PM Truck of the Month - Lancaster Plumbing & Heating, East Petersburg, Pa.
Photo credit: Jenna Kaufman/Lancaster Plumbing & Heating
Lancaster Plumbing & Heating has quite the history in central Pennsylvania.
Jenna Kaufman, Lancaster’s creative director, notes the full-service company has roots in the area dating back as early as 1904. It’s the oldest plumbing, heating and cooling business in Lancaster County.
“Lancaster Plumbing started in the basement of a Lancaster city building around 1904,” she says. “One of the former owners (Merv Buch) said the plumbers back then would hop on the trolley to downtown, walk on the dirt and brick streets with tools in their wheelbarrows and knock on doors in hopes of selling their plumbing services.”
Scott Peppler is Lancaster’s fourth known owner. He’s owned the business since 1979 and has grown it into an approximately 20-truck fleet with 30-some employees. Starting as strictly a plumbing company, Lancaster has grown to offer a full range of services. Future territory expansion is planned, as well as the addition of commercial and electrical divisions along with the launch of Rabbit Rooter, a new sewer and drain division.
However, the company found itself at a crossroads several years ago in terms of business growth.
“A great word to use would be stagnant,” Kaufman states.
Lancaster did not sit idly. Peppler promoted Bob Wiley to general manager in 2005 to head the service technicians, providing rigorous training and support to help grow the company.
Lancaster also joined best practices group Nexstar in the spring of 2008 and launched massive rebranding and marketing campaigns, including the establishment of the website www.mysamedayservice.com.
A major part of the rebranding campaign was the wrapping of its service vehicles earlier this year. The truck pictured in the above photos is a 2010 Freightliner Sprinter. Kaufman worked with Sarasota, Fla.-based Sign Zoo to design the fleet wraps.
“We decided on the vibrant orange color because we wanted to be noticed,” she says. “Most companies in our area have white trucks and vans. You can see our trucks coming down the road a mile away.”
If the orange color doesn’t catch your eye, the image of the service tech on the back of the truck certainly will. He appears to be standing at the edge of the van with the back door open.
“It’s more of a friendly face on the back,” Kaufman says. “It’s another way of getting noticed. It looks like he is getting out of the truck as you are going down the road. It makes you look twice.”
While a major capital investment, Lancaster is already reaping the benefits of the new-look vehicles.
“Wrapping our fleet was a big upfront expense,” Kaufman notes. “But we’re tracking great results. We’re constantly improving not only our image, but what we have to offer customers while maintaining the highest standards of service. The No. 1 priority is the customer. We have a ‘yes, we can do that’ attitude.”
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PM's Truck Of The Month is sponsored by General Pipe Cleaners.