Jason Ravitz’s service truck delivers a one-two visual punch.
On the back of his 2002 GMC Savannah service truck is an image of a dog sitting in a toilet (more on that in a moment). But Ravitz feels the real eye-catcher are the words that appear after his name.
“I really wanted master plumber on there,” he says. “If I park the truck at the supermarket, you can see that all the way across the parking lot. This guy is a master plumber and here’s his phone number. I wanted the words ‘master plumber’ and my phone number to pop. Everything else is secondary. Having those words on the truck gives customers a good comfort level. It shows that I’ve been in the trade a long time and I know what I’m doing.”
Ravitz started Jason Ravitz Master Plumber three years ago after a 12-year run working for a local plumbing contractor. This one-man operation performs mainly residential repair, remodel and service work over a 50-mile radius in the Middlesex area of Massachusetts.
“When the economy started to tank I found myself getting my hours cut way back. It wasn’t just me, it was everybody,” he says. “Now I have the freedom to run the business the way I want. I’m straightforward and I treat people right.”
Ravitz notes his GMC Savannah provides numerous jobsite efficiencies, including a high ceiling clearance. “I can stand up in the back and organize everything,” he says. “If I’m working with gas piping, I can put the threading machine on the back of the truck. I don’t have to break my back carrying the thing around. I can thread pipe right there.”
The idea for the dog image was hatched while Ravitz was changing toilets in his family’s home.
“I surprised my wife, Marjorie, and changed the three toilets in the house with nice new TOTO ones,” he explains. “There was no water in the toilet yet so I decided to put our maltese puppy, Honey, in the toilet. I took a photo and sent it to my wife. She called me, hysterical, thinking the dog had fallen in. I put the photo on my site and customers thought it was a riot.”
A meeting with Norman Ashworth of Lincoln, R.I.-based High-Image Graphics produced the rear-door wrapping that draws many looks wherever Ravitz goes.
“Mothers and kids will be walking and the kids will run over and point at the dog,” he says. “It’s an opportunity for me to introduce myself and give them a business card. It gets a lot of attention. They are either laughing at me because I’m funny looking or they are laughing at the dog.”
The 40-year-old Ravitz admits he wasn’t laughing when he first ventured out onto his own three years ago.
“Looking back, I had a lot of anxiety,” he says. “It was difficult. I started off with my hand tools and a 2000 Dodge Ram truck. I didn’t have anything, but I went out and did it. My first job paid for my materials. I eventually opened some supply house accounts and got the business rolling. It’s taken on a life of its own. I thank God for starting my business. It has been a blessing.”