PM has featured so many great plumbing service trucks! See plenty of them here in our Truck Of The Month Archives page. Are you proud of your truck? Go to our Truck of the Month page to find out how your service truck could be chosen!
Steven Shapiro, owner of Lake Cook Plumbing, began working as an apprentice plumber under his father at his family-owned shop in 1982. Originally founded in 1954, the company was started by his grandfather, Wally Shapiro, who ran the company until the early 1980s when his father, Allan Shapiro, took the reins. Upon his father’s unexpected passing in 2005, Steven Shapiro, for legal reasons, moved the company to the northern suburbs of Chicago and renamed it Lake Cook Plumbing — reflecting the two primary service areas: Lake and Cook Counties.
“I had one advantage as a start-up company — although I could not keep the original name, I was fortunate enough to keep most of the customer base,” Shapiro says. “Unfortunately, success didn’t come easy. In 2013, I was at my wits end and ready to close the doors for good.” A co-worker suggested he find a training program for the technicians and staff. After seeing an ad for the Nexstar Network, Shapiro decided to give the group a call. With the help of Susan Kimball, Nexstar marketing coach, and the design staff at Sign Zoo, Shapiro and his wife, Kim, began the rebranding process. At the same time, Shapiro bought two Isuzu trucks — a 2006 Isuzu Diesel NPR and a 2007 Isuzu Diesel NQR — both with 14-ft. long Hackney truck bodies. “We wanted a more personal, less industrial image to convey a sense of family and home,” he explains. The wraps include a new company logo, which was designed at the same time as the truck wraps by Kimball, Shapiro and his wife, utilizing the design service Logo Tournament.
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Family-owned Modern Plumbing Industries is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Frank Bracco started the company in 1975 at the age of 24 out of the trunk of his car. He has since passed ownership on to his two sons, Anthony and Charles Bracco. Today, the company is headquartered in Winter Springs, Fla., just northeast of Orlando, and covers 40 cities in central Florida with 90 employees and 30 trucks.
Ten trucks focus on service and repair for both residential and commercial customers. MPI’s service department began as a warranty component for its contracting division but has grown over the years. “It wasn’t until five years ago that we really started investing more in service,” says Charles Bracco, vice president and general manager. “We joined various organizations and learned as much as we could by attending meetings and doing our due diligence. One key component was definitely the vehicle wraps.”
Robert Hicks, owner of Benton, La.-based Speedway Plumbing, opened his business in January 2012. He got started in the business 18 years ago, when he was 22. After high school, Hicks got a job at a temp agency, which in turn placed him as a plumber’s apprentice with a local plumbing company.
He was mentored by the owner and decided to go for his journeyman’s license. “It has become a passion of mine to help people when they are in need and I thoroughly enjoy the field of customer service,” Hicks says. Thirteen years later, he ventured on to receive his master plumber’s license.
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Carpenter was 47 when he opened Mark Carpenter Plumbing and is now 62. Brian Carpenter, Mark Carpenter’s son, joined the company in 2008 at the age of 32. He is now vice president and co-owner, running the business from an operational and marketing standpoint.
Growing up, Jason Parish saw that his uncle, William Steingass, had a beautiful home and traveled frequently. Steingass owned his own plumbing company. At 16, Parish decided he wanted to travel just like his uncle, so he went to work for him. Three years later, Parish opened his own plumbing business as a sole proprietor — Jay’s Plumbing. As he continued to build a client base, he decided it was best to incorporate and have a more professional business name. In 1998, he became All City Plumbing.
“I worked for home builders performing only new construction plumbing,” says Parish. “In 2005, the bubble burst and it was my opportunity to flee the cold. The next year, I moved my family to Port St. Lucie, Fla., and in 2007, I opened All City Plumbing Two.”
Celebrating its fourth anniversary, Drain Buster’s Plumbing in Los Osos, Calif., is Miles Morrison’s part of the American dream. He started his plumbing career in Northern California right out of high school and dreamed of opening his own plumbing business one day. That dream came to fruition in June 2011 when Morrison, then 32, opened Drain Buster’s Plumbing.
Morrison thought long and hard about the name of the company — which stems from his love of drain cleaning, not the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters.”
“I wanted something people would remember and recognize,” he said. “I have been thinking and dreaming of what the company name/design would be for years. I had a few other ideas but this is what stuck with me, what I kept coming back to.” He came up with the phone number (528-CLOG) as well, so it, too, could be easily remembered.
Frank Winters grew up in California in a family of mechanical tradesmen. His grandfather, father, uncle and five cousins are all HVAC sheet metal workers. When he moved to Michigan from California 15 years ago to be near his son, Wesley Winters, he went to work for a plumbing contractor in Plymouth, Mich., for $8 an hour.
After a few years, Winters started working for a different plumbing company. However, he had always wanted to work for himself, so in 2008 he cashed in a $10,000 401(k) and made a go for it. He opened Birmingham Plumbing, Heating and Cooling in September of that year. At first, when there was no work, he parked the truck, passed out business cards, and went door to door.
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The Polite Plumber prides itself on maintaining high personal service standards, resulting in a loyal customer base. In business since 1948, the third-generation, family-owned and -operated residential plumbing service company began with Robert and Roseanne Hughes.
Later Hughes enlisted the help of his son, David Hughes. They worked together for many years until eventually David took over and ran the small shop for more than 35 years. In 1990, Willy Hughes, David’s son, joined the company. He worked alongside his father before taking over the business in 1995. It was then that the company started to expand outside of the small town of Hopatcong, N.J.
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Changing how customers view contractors is one of Kenneth D. Goodrich's top goals as president of The Sunny Plumber. A 30-year veteran of the plumbing and heating industry, he started off helping his father, J. Duncan Goodrich, in his HVAC business, Racee Air Conditioning, and went from being the official flashlight holder to buying, growing and selling multiple companies — including his father’s.
In 2013, Goodrich purchased Rescue Rooter, a Phoenix-based company, and enlisted the support of a marketing group to determine a new name to promote the idea of a friendly company people would be happy doing business with. Thus, The Sunny Plumber was born.
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After graduating with a physics degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, Phelps Clarke, co-owner and president of Sugar Hollow Solar, spent five years working at Sundance Power Systems in Weaverville, N.C. There he learned multiple types of systems, including solar hot water, radiant floor heating, micro-hydro and solar electric, while also earning his H-1 heating license.
In 2010, Clarke and Keith Holdsworth, project manager at Sugar Hollow Solar, decided to start their own company, Holdsworth and Clarke in Fairview, N.C., after Clarke saw some of Holdsworth’s radiant work a year earlier and convinced him to help try to improve the quality of renewable energy systems in the area.
Paul McRoberts’ father, Earle McRoberts, strongly encouraged his sons to enter the trades. Beginning in ninth grade, Paul McRoberts took many trade courses and chose plumbing as his major. In 1984, at the age of 31, he started Paul McRoberts Plumbing & Heating, which included new residential construction installations and residential service. The heating side included water heating, baseboard heating and boilers.
In 1992, McRoberts was introduced to radiant under-floor heating, and was very interested in the concept and the way it worked. As his contracting company changed, the name changed, too. In 2000, iFH Designs and Installations was born.
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