A Pipeline To Success
Restoration Piping Technologies, Cincinnati. [Photos courtesy of Restoration Piping Technologies/Nieman Plumbing.]
Back in 2005, Nieman Plumbing was flying high. The Cincinnati-based contractor had 95 employees. The company invested heavily in residential work.
Then the economic downturn hit.
“Our sales were cut almost in half,” says 45-year-old A.J. Nieman, one of the shareholders in the company along with his younger brother, Brian. Nieman’s father, Drew, started the company in 1974 as a one-man operation.
“With sales decreased and employees decreased, we had a lot of extra vehicles,” A.J. says.
To combat the downturn, Nieman Plumbing added pipe restoration to its service menu, but did so under the Restoration Piping Technologies banner. Restoration Piping Technologies is a franchise of parent company ePIPE, an ACE DuraFlo product.
“In 2008 we became involved with the restoration of failed copper plumbing systems and galvanized plumbing systems,” Nieman explains. “We go in and restore a home’s plumbing system without putting any holes in the walls by installing liquid epoxy liner through the actual system. We wanted to pursue avenues where there was less competition.”
Nieman quickly noticed demand for that type of work spanned beyond Cincinnati. Recent re-pipes have taken him to Louisville, Ky., and Cleveland.
In order to spread the word about the new venture, Nieman invested $2,800 to re-wrap one of his dormant service trucks - a 2000 Chevy 3500 Express van. Many of the slogans and logos on the truck came from ACE DuraFlo headquarters (the ePIPE logo on the driver’s side door stands for epoxy pipe). Nieman selected the prominent water droplet motif from Internet clip art. Hebron, Ky.-based Crux Roadboardz Graphics designed and applied the wrap.
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“It’s a great advertising vehicle,” he states. “It’s amazing how they wrap them. Our company colors are red. That was a red van. The interior is still fire engine red. We did nothing to it other than wrap it. We’ve been really happy with it.”
At times, Nieman is apt to park the truck in a shopping center for the day.
“We’ll just park it out in places,” he says. “It stimulates calls. The blue coloring is catchy. If you see a truck wrapped well, it usually catches your eye.”
The truck is the only one in Nieman’s fleet used in the restoration piping side of the business and is usually run with a three-man crew.
“We have become the water gurus in town,” Nieman says. “People know we have a little more knowledge in that realm. Even if we don’t do the epoxy coating, we might re-pipe in another way. Our philosophy always has been complete plumbing service. We want to offer customers a solution to anything concerned with plumbing.”