A Leap Of Faith
Photo credit: Continental Plumbing.
Back in the mid-1990s, Chad Hart packed his bags and headed south in search of warmer climes.
“I was hanging out in Indiana and there was not a lot going on,” the 36-year-old Ft. Wayne native states. “I went to a warmer place and gave it a shot. It was a risk coming down here. There was no net to save me. I figured if it didn’t work out, I could go back. I’ve never been back.”
After working for several plumbing contractors, Hart took the Florida State Certified Plumbing Contractor Exam and purchased New Port Richey, Fla.-based Continental Plumbing six years ago.
Today, Hart and three technicians cover Pasco and Pinellas counties in the Tampa area specializing in residential and light commercial repair and remodel jobs.
The centerpiece of Continental is a 2012 Nissan NV 2500 HD cargo van.
“It was so new when I bought it I couldn’t drive it for a couple of days because my insurance company didn’t know how to insure it,” Hart says.
Hart is a huge fan of the van’s box height and storage space. He’s also not complaining about the van’s affordability.
“I can walk in the back of it,” he states. “I’m tired of crawling on my hands and knees to get things. You could be 6 feet, 3 inches and stand in the back. We can get a sewer machine and a jetter in there. You name it, I will get it up in there.”
The Nissan truck is not hard to spot on the road thanks to its distinctive red-white-and-blue patriotic wrap. Imagery of the U.S. flag blends perfectly atop a gush of water.
“The guy I bought the company from had little elements of the American flag already,” Hart explains. “I went a little further with it. The whole thing now is the American flag.”
David Yepes at The King of Wraps in Port Richey designed and applied the wrap.
“Wraps are done so much better now,” says Hart, who plans to wrap his other three service vehicles in the same design. “It’s like shrink wrap on the vehicle. I had to get a couple of repairs done on the wrap. They cut out exactly where the dings were and matched them up perfectly.”
Hart notes a good branding campaign is essential in the competitive service environment in the Tampa area. His stationary and water-heater stickers also match the wrap design on the Nissan van.
“About 700 or 800 contractors do business in the two counties here and it seems new guys pop up every day,” Hart says. “I’ve only had the truck on the road a short time and it gets a lot of compliments. It gets stares, which is exactly what I wanted. If somebody remembers the truck, that is even better. I always try and stay one step ahead.”
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