Having been in the plumbing industry for 15 years and laid off a few times, Brad Birge decided he didn’t want to rely on other people for his livelihood. That is when he started Big Birge Plumbing. After the first year, Lallenia Birge, his wife, joined the company as co-owner and vice president. The company is now celebrating its second anniversary. It currently has three employees, not including the Birges, and two trucks with another on the way.
The company, which relies heavily on word-of-mouth and social media advertising, covers Omaha, Neb., and surrounding areas. It does service, repair, remodeling, sewer replacements, drain cleaning, jetting and new construction for residential and small- to medium-sized commercial buildings. Of their two trucks — a 2014 Nissan NV Tall (pictured) and a 2007 Chevy HD 2500 — the Nissan is their favorite.
“It looks sharp and can hold a lot more tools and equipment for our wide variety of services,” Brad Birge says. “Also, our plumbers can stand in it, and it can keep our ladders and copper piping inside — which from a safety and theft-prevention standpoint is great.”
Both trucks were wrapped by Revolution Wraps in Omaha. Brad is featured on the passenger’s side of the vehicles and Lallenia is featured on the driver’s side and on the back. “We had a toilet, a bunch of tools, a huge wrench, I had four different outfits, my hair and makeup done, and Brad had his flannel,” she says. “Then the photographer start taking pictures and we put our cheesy faces on.”
The response, for the most part, has been positive. “Our neighbor said when she has a bad day she looks out the window and just starts smiling because she sees Brad’s big smiling face; it puts her in a better mood,” Lallenia Birge says. “We chose this design because it’s different, fun, personal and yet totally out of the ordinary.”
The company’s slogan, “Old Fashioned Ideas Reborn,” was Brad Birge’s idea. “Brad believes strongly in treating his customers with respect, giving them quality and honest work,” Lallenia Birge comments. “Just like in the old days — back when the plumber was your friend and you trusted him. Now it seems like people have a really bad view of the plumbing industry and we don’t want our company to be seen like that.
“We send out thank-you cards and have drawings for prizes via social media to get the people involved with us more,” she continues. “We have had a few people say they were excited when they had their drains back up because that meant they could call us — that right there is why we are doing this.”