Low Boy box was also ordered through Chevy.)
“I can make it through the drive-through at Burger King and the bank - not that I go to Burger King,” McCrossin jokes.
As you can see, the van’s centerpiece is a giant faucet (made of a combination of PVC fittings, plastic snow fence, weed wacker twine and Bondo; the handle and nut are made of wood) that sits atop the roof.
The faucet, which took some 60 hours to make, was inspired by the fictional Nicky’s Royal Flush Plumbing truck of similar design that appeared in the 1983 comedy “Easy Money” (starring Rodney Dangerfield and Joe Pesci).
The faucet is also prominent in the eye-grabbing design on the side of McCrossin’s truck (artwork done by local resident Lenny D’Orlando).
“Everybody knows my truck,” McCrossin says. “We’re only eight miles wide here on Cape Cod and I can only go two directions - east and west. I don’t think anybody’s going to steal it. They won’t get very far.”
At one time the faucet was functional.
“In my old Toyota truck it did work. People would say, ‘The faucet is dripping,’” he recalls. “You’d turn it on and they would go crazy.
“It hasn’t worked since 2000. I dropped it and the faucet cracked.”
The 44-year-old McCrossin, who once crashed an airplane and has driven a jet ski 1,200 miles to Detroit (for charity), also designed a special pipe rack for the top of the truck (ingredients include steel and expanded metal).
“I should patent it and sell the thing,” McCrossin laughs. “I came up with the idea and had a welder make it for me. You can throw in 10-foot PVC pipes and they won’t fly out.”
While he enjoys the spoken word (with plenty of wry humor thrown in), McCrossin takes a serious tone when it comes to his business and his longevity on Cape Cod.
“Everybody is tightening their belts. I’m thankful I have enough work,” McCrossin says. “I’m a one-man show. I try my hardest. I’m honest and stay in communication with people and I show up when I’m supposed to.”
Simple rules for success from the guy with the simple company name.