Offer your customers some practical gift ideas this year.

Faucet photo courtesy of Moen.

When my father was still alive, he often gave his children, including their spouses, a plumbing fixture, or appliance, for Christmas. He knew what we needed, knew what was popular, and he added that to his Christmas gift list. His plumbing gifts were always a big hit.

I remember the year when he gave my wife and I a pull-out spray kitchen faucet. These faucets were new, and while I loved them, it seemed impractical to buy since we had a perfectly good kitchen faucet. However, when it was given to us, it became a luxury gift that we loved. Every faucet we have owned since then has been a pull-out spray faucet.

My father had a good idea that his profession provided many unique gift-giving opportunities. I stole the concept from my father a few years ago, giving my wife a new garbage disposal. She loved it. Plus, when she used it every day, she thought of me. At least that’s what I like to think. When that disposal died, we received a gift of a new disposal. Again, she loves it, more than the last one.

While it is great for those of us in the profession to give the gift of plumbing, we forget about the opportunities available for our customers to give the gift of plumbing. How many of you thought about presenting to your customers a “Christmas Special” on plumbing fixtures or appliances?

Let me be sexist for a bit and address the dilemma facing many husbands this time of year. They want to buy their wives a gift she will always remember, but they don’t know where to begin. Yeah, perfume is great, so are the other romantic items, but to give a practical item that is used all the time really goes a long way. Those practical items include plumbing fixtures and appliances.

You need to market this idea to the husbands on your customer list. Send them a Santa’s helper note listing the specials you have. Have them buy the installation, then provide them with a gift-wrapped fixture or appliance that they want installed. It will fit well under the Christmas tree.

Kitchen Gift List

Industry marketing trends show the interest women and wives have regarding certain plumbing fixtures and appliances. Before presenting these items to you, I went to the most important research assistant I have, my lovely wife. She has approved every one of these plumbing gift ideas. If you run into her, she will even give you a better sales job than I will.

Let me start in the kitchen. A new kitchen faucet is the first item on the list. But not just any kitchen faucet, make it a pull-out spray, fancy kitchen faucet. Or even better, an automatic pull-out spray kitchen faucet. Every manufacturer provides you with wonderful upscale models of pull-out faucets. A husband can never go wrong with a brand-new kitchen faucet. Especially if you include installation!

How about a new garbage disposal? Perhaps a first-time garbage disposal installation. They are real easy to sell. Today, not only are they convenient, they are also very green. The modern-day garbage disposal can grind up anything. Forget about those restrictions against fibrous foods or bones; today’s units swallow them all. How many husbands even know that?

The next appliance would be an instant hot water dispenser. You talk about a plumbing appliance that women love, this has to be at the top of the list. Tea at the flick of a wrist. Oatmeal instantly before your eyes. A cup of soup, anytime you want it. Stuffing, couscous and rice made very easy. The list goes on and on. The beauty is that a woman will find more uses than a man ever dreamed of.

The final kitchen item you can suggest is one of the newer 12-inch-deep kitchen sinks. If you have any customers that are foodies, they will love the deep sink. Gourmet home chefs hate little kitchen sinks. When they find out they can have a deeper sink, they are in heaven. As strange as it may seem, plumbing salespeople try to talk people out of having a deep sink. They give the excuse that it will cause back pain.

Having a 12-inch-deep sink myself, I can tell you it is a wonderful addition to our kitchen. All my big pots and pans are now easier to clean, and my back doesn’t hurt. A deep sink is the biggest ticket item in the kitchen, but for the gourmet chefs of the world, it is worth the price. It would make a wonderful plumbing Christmas gift.

Gifts For The Bathroom

Another area where a husband can be a hero with a plumbing Christmas gift is in the bathroom. A new “green” water closet flushing 1.28 gallons or less sells well for those who are environmentally aware. Whoever thought a water closet would make a great Christmas present? However, it does. It flushes well and saves water, the environment and the world. How can you go wrong?

While you are at it, throw in a water-conserving rainfall showerhead. Every woman I have spoken to loves the shower pattern from these showerheads.

If you think you have run out of time, think again. According to national surveys, husbands typically wait until the week before Christmas to buy the big-ticket items for their wives. So, get cracking and offer them options for some plumbing Christmas presents. At the same time, the additional business will be a nice Christmas present for yourself.

I wish all of you a Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.