The Sunny Plumber Blog : Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Perks for Plumbers: Hawaiian Vacations, Craft Beer and ‘a Lot of Zen’

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

FORT COLLINS, Colo.—The fast-growing business offers all the perks a pampered Silicon Valley tech worker might expect: An on-site tap flows with craft beer and the kitchen is stocked with locally roasted espresso beans. There is a putting green and a smoker for brisket lunches. Next up: a yoga studio.

Welcome to the gushing job market…for plumbers.

Colorado’s Neuworks Mechanical Inc. employs 75 plumbers but needs 15 to 20 more. To keep them happy, it offers “a lot of Zen,” says business-development manager Jackie Sindelar. That includes a sharing exercise that “brings out your raw emotions and makes you vulnerable,” she says.

Drained from a labor shortage, the plumbing industry is throwing the kitchen sink at job candidates.

Bonfe’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Service Inc. of South St. Paul, Minn., boasts an array of arcade games and a “quiet room”—a plush hangout space with insulated walls painted a calming sky blue. It has a lockable door, a comfy couch, a recliner and a sound machine that babbles with the soothing audio of ocean waves.

“When people have a bad day they go in there,” says Mr. Bonfe. “They literally check out for a while.” Mr. Bonfe, a veteran plumber and president of the 120-employee family business, could use the room himself some days, noting that the labor market is “the hardest I have ever seen.”

Plumbing employers are plugging on-site spa treatments, exotic trips and jet-ski outings. The Sunny Plumber—which serves the southwest with the slogan “Bright and Shiny and Won’t Show Our Hiney”—has job announcements offering free laundry service and “a suite at the Arizona Cardinals games for you and your family.”

In Manassas, Va., My Plumber Heating & Cooling is trumpeting “biweekly, on-site massages.” Across Virginia, Wisler Plumbing, Inc.’s February radio recruitment ad promised “a hot breakfast every morning.”

“We do that to set ourselves apart,” says President James Wisler, of the daily 7 a.m. repast that can include sausage, gravy and biscuits.

Kerry Stackpole, executive director of the Plumbing Manufacturers International, a trade group, described the race for talent as very real. And the profession’s reputation of being a bit of a drip presents an obstacle to recruiting and drawing new people to the field.

“It’s ‘the butt crack;’ it’s ‘the slobs,’ ” sighed S.J. Peters, the executive director of a Midwestern plumbing group, referring to tired misperceptions swirling around the trade.

U.S. job openings hit a record 6.6 million in March, with the construction industry<https://www.wsj.com/articles/economic-milestone-there-is-a-job-for-everyone-who-wants-one-1525797993?mod=article_inline>—where plumbers are heavily employed—seeing one of the largest jumps.

Building, needed repairs and retirements are fueling demand for plumbers at the same time the U.S. jobless rate<https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-adds-164-000-jobs-in-april-unemployment-falls-to-3-9-1525437126?mod=article_inline&mod=article_inline> in April fell below 4% for the first time since late 2000.

The annual median pay for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters was nearly $53,000 per year in 2017, according to federal data, but it isn’t uncommon to see jobs advertised for far higher wages, from $70,000 up to six figures.

“Our phone is ringing off the hook but we don’t have the skilled folks,” says Jonathan Bancroft, chief executive of Morris-Jenkins Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. The plumbing, heating and air-conditioning company is one of many offering to train unskilled people.

And to further distinguish itself, Morris-Jenkins is positioning its workplace as overflowing with fun.

“We like to play games and wear costumes…a lot!” say current Morris-Jenkins job postings that praise the “legendary” company breakfasts. In one event, Mr. Bancroft says, employees received mullet wigs for “Mullet Monday.”

Bob Hamilton Plumbing, Heating, A/C and Rooter in Overland Park, Kan., recently bumped its signing bonus to $5,000 from $1,000, says owner Bob Hamilton, whose corporate motto proclaims “Better Call Bob!”

The company added a perk in April: employer-sponsored pottery classes.

“I made a couple of bowls and what turned out to be a toothpick holder,” says Paul Smith, a veteran plumber and supervisor there. “It was a blast.”

Candidates know the fringe benefits are overflowing, according to Alex Kramien, chief operating officer of George Morlan Plumbing Co. in Portland, Ore.

A few weeks ago, he started aggressively recruiting out of state—offering to cover moving costs—and says “pet insurance has been brought up more than a few times in interviews.” (He’s looking into it and he gets the appeal: He says his own father spent $1,200 for cancer treatment for his goose George.)

In the meantime, Mr. Kramien waves concert tickets, “week in paradise” Hawaii trips, and use of the company-owned beach house and condo on the Oregon Coast. New plumber jobs at his company pay $44.84 per hour plus benefits.

Plumber Jason Braukman briefly left George Morlan, drawn by signing bonuses and opportunities elsewhere, but says the company’s benefits lured him back.

“We’re like top dogs now,” he says of plumbers.

That reality is one reason Wyatt Hepworth recently unveiled a new indoor basketball court at his business, Any Hour Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Air in Orem, Utah. He also made the company gym “six times larger.”

His technicians get other job offers weekly. Watchful managers whisk employees being courted by competitors off on company time, he says, for a half-day of fun, like jet-skiing.

And of course, “everyone is going to get swag,” he says of Any Hour’s shirts, caps, sunglasses and backpacks for the whole family.

A promise of a “brand new truck” that plumbers can drive home is helping Wilder, Ky.-based Jolly Plumbing, says operations director Scott Sharrock.

Jolly—where “A Flush Beats a Full House”—has its own indoor basketball court, two 72-inch televisions for sports viewing and allows plumbers to use Jolly’s building and large fully remodeled kitchen anytime for personal family shindigs.

“We have had a couple big parties with a lot of beer cans left over,” says Mr. Sharrock, adding that basketball games have led to busted ceiling tiles.

But the extras, he says, are necessary. “We can’t hire plumbers fast enough.”

Write to Jennifer Levitz at jennifer.levitz@wsj.com<mailto:jennifer.levitz@wsj.com>

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Slab Leaks Are Big Trouble

Monday, September 11th, 2017

flooded-living-roomThere are a lot of different problems that a homeowner may encounter with their plumbing. The good news is, our professional plumbers can deal with any and all issues that you may run into.

Now, there is one big complicating factor here. Before we can diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem, you must first recognize that there is a problem to begin with. This is not always as simple as it sounds. Some plumbing problems are just harder to spot than others.

Case in point: the slab leak. If you have a slab leak in Green Valley, AZ, then you are definitely going to want to have that repaired as soon as possible. If left unresolved, slab leaks can do pretty serious damage. The trouble is that spotting a slab leak is not always easy, particularly if you do not know some of the basic warning signs that you are dealing with one. In the following post, we will give you some valuable information that can help you to protect your property. 

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Is Your Water Line in Trouble?

Monday, March 27th, 2017

plumbing-iconsIf so, then you need to work with a trained professional plumber sooner rather than later. There are a lot of ways in which a leaking water line can negatively affect you. You may be paying for water that is simply going to waste. You may be suffering from a subpar performance from your plumbing system. You may even be putting the integrity of your property at risk.

Of course, before you can go about resolving problems with your water line, you must first recognize that there is a problem to begin with. This may sound simpler than the situation actually is, however. Read on to learn a bit more about recognizing signs of water line problems. If and when you do, count on us to repair or replace your water line in Tucson, AZ.

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Cooler Weather and Thanksgiving Holiday Can Wreak Havoc on Plumbing and Fixtures

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

PHOENIX – (Nov. 21, 2016) – Cooler weather and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday pose the perfect recipe for costly plumbing failure. Still, with a little planning and insight from industry experts, consumers can prevent themselves from having repairs and holiday hassles.

One of the most common plumbing issues consumers face during the holidays is a clogged sink or malfunctioning garbage disposal. Gary Eisenhower, manager at The Sunny Plumber, likes to remind consumers to be wary of the “FOG.”

“Fats, oils, and grease are your garbage disposals worst enemy,” said Eisenhower. “While this material is in liquid form when it’s initially poured into the disposal, it congeals into a viscous sludge as it cools. The FOG then sticks to the walls of the disposal chamber, as well as the walls of the drain pipe. This can gum up the impeller, as well as clog the drain. Don’t pour FOG down the garbage disposal if you want to avoid these issues. Throw it away, instead.”

Other garbage disposal best practices include never throwing beans, rice, pasta and bread down the drain. When saturated with water, this food material will expand and that’s when you have a backup. In addition, bones and fibrous foods should be thrown away or composted. “If you send those down your disposal, it’s a safe bet they be coming back up,” said Eisenhower. “Nobody wants that mess during the holidays.”

During the holidays bathroom facilities are taxed with additional traffic and usage. Annual maintenance to clear any build-up can often prevent major toilet clogs and avoid the spread of infectious waste in the bathroom. Eisenhower also advises consumers to stay away from using chemicals to try and clear blockage as this rarely remedies a clogged line. If a plunger doesn’t clear the clog, you need to turn to the pros, he said.

In addition, the arrival of cooler weather raises some caution for water heaters. Cold air causes expansion and contraction in water heaters and in some older units, fractures can occur resulting in failure. Routine maintenance can identify those risks as well as ensure water heaters are operating effectively and efficiently.

“Water heaters are your best friend during the holidays and when the cooler weather is here, but it can be your worst nightmare when they are not taken care of or installed incorrectly,” Eisenhower adds. “With some minor attention, you can prevent major headaches from occurring.”

About The Sunny Plumber

The Sunny Plumber offers the highest quality plumbing services throughout the Southwest. All plumbers are experienced in solving a wide variety of plumbing problems including drain cleaning, leak detection, sewer line and garbage disposal repair. The company also sells, installs and services standard and tankless water heaters. All plumbers are background-checked, drug-tested, and receive continuous technical training to make them the best in the industry. For more information, visit thesunnyplumber.com.

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Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

 

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

 

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

 

Here’s wishing you and your loved one a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Check Out Our Blog for the Latest in Plumbing Technology

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Be sure to bookmark the The Sunny Plumber blog for updates on the latest advances in plumbing technology.

We’ll feature money saving promotions here as well.

Call The Sunny Plumber for all your Plumbing, Drain and Sewer, Water Heater, Water Treatment System, and Commercial Plumbing needs.

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Welcome to Our New Website

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

iMarket Solutions has launched The Sunny Plumber’s new custom website. To learn more about how iMarket Solutions can expand your presence on the web visit: www.imarketsolutions.com

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