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The Floating Guy

The head-turning wrapping on Linda Houser’s service trucks turned out to be a wise investment.

Houser, the owner of Federal Way, Wash.-based Pat’s Plumbing, was sifting through a magazine a decade ago and noticed a photo of a guy floating underwater.

“I thought it was so cool,” she says. “A person floating somewhere seemed like a great idea. I thought we’d incorporate it in our trucks.”

These days, the “floating guy” - as he’s referred to - makes her trucks stand out on the roads of south King County.

“One woman called and thought it was her son. She hadn’t seen him in years,” Houser laughs. “We had to clarify that one. We hired a model for the floating guy. People always ask who he is. That’s why I chose to have someone not employed by me on there. It’s worked really well. I’m very proud of how the trucks turned out.”

Five Isuzu trucks of various years comprise Houser’s fleet. All have Hackney boxes, which provide more than ample storage room as the photo to the right shows. Kent, Wash.-based Superior Imaging produced and applied the wraps.

“The wrapping has made a big difference,” Houser notes. “Our trucks used to be just white with letters. Our brand recognition has come up tenfold. We’ll get calls that someone was behind the truck on the freeway and loved the design. It’s fun and it’s lighthearted. You have the floating guy and a goldfish swimming through with a lamp and a chair. It’s like a customer’s house flooded with water.”

That design isn’t limited to just the trucks. The floating guy is included on literature that Pat’s Plumbing techs distribute.

The floating guy also has been a visitor at Seattle professional sporting events and has been affixed to the sides of city buses. Pat’s Plumbing (named after a former co-founder) has advertised at both Qwest Field (home of the NFL’s Seahawks) and Safeco Field (home of baseball’s Mariners). This was very successful because the floating guy branding was familiar in the community thanks to the trucks.

“They sell ad space in the bathrooms in those stadiums,” Houser says. “He was in the bathroom.”

Smart advertising and, more importantly, a commitment to customer service has allowed Pat’s Plumbing to remain an area fixture over the years.

“We take care of the customer,” Houser says. “We come prepared to do the work for you. We have a lot of loyal customers come back to us.”

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