By Melody Birkett, Donor

Some people might think Wayne Decker’s business plan doesn’t make sense.

But Decker, president of PlumbSmart Heating and Air, says that not only makes sense, but lots of pennies.

“We charge less than the big players and we are still doing very well,” he said.

“Our profit margins are still very good. Our guys have all the perks you can imagine and high pay. There is nothing wrong with having this philosophy. They all (other plumbing companies) could have it, but they choose not to because they want to have much bigger margins.

To top it off, charity is a big part of Decker’s business plan: Since the start of the pandemic, his company has performed at least 200 jobs for free for those in need.

Decker started his residential plumbing repair business in 2006 and was previously in the service industry, serving homeowners for over 40 years.

He started his business for exactly what she lives for.

“It was more of a response to the attitude that prevails today – that the plumbing companies are just too expensive and they charge too much.”

For example, he said that many companies charge between $ 400 and $ 1,000 to unclog a toilet, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes. “If you make $ 20 an hour, that would be about a week’s take-home pay to unclog a toilet. “

While the costs of parts or items like water heaters have increased, PlumbSmart has not increased its prices for labor.

“We’re so sure of our prices that even if a customer doesn’t want to use us, they can still call us… and ask for a price,” Decker said.

“A lot of businesses will spend between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 to send you to take a course to establish yourself as one of the best sales people you can be. You know what to say. You know how to manipulate. You have funding available. ‘”

“When you have that attitude, it’s not about what a normal profit is because it’s hard to say,” said Decker, who has around 50 employees. “It’s very subjective. This is how much profit do you want to make? PlumbSmart is very profitable at about half of what our big competitors charge.

Decker said his focus is on dealing with landlords, not finding money.

“And the beauty of it is that when you have the philosophy, the more you give, the more you get, your growth is almost unmanageable. You don’t have people who are upset, question you, or have buyer’s remorse. You keep growing and making more money.

During the pandemic, PlumbSmart grew by 40% in 2020 and an additional 40% in 2021.

Its TV ads told people that the company would fix a plumbing or air conditioning emergency free of charge for those who had been going through tough financial times.

“A majority of companies would say, ‘You’re crazy. You will be inundated with customers calling for something for free, ”Decker said.

He said that was one of the first premises they were wrong.

“About 3% of all customers can bend the rules to get something on you. They can lie and cheat and try to get something for free. For those three percent, we can say, “God bless you. Give me a big hug. Hope you liked cheating on me. ‘

“And it wouldn’t make any difference to our business, our profitability and the way we do business. Ninety-seven percent are honest people. When you think about this offer, the humility of having to call a company and take advantage of an offer like this usually means that they really need it and have humbled themselves to say, “S ‘please come and help us. . We don’t have the money.

This leads to an added benefit for its employees that money cannot buy, Decker added.

“Our guys were so lucky to have people cry, hug them, thank them, that I can’t put a value on what it meant for their lives, let alone the people we served,” Decker said.

“For us, absorbing a few hundred jobs or more to help the people who really needed it was really worth it. Not to mention the value – albeit not expected – of what the general public has heard from these ads.

“Our internet communication exploded when people said, ‘I don’t need anything for free, but from any company that has this kind of thing, I want you to be my plumber.’ It was great. It goes along the same lines that if you give more, whether you like it or not, you will be blessed, you will get more. When you’re chasing dollars… overall I don’t think it helps.

In fact, the company tells technicians to look for “compassionate, compassionate opportunities to help people,” Decker said.

He remembers receiving a call about a woman with a medical disability who had not had hot water for months. A PlumbSmart technician determined that she needed a new heater.

“One of my technicians took the initiative to figure out what his urgent need was,” Decker explained. “This mister / tech, on his own, called our office and said, ‘Hey, I have a client who can’t afford a water heater. She is an elderly and disabled woman. Can we do it for her for free? “

Two days later, a technician installed a new water heater at no cost. “At PlumbSmart, it’s our way of doing business,” Decker said, adding that technicians are always paid for mock-up work.

Information: 480-654-8865

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