Founded in 1993 and originally named AAA Aceco Plumbing, Collinsville, Ill.-based Tiger Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical Services has gone through a few changes, but has remained strong. Owner Jeff Gamblin started as a plumber in the U.S. Air Force. At the age of 24, he started his own business, based on the values and beliefs the Air Force instilled in him.
Gamblin chose to embody the image of a tiger in his company name, logo and truck graphics because tigers represent strength — a subtle hint to his competitors — and their signature stripes are instantly recognizable.
Twenty-three years later, he now has more than 50 employees and 28 vehicles, serving homes in the St. Louis Metro East area, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. Tiger Plumbing provides a variety of services — repair, installation, maintenance, remodeling and energy-efficiency upgrades. The company is a member of several trade organizations, including Service Roundtable and Service Nation Alliance.
The truck wrap — designed by Brian Steele of Aggressive Graphics of Troy, Ill. — is the same on all the trucks, but the color scheme has some variations. The majority of the trucks are orange and black; however, one plumbing truck and one HVAC van are pink and white.
“The pink-and-white trucks are designed to help us give back to our community,” says Tiger Plumbing General Manager Todd Kiefer. “A portion of the proceeds from jobs completed in those trucks are donated to support cancer awareness. To date, we’ve donated more than $12,500.”
Favorites among the vehicles include the Mitsubishi Fuso FE because of its gas mileage and box spaciousness, the Isuzu NQR because of its towing capabilities and the Ford E250/Transit 250 because of its gas mileage and available shelving.
The main goal behind the design was being as recognizable as possible, Kiefer notes. Stripes are the key signature of a tiger, so adding them to the design was a clear choice. Both the orange and the pink vehicles are designed for maximum visual appeal and brand recognition.
“People, especially children, love seeing a ‘tiger’ driving down their street,” Kiefer says. “The pink plumbing truck is extremely popular; we often receive requests for it to be displayed at community events. In fact, one of the events we had our pink truck displayed at last October was called ‘Touch-A-Truck.’ This event allowed kids to get up close and learn more about different types of work trucks. More than 100 trucks were on display and our pink truck was a favorite; kids and adults of all ages lined up to take pictures in front of it.”
While the trucks themselves are a unique and popular form of advertisement, Tiger Plumbing uses a large variety of marketing and advertising campaigns, including television commercials, billboards, direct mail, digital marketing, pay-per-click, Google ad words, Facebook ads, email newsletters and specials, a large social media presence and a blog.
“There is a lot that separates Tiger from the other service companies in our area,” Kiefer says. “We are a veteran-owned and family-operated company. Our phones are answered by a real person, no matter when a customer calls, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Our trucks are fully stocked, so service calls are completed in a timely manner.”
Gamblin chose the company slogan — “We earn our stripes every day!” — because it not only ties into the tiger theme, it represents the strong work ethic all his team members possess.