SAYING THE WORDS " plumber's truck" typically conjures up an image of a beat - up white pickup truck, sometimes with a cracked windshield, rusting bumpers, tools sticking out the back, with the driver speeding along to the next job, completely oblivious to what's going on around him.
Well, those days are over. The day of the "Power Plumbing Truck" has arrived. Now, instead of rusty bumpers and cracked windows, plumbers are opting for sexy marketing machines that not only carry tools and equipment — and the plumber — from job to job but also carry the load in promoting the plumber's business to the outside world.
'Our average tickets nearly doubled.'
Yes, the Power Plumbing Truck takes what is often one of the plumber's biggest assets, his truck, and turns it into an even bigger, more valuable advantage. Think of it as a home equity loan for your plumbing business. It's just like tapping into the equity you have in your home by taking out a home equity loan but without incurring an extra loan payment. With a home equity loan, homeowners can use the equity they already have in their home to make it even more valuable by using the loan to add a room, finish a basement or make needed repairs.
That's just what a Power Plumbing Truck can do for the plumbing contractor. It takes something you use and live in everyday and increases its value exponentially. The Power Plumbing Truck is a sleek marketing machine that not only rolls around town like a moving billboard, displaying your company name, logo and telephone number, but it becomes a huge branding tool that, when properly done, pays substantial dividends.
Abacus Plumbing in Houston outfitted its trucks with powerful, but simple, graphics and has benefited greatly. In fact , Abacus is averaging $6,000 to $7,000 a month from calls that come directly from homeowners seeing its trucks. These homeowners might see one of the distinctive Abacus trucks parked at their neighbor's house, driving down the street or next to them at a stoplight. The rolling billboard effect has been huge.
Alan O'Neill, partner with Jim Wilburn at Abacus, says: "We have seen an enormous return on investment from the small outlay we paid to have our trucks properly wrapped. We run 10 trucks and each one has become one of our best marketing advocates."
One key criterion for a Power Plumbing Truck is to have unique graphic elements that tell homeowners that you are not only different, but better, than the competition.
"We use Plumbers' Success International's 'Preferred Plumber' symbol on our trucks," Wilburn says. The symbol, which represents Abacus' commitment to outstanding customer service, operational excellence and a commitment to client satisfaction, acts as a differentiator to set it apart from other plumbers in its service area.
But it's not just the look of the trucks that has had an impact. Abacus Plumbing has benefited from the PSI's truck inventory and layout guide. The guide gives plumbers a grid to lay out and equip their trucks with the parts that homeowners most often need. Having the right parts when they are needed produces additional revenue opportunities. The truck stocking program outlines what a plumber should carry based on the type of vehicle.
"Our average tickets nearly doubled," O'Neill says, with the combination of the truck wrap and the inventory and layout system. "This program guided us in outfitting our trucks with just what our technicians needed to bring back higher average tickets."
Abacus has grown from a start-up company in 2003 to more than $3 million in revenues last year.
"We've been successful by standing out from the crowd, doing things differently and looking for ways to help us grow," O'Neill says. "Our trucks have been a large part of getting us to where we are today. We wouldn't do things any other way."
Paul Gassett is marketing director for Plumbers' Success International, which is dedicated to the success of residential plumbers. He can be contacted at 877/862-8181 or at [email protected].