Revolutionizing the Industry
Part 2: Seeds of Change
Author: Byron Thomson
*In the prior blog post Byron began discussing his dream of revolutionizing the plumbing industry through his company Next Level Plumbing.
It all began with the recognition that plumbing is an industry in need of change, and Byron will continue to share his thoughts in this post on just what needs to change, why it does, and how he plans to make it happen.*
(Please note that what you are reading includes plans still in the making, and goals that Next Level Plumbing has yet to achieve. Much of this has yet to take place, but voices our plans going forward.)
What’s problem with the plumbing industry today? Owners don’t want change and improve their methods, people don’t want to get hired into plumbing jobs, training is seriously lacking in quality, and the available technicians tend to be sub par in personal development. These things together paint a picture for this industry that is not pretty.
Be that as it may, it is perfect ground to turn over and start planting new seeds of change.
What change? How does this happen?
If I boil it down to the most basic concept, plumbers come when there is a problem and they fix it. I’m not reinventing the wheel. We will come out and fix your plumbing problem, and in that basic sense, we are just like the next guy.
Yes, we will be a wheel, but we are a wheel designed to run in the new changing world on a car rather than a horse drawn cart.
Employees are the number one selling point to the customer, and are the most important part of the company. They must be willing and ready to enact and facilitate these changes. This means I need to tap into the tech generation and bring in talented young people for the company. As much as possible, I want to train them from the ground up.
I don’t want to hire a tech that is already set in his ways and then try to change him, I want to build a successful technician from an already talented person.
While driving to a job and reflecting on these changes I want to make, I realized this: I was homeschooled, and have found that there are a lot of homeschool families that love to hear about successful homeschoolers who’ve done well in business and life. Most homeschooling families generally love to give their kids a chance to learn new things as well.
In the past I have had the opportunity to give plumbing classes to such families and students as a side business and it has been well received. This is one untapped resource to the plumbing industry, and many others, that has the potential to grow and improve the industry.
I plan to eventually start teaching classes again, and expand the educational opportunities to include public, private, and charter schools as well. It will be important to create and maintain good, reliable connections with homeschool networks and schools as well.
Let’s say I find a talented high schooler, who works for NLP through the summer, and will be graduating soon. I want that student to work for my business rather than choose to go to college if they so choose. Before you react badly at suggesting a young person NOT go to college, imagine my offer to that student going something like this:
“You have natural talent to work with your hands, to problem solve in the real world. You now have some experience in the trade, and I would like you to come work for me when you finish school. If you work for me for the same amount of time that you would go to college, I will pay you the entire time, and at the end of the four years I’ll pay to help you get your Master’s Plumbing License…
You will make between $20-$30 per hour during those four years, and when your friends get out of college with their debt, a degree they may not use, and no job, you can already have a house, a nice car in the garage, a $70k plus yearly salary, and be set up to start your own company if you so desire.”
On that note… Technician to customer contact is the most important point of contact in the immediate moment, but for customer retention and long term repeat business, the next phase is married to, and crucial to, continuing to stand out from the competition. That next portion is customer experience.
Continue to read about Byron’s passion & drive to revolutionize the plumbing industry in Part 3 of this blog series: “The New Customer Experience”