Why I Started this Plumbing Business

Let me explain how a family escaped a $5000 expense, and then I think that you’ll understand why I started this business.

I got a call one day from a lady who was quite distressed over the news that another plumbing company had given her. To be kind, I will omit the real name of the company and, instead, simply refer to them as “Vampire Plumbing, Inc.” (Motto: “We Really Like Our Customers.”) A serviceman from Vampire had attempted to unstop this lady’s sewer, but was unable to accomplish the task and told her that it would have to be dug up and replaced.

The nice home had a semicircle driveway across the front yard, so that would have to be repaired by a driveway company after the digging was over. There was a sprinkler system in the yard, and that would be broken by the digging and would have to be repaired. In addition to these expenses, a yard always looks horrible after a sewer replacement, so a landscaping company would have to do its business there after the plumbers got through.

Vampire had announced to this family that they were facing an expense of five-to-six thousand dollars. Needless to say, they were quite upset. They had moved into the house only recently and could not afford this additional problem. (Who can?)

Their real estate agent happened to mention this disaster to his health food suppliers, an elderly couple who happened to be customers of mine. They insisted, “Oh, you need to call Kevan Barley.” They called and I went to the home to check the problem out.

It took me about ten minutes of talking to the homeowner and shining a flashlight down a couple of pipes to realize that the serviceman from Vampire was a rookie who didn’t know what he was doing. He had just misinterpreted the problem. Fifteen minutes later I had the problem corrected.

It made me angry, not because a rookie made a mistake, and not because Vampire sent a rookie to this home. (Lord knows I was a rookie once!) No, I was angry because Vampire let this rookie’s word stand instead of sending a good, experienced man behind him to make sure that his $5000 diagnosis was correct.

But what happened at that home was no different from what I’ve seen happen in a hundred similar instances with Vampire and other plumbing companies. Vampire Plumbing cared nothing for this family! The supervisor or manager there should have done everything possible to help these people avoid this catastrophic expense. The least he could have done would have been to send his best man over to the house for a second opinion. Instead he just let the estimate stand as it was. In such a case, the language in a plumbing shop goes like this: “I sure hope we get this one. This’ll really get our numbers up for this week.” You, the customer, are the last concern on these companies’ minds.

And that’s exactly why I started this business.