Interview with Lucas Cellino from Cellino Plumbing & HVAC

by Plumbing Marketing Profits on August 29, 2019

Listen in as we interview Lucas Cellino from Cellino Plumbing & HVAC. They are a full-service Plumbing & HVAC company serving the greater Buffalo, NY area. Their operation has 23 trucks and is growing by over 35% year over year. Lucas shares some amazing insights on how they keep their phone ringing, trucks running & business booming.

One of my favorite quotes from this interview is "We run a Marketing Company that happens to do Plumbing". That is awesome!

On this episode of The Plumbing and HVAC Internet Marketing Show Allison interviews Lucas Cellino from Buffalo, New York. Cellino Plumbing has recently expanded to become Cellino Plumbing and HVAC in the past few months and they have really gained a footing in the market. Cellino Plumbing and HVAC has grown by 35% in the past year and they now have 23 trucks running. Listen in as Lucas shares the secrets to his company’s rapid growth.

How did Lucas get into plumbing?

Lucas’s father started the company about 25 years ago. He grew up playing with plumbing fittings rather than Lego and he always knew he wanted to join the business. He began helping his dad in the business after school from a young age. 8 years ago he took over the duties of the office manager which included payroll, managing the website, and social media. He knew nothing about websites and SEO at the time. Since then he has learned so much about SEO and Pay Per Click.

Is it important to have a marketing staff?

Now that the business has grown Cellino Plumbing and HVAC has an internal marketing staff as well as using Plumbing and HVAC SEO. When they were a smaller business with only 7 employees the office manager was in charge of the marketing. The business really began to see a lot of growth when they began to use Plumbing and HVAC SEO 2 years ago. Marketing can be defined in many ways and Lucas considers marketing an integral part of the business. He realizes that every part of the business involves marketing. He says Cellino Plumbing is really a marketing company that does plumbing. Do you have staff that is devoted solely to marketing?

How do they train their staff?

Training is an important part of the business. And even Lucas is constantly training. He has 2 business coaches that help him learn more about business. Cellino Plumbing and HVAC has service managers for each department which includes, plumbing, heating and cooling, as well as underground. When a new helper comes in they train on Nexstar and in the warehouse for 2 weeks first. Lucas thinks that it helps have someone friendly to help train new employees and this also helps them retain staff. Do you utilize employee training in your company?

What do they do to encourage employees to stay long term?

Employee retention is key to long-term success. Part of their retention strategy was creating a mission statement to live by. Their mission statement includes 5 company values. They really live by their mission statement and have metrics to measure each line in the mission statement. Their metrics include quality checks to measure customer service and workplace happiness. Their mission statement also includes giving back to the community. They do this in a unique way. Listen to this episode to discover how Cellino Plumbing and HVAC gives back to the community and how this also increases their revenue. How does your company give back to the community it serves?

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:45] His father started the business about 25 years ago
  • [4:26] He began to focus on marketing about 8 years ago
  • [6:23] Is it important to have a marketing staff?
  • [8:10] How do they train staff?
  • [10:55] What do they do to encourage employees to stay long term?
  • [16:54] What tips does he have for other business owners?

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Here is the full interview transcript for your reference:

The plumbing and HVAC Internet Marketing Show, discover how to market your plumbing or HPC business online. From SEO and PPC to Google Maps reputation management and social media marketing. We share the ideas and strategies to get your phone ringing trucks running and business booming. Well hey, this is Josh Nelson and welcome to this episode of the plumbing and HVAC marketing profits podcast. Today I'm super excited. We're going to be interviewing Lucas Selena. They run a full service plumbing HPC company based in the buffalo new york market. Amazing interview share some insights on how when he joined the company, he doubled down on internet marketing website SEO Pay Per Click social media. He's seeing a 35% growth year over year in his business. One of the quotes I really love from this, you'll hear it in the interview but he says he really considers your company to be a marketing company. That also does plumbing. Amazing insights here

Check it out.

Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Allison. And I am interviewing Luke for our engaged newsletter in our webinar. And so Luke, you are the president over at us legal plumbing in Buffalo, New York. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Yeah, so uh, 20 years old.

We're located in Buffalo, New York. Born and raised.

Live in Buffalo. Yeah, like the Buffalo Bills. Were 30 minutes away from Canada. So big hockey fans here. I grew up playing hockey, lacrosse, football.

Have a German Shepherd he comes work with me every day is trucks and I guess

hobbies I guess my hobbies working early. That's that's my main hobby. Okay.

Really.

Plumbing Company. So I my father started 25 years ago.

I like to tell everybody that when we started my father, he started business when I was about two or three, and I grew up in the living room, instead of hitting Legos, we had plumbing fittings, so I would go and kind of put the on the black nipples and the different fittings and just kind of play around with them. And it really just evolved from there. So whenever you play hockey, it's really involved. So it'd be you know, you're on a couple teams, and I was a goalie myself, but we do you know, practice at 6am I need a game later, you know, 10am or something between so my father being a small business owner, You drive me a hockey practice in between practices. I don't work with them

on the flashlight and all that that was those are the start of it. So I've always been involved. I always want to be a former. A dream never want to do anything else. I always enjoyed fixing things. Awesome.

Yeah, my father

really goes back to one of my father get started. My father was a, if you're from the area or even in New York, you would recognise the name stone barns. So Selena is my uncle. And my grandfather actually started a law firm.

But my father when he was about 17 years later, a bunch of older older brothers, they were all doctors, lawyers, everything else follows more hands on.

And certainly wasn't as smart as those guys. But I saw any problem. And one day, his father complained about how much the plumber charge.

I think he was about 16 at that point, and he wants to trade school, work for a car for eight years, and God is licencing. And he started the company. They're great. And so how many trucks are you guys currently running? We have about 2324 trucks right now. It's a mix of plumbing. Heating, cooling is rather new to us and that we have a separate underground division. Okay, and you

I became the CO owner with your dad wasn't already at 23? Or did you help grow him to that? size? Um, yeah. So I pretty much took over as General Manager. And this is where the marketing really, really kicked in when I was about 20. So maybe about eight years ago.

What happened was we were just hurting financially. I think we had maybe seven employees all together at the time. We were getting rid of our office manager. And I was like, Okay, well, what duties does she do? What do I need to you know, what can I try and phone and do? So the first duty was payroll. So I'm like, Okay, I'm pretty good at math pretty, pretty good with Excel, I can certainly a real structure. The other two or one was the website. One is social media. Those are jobs that my followers are taking over. So eight years ago, the website was important. It certainly isn't as important to us today. But you know, I didn't know anything about really high school at this point. So I started off just redesigning the website and trying to keep up on it.

That's where I got really involved in SEO and pay per click. Definitely. Well, since then that's where you've seen that, you know, exponential growth, obviously. Yeah, we've last three years are growing 35% revenue year over year so, so the last four or five years have been by far our heaviest growth stage.

When people ask, you know, what, what the truth is most to that I was telling, you know, number one, the construction industry is booming anywhere you go. So, if you're not growing right now, you're doing something a little wrong. However, there is there are companies that that just aren't within and marketing

or marketing company and also does plumbing. So even though I'm the president of the whole company now, I'm also the leader in our strategic planning, which is our operations but also our marketing, which is a separate divisions, we have a small marketing team, and assets. Definitely. And so you know, being your account manager, I've worked with you for almost two years at this point, actually, probably a little over two years. And so I've worked with Allie Olivia for a little while.

So I know how important it is to work so closely with your staff when we're, you know, talking about all of your marketing efforts. Can you maybe talk a little bit about how important it is to maybe even have a stuff like that? Or when you know what, at what point the growth Did you say, Okay, now I need to hire someone to help me not only externally, but I need to hire someone internally to help me with the external. Yeah, so I mean, even as a small company, somebody is always playing the marketing functions, right? So even here, we're seven and seven employees. And it was our only job the ops manager was essentially our marketing somebody else in marketing.

So you're always going to that person in house at least playing some sort of a role but I want to take it from there I did it for a few years. I never did I encoding so I never did any actual SEO or so when I started start selling that our start off some smaller guys are kind of on the web site. I'm papers on look like can you design Okay, I'm different guy coded. I'm said when I'm for a while

Just the amount of people that started pushing SEO and started trying to enhance your pay per click, it became more evident that we needed somebody that does this all the time every day. So as far as when we started selling out to plumbing NH back SEO was like two and a half years ago. And that that's made a big change as far as somebody on staff

there to do marketing correctly. I mean, I'd say everything's marketing right the technician point of the house marketing so so training those technicians to do the right thing, you know, stick to the water heaters and everything else is so valuable. Yeah. So having so many alpha doesn't you know, marketing can be such a such a broad term, how you define it as is really can be really different and what that entails.

Definitely. And so, you just mentioned a little bit about training. Can you speak to maybe how you guys train your staff as well as your technicians and your office, your car?

Stars and how important that is to even seek outside train organisations to help you

Yeah, I mean first of all me as a 28 year old president of the company, I get a lot of help right there's there's tonnes of students especially I work with in particular and they just help guide me they're they're much more adverse with with different things. So so me personally, I am a coach. As far as our system, we have a service manager for plumbing we have a service manager for cooling and service manager 400 round, so everything kind of goes through there and they manage all the texts are nice. What we do to this really is when a new Harper Collins and anybody that comes in our company reports the warehouse so the warehouse manager that's, that's just really good and, and they start off they train us service science, they start offering service time we're in that star company, so you train some black star and they get everybody just just kind of affiliated with with what this company is already about. So even if we are like a licence farmer, they'll go work on anything.

The warehouse manager for about two weeks before they go into a division, otherwise it was somebody brand new they work underneath the warehouse and the warehouse guy will still send them out on different jobs with different managers, he Cora, he coordinates with a dispatcher to kind of see where people go. But having that those new guys come in and have just a direct contact that's easy to get along with, easy to kind of figure out what's going on that has a lot of capacity as always at the shop is made a huge difference for us bringing new talent getting them trained.

Awesome. That's That's amazing. And so, I mean, what 23 talks you guys are, are, I guess at that point training a lot and pretty often. What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you see yourself going into another truck? Maybe another two? Yeah, I mean, right now we got a we have four presses starting later in this month. So we're really moving along with those trucks. We are so honoured man, that's it's, it's painful.

Yeah, we

are personifying growing. So HPC is newer to us. We want to men doing we

really only been doing a well for about three to four months we've been we started about two years ago and took until we got the right guy being that division for to start to take off. So HPC we're now doing about 100,000 in revenue each week. And that's, I mean, that's just phenomenal for new.

We're looking to bring on your three installers for the winter here. Well,

I know that we are currently in the process of actually rebranding the name all over the internet to plumbing us, we know plumbing and paycheck. So that's exciting. And so with that growth, I mean, it obviously comes with them from a lot of hard work and a lot of dedicated staff. So is there anything that you guys do that you may think is a little bit special for people to stay with you long term?

Yeah, I think I think

the one thing that we do is so we about four years ago went through a major culture change and

What we what we do is we create a mission statement that that's real simple. Just three lines. We have everyone has mission statement, but unless you live by that mission statement, it's useless, right? So we create a mission, same they create a five values. mission statement is, we want to be the company that customers want to refer our employees lots of work and that makes the positive difference in the community. So what we do to ensure the region as we have metrics for each of those, those lines and that mission statement, so the first one our customers on prefer, you know, we use an NPS score, we check how many reviews we got, we do quality checks, we ensure that our quality is good and our customer service is good. where customers love to work we use a an app or a programme called today's mood is to just ask all our employees twice a week to fill out three simple questions. And it just ensures that there's workplace happiness.

And then we're thinking positive, it's in the community we do. We have a really unique

marketing plan that that involves, you know, going back to community. So we measure you know, what we're doing the community finishes with dollars donated. That's, that's the basic metrics. We have a few other metrics for all those, but those are our top ones. That's awesome. I mean, those are those are great integrations like you know, put into your into your business model the wings for hope that happened a year ago that was pretty cool. And for anybody listening what Selena does, he actually does a giveaway and where you wrap the entire truck to match the community that the organisation in the community that one so how do you see that actually working as far as DC return investment or is that just really for community outreach? Yeah, so you know, the hardest thing is always especially now with like pre roll and and all these other new new ways of advertising is getting good metrics don't even pre roll you know, there's a YouTube and Facebook it's they're both pre roll, but they're both a totally different metrics. You shouldn't see the same view rate there. There's all just because of how you can skip it. So figured out the good metrics.

To measure is always a key. I always think that I'm I'm good at marketing because I'm process mine and I'm statistic minded in that I know what metrics I want I know what we need to find

and then process you know, it's less ideas and more process but as far as a truck ramp so so the idea was that we when

we started this was actually a second year doing it. So it came from a March Madness type of standpoint. We're here in the college I I never watch basketball, but I watch them during March Madness, college basketball, I just like to break I like competition. I get pretty into that. Break and try and pick everything so you know, everybody kind of has this cool brag thing. I was just thinking what can we do with me? We always donate I'll promise but we never did anything big. And I guess my what I wanted to really do what was Success to me is if I can, whatever amount of money we donate, justified an error does expanse but what we ended up doing is the bracket

So originally we thought we'd do a 3232 brackets and that we would have all these nonprofits in there and basically just open up voting to the community to pick one. And for one, that nonprofit, we wrapped the truck with their load either callers and we still have our logo and everything on there, but it mostly be

for that profit. Right. In turn, we would donate 5% of that trucks revenue every month that our profit for one year. So the first year winner was responsible. Basically, they'll fly kids anywhere around the country to different medical facilities. And the owner there what was almost was shocking me I guess was he was more excited about the shopping references lower going around town. The National money that we're doing

here

is impactful. But when you get a brand new opportunity, and a free talk that drives around the entire city with their branding, I mean that of course I

pays off in the long run. Sure. So as far as I mean, we started off, you know, we thought we'd open up to 32 nonprofits hoping to be able to fill that bracket. We had, you know, over 1000 nonprofits nowadays. So we quickly hoping that there you're one of the 64 brackets. And I don't know the exact amount of votes offhand. But if when we look at our charts on our social media will track we ran everything through Facebook, one of our goals was to increase our her social media presence. Just trying to be intimate with with customers nowadays is a little bit more difficult, unless you're using social media correctly. So that was one of our goals as well.

So driving traffic to our Facebook page was was key. And we were able to do that with this again, I wish I had the stats, I would be happy to share it with you guys later.

years. After we did the first chakra, we seen so much success. So we said well, we need to carry on this momentum. So I'm just doing it once a year. So with an open up a nonprofit of the month, every month, and so there's a

voting on our agents for the first few days, it's a bright house in stage two, so starts off nominate whoever you want. That goes the top 10 you checkbox that and then winner is nominated. What we do is there's a local TV station that does an interview with them once once a month for the winner we donate $500 let me throw a happy hour for them. And then that bar, you know, donates back. Now what's happened is this is turned into more than just a Selena plumbing nonprofit month, we now have five other companies also contributing to the staff. That's amazing. So we definitely impacting the community and you're inspiring other people to join you. So that that just that helps you in the long run. That's not a return investment that you see up front but that is a branded name that all of your neighbours will soon know if they don't already know Selena plumbing. So that's, that's fantastic. Congratulations. Thanks. So is there any you know little bit of information that you want to give to anybody who may be listening whether that's a business owner, someone's taking over his father

A cow on his father's business, or anybody who may be just looking for any golden nuggets. I mean, everybody wants a business with 23 trucks. So how can you help them? Yeah.

I know, like

we just discussed today is ever growing so quickly. Once you get in this high growth stage, you're the only people that are focused on processes and not not necessarily ideas. And when you're growing quickly, you need you need more process minded people. So if you're always focused on the process, it's

not the best, cleanest idea, but at least the processes efficient, effective. That'll certainly help especially if you're in that that heavy growth stage. Anybody that wants to grow, I mean, I know. I know, one of the big changes for us was getting involved with Black Star. We be I'll be the first one that we don't utilise them the way we should. But they have great ideas. There's there's tonnes of people out there that can help each other they've got advance

but getting

Our pricing in order was very first thing we needed to become profitable. Next our lives by the idea of the Big Five. So reviewing your financial statements and knowing where you stand you got to know what your margins are, ya know what what percentage of your labour should be 1% your material should be our jobs.

Definitely that that would be probably the best advice I give is know your margins don't need the charge know where you stand financially and have a good visions before.

Awesome. Well, thank you for jumping on with us. I know that anybody listening, they got some great information from you. Congratulations on a growing account. I hope that we do get those additional trucks by the end by the end of the year. And I can't wait to see what happens once we really fully launch totally no plumbing NH back. So that's exciting. Yeah, thanks, guys.

appreciate the help. And it's been a pleasure working with you and Josh. Awesome. Well, I hope you get amazing value from that interview if you'd like more ideas, strategies and techniques on how to more effectively market

Get your plumbing HPC or Home Services business online, go to plumbing marketing.net there you'll find interviews just like this and the opportunity to schedule a time with us to just kind of talk about your business and how we can help you implement similar strategies in your business. So plumbing marketing.net head over there now and I'll talk to you soon

Josh Nelson is a marketing expert that specializes in helping Plumbing Business increase their sales & grow their business by more effectively MARKETING. He is a recognized speaker, author and regularly presents at PHCC, ACCA and Plumbing Contracting Associations. His articles have been published in Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine, Contractor Magazine and HVAC Insider. He is the author of The Complete Guide To Internet Marketing for Plumbing Contractors.

Plumbing Marketing Profits – who has written posts on Plumbing Marketing Tips, Ideas & Strategies for Plumbers | Plumber Marketing.


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