Scary-Looking Plumbers Are Bad For Business

I appreciate Jim Olsztynski’s point of view that defends construction workers’ attire (“Fashion Statements,” August 2010). We own and operate a plumbing company in Fort Worth, Texas. Summers are excruciating here in the South and the winters are not much kinder with bone-chilling winds.

Our technicians are required to wear company-issued shirts and hats for uniformity, as well as another way to identify themselves to customers. Our employees are expected to maintain a groomed appearance. During our service meetings, I remind the men that scary-looking plumbers are bad for business - keep the beards trimmed, hair cuts should be maintained and change into a clean set of clothes if needed. Housewives, as well as elderly and commercial customers, always appreciate cleanliness, manners and intelligent answers.

Our owner, Bryan Ganske, earned his master plumbing license at age 19. Bryan’s old-fashioned, small-town approach to taking care of his customers and employees has proven effective for nearly 40 years. We strive to show our customers that our plumbers are highly trained professionals while offering a comfortable uniform conducive to the work environment.

As office manager and co-owner, typically I will represent the company and network with other contractors or attend meetings for our industry. While tailored jackets are the norm for myself, I would be hard-pressed to see any of our technicians in a business suit. Honestly, I prefer the technicians the way they are … hard-working men who aren’t afraid of a little dirt on their hands.

We appreciate the information and articles each month inPM.

Holly Lyon
Bryan’s Plumbing
Richland Hills, Tex.

Challenging, Not Boring

Thanks to Jack Tester for a great article -“If You Get Bored…,” August 2010. I’ve been in this business for 35 years and yes, I do get bored, so the headline caught my attention. In marketing, headlines are important, as Jack proved.

One part of me misses the exciting, risk-taking, living-on-the-edge life of days gone by as we grew our business tenfold. But the other side of me enjoys the money in the bank; a customer base of 10,000; 80 percent repeat customers that appreciate and pay us; and stable, experienced employees who run the business and take good care of the customers.

The downturn in the economy has been kind of fun. It is challenging to hang in there with continued success. Even though profits are down a bit, it’s a challenge to get through each month, overcoming the obstacles in front of us. It’s different and that’s invigorating.

I agree that the constant training, the routine that can become routine, and knowing your numbers is old hat, but all are necessary to thrive, especially these days. Staying physically, spiritually and mentally fit can also be routine. But when you do the right things in business and in life, even though they may be less exciting, the end product is the reward.

Thanks for the reminder and the challenge to keep doing life well.

Joe Ranck
Robert H. Ranck Inc.
Lancaster, Pa.