Ever since Zachary “Zak” Hayes, owner and president of Honest John Plumbing in Riverside, Calif., started working in the plumbing industry, he had the idea of a fun play on words for the name of a plumbing company.

“A toilet is also referred to as a ‘john,’ so I thought this would be a clever name for a company,” Hayes says.

He started his own company in 1997 at the age of 29 using his last name, while he continued to develop his idea and logo. Hayes wanted to make sure the new name portrayed what he offered to his customers — honest and reliable service. So Honest John Plumbing was born. The company’s logo is a superhero toilet (aptly named John) who is ready to “[save] the planet one flush at a time.”

The logo took about eight months to design. “We started with some scrap paper and pencil drawings of a toilet,” Hayes explains. “We wanted to bring the toilet to life, to become a part of our family — to create a logo that had meaning and personality in order to catch our customers’ eyes. We created a friendly superhero character to show clients what we do and used the Earth as our backdrop behind Honest John to represent our commitment to help save the planet.”

The text and colors were all chosen to be bright, bold and colorful in order to draw in customers and be visually eye-catching when out on the road. Phil Jones and Jocelyn Carias, graphic designers at San Bernadino, Calif.-based Platinum Wraps, helped design and wrap the vehicles.

“We wanted our company to have a memorable, clear and friendly look that our clients can recognize and trust,” Hayes says.

The company slogan, as well as the logo, can be seen on all four vehicles — a 2015 Ford Transit 2500 (pictured), a 2011 Chevy Silverado 2500, a 2009 Ford Ranger with cargo shell and a 2007 Ford Ranger with an open bed.

“Our favorite vehicle, hands down, is the Ford Transit,” he notes. “It gets great gas mileage, drives smooth and has good pick up — even with our heavy machines. It is equipped with a backup camera, which helps our technicians maneuver into more difficult spaces and the custom Ranger brand shelving allows us to stock plenty of materials in an organized manner and still have space for our larger equipment, so we are fully prepared for any job.”

In addition to the trucks as mobile billboards, monthly newsletters are sent to keep clients connected with the company — providing plumbing tips for preventative maintenance, latest product updates and special offers. The company also connects with the local community, such as sponsoring elementary school events and local youth sports teams and by donating reusable fixtures/appliances from remodeling jobs to local nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.

Honest John Plumbing provides service and repair in the residential and commercial industries. Its general contractor’s license allows it to specialize in bathroom/kitchen remodels and room conversions.

Hayes is committed to providing his clients with the product knowledge they need to conserve water and energy in their homes and businesses. “We like to think of ourselves as a small town, mom-and-pop shop our customers can trust and rely on to provide a more personal service experience,” Hayes says. “However, we also look forward to expanding the company and maybe someday franchising out so that a larger demographic can experience what our company has to offer.”


This article was originally titled “A play on words” in the June 2016 print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.