by John Hrubos
When I started in the plumbing business 30 years ago, I didn't know anything about plumbing. My future boss asked "What do you know about plumbing?" and all I could answer was "I use it every day."
I guess that answer was good enough, because he hired me, and I started at the very bottom of the company ladder, doing all those jobs that no one else wanted to do. I didn't want to be the low man on the company totem pole for any longer than necessary, and that meant that I had to learn the trade just as quickly as I could. Plumbing has literally thousands of parts and pieces that are used everyday, and you need them all. Part by piece I started learning all the names and sizes of all this stuff, and the different materials they were made of, and how and where they were used.
And then I had my epiphany - I got "it." I learned to see all these parts as a complete system, and then it was, "Look out. I'm going to build some plumbing!" The whole idea that I could take all these pieces and parts and build something that people wanted and needed - and then turn it on and watch it work - was just amazing for me.
I learned my trade, worked for several different companies, expanded my base of knowledge into heating, air conditioning, and water treatment, and worked my way up. As my career progressed, I learned more and more about the business of plumbing, taking on more responsibilities and assignments. Every boss wanted me to "think like an owner," so I began to do just that. As I thought about it, I became convinced that I had a better way to run a plumbing business, and I had to prove it. When the right opportunity came along to buy an existing business, I went for it.
Hrunning WaterPlumbing gets a lot of cards, letters and phone calls from customers thanking us for the work we did for them, complimenting us about the great service they received and the expertise of the technician on the job. These service report cards give me a sense of being on the right track and make me proud of my employees and my business. I always make a point of sharing them with the plumbers who served these customers so that my employees know that people really do appreciate the extra effort. I proudly hang these letters over my desk to remind myself why I'm in business - and that wall is getting pretty crowded.
by John Hrubos