Truck of the Month: Four Seasons Plumbing, Asheville, N.C.
Originally from North Carolina, Max Rose and his wife, Rachel Rose, moved to Colorado in the late 1990s. He started plumbing as an apprentice at Vowel Plumbing in Silverthorne, Colo., and attended plumbing classes in the evening at Red Rocks Community College in Denver.
“I had great teachers and mentors who taught me the value of quality craftsmanship,” says Max Rose, owner of Four Seasons Plumbing in Asheville, N.C.
The Roses spent five years in Colorado and decided to move back to North Carolina due to the declining health of their parents. After two years of working for a local plumbing company, they decided to take a chance and create their own company. “We choose the name Four Seasons Plumbing because it is one of the greatest things about living in western North Carolina,” Rose notes. “We wanted something that felt local and warm. In the business, we wanted to focus on high-quality craftsmanship and create an environment that people will enjoy working in.”
The first year in business his wife did all the office work while Rose did all the field work. “That would be our best year for the next five years,” he notes. “The second year we decided to take on more work and bring on two plumbers. Each year we were growing until five years had passed. We quickly realized we had made a huge mistake trying to run a business with absolutely no business or management experience. That was a turning point for us.”
Frustrated, he turned to an old friend from Colorado for help — who told him about best-practices group Nexstar. After looking into the organization and visiting a local member, Rose decided to join. “From there we quickly lost all our employees due to the fear of change and the realization we had made some very bad hiring decisions,” he says. “After things settled down, we slowly paid off all our debt and rebuilt a healthy, profitable business with the culture we originally dreamed of 10 years ago.”
Currently with 12 employees and eight vehicles, Rose’s company covers Buncombe County, N.C. The vehicles include: four Isuzu NPR cab-over gas with 12-ft. Hackney P-2000 (2013, 2014, 2015 (pictured) and 2016 models); one 2012 Chevy cut-away with a 12-ft. Hackney P-2000; one 2004 Isuzu Diesel cab-over with 14-ft. Hackney P-2000; and two older vehicles that are being used as spares.
“The newer Isuzus are my favorite,” Rose says. “I love how easy they are to maneuver around the curvy mountain roads around here. I also love how systemized and spacious the Hackney boxes are. Our service manager, Matt Morrill, likes the Chevy cut-away the best — says it rides smoother.”
Looking for something with a professional-grade appearance, Rose decided to wrap his trucks. The wrap, designed by Dan Antonelli with Graphic D-Signs in Washington, N.J., is the same on all eight trucks. “We wanted something that was simple, easy to remember and eye-catching,” Rose says. “We also wanted the design to highlight our slogan: ‘The right call any time of year.’”
In addition to general advertising, the company has an active Facebook page to generate homeowner participation. In February, it highlighted a photo contest to benefit the local animal shelter. “It went great,” Rose says. “We had 71 entries and more than 1,500 votes — generated through ‘likes.’ It was a lot of fun and we were able to support a great cause.”