Plumbing Experts is celebrating its 45th anniversary, so we sat down with Plumbing Experts President, Clem Winke, to reflect on the history of the business and learn more about Clem.
Want to know what his secret for owning a thriving plumbing business for 45 years has been? What his plans to continue grow in 2020 are? Or perhaps the most burning question… what has been the funniest plumbing situation he’s seen? Check out this Q & A!
1. How did you start in the plumbing industry and what inspired you to (start/buy) Plumbing Experts?
Believe it or not, I started out as a customer of Plumbing Experts before I bought the business. I was using Plumbing Experts on behalf of the Boca News, which I was running as the Publisher, as well as my real estate properties. I got to know the owners very well, and in 1995, I purchased 50% of the company to start my journey, and the remaining 50% in 1999. I wanted to find a local business that I could build into a large service company. Florida was my home, and I knew it was the perfect place for a service business to thrive.
2. What is your secret key to success for owning a thriving plumbing business for 45 years?
My biggest piece of advice is to not give up when times get tough. All businesses experience growing pains, but with hard work and a stick-with-it attitude you will succeed. Also, don’t forget to market your brand all the time. Over the past 45 years, the world has changed quite a bit, but it’s important to stay on top of the current trends in business.
3. Do you have any biggest lessons learned from a certain situation? (Note – This can be from a managerial/owner standpoint, instead of an “on-the-job” situation).
Several times we’ve had people call us after experiencing a bad job done elsewhere. We’ve been able to save-the-day in these situations, but it’s been eye-opening to see first-hand what happens when inexperienced technicians perform the work. We never want to give our customers bad service like this, so it has been our mission to get the job done right the first time.
4. What experiences have been most rewarding for you?
The most rewarding part of my career has been seeing my employees grow in their trade in the field, as well as their skills in the office. There’s nothing better than watching us all learn together, expanding our abilities and using new skills to help grow the business.
5. What are your aspirations for 2020?
In 2020, we hope to take Plumbing Experts to the next level by focusing on internet marketing. We’ll be sharing more tips and tricks on our blog, reaching out to customers via email marketing, and running regular promotions. We’re also putting special promotions in place that will reward our loyal customers.
Bonus Question! What has been the funniest plumbing situation you’ve seen?
We see many situations that can leave you wondering how in the world it happened. I think the most humorous situation we have seen was when a customer called in about a toilet clog, which is a very run-of-the-mill problem. When our technician arrived, he noticed the woman was acting awkward and covering her mouth. She led him to the toilet in her bathroom with the clog. Unphased, our technician worked on the toilet and retrieved the source of the clog – it was her dentures! The woman was amazed and started laughing, admitting that she just could not figure out where she had left them the night before. It turned out the woman had woken up in the middle of the night and gone to her restroom to fill a glass of water and use the facilities. What she didn’t realize was when she filled her glass, she had bumped her dentures into the toilet and accidentally flushed them! That was the first time we had a technician freelance as a dentist.