Starting a Plumbing Business: Fully Booked in Under 3 Years
The 'modern' in Modern Plumbing isn't just a name—it's a mindset. Find out how this company's forward-thinking business practices have earned it 250+ reviews and two business awards in just 2.5 years.Visit Website ››
2 Years Old
Flathead Valley, Montana
If you’re going to start a plumbing business, you’d better have a plan for growth.
Paige and Raun Grover started their business not only to serve the people of the Flathead Valley, but also to gain financial freedom down the road. “If you want to reap the benefits of being a business owner, you have to grow,” says Paige.
Fast forward just 2.5 years, and the growth is real. Modern Plumbing & Heating, PLLC has already earned more than 250 positive reviews, won two business awards, and are in such high demand that they’re frequently booked out weeks in advance.
How have they done it?
With a relentless focus on efficiency and customer service, powered by the right technology.
Master Plumber or Master of Pen and Paper?
Raun Grover is a Master Plumber with over 12 years of experience in plumbing and hydronic heating. So it made sense at first for him to take calls, schedule his own jobs, and write up paper invoices.
“We started out as cheap as we could. That’s what everyone does,” says Paige.
Soon enough, Raun was being bombarded by calls and needed to hire a phone assistant to help out. It was the Grover’s first big step towards growth, but it introduced a whole new set of problems:
“If Raun is taking the calls, he knows what he needs to do. If it’s someone else, how do we relay the information to him correctly and accurately?” says Paige, who runs the business’ operations.
After some initial research, she found Jobber’s field service software for plumbers.
“I can’t imagine not having software,” she says. “It’s hard in an industry where plumbers in general aren’t super ‘techy.’ Other plumbing companies have multiple technicians, big construction departments, and they still do everything on paper. That’s just crazy!”
I can’t imagine not having software...Other plumbing companies have multiple technicians, big construction departments, and they still do everything on paper. That’s just crazy!
Empowering Technicians with Technology
Since making the switch from pen and paper, Modern Plumbing runs nearly every aspect of their business using technology.
Each technician is outfitted with a work smartphone and tablet. Using the Jobber mobile app, techs can:
The amount of money you pay on the software compared to what you are paying somebody to process invoices, and to run the backend, to me is so old-school—it’s not smart...That’s where Jobber came into play for us: it lets us work smarter, not harder.
In addition to keeping daily operations running smoothly, using Jobber’s CRM (Client Relationship Manager) helps Modern Plumbing keep every single team member in the loop so that they can provide better customer service.
“I go through every invoice. If there aren’t notes in a job, I contact the tech to add them. If a customer calls and asks a question that’s not in the notes, it doesn’t look good on us.”
Technology has become so central to Modern Plumbing’s workflows, that they make it a point to hire tech-enabled techs.
“We want someone more techy,” explains Paige. “They might be a great plumber and great with people, but they wouldn’t know what to do a tablet. And that’s not anything we’re going to compromise, because it’s part of our business. They have to be willing to learn.”
Impress Customers → Earn Reviews → Grow → Repeat
If field service technology is the “Yin” that keeps the business running efficiently, customer service is the “Yang” that has fuelled Modern Plumbing’s massive growth.
Being a good plumber isn’t enough, you have to treat your clients well on the back end. It’s a full well-rounded experience that we give them.
Modern Plumbing’s core values are integrity and treating others like you would want to be treated.
In an industry that, unfortunately, isn’t always known for treating customers well, applying these values makes a huge difference to clients, which in turn makes a huge difference to the Grovers’ bottom line.
In under three years, Modern Plumbers has racked up 250+ glowing reviews, all of which feed into their continued success.
“We have competition that only shows above us sometimes because they paid for that ad,” says Paige. “If you want to grow your business fast, reviews are the way to market. By the time someone’s read our reviews, they’ve made up their minds…It’s literally growth that doesn’t cost us money.”
So what exactly is Modern Plumbing doing to make their customers so darn happy?
Here are some of their tips for better plumbing customer service:
- Always answer the phone: “We always answer the phone. If somebody calls or emails and has a question and I don’t have an answer, I’ll email them back and tell them I’m working on it. That’s what you do, you don’t just leave people hanging.”
- Repair, don’t replace: “There are companies who say ‘oh you have an issue, let’s replace it.’ We are going to repair it unless we can’t repair it correctly. Then we will replace it. It’s more work on our end, but even when you pass the cost of travel, it’s still significantly lower for the customer. These are little things that set a company apart.”
- Communicate with clients: Every touch matters, whether it’s Paige personally following-up after a job to ensure the client is happy, or a tech sending a quick SMS before a scheduled appointment. “People appreciate getting reminders that we’re going to be there. It’s those little things that people think, that’s nice, they can tell.”
- Automate reviews: You can wait for reviews to trickle in organically, but if you want to grow your business fast, you have to ask. Using review automation software, Paige can send automatic weekly follow-ups to ask for reviews. The software then automatically publishes the reviews on their website, so prospects can confidently request work without leaving their page. It’s just one more way Modern Plumbing uses tech to set themselves apart and stay ahead of the game.
Reaping the Rewards (and Awards) of a Successful Plumbing Business
In 2018— their second year of business— Modern Plumbing received both the Best of Flathead Award and the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics by a unanimous vote.
The latter is only given to one company in the state and honors “companies whose leaders demonstrate a high level of personal character and ensure that the organization’s practices meet the highest standards of ethics, and consequently generate trust.”
“We were so surprised. People voted for us after just 2 years in business,” says Paige. “We didn’t even realize we’d made such a big impact in such a short period of time!”
So what’s next? “Our goal is to grow, but only grow while being able to keep the quality of work consistent with every customer,” says Paige. The Modern Plumbing team is looking to hire an office admin and journeyman plumber so they can service even more customers in The Flathead Valley.
“It’s a great time that I feel fortunate to have,” says Paige. “I think that’s what’s been really impactful to the way we’re growing.”
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All photos courtesy of Modern Plumbing & Heating, PLLC