The Sunny Plumber SoCal Blog

With a Focus on Customers, Plumbing Firm Finds Fast Growth in Five Years

March 16th, 2018
With a Focus on Customers, Plumbing Firm Finds Fast Growth in Five YearsGary Eisenhauer, The Sunny Plumber general manager, poses outside the company’s office and many of its service vehicles in Las Vegas. Most of the company’s 43 vehicles are Nissan V2500 high-top models.

Business prospects are bright for The Sunny Plumber. Since it was launched in Arizona in 2013, the plumbing company has already reached markets in Nevada and California. And Gary Eisenhauer, general manager, believes that’s only the beginning.

“Ten years from now, we’d like to be in all the states,” Eisenhauer says. “It’s a lofty goal but absolutely possible.”

The Sunny Plumber would not, of course, be the first plumbing company with a national footprint. Think Roto-Rooter, for example. However, The Sunny Plumber can’t offer a novel solution to clogged plumbing lines like Samuel Oscar Blanc did with his homemade root-cutting device. Rather, company executives are banking on expertise and a sunny disposition to power their expansion.

FINDING ROOM TO GROW

Ken Goodrich is the driving force behind The Sunny Plumber’s ambitious growth plan. The entrepreneur, who grew up in his father’s air-conditioning business, has founded a succession of successful heating-ventilation-air conditioning firms and plumbing companies, including acquisitions in Arizona in 2013 that introduced The Sunny Plumber to Tucson and Phoenix. Two years later, the company opened an office in Las Vegas and, in 2016, in Corona, California.

In these locations, Goodrich owns both an HVAC company — Goettl Air Conditioning — and The Sunny Plumber, but he operates them separately. What they have in common is the goal of growing across state lines. As Goodrich puts it in a Las Vegas business publication interview in March 2017: “Our ultimate goal is to bring our brand, our unique customer-centric culture and processes across the nation and become the gold standard for home service in the U.S.”

To that end, the plumbing side of the organization is being aggressively marketed around an image of the sun. The company logo is a smiling cartoon sun ablaze with cheerfulness and holding a pipe wrench in one of its sunbeams. The theme continues through bright orange and yellow wrapping on service trucks — and the giveaway of a pair of sunglasses with every job.

FOR THE CUSTOMERS

The positive vibes flowing from the company image are also, by design, felt within the company, according to Eisenhauer. He says The Sunny Plumber is as optimistic a workplace as it appears to be.

“Every company goes through its trials, but we do everything we can to keep morale up. We do everything we can to make it a positive work environment. The management style I have always followed is to lead on a positive level,” he says. “And the positive attitude we have in the office, when conveyed to our clients, helps them overcome their situations. After all, the clients have called us because they are unhappy. They are unhappy that something is wrong in their home.”

Eisenhauer says the positive attitude begins with Goodrich, who, he says, is “upbeat and can-do and pretty demanding, too. He attracts the best talent — not just recruits them.”

The upbeat company attracts customers, too. It holds them through such innovations as The Sunshine Club, an annual maintenance agreement in which The Sunny Plumber techs inspect all fixtures, check the pressure on lines, do recommended maintenance on the water heater, and flush drains. The agreement promises two drain clean-outs each year and a camera inspection whenever a snake is deployed to clear a line.

Sometimes these inspections generate additional plumbing work, sometimes not. “If the house is in good shape, we’re going to tell the homeowner so,” Eisenhauer says. “If there are issues, we are going to say this is what you have going on. If you don’t want it fixed, fine. If something is not quite up to specs or is getting corroded, we will suggest a fix to avoid flooding because each inspection is really about flood prevention.”

Annual inspections are not original to The Sunny Plumber, except for the drain check and clearing, but are an increasingly popular feature: Eisenhauer says the company is signing up 100 to 150 Sunshine Club members each month. Fees for the plumbing maintenance do not vary with the size of a property. The service is reserved for residential customers, which constitute the bulk of the company’s customer base.

Another feature of the customer-centric culture is a guarantee of 100 percent customer satisfaction. That sounds like a pie-in-the-sky promise, given the wide-ranging expectations of homeowners regarding service. But Eisenhauer says the company lives up to the pledge — one way or another.

“We know we can’t make everyone happy. We could not get hot water to one bathroom we worked on, so we gave the client all his money back. I’ve given money back on $12,000 jobs,” he says. “When things don’t work, we leave the client satisfied by not taking his money and walking away. It’s all about reputation.” The company’s reputation is good enough to have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Eisenhauer believes people are afraid to call plumbers and other service technicians for fear of being victimized. With the 100 percent guarantee, potential customers know they have some recourse when things go wrong. “When people know that, they are more willing to let you do work for them. Most customers will let you work through problems until it’s right.” He adds that he has no evidence that potential customers try to game the system by feigning dissatisfaction.

A TEAM ATMOSPHERE

Eisenhauer’s office is in Las Vegas. From there, he closely supervises the activity of the company in its four locations. He accomplishes this mostly through weekly conference calls, but specific management issues that crop up at any of the locations are addressed the same day in real time.

Besides offering competitive salaries to its 42 employees, Eisenhauer says the company offers a team atmosphere in which colleagues “can jell and help each other out in the field. Plumbing is a fickle industry for technicians, who seem to have ‘the grass is greener’ syndrome. I try to look after and take care of our technicians.”

In return, Eisenhauer expects job applicants to communicate well, both in listening and verbalizing. That’s because a tech must be able to understand a customer’s plumbing issue and then clearly explain the cause of the problem and what will be required to resolve it.

Eisenhauer acknowledges that, as in other maintenance and construction industries, attracting qualified and suitable people to work as plumbers is difficult. “I don’t have a pipeline for techs, unfortunately.” For those the company does hire on, there is no shortage of work: The Sunny Plumber offers true, live-dispatched 24/7 service.

Technicians roll out in the company’s fleet of 43 trucks. Most of the trucks are fully equipped Nissan V2500 high-top models, which are deemed to be ideal because a water heater can be stood upright in them. Some repair specialists, as Eisenhauer describes the most experienced techs on the team, drive smaller units and are being transitioned to the standard-top version of the V2500.

A WIDE RANGE OF CALLS

Some of the same societal changes that make it difficult to find blue-collar employees are having impact on customers, too, but not as one might expect. The cultural preoccupation with electronic gadgetry has in some ways made homeowners more, rather than less, likely to roll up their sleeves and attempt plumbing repairs on their own, Eisenhauer says.

“Today’s homeowners are not less hands-on. If anything, they are more hands-on. They’ll watch some video and, by golly, they are now a plumber. Then we get the calls. We have a saying here: ‘Everyone is a plumber until they mess something up.’”

Like their peers across the plumbing industry, The Sunny Plumber techs sometimes arrive at a home and find the results of interesting attempts by a homeowner to repair something on his or her own. Eisenhauer recalls the time a technician walked into a residence for an inspection and found an Australian Foster’s beer can adapted to reuse as a vent on a water heater. “That was probably a homeowner fix.”

Service calls typically range from clogged drains and leaking pipes to fixture failure.

Before he became general manager of The Sunny Plumber, Eisenhauer “dabbled” in a variety of careers, from office administration to law enforcement and federal prison supervisory work. It was in this last capacity — as plumbing supervisor for eight years at a prison in California — that Eisenhauer gained perspective about customers. “I tell our technicians that my best client in prison was worse than my worst client on the outside,” he says. “My best defense was communication.”


First, look for integrity

A growing company like The Sunny Plumber is necessarily a hiring company. It builds out its business on the backs of new hires who, once they prove themselves, become the veteran employees whose performances foster future growth.

The Sunny Plumber will be in a hiring mode for years to come because the Southwest U.S. company aspires to establish itself across the country. “We are not yet expanding across the country, but that kind of thinking is coming into play,” says Gary Eisenhauer, general manager, “The goal (in 2018) is to expand quicker. Every month, we have a management meeting to determine if it is time to move forward or to slow down.”

In the process of expansion, Eisenhauer constantly will be culling male and female technician candidates for employment. The general manager says technical ability is not the first criterion he considers as he interviews job applicants. “The first thing I look for in the recruiting process is integrity,” he says. “That’s because I will be sending them out to clients they have never met. They have got to be able to work with strangers.”

He is not talking about an employee being congenial, though that also is a valuable customer service attribute. Rather, the employees must be trustworthy because they will be in clients’ homes where personal security is always a paramount concern. Both Eisenhauer and his customers must be able to trust that the plumber entering a home will demonstrate good character while there. Eisenhauer says what separates The Sunny Plumber from some competitors is the trustworthiness of the company itself and the integrity of the service employees who represent it.

In his focus on character, the company’s general manager might be channeling Warren Buffett, the legendary CEO of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. Buffett is quoted saying: “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”

Continue Reading

Skip Those Drain Cleaning Tips

March 5th, 2018

sunny-lumberSome plumbing problems are straight up emergencies—ruptured water lines, sewer line backups, etc. Other problems are still problems, but they are not quite emergencies. So, no big deal, right? You’ll get to them when you get to them? If you don’t see where this is going, then chances are that you have not visited our site before. No! Just because a problem is not an emergency does not mean that you can just allow it to languish.

What we are going to focus on today is the issue of drain cleaning. More specifically, why it is really best to leave your drain cleaning needs in the hands of a qualified, professional plumber in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Yes, we know that there are plenty of DIY tips out there for how you can clean your drains on your own. We also know that we’ve dealt with a lot of clients that have learned firsthand that these tips really are not worth all that much. 

Continue Reading

The Trouble with Slab Leaks

February 19th, 2018

slab-leakThere are a lot of great plumbers out there, and the ones on our team are some of the very finest in the industry. If you ever hear a plumber tell you that you can somehow completely eliminate the risk of leaks in your system, then you know that you are not talking to a trustworthy individual—and certainly not a member of The Sunny Plumber SoCal’s team. The truth of the matter is that every plumbing system is susceptible to occasional leaks.

Leaks in your plumbing system may develop for a number of reasons. Sure, they could be the result of shoddy workmanship (again, certainly not if you have been working with our team from the start). However, it could also be the result of very old materials degrading, the infiltration of tree roots, or even the shifting of land. There are a lot of reasons leaks may develop, and there are a lot of areas in which they may pop up. The slab leak is one of the worst.

Continue Reading

What You Should Never Put Down the Garbage Disposal

February 5th, 2018

family-cookingThere are components in your plumbing system that simply cannot be removed from the equation if you want to, well, use a plumbing system. Think of your water line, or the sewer/drainage system. Other parts of the system are options, such as a pot-filler arm at the kitchen or, as we’ll be discussing today, a garbage disposal. While a garbage disposal may not be integral to the overall operation of your plumbing system, it is something that many homeowners would not choose to do without.

Unfortunately, some homeowners that have garbage disposals in place wind up going without them due to misuse. The garbage disposal is a great tool, but it cannot handle anything that you can throw at it. Today we’re going to talk about some of those materials that you should never put down your garbage disposal. Protect your plumbing in Pomona by keeping these tips in mind, and remember to contact The Sunny Plumber SoCal with any questions that you may have.

Continue Reading

Common Bathroom Plumbing Problems

January 22nd, 2018

shower-head-runningIn terms of residential plumbing, your bathroom is definitely one of the central areas of the system. There is your sink, the toilet, the bathtub/shower—it all adds up to a lot of supply pipes and drains in one concentrated location. It is easy to take your bathroom plumbing for granted, in spite of how vital it is to your daily routine, though. Easy, that is, until something should go wrong with the system. Remember, it’s not just the plumbing emergencies that you’ll have to worry about.

We know that it can be easy to ignore the more “minor” issues that you may encounter with your bathroom plumbing system, but trust us. Even the more “minor” issues can cause some big problems over time. Make sure that you contact a professional plumber in Ontario, CA when you run into issues of any kind with your bathroom plumbing. The sooner, the better. Otherwise, you’ll learn very quickly just how disruptive even “minor” issues can become.

Continue Reading

Do I Need a Water Line Replacement?

January 8th, 2018

child-doing-dishesYou don’t need us to explain to you how necessary it is that you have access to clean, potable water in your home. The days of gathering water from a brook or lowering a bucket down into a well are far behind us—and good riddance! The ability to simply open a faucet and have water flow out is so common and inherent in our daily lives that it is easy to take for granted. Easy, that is, until something goes wrong!

If you need a water line replaced, then you really need to get in touch with a plumber in Rancho Cucamonga immediately. This is simply not the type of job that you can put on the back burner. That being said, a swift response to any such problems does require that you recognize those problems to begin with. Today, we’re going to explore some of the warning signs that suggest that a water line replacement may be necessary.

Continue Reading

Keep an Eye Out for Sink Problems

December 25th, 2017

under-sinkThere are a few components in any residential plumbing system that homeowners have a  lot of hands-on interaction with. Among these are the shower/bathtub, the toilet, and, of course, the sinks in the home. Chances are that you’ve got at least two, with one in the kitchen and one in your bathroom. If your sinks should develop problems of any kind, then you are going to need to resolve them right away. The longer that you wait, the more trouble you’re going to encounter.

Just because water is not spewing all over your home doesn’t mean that issues with your sinks should not be resolved in a prompt manner. Whatever the issue may be, it is absolutely in your best interest to schedule your sink plumbing services with a professional plumber in Huntington Beach as soon as possible. There may be a lot of “how-to” videos to watch online, but no amount of them will give you the skills and expertise that our professional plumbers possess.

Continue Reading

Signs of Water Leaks

December 11th, 2017

Because we don’t get to live in a perfect world, there is no such thing as a completely perfect plumbing system. While we would love to tell your that our skilled plumbers can install and service your plumbing system to provide you with the best performance possible, and that you’ll never have to worry about problems developing with that system, only half of this statement is true. You are going to need to hire a professional plumber in Ontario, CA to repair your system at some point.

Of all the problems that a residential plumbing system may face,  water leaks are certainly among the most common of all. Just because water leaks are very common doesn’t mean that they are always easy to spot, unfortunately. If you are serious about protecting your home from the considerable damage that water leaks can do, then you need to learn how you can recognize signs of water leaks early on. Here are a few tips about how to do so, and remember to schedule service with us.

Continue Reading

Prevent Holiday Plumbing Nightmares

December 6th, 2017

By Gary Eisenhauer

The holidays are a time to enjoy with friends and family. However, Thanksgiving, and other seasonal holidays, present the perfect recipe for costly and embarrassing plumbing failures. With a little planning and insight from industry experts, you can prevent yourself from holiday hassles. Here are the top four tips from The Sunny Plumber to keep your pipe dreams in check.

What’s the No. 1 issue consumers need to think about around the holidays to keep their plumbing working?

One of the most common plumbing issues people face during the holidays is a clogged sink or malfunctioning garbage disposal. I always recommend being wary of the “FOG.” Fats, oils, and grease are your garbage disposals worst enemy. While this material is in liquid form when it’s initially poured into the disposal, it congeals into a viscous sludge as it cools. The FOG then sticks to the walls of the disposal chamber, as well as the walls of the drain pipe. This can gum up the impeller, as well as clog the drain. Don’t pour FOG down the garbage disposal if you want to avoid these issues. Throw it away, instead.

That’s a good tip. What else should I avoid putting down my drain?

Never put beans, rice, pasta and bread down the drain. These are like sponges and when saturated with water, this food material will expand and can cause a backup. In addition, bones and fibrous foods should be thrown away or composted.

Moving to the bathroom, what should we steer clear of?

During the holidays bathroom facilities are taxed with additional traffic and usage. Annual maintenance to clear any build-up can often prevent major toilet clogs and avoid the spread of infectious waste in the bathroom. Also, stay away from using chemicals to try and clear blockage as this rarely remedies a clogged line and can damage your pipes. If a plunger doesn’t clear the clog, turn to the pros.

What to be mindful of with water heaters?

The arrival of cooler weather raises caution for water heaters. Cold air causes expansion and contraction in water heaters and in older units, fractures can occur resulting in failure – which usually leads to flooding. Routine maintenance can identify those risks as well as ensure water heaters are operating effectively and efficiently. Water heaters are your best friend, but can cause a lot of headaches when they are not taken care of or installed incorrectly. With some minor attention, you can prevent major problems from occurring and enjoy the holiday without flooding or no hot water with a house full of guests.

Gary Eisenhauer is general manager of The Sunny Plumber.

About The Sunny Plumber

The Sunny Plumber offers the highest quality plumbing services throughout the Southwest. All plumbers are experienced in solving a wide variety of plumbing problems including drain cleaning, leak detection, sewer line and garbage disposal repair. The company also sells, installs and services standard and tankless water heaters. All plumbers are background-checked, drug-tested, and receive continuous technical training to make them the best in the industry. For more information, visit thesunnyplumber.com.

 

Continue Reading

Protect Your Pipes This Holiday Season

November 27th, 2017

sink-drainDo you live for hosting company around the holidays? While some people definitely prefer to head to others’ homes rather than face the challenges of preparing a holiday feast, others can’t get enough of it. If you’re one of those individuals that cannot wait to dazzle company with a delicious spread, we wish you nothing but success this holiday season. We also hope that you’ll keep in mind the effects that hosting company can have on your drain and sewer system in Ontario, CA.

While our technicians are not planning on dropping by to help you with cooking prep work, we can help you o avoid trouble with your drains this season. Keep the following information in mind, so that you can keep your plumbing system performing properly over the holidays. Issues with drains and sewer lines are not a festive way to spend time with your guests. With a little attention paid to your drains and the way you handle the job, cooking for your family and friends will prove no trouble at all—at least where the plumbing is concerned.

Continue Reading