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Why so many plumber jokes? Guest Blog Post From Michael Farias

August 4th, 2015 by gtowsley Leave a reply »

Guest Blog Post From  -Michael Farias Plumbing Doctor – “Why so many plumber jokes?”

Recently I was at an upscale social event with a family member. This was an executive level gathering with a bunch of suits and ties—you know the type. As plumbers, we don’t blend too well in this mix. Small talk among people you meet for the first time always seems to come around to: “what kind of work do you do?” When it’s revealed you’re a plumber, someone tells a plumber joke or worse, a rip off story about a plumber. I’ve experienced this many times. I find it offensive and tasteless.

Why so many plumber jokes? Why do sitcoms portray us as idiots with a butt crack hanging out? Why are we targeted by investigative news agencies and exposed in undercover sting operations? I’ll tell you why. There is an image problem in our industry. This is going to rub some the wrong way because there are those have done a great deal to change the perception of the lowly service plumber. There are some who are proud of our profession—and rightly so. It is true; the plumber protects the health of the nation. We are valuable and very much needed, but rarely appreciated.

So, as an industry we need to work harder than most to clean up our image.

Yesterday I represented an association I belong to at my state capitol in Sacramento, talking with legislators about my industry. Low and behold, in one of the meetings the assemblyman told a plumber joke. In another one an assemblywoman told how she changed her own garbage disposal to avoid being ripped off by a plumber. I was an easy target.

I don’t know about you, but this industry has been very good to me and has provided me the opportunity to be a success. You have the same opportunity.

When I started Plumbing Doctor in my early forties, I believed I could bring to the consumer an experience unlike they had ever had before when engaging the services of a plumber.

You see, the idea I had was to provide an experience. I call it the Feel Good Plumbing Experience. I was not the best plumber and I didn’t have the best truck and tools. I lacked financial resources and was a one man band. But, I understood what people like and want.

I also had the distinct advantage of being in the plumbing service industry since I was 18 years old. I saw it all as a young plumber’s helper. I saw drinking in the truck, drug use, theft and lying. I saw people ripping people off, hitting on housewives, napping under houses while on the clock, charging people to go to the shop for parts and stopping by the donut shop and the barber shop, laughing all the way to the bank. This was not from one bad apple, but from several different plumbers I worked for in my early years. It seemed to be a pattern and a trend. I was being discipled.

I see the same thing today, many years later with the many plumbers I have known. I have experienced it with plumbers I have hired over the years and have had to terminate.

But, there is good news.

Not all are that way and it doesn’t have to continue. It is so easy for you to be very, very good, and stand out in the marketplace, because so many are so very, very bad.

You can stand out, simply by providing what it is the consumer wants. I can tell you what the consumer wants and I can tell you what they don’t want. What they don’t want is the stereotypical experience I depicted above.

What they want is a consistently rewarding experience they can repeat simply by calling you again the next time they need plumbing service.

The experience starts with your branding, marketing and advertising. Does it appeal to anybody but you? Then comes the first opportunity for human interaction, the phone call. Do you have a script or do you just wing it? Do you comfort the caller or rush through the call? Do you sound as if the call is interrupting you and an intrusion?

Set an appointed time to arrive and honor your word, show up on time. Be clean, groomed and friendly upon the initial greeting. Price the repair in a manner that leaves no option for an unpleasant surprise at the time the bill is presented. Then do what you do best, fix the problem. Do it expertly, so they don’t have to call you back as you’re driving away. And always leave the work area cleaner than how you found it.

This prescription for success is guaranteed to work. It will provide an experience your client will want to have again. And it will go a long way in changing the perception of the plumber in your marketplace.

No one person or brand has been able to change the image of the service plumber in this country and I doubt anyone will be able to so in the future. But you can certainly change the image of the plumber in your local marketplace and sphere of influence. The smaller your market, the easier it is to make a difference. Together we can change the industry, one plumber at a time, one service call at a time. Keep up the good work.

You can find more information on Michael Farias, Plumbing Doctor 

Michael Farias is the founder of Plumbing Doctor and the Plumbing Doctor franchise system, which includes the federally protected trademark Plumbing Doctor. He has been in the plumbing industry for over three decades and is dedicated to helping other plumbers succeed. He offers workshops, seminars and consulting. He can be reached at (707) 678-8777 or

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