How Plumbing Nerds is up $800K year over year ($2.7M)

by Plumbing Marketing Profits on October 18, 2019

We had the opportunity to interview John Verhoff owner of Plumbing Nerds. They are a full-service Plumbing Company serving the Southwest Florida Area. Discover how he grew to 10 trucks and is up over $800K year over year (on pace for $2.7M this year). He shares some amazing insights on how they keep the phones ringing, trucks running & business booming!

John Verhoff with Plumbing Nerds joins Allison in this interview to discuss how his business has grown from $1.9M to a projected $2.7M in just one year! In this interview, you’ll learn how he got started, what he thinks of online reviews, and how he markets his business. Check out John’s interview to help you learn how to grow your own plumbing business.

How did John get started?

Plumbing Nerds is located in southwest Florida and has been in business for 12 years. They run 10 trucks and have 17 employees. John actually started the business with his wife’s sign-on bonus. 2007 was a rough time to start any business, but commercial plumbing became even more of a challenge due to the lack of building after the 2008 market meltdown. Instead of giving up and hanging up his hat, John chose to focus more on local services. Fortunately, water heaters and drains don’t pay attention to recessions. 

How does he get so many online reviews?

One secret to Plumbing Nerds’ success is online reviews. They get a ton! But how does he ensure they get online reviews?

John attributes their success in reviews in 2 ways. They use a platform called Podium to remind customers to give reviews. He loves Podium and thinks it has been really helpful in getting the volume of reviews up. Also, their techs ask the customers for reviews directly. He feels that this combination is really what drives their success in online reviews

How does he keep morale up?

Plumbing Nerds is a really supportive business to work for. John makes sure to give his employees recognition for a job well done. He knows that a pat on the back goes a long way. One way that he has made employees feel appreciated is to acknowledge their wins on good reviews. In the past, he used an individual incentive program to celebrate positive reviews. His team tracks reviews on every platform and they always publicly recognize great reviews. He has changed the incentive program recently to reward the whole team since he has realized that good service is not an individual matter, the entire company takes part in great service. 

What forms of marketing does he use?

John uses Plumbing and HVAC SEO to help market his business through organic search and to bolster the SEO. But he also uses other means as well. He feels the best return on investment has been with Google Local Services. GLS has provided 9X ROI! He has been on Angie’s List since 2012 but feels that the ROI on that platform has been dropping. 

John has been a bit slow to adopt social media, but he is starting to see the benefit from it. The business is on Instagram and Facebook and they have been posting a few times a week. So far, they haven’t used any paid social campaigns. He is contemplating using social media ads in the future. John has 12 years of plumbing wisdom to share with you so be sure to listen to discover his advice for other Plumbing and HVAC business owners.  

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:22] How did John get started?
  • [4:30] How does he get so many online reviews?
  • [8:14] How does he keep morale up?
  • [10:13] What kind of marketing does he use?
  • [15:18] What can he share with other business owners?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Josh

Please post your comments & follow up questions below! Also, be sure to subscribe for the podcast so you don't miss any of the upcoming interviews:

Subscribe for the podcast & get emailed as new interviews are posted 

 

Get a free LeadFlow Acceleration Session

If you are ready to take your Plumbing, HVAC or Home Services Business to the next level and drive more leads & sales...we'd like to offer you a FREE LeadFlow Acceleration Session. Click below to schedule a time now.

Here's the video transcript for your reference:

The plumbing marketing profits podcast interviews with million dollar plus plumbing and HVAC business owners on how they market and grow their companies in today's economy. You're directly from the most successful leaders in your business and discover what they are doing to keep their phone ringing trucks running and businesses with your host, Josh Nelson

way this is Josh Nelson with plumbing and HVAC SEO and I'm super excited on this episode of the plumbing and HVAC marketing podcast to be interviewing john vernoff from plumbing nerds, they run an amazing plumbing company serving the Southwest Florida area, got a great operation about 10 trucks 17 employees, doing about $2 million per year. On this interview, john shares how he's up almost $800,000 in revenue year over year some of the cool things he's doing from a marketing perspective, leveraging Google Local Service ads, aggressive online marketing, social media, sharing some amazing insights to check it out. And I'm sure you're going to enjoy it.

Hey, john, how are you?

I'm good. How are you doing Allison?

I'm doing good. So as we talked about previously, I'm interviewing today for our newsletter or engaging newsletter. And then of course, we're going to use this audio for our clients and future clients to to come back to if they ever have any questions and they want to get to know you and your business a little more. So, first off, can you tell us a little bit about plumbing nerds, the background, how long you've been in business, approximate revenue, you don't have to get, you know too much in detail but number of trucks and employees, all that good stuff.

I love to and thanks for having me. So, Tommy nerves we've, we've been in business for a little over 12 years. We are located in Southwest Florida. We are currently running trucks, roughly. We have 17 employees. Last year we did about 1.9. And this year we're budgeting to do about 2.7.

Wow, that's awesome. And so then I'm going to ask you a little bit more about that later. But can you tell us how you started this business?

Sure. Well, kind of funny how things work out. I'm originally from Columbus, Ohio, and my wife graduated 12 years ago or a little over 12 years ago now and as a nurse, and part of her sign on bonus was and moving bonus to move down to Southwest Florida, when used to help start the business. And if you if you recall, what 12 years ago was around 2007, not realising what the economy was going to do soon after, and wasn't the best To start a new commercial Residential Plumbing Company

pretty much how we got down here.

Wow, that's, that's very interesting. So then, so 2007 you're a year away from the recession, and then how I mean, how did that How did that work out for you guys?

So again, because of her moving bonus, and her sign on bonus that allowed us to put a good foundation to start the business. Once once the recession, you know, about a year into the business doing commercial work, which we did really well and we were really busy even right out right out the gate. You know, once it did start to hit our area, which by the way, this Southwest Florida was one of the hardest hit areas in the United States. But once it did hit the very I kind of knew that, that we were going to have to take the business, a different route. Construction was it was slim, if any in the area. And the great thing about service work is that why leaders and toilets, they just don't know that there's a recession. So, you know, I knew that in the back of my head that there was going to be plenty of work in that arena. So started to to brand and move my business in that direction.

That's awesome. Cool. Well, we do know that you guys get a lot of reviews, a lot of online reviews. So is there anything that you either tell your technicians to try to get those reviews, or maybe even tell the clients in order to get reviews? I know that that's a struggle for a lot of people in the industry.

So reviews are Uber important, outside of what our message that we're trying to speak to our customer. If we don't get that, preach that message to them, if we don't have the reviews, to entice them to want to look further into what our company is and what we do. We do use a platform For our reviews, which is podium, they've been pretty good to us. We've used them now for a little over six months. And I do like the platform. But outside of that, Allison, the biggest thing that I found to make the largest difference and the amount of reviews to get, and just continually let our technicians reminding the technicians to ask for the review, just simply ask the customer for the review. And I know that when they do that, we get a significant amount more amount, a larger response when they do.

Awesome. And so then kind of going to the technicians. There are some clients who have even tried giving their technicians a bonus if they were to get reviews. Is that something that you do or or do you just rely on them to do their part?

Well, so I'm actually in a transition phase right now. Live Was I do have my office keeping track of every review on every review site that we have and going down the list. Angie's List, Google, Better Business Bureau, a local home advisor. I mean, I literally have my office keeping track of how many reviews on each of those sites and what technicians those are attributed to. And I was doing that and I still do that today for many reasons, but it is to incentivize the technicians to be able to compliment them to to share the wins is what we you know, those are wins for us to be able to share the wins with the teams and celebrate with them when when they get those type of reviews. So against I guess to the transition is I used to use that and we used to do throw to win so if they had five or more reviews, I'd like five to 10 reviews, I'd let him throw one Dart and whatever they land On they were, they would get it so if they had a bull's eye, they get $100 and so on and so forth. But I actually, we're in a transition phase or actually, I'm stopping doing the individual because what I realised that I may be wrong, but what I realised is that you know, although the technician is the one in the field that is talking to the customer asking for the review, it actually is the entire team here that helped produce that review. So, so what we're doing now is although we're still keeping track of them individually, we're still going to celebrate them individually read them out loud and our meeting or weekly meeting. But what we are going to do now is actually actually reward the entire company and we are going to put a you know a goal to hit and then once we hit that goal will celebrate will get a food truck here. Well, you know, maybe you know good no to a gun range or whatever. Whatever that Well, you know, whatever everybody would like to do, right, trying to do something a little different.

That's awesome. That's great. And so that kind of leads me into my next question, which is, how do you keep morale up? And I'm assuming that obviously has a lot to do with it. But is there anything else that you can maybe any advice that you can give to anybody? I know that right now in this industry, it's hard to find people who want to work, it's hard to find technicians. And then it's also hard to keep them. So what is your strategy? I mean, running 10 trucks. That's, that's a lot of technicians that you have under your belt and I'm sure that's, you know, that comes with a lot of office stuff as well. So what can you tell anyone who may be struggling with retention or or struggling with just keeping morale up in the office?

Well, I'm going to be the first to admit we have turnover, I would assume like most companies, but you know, I do also have quite a few employees that have been here for quite some time. And what my leases and this may be wrong. It is just a belief, but I believe just complimenting them and letting them know when they do things well, I think is a really good start. I, most people and humans in general like to know when they're doing well, and it's not always about a race, it's not always about more money. It's always about a bonuses, a lot of times it's just about with the recognition that they are doing something well, whether it's a review, whether it's a, you know, a really large sales week, whatever that is, you know, I think just, you know, patting them on the back and letting them know that they did something really well, and especially if you could do that in front of the entire team, I think really goes a long way. At least from my experience.

Yes, I think you're I think you're right there. I think it has a lot more to do than just signing the check but really creating an environment where that person feels safe and nurtured and the point where they want to perform and and kind of Excel so Okay, that's a good one. Alright, so I have some questions regarding your marketing. Of course, you've been a client with us for some time now. But is there any other forms of marketing that you're doing to help bring in some of those leads?

The largest, the best marketing we're doing right now is Google local services NGLS right now I think we're getting almost nine times ROI on it. So that's definitely the top outside of organic and SEO and the work that you guys do for us. Angie's List has always been a really big one for us. We've used Angie's List in 2012 I believe that they were really the people to the company to start the reviews and making those popular and, and enticing people to to put reviews in and start looking in that direction for you know, I guess lack of better words is what your neighbour a referral from your neighbour. So they've they've always been a really good marketing platform for us. But they have been sliding. And I don't know if that's because of all these other new companies coming out and emerging companies for their lead, lead. But they have my ROI has every month, month over month has been losing losing some ground. So it's something something I'm definitely visiting next quarter.

Okay, good. So Google local services nine time return on investment. That's fantastic. Yeah. Clients would love it. Some clients don't particularly like the the programme, but it looks like it's working for you. I mean, at $25 a lead, you really can't find anything like that elsewhere. And a lot of people come to Google for anything for all of their questions. So the fact that they're offering that services is great.

I agree.

Okay, cool. So, couple questions coming into this digital age. Are you using social media for your business?

So it's interesting I, I haven't for the longest time, up until recently, I haven't really felt like it was. It was I guess a thing. But I realised now that it is a thing and I see how my family I have two older daughters, 15 and nine and I see how they use social media and my wife and although I don't use it, often I realised the importance of it and how, how marketing is is different now. It's different than it was five years ago. It's definitely different than it was 15 years ago. So I have been I have been working more into the social platforms, Instagram, Facebook, we post outside of the posts you guys, assist us with and help us with which by the way I love them. Outside of those, our office staff actually puts in a couple additional ones a week. We don't do any paid social campaigns as of now, but it's definitely something on the radar for possibly the end of this. This quarter, maybe maybe the beginning of next year to explore, but definitely something that I think everybody needs to be more aware of if they're not currently doing it now. Definitely need to.

Yes. So I'm a paid paid search. Sorry, paid social is such a huge Avenue. I mean, it's up and coming. It's it's been around for some time now. But I think, especially now that Facebook now owns Instagram, I mean, you can really dial into the type of person that you're going after. So that's, you know, a homeowner within a certain age group, whether that's, you know, single mom or or anybody who's just at stay at home remotely working. So it's pretty cool that we can use these profiles on their Facebook to target these specific people, and really like, mommy nerds, right? Isn't that Isn't that crazy?

It's amazing. It really gets your target audience that you that you're looking for, and almost give it to the team. And it's really just amazing.

Yes. So then with that, are you using email marketing?

We do what we do you actually have a campaign you guys actually do for us if you guys do our monthly newsletter with some with some advertised, maybe a couple discounts or coupons or something we do monthly. We have done some campaigns before, to where if somebody hits our newsletter on a water quality, they click one of the links on let's say a water quality add. Well, it'll actually it'll trigger two, three, or even up to six other Females to know give them more information about whatever that link was obviously hoping to put them in the in the funnel to get to get them to call us.

Right. nurturing those things.

That's right.

Perfect.

Okay, so then do you have any additional nuggets of wisdom or insight that you'd like to share to any business owners, whether they're just starting, whether they're looking to invest into marketing, whether it's other you know, channels outside of the business, it doesn't just have to be you know about digital marketing.

I guess a couple things, a couple ideas and thoughts one of already touched on, I just, I just want to stress the importance of reviews. I believe anything, you know, anything under and this is my opinion, but anything under a 4.6 in any type of platform, I think I think you definitely need to Looking and have a better idea of what your customers are trying to tell you. It's definitely in my eyes and is are the customers are trying to help you and trying to tell you what's wrong in your business. And obviously, I would hope you're in business to make sure that you want to service because those customers so I would say, definitely take a look at where you're at on all platforms, make sure that you you maintain a high high review rating because that is going to be the number one driver no matter what campaign you use. And then I guess the last piece, I guess would just be if I could, if you don't mind, just share one of my favourite quotes with you, of course. Kind of a plumbing quote. But it's you know, life is like a sewer. You get out of it, what you put in it. That's

I guess that's it.

Awesome. Well, thank you again for taking time today. For this you know, quick interview. Looking forward to typing this up and sharing it with our client base. And as well as anybody who may be listening in, I know that that, you know, you was a pioneer in the men a pioneer, but a person in the industry who has many years under their belt, someone with 10 trucks and someone in a market, that's pretty difficult. It's very nice to hear from you. And and again, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today.

Thank you for the opportunity.

Well, I hope you got amazing value from that interview. If you'd like more ideas, strategies and techniques on how to more effectively market 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 that 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.


Previous post:

Next post: