MY FATHER WAS A PLUMBER
Scott Vigue started out plumbing at the age of 15 with his father who owned a small plumbing company. This gave him the chance to start to learn the trade from the ground up. Scott tried school but it didn’t really work for him as he had ADD pretty badly so he quit school and started working full time as a plumber in 1976. Shortly after Scott dropped out of high school, he went to work at Pasadena Plumbing owned by a guy named Jess Brizzi. The old man took a liking to him and became sort of a father figure to Scott, he was tough and gruff but never mean spirited. This is the company that Scott first was introduced to the in – home plumbing service business. Scott was paired up to work with a long-time plumbing veteran named Bob.
SOMETHING ABOUT BOB
Bob wasn’t known for the best behavior overall but he was excellent at one thing besides plumbing, that was serving people! All of the customer loved Bob like he was extended family! Scott learned a lot about customer service from Bob. That is when he realized that being a happy upbeat employee makes happy upbeat customers. Many people would choose to wait longer just to have Bob take care of their plumbing problem, the really loved him and his customer service made all of the difference for both the customer and company! At age 27 Scott earned his Master’s Plumbing License.
STARTING A BUSINESS
Scott decided to go into business for himself when a general contractor he was doing work for at the time told him if he started his own business, he would send his work to him so that is exactly what Scott did. The company was called Scott’s Plumbing, the Prince of Plumbing. The company was started and ran for a while out of Scott’s garage. He started out in the new construction end of things but always fondly remembered the service business and the mentorship from Jeff Brizzi of why he chose to make money in service over new construction or commercial. When Scott turned 32 in 1993, he had two trucks and decided to make a big marketing investment in a yellow page ad, this was back when people still read the yellow pages. By 1994 the company had grown with a few more trucks. That same year Scott learned 3 very important lessons.
Rule #1: Competent leaders hire competent employees! So, if you have someone incompetent working for you then you are incompetent too.
Rule #2: Focus – Focus is most often the key to success
Rule #3: Never think you know enough. Be humble enough to continually educate yourself, and never stop learning.
Becoming Ben Franklin Plumbing
Then in another huge move in 2006 Scott bought into the Ben Franklin Plumbing franchise for all of the Tampa Bay area. Scott took his customer base of 40,000 people and let them know the company was being re-branded to Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, same owner but now they would be able to serve them better with top industry knowledge and systems that cannot be beat! On top of that Benjamin Franklin makes each customer an On Time Promise of “If There’s Any Delay its you We Pay “. This guarantees that we will pay the customer $5 per minute that we are late if we are ever late after their arrival window. Scott also got into the HVAC business and bought into the One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating franchise.
When the crash of 2008 hit, we didn’t flinch. Scott responded by actually increasing our marketing budget by 40%. Scott has always done things differently and been a risk taker. Every victory is shared, everyone is listened to and everyone is always encouraged, rewarded, and given free training to further knowledge and rise as high as they can within the company. If you don’t believe growth is possible around here, just look at this large company that was started out of Scott’s garage and remember, you don’t stay in business without treating people right!
THE “JUSTIN AWARD”
One example, and the story I’ll close with is, we had this employee for years named Justin (Tucker), who was a beloved part of our team family. One Christmas we found out that Justin had fixed someone’s unit for free and paid for it out of his own pocket, because the family was struggling. And it was Christmas. But Justin didn’t stop there; He then took up donations and used them to make sure this customer’s kids had Christmas presents that year. No one told Justin to do that. That’s just who he was.
So now, we have what we call the “Justin Award,” which we give to special employees who go way above and beyond their duty to help a customers, or do something extraordinary serving others. Because that’s ultimately what great business IS.
OUR #1 GOAL, SERVING YOU…
Our first goal is not “doing plumbing,” it’s to SERVE people WELL. And when you’re out to do that, you always accomplish much more than just the getting the job done. You spread comfort and happiness and goodness wherever you go. And you make a great life for yourself and everyone around you.
It’s been people like Justin that have taught me that. And I guess that’s the very BEST example of Rule #3 that I know.