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Interview with Glen and Teri Powdrill of GAP Plumbing - New Caney

Interview with Glen and Teri Powdrill of GAP Plumbing - New Caney

Published: May 08, 2020, 11:30am

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As part of our ongoing "Getting to Know Your Local Businesses" series, this week we sat down with Glen and Teri Powdrill, owners of GAP Plumbing.

Tell us a bit about your business:  What does your business offer, and how long have you been around?
GAP Plumbing Inc. was founded in 2008 by Glen and Teri Powdrill. We began by doing mostly construction jobs and one little local Yahoo ad. By the end of our first year we were so busy with residential service that we gave up construction and became a residential and small commercial plumbing service specialty company.

How did you decide to get involved in this line of work? How did the business get started?
Glen was a plumber in the Navy. When he came home he began by working for one of the franchise service companies then found himself in commercial construction. He has been sent all over the US to run jobs that were behind or shorthanded. Then in 2008 (we all remember 2008 like we will remember 2020) the bottom fell out of the economy. He was laid off, I was dangerously close to being laid off, so I just said to him one day, go get your Masters and let’s start our own business. At that time I worked for a local prominent Electrical Contractor and had learned many things about how to find construction jobs and how to bid them. A few months later GAP Plumbing Contractors was born. Glen’s impeccable detail to doing the job once certainly got him the reputation and is what built our business. About a year later I joined him as the office staff. I have been talking Plumbing and reading plans for years and I became the basis of what we want our office staff to be.

Tell us a couple things you are proud of about your business. What are you known for? What separates you from the competition?
The office personnel capabilities clearly separates us from competitors. Being able to listen to what a customer is telling us, and correctly diagnosing the problem especially if it is not a plumbing problem, as opposed to just setting up a call and charging someone, or being able to tell them how to get parts for free, or just being able to discuss intelligently the situation gives us a competitive edge that most companies run away from. The office has no fear of saying “I don’t know” or explaining that a situation is going to need “eyes on” and we can’t diagnose.
The second thing is upfront pricing. Because the office is “plumbing knowledgeable” we run a rating of being 90% right and can quote a price over the phone so everyone knows a fair approximation of what the service will cost. Something no other plumbing company can do.

What is your favorite part of running this business?
Glen and I agree that our favorite part is talking to customers. We both enjoy helping people and we both enjoy making them laugh. Sometimes I get the call where someone says, “I think my toddler put something down the toilet.” I’ll respond with “Yep, we love toddlers.” It always gets a laugh and just eases up what is clearly a stressful situation for the home owner. I always ask how someone is doing today. Sometimes I’ll immediately follow with, “Probably not too well if you’re talking to me.” That always gets a laugh too. I think the bottom line is we always try to talk to people like they are our friend, and just try to remember that anytime you have to call a serviceman out that it is scary because you do not know what is going to happen – will they tell you the truth, will they try and cheat you and sell you a $10,000 job when a $300 job actually fixes the problem.

Who is your ideal customer/client? Who do you serve best?
We think our favorite customer is someone who has already received a diagnostic and price from someone else. We always want to know what they did and what they think is wrong, but we never want to know a price. We come in and make our own diagnostic. Most of the time we blow the competition away. Now do not misunderstand, I’m not saying they are trying to purposefully cheat anyone, but lack of experience will run a plumber a wrong direction. Two out of my three plumbers have been plumbers for 25+ years. My young one was born and raised in this business as of 4 years now. He is constantly told, if you’re not sure, call one of the other two. Verify, verify, verify. He has turned out to be pretty exceptional as well. And has repeatedly said he wants his Masters in 2 more years.

Can you tell us something about yourself as the business owner? What is your background?
Glen is the Master Plumber. He started in the Navy as a pipe fitter. Once he was out of the Navy he started in residential service. He did that for several years until he landed a new construction job. That became his original forte. New construction teaches you how it all fits together and how it all works. You get an opportunity to see, do and understand the basics. Knowing how things work is essential in trouble shooting. I can remember Glen coming home from work and telling me about something that had happened that day and drawing me a diagram. I still draw upon those diagrams in my head to do my part in the office.
I grew up in customer service and dispatch. And with all those years of talking plumbing and seeing his diagrams, I think I was a natural for this.

Are there any special promotions, annual sales, or special events that you'd like to mention?
We always have some sort of promotion going on. I think my favorite is a deal on water heaters. Water heaters are expensive but necessary, and any little amount of money you can save is a bonus. I usually have a 10% off for new customers – that reason is a given.

Is there any other information you'd like your potential customers/clients to know about your business?
I would like them to know that I have never held a 30 day warranty to 30 days. If it is day 34 or 35, we are still going to warranty our work. I will not warranty it 60 days later, but if you miss your warranty deadline by a few days, why not let you slide. I would also like them to know that we do our absolute best in up-front pricing. However, we are still the girls in the office not the plumbers. We have a pretty small chance that we are wrong but I bet even if we diagnose wrong – our price is probably spot on. We would also like them to know – we are always on their side.

How do you see your business growing and improving over the next couple of yea
We have had a steady growth for 11 years, and in spite of COVID-19, we have managed to stay more busy than slow. I doubt this year will be another growth year, but soon enough we will all be back, the economy will recover, and this will be a distant memory. Stay safe, stay strong, weather the tide – it will not last forever. I look forward to new growth in 2021.

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