An estimated 12 percent of the water that supplies U.S. houses is wasted on leaks, spilling more than 775 billion gallons of water each year, according to the 2016 Residential End Uses of Water study. March 20-26 is Fix a Leak Week—an EPA-WaterSense awareness initiative—and FloLogic, makers of an intelligent leak detection device, urges residents Read More
An estimated 12 percent of the water that supplies U.S. houses is wasted on leaks, spilling more than 775 billion gallons of water each year, according to the 2016 Residential End Uses of Water study. March 20-26 is Fix a Leak Week—an EPA-WaterSense awareness initiative—and FloLogic, makers of an intelligent leak detection device, urges residents to take pragmatic and technological steps toward fighting the resource waste and financial burden of plumbing leaks.
Water’s relative low cost creates a common misperception that leaking fixtures are harmless. In fact, among the more than 23,000 houses that participated in the recent water use study, 10 percent were found to waste at least 90 gallons of water each day with leaks. In most cases, leaks either visibly or stealthily go down the drain, or are absorbed into the ground, without damage to property. These so-perceived benign leaks are most commonly found in plumbing fixtures. But even the smallest leaks add up. A slow, two-drip-per-second leak will produce 77 gallons of water in just one week.
“Most homeowners don’t have the awareness or mechanisms to detect leaks,” according to Chuck DeSmet, CEO and Founder of FloLogic, whose FloLogic System features smart leak detection and automatic water shut-off for preventing water damage to property. “But there are common places where leaks often present themselves, where inspections will reveal opportunities to save water. And for homeowners who care to catch every leak in real time, and prevent potentially catastrophic damage, there are innovative detection devices that flag leaks to automatically stop them.”
Leaks that don’t go directly into the drain or ground are more troublesome and also common. Leaks from ruptured supply lines or damaged pipes and fittings strike up to eight percent of homes each year, according to a U.S. Housing Study. While these leaks typically get fixed upon discovery to prevent costly damage, when they go undetected, due to out-of-sight location or the resident being off premises, they can immediately ruin property, and create a long-term environment for mold.
The total cost of home plumbing leaks is difficult to measure, but DeSmet points to Insurance Information Institute data that confirms more than $10 billion in water loss claims are paid out in the U.S. each year, and suggests the real cost is much higher, without even factoring in excessive water utility bills. “Water is a powerful force and even small drips onto home infrastructures can cause many thousands in damage within a short period of time. While leaks are the second leading contributor of home insurance payouts, our studies indicate more than half of damage-inducing leaks are never reported to insurance.”
For Fix a Leak Week, FloLogic urges everyone to consider practical tips to find and stop water leaks:
- Check the water bill: A family of four will typically use 12,000 gallons (16 centum cubic feet) per month. Usage in excess of this amount indicates a likely leak.
- Check toilets: Warn-out flappers are a primary water waster. Listen for toilets that refill between flushes. Find slow leaks by dropping food coloring in tanks; if the bowl takes color without a flush, there’s a leak.
- Check interior faucets: Drips from sink and tub faucets, and showerheads, are easy to spot, but often ignored. Repair or replace warn parts to curb water-wasting drips.
- Look outside: Outside hose or irrigation system leaks are often overlooked. Check for drips and moist ground during dry weather to find preventable leaks.
- Get leak detection: A flow-based leak detection device, such as that offered from flologic.com will detect leaks as small as a drip per second and automatically shut them off. While the primary function of FloLogic is to prevent property damage, it has the added benefit of flagging hidden leaks to save natural resources and money on water bills.
About FloLogic, Inc.
FloLogic is a technology company whose patented smart water valve enables home and business owners to reduce or eliminate the economic and personal losses associated with plumbing failures and leaks. Plumbing related property damage costs the insurance industry billions of dollars each year and is the single most preventable homeowner claim. While preventing leak damage, the Company is affecting the 12 percent of water that is wasted each year due to plumbing leaks. The FloLogic System is succinctly known as “the circuit breaker for every plumbing system®.” More information can be found at www.flologic.com.
About Fix a Leak Week
Fix a Leak Week is an annual event first launched in 2009 by WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). WaterSense seeks to protect our water supply through water-saving education and products. The WaterSense label can be found on a variety of plumbing products that meet standards for reducing water waste. Educational materials can be found at https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/howto.html.
About the Residential End Uses of Water Study
The Residential End Uses of Water Study was created by the Water Research Foundation and combines data on water use that is collected across 23 study sites, including 23,749 homes. The second volume of the study was published in April 2016 and can be viewed at http://www.waterrf.org/PublicReportLibrary/4309A.pdf.
Have you ever wanted to do something really bad? Go with me to 1975, I was working for Meridian Air Conditioning company in lovely Indianapolis, IN. I was selling residential and commercial HVAC, some new construction, some replacement. But this is not about me. It is about Francis Mulhall. He worked with us as a Read More
Have you ever wanted to do something really bad? Go with me to 1975, I was working for Meridian Air Conditioning company in lovely Indianapolis, IN. I was selling residential and commercial HVAC, some new construction, some replacement. But this is not about me. It is about Francis Mulhall. He worked with us as a lead generator. He would run all over town to pick up blueprints, deliver spec books, inquire about new jobs coming up, visited with general contractors, large businesses, guys doing tenant improvement work, in short, anyone who may be in need of a good Hvac company. Francis was a great guy, always had your back, if he could help you, he would.
About the second year of working with him, he shared a life-long desire with me: he really wanted to ride in a blimp! So who doesn’t; they are majestic, quiet, and move with a slow grace. When someone asks, how hard is it to get a ride on the Blimp, here is the official answer. Almost impossible. The website says only to corporate sponsors and government officials.
Francis had the dream, he also had a plan. The Goodyear Blimp came to Indy each year to float over the 500. Francis knew where they docked it, when it came in, how long it stayed. He found out the phone number for Goodyear Blimps, and the local address when they were in town. He camped out, called repeatedly. The call went like this: I want a Blimp ride! The response: are you a government official? If you are one of our corporate sponsors, call the person who works with our corporate team. Francis said I am not in either category, just a guy who wants a Blimp ride.
After the first year, it was easier. He knew when to call, when they were available. And he connected up with some of the office staff. Remember, this is in the 70s, before internet and cell phones, so it was a lot harder to link up. He learned the schedule of the Blimp, they would make runs over the city for several days before the race. Sometimes they went up with dignitaries, important people. Francis would be sure he was in the vicinity when a practice run was taking off. He would stop by the airport, be available. Francis always wore a coat and tie, which I think was a factor.
A factor in getting a ride on the Blimp. Somewhere about the 3rd or 4th year, he was at the airport where they had docked the Blimp, getting ready to take off again. Francis was talking to a guard, letting him know he was in the system, but probably number 2345, where they would take less than a dozen at a time. Turns out on this special day, someone did not show up. An employee came out, said: are you ready? UH, YES! He got his ride. Said it was magical. Some sound when you take off, but once up in the air, at times it was silent, almost no sound at all. They circled around the city for what seemed like hours, probably only 45 min. Francis was thrilled.
When he shared that with me, he still had his “what an experience” face on. It really meant a lot, as well it should have.
My thoughts today: is there something you have longed to do for some time. We now have a name for these items, call them our bucket list items. There is even a movie by that title. But I digress. If you really want it, plan on getting it. Put together a plan; see what it will take, then work hard to achieve that goal. It may be recreational like a Blimp ride. May be focused on business, hitting the next level for your company. Could be personal; lose 15 pounds, bench press 250 lbs. Many of you have received one of my books, just had a distributor rep ask me how the book writing process goes. It goes very slowly, started my first book about 7 or 8 years ago. Actually started 6 of them at the same time, just putting thoughts together in files labeled: Lesson Learned/The Good Stuff/Sales/Never Forget/Motorcycles and so on. Each folder is another book; first two are out, more on the way.
Final note: I had a bucket list item for years, to go to Australia, and have someone pay me to talk. Got that chance about 7 years ago, it was excellent. Will remember that trip for the rest of my life. So today’s article is about setting goals, having those excellent life moments, fulfilling dreams, all the above. Just realize that most of the heavy lifting is up to you. Not many of us will win the lottery; we will have to work for the things we achieve. So start today, make that list, pick out one item to focus on, and put together a plan to achieve it.
Guest Article by Jon Reyes Make a Great First Impression First impressions mean everything when you’re working on plumbing issues in people’s homes and businesses. Have a courteous representative take incoming service calls or be courteous and polite yourself and keep customers informed if there are any delays in getting yourself or any technicians out Read More
Guest Article by Jon Reyes
Make a Great First Impression
First impressions mean everything when you’re working on plumbing issues in people’s homes and businesses. Have a courteous representative take incoming service calls or be courteous and polite yourself and keep customers informed if there are any delays in getting yourself or any technicians out to them – delays do happen, how the customer takes this initial delay in your new relationship is all in the delivery of the news.
People are generally not in a great mood when they call in with plumbing problems. You or your staff should have a positive attitude, and assure them that their repairs will be done professionally, and in a timely manner.
When you arrive, it’s always a good idea to be wearing a clean uniform and look neat in appearance. Always wipe your feet or use booties when entering a customer’s home or business, without having to be asked – Even if you don’t do this in your home, people do have different takes on what they expect.
Always try to be polite and friendly with your clients, and this includes using please and thank you when they address them. It’s important to gather information from the customer, in order that they can affect a proper repair.
If you end up working in an area away from the people who live or work in the building, you might try listening to a radio to fill the air. Be sure that their radio isn’t being played too loudly and form an unapproachable barrier for the customer to come to you, you might miss something the client wants to ask if you are tuned in to the radio instead of the customer.
Go Above & Beyond on your Service Calls
You can recruit many customers, but if you don’t care for them in a proper way, all your advertising money may as well be flushed down the toilet. You need to be sure that you not only meet but exceed your customers’ expectations when they call you for an installation or repair.
Going above and beyond isn’t necessarily time-consuming or costly for your company. You can perform plumbing check-ups when you’re in a customer’s home or business for a service call. If there are any minor issues, you can offer to take care of them either at no cost or at a minimal cost for them. This could range from a quick and efficient drain cleaning to replacing an old aerator on a faucet.
Depending on your company specialties, you can spur referrals by word of mouth, if your current customers are satisfied. Going the extra mile helps retain current customers and also brings in new ones.
The one thing about plumbing issues or costs the people incur as a ‘one off surprise’ is that they tell friends and family about this nuisance and unexpected cost. Going the extra mile and pleasing a customer mean that you and your company are mentioned in that conversation to numerous people that they will one day have an issue requiring your services.
Your technicians should take the time to listen to the concerns of your customers, and then approach the problems professionally and in an orderly way. People appreciate it when technicians take the time to analyze the problems they are experiencing and offer them the best options. If they’re using a camera in their lines, for instance, they may be interested in the process. It only takes a few minutes more to help them understand what they’re doing and what they’re finding in the lines.
A good sense of humor is helpful in the plumbing business, too. Even though the work sometimes seems thankless, your steady customers will appreciate a positive attitude on the part of the plumber with whom they’re working.
Good plumbers help their customers to understand the root causes of their problems and answer any questions they may have. Explain the problems in English, so the customers understand what’s going on.
Cleanliness is vital if you want your customers to be happy about the job your employees do. Be sure they tarp anything that could get dirty, and take off your shoes if they’re working in muddy conditions outside their house. Plumbers should keep their tools laid out in a small area and clean everything up when they leave.
Take the extra time needed to diagnose problems that may arise while work is being done. Especially when working on old lines, there may be unexpected complications. Do the repair for the long term, not just for the day your technician is there. Give them the time to track down and repair any issues, while explaining to the customer what’s wrong.
Before your plumber leaves a job site, have them leave them your business card, in case the customers have any questions, concerns or issues.
After your installers complete a job, you could call your customers back to be sure that they are still happy with the performance of their equipment after an installation or repair and really impress your name on to the customer’s brain. If there is an issue, you can address it immediately and resolve it, so that the customer’s overall experience will be a positive one.
If you want to enjoy a growing plumbing business in your town, you’re not the only company that has their eyes on that prize. If you have happy customers, they’ll tell their family and friends about your service, and gain you more customers without any extra work on your part.
Written by Jon Reyes. Jon is a guest author from Steam Shower Store and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under his belt.
By Siobhan Ashleigh How many horror stories have you heard about home contractors who didn’t do their job well? Invoice2go, a mobile app that allows small business owners to track work and get paid, recently conducted a study of 803 US homeowners that revealed more than 75% of people have had a negative experience working Read More
By Siobhan Ashleigh
How many horror stories have you heard about home contractors who didn’t do their job well? Invoice2go, a mobile app that allows small business owners to track work and get paid, recently conducted a study of 803 US homeowners that revealed more than 75% of people have had a negative experience working with contractors for home projects. Such terrible experiences have inspired consumer watchdog websites like Contractors From Hell.
According to the homeowners’ survey, a job badly done was the top reason for dissatisfaction, but not the only concern. For plumbing contractors, even if you do a job well, there’s a lot more to giving your client a positive experience, including communication, accurate billing, and convenient payment methods. Every plumber must establish trust with their clients. How? Ranking 2nd in the survey, a full 30% of homeowners cited lack of communication as a reason for their negative experience. To build trust, good communication is essential. Here are 5 tips to help you stay connected to your clients every step of the way:
Be upfront about the job’s timeline and any potential hurdles
Plumbing contractors aren’t traditional employees, so your client won’t be privy to every aspect of your business. Make sure you have more than a verbal contract and handshake. Prepare a contract that specifies deadlines and contingency plans in case something goes wrong. You can hire a lawyer to do this for you, or use an online template to help you build one, like this on Rocket Lawyer.com.
Be professional, but be yourself
From “How to Build Customer Trust” on Inc.com: Jerry Acuff, author of The Relationship Edge: The Key to Strategic Influence and Selling Success says “Every meeting should be a conversation, not a sales pitch. Spend at least half of every customer meeting listening. And make certain the conversation is substantive and about real business issues, not just office patter or sports chit-chat.” However, do get to know your clients. Be curious (to a point) about their lives outside of your business relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask, “How are the wife and kids?”
Provide a professional estimate before agreeing to take on the project
When clients are hit with unexpected expenses, chances are they won’t be calling on you again. This means you need to do your homework and be prepared well ahead of time with all expenses. Look beyond your own business – make sure any subcontractors you work with are also upfront about costs so you’re not having to pass on those surprise expenses to your client.
Most clients are tech savvy nowadays, so attach photos to emails to show your progress on the project. Use a receipts capture app to attach photos to all receipts. Be ready to break down all costs (materials, time, overhead, etc.) to clearly show what your client’s money is going toward.
Love what you do Former MLB player and manager Tommy Lasorda said, “If you love your job, you haven’t worked a day in your life.” If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing as a plumbing contractor, then why are you doing it? Sure, you’re going to have bad days. But overall, you should feel good about what you’re offering. When you value what you do, clients will pick up on your commitment and passion. It will further open your mind to meeting exactly what they need.
As a plumbing contractor, you must work at establishing trust right off the bat with each client you serve. Good communication is vital for this to happen. When you’re honest and open about every step of the project, clients won’t be left in the dark, wondering if you were their best option. Leave them with no doubts and no reason to not contact you again!
Do sweat the small stuff
Plumbing contractors don’t have a well-known company name behind them to help gain a client’s trust. When you work for yourself, you are the face and brand behind the company. So it’s all on you to ensure clients that you have what it takes to get the job done right.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “The devil is in the details.” That’s especially true for a plumbing contractor. Even the smallest of details can mean the difference between gaining or losing a loyal customer. According to a recent survey of 803 US homeowners, the top behaviors that positively reflect the credibility of a service provider are small things we might take for granted:
- Cleaning up after a job – 85%
- Showing up on time – 84%
- Presenting a professional estimate – 78%
- Collecting and providing receipts – 61%
You might be thinking this should be common sense, but when your schedule is full and you’re juggling family, budgeting, recordkeeping, and all the other nuances of your work/life balance, it’s easy to let some of these things slide. How can you ensure these simple things are rarely (if never) overlooked? Here are some tips.
- Clean up (and work) smarter, not harder – Before you begin a job, designate a specific place for all your tools and equipment so they’re not scattered all over the job site. This goes for tech-based jobs too. Laptops, headsets, thumb drives, CDs, etc. – keep them within reach so you don’t have to be up and down looking for them, which wastes time and adds needless frustration. For more physical jobs, clean up as you go if at all possible. Also, make sure you have the proper equipment to clean with. Think ergonomic, dependable equipment that doesn’t require a lot of fuss. This article from Dan MacLeod shares ten important principles when it comes to ergonomics on the job.
- Being prompt is not old-school – There’s no such thing as being fashionably late when it comes to a small business owner’s work. Woody Allen is credited with saying, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Make it a point to always be on time. Be careful with scheduling jobs in the first place so you’re not overbooking yourself. It’s better to have a little down time between jobs than to have so much work you can’t make the client’s deadline. Use calendar apps on your mobile devices to set alerts ahead of start time so you’re not caught off guard and have plenty of time to prepare and travel if necessary.
- The power of a good-looking estimate – In the old days, handwritten estimates on carbon-copy paper were adequate. Not so much anymore. In the digital age, you need to be prepared to send estimates that are not only accurate, but look professional. Apps like Invoice2go allow you to do just that. You can add your company’s logo and email (or print) your estimate and send it to your client. Even better, this video shows how you can easily convert estimates to invoices with the same app so you don’t have to do everything twice.
- Don’t toss the receipts – For most of us, our first impulse is to toss receipts into a purse or wallet, where we plan to fetch them later, but lo and behold, they’re often lost to the ages. Designate a spot to store paper receipts for your job, like a zip pouch or other secure container and put in your receipts the moment you get them. If you just hate dealing with paper, use receipt capturing apps on your mobile devices to take digital photos of them. Either way, you’ll always know where they are so you can easily show the client where their money is going. Remember, transparency with billing is crucial to gaining a client’s trust.
- Don’t forget the legal stuff – In a perfect world, we could work and handle everything in our own bubble, but that doesn’t provide you any legal protection should you need it. Make absolutely certain your business is legit on paper – your business name is registered with the state, you’ve got a tax ID number and any necessary licenses and permits. That way, you’ve got some security should you ever come to a legal dispute with a client. The Small Business Administration has some great advice about these legal necessities.
While a job well done is the most important goal, don’t neglect the little details. Just one lost receipt or late deadline can keep you from securing more work. So, pay attention to the small stuff to establish more credibility, and the big stuff will be that much easier.
- Invoice2go is a mobile app that makes it easy for small business owners to track work and get paid.
- It’s the number one grossing business app in more than 50 countries
- Used by more than 200,000 customers to send $1 billion in invoicing every month
- Customers: Used by every type of business owner. (Contractors from landscapers, plumbers, electricians, and construction workers, to independent businesses like dog walkers, makeup artists, DJs and caterers, etc.)
- Available in 11 languages
- Website: https://invoice.2go.com
Every four years we see the ultimate triumph of athletes who become the best in the world at the summer Olympics. They defy odds, persevere against hope, and break records to win the gold medal to be crowned champion. We see a brief glimpse of the race, sometimes lasting but a few seconds. But what Read More
Every four years we see the ultimate triumph of athletes who become the best in the world at the summer Olympics. They defy odds, persevere against hope, and break records to win the gold medal to be crowned champion. We see a brief glimpse of the race, sometimes lasting but a few seconds. But what we don’t see is what counts. It’s the four years “before” the Olympics that really set the stage for winning. It is no different for contractors in the plumbing trades.
Olympic athletes spend endless hours every day practicing and perfecting their skills. They set very specific goals, make a plan, dedicate themselves to do it, and then put that plan into action with all their heart. Whether an athlete or a business owner of a plumbing company, it’s the process before winning that’s the key. In addition, past failures and circumstances can stay in the past to press forward toward the mark of achieving your goals. We can take a look at the Olympics in Rio for some great lessons.
The first is from the fastest man in Rugby, American, Carlin Isles. He begins and interview with a reporter and says, “I should not be here”. He remembers his mom getting hauled away for repeated drug busts and was placed in a temporary foster home when he was 8. He could not read, write or even do basic math. He started playing football at the age of 8 and quickly noticed a talent for both football and track. At the age of 21, Carlin moved to Aspen, Colorado to play Rugby and put all his eggs into this one basket with no money, no parents, and put it all on the line.
He remembered a preacher had once told him, “What God puts in your heart, he will equip you to do.” This message clicked when he played Rugby. He runs the 40 yard dash in 4.22 seconds and is billed the fastest man in Rugby. In addition to constant training, you need some financial help for the Olympics however. A gym owner in Canton Ohio heard of him, sponsored his private training, and even bought him a car. The gym owner, Chris Maggiore said he believed in him, and feels like he is a good judge of character. Carlin Isles dedicated himself and found a way to make it to achieve his goal of playing on the US Rugby team.
Gabby Douglas is a famous Olympic Gymnast. She won gold in 2012, and another in 2016 for the women’s team all-around. Her early life was very tough as her family was homeless and living out of a van for almost a year after she was born. They soon moved in with relatives but her father left the family soon after. She and her three siblings were raised by her mom and it was one of the roughest times in her life.
When she was 14, she moved away from friends and family in Virginia Beach, VA. to learn gymnastics in Iowa under the direction of Liang Chow. He is very demanding, but fair, and had this to say about Gabby. “Every athlete has strengths and weaknesses, but the purpose must be there. I can see the ones who have mental toughness and determination and they stand out. Facing tough times may have helped her performance on the gym floor”, said Chow. It can be harder for someone to stay at the top of their game when winning is always effortless, never experiencing disappointment or difficulty. Gabby had the determination to dedicate herself to achieve her goals and held steadfast. She didn’t win a gold after 6 months or a year of training, it took a full four years of hard work most are not willing to do. There are others with great skill like Gabby, but they don’t have the purpose and dedication to continue working diligently day after day for years.
This does not come with trials however. And often there comes a gut-check moment to stay the course or retreat. Just two weeks before the 2012 Olympics, Gabby told her mom she wanted to quit gymnastics. She had moved to Iowa for over two years, was homesick, and ready to move back. She told her mom she could work at Chick-fil-A and run track on a city team. During this emotional trial, it took several mother-daughter talks and determined to stay the course. She has been rewarded with Olympic gold two Olympics in a row. Plumbing Contractors run into this same scenario, stay the course, or retreat while you have a chance because it’s difficult and your reward is not in your hands yet.
Now not every battle or event is won. All the dedication and training comes with zero guaranties. But more often than not, you will come out near or on top. In the 2012 Olympics, Missy Franklin won 4 out of 5 possible gold medals. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, she finished near last in the 200 meter freestyle and didn’t even qualify for the finals of the 200 meter backstroke event she won 4 years ago. She met a reporter after the race and was asked how she felt. She was disappointed but shared this wisdom. She is a young woman who swims, but swimming does not define her. She also said she had to stay focused for the next race in two days. Franklin said, “It’s incredibly frustrating, I need to keep my head up and I need to keep fighting, and that’s what I’m going to do.” She did win gold in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay with her US swimming team. When a contractor works hard and you follow your plans diligently to achieve your goals, even as a business owner, eventually you’re going to win.
And how could Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer in history not be mentioned. He lost to Chad Le Clos in 2012 in the 200 meter Butterfly. Here in 2016, they were both in the ready room with Le Clos shadow boxing right in front of Phelps, who ignores him. Phelps stayed the course even under intimidation and persevered by winning yet another gold. One photo shows Le Clos next to Phelps, looking at him as he cruises ahead to win. Michael Phelps put it all on the line and went all in without a guaranty of winning, knowing what could be said and written about him if he lost to LeClos again, even with all his other triumphs. How often most of us back down in in our business lives under such pressure.
What messages can we get from these stories? It doesn’t matter what has happened in your past business adventures or failures, you can still triumph over what seems to be impossible odds. It takes determination and guts to do what needs to be done when life and business is extremely difficult, especially when it gets close to making perhaps the final big decision that once put in motion, can’t be stopped. It takes a strong commitment to succeed, knowing you win some and may lose some. But without the goal setting, planning, and the many days of hard work, you never win. As they say in poker, sometimes you just have to go all in.
Finally, no one said it would be easy. We may have to make sacrifices and sometimes the cost can be great being a successful plumbing contractor. You may not get the gold sometimes like Missy Franklin. But without following through when it’s difficult or you feel intimidate, you certainly will never win like Michael Phelps.