There are definitely both pros and cons for one-truck plumbers and larger plumbing companies. At one point in time, I was a one-truck company as well. (Everyone has to get started somewhere.) I think most people initially consider how much it will cost to hire a one-truck plumber versus a larger plumbing company. It is true that larger plumbing companies have higher overhead. Therefore, their rates are going to be higher than a one-truck company. But what does that overhead cover, and what does it provide to homeowners? That will come into play as we review the differences between these two company types.
First, and foremost, is availability to provide service. When homeowners have a plumbing problem, they usually want it to get taken care of very quickly. Unfortunately, a one-truck company’s lack of resources means they can only be one place at any given time. Although their rates might be lower, it could take them weeks to make the visit. That’s something you might want to consider if you’re thinking about who to choose.
Another difference I think worth mentioning is whether the employees receive ongoing training. A company with one to three employees is often going to be tied up with taking care of daily work. Since they have to wear multiple different hats, they aren’t going to be able to focus on perfecting their craft or keeping current with the times as new products come out. It can be very challenging for a smaller company to have the resources to train on installing, diagnosing, or repairing newly released products. This doesn’t have to be the case with a larger company. We’re very committed to continuing education for all of our technicians. My brother, Brian’s full-time job is to train incoming technicians as well as tenure technicians.
When a technician from a one-truck plumber visits someone’s home—even if they’ve been in the plumbing trade for many years—they might not be trained on how to work with something like a new tankless water heater. If you wanted a tankless system put in your home, they wouldn’t know how to size it properly or install it properly without that training. They probably wouldn’t even suggest it to you as a potential option. Instead, they might say something like, “Well, tankless water heaters don’t work well and they aren’t worth the money,” when that may not actually be the case. (Of course, there are situations where tankless heaters aren’t the best solution, but sometimes they’re a no-brainer.)
Warranty and Service
Another thing to consider is that smaller one-truck operations tend to be priced more economically because they usually base their prices on the volume of work they need to do in a week or a month. (This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s usually how one-truck companies operate.) Therefore, they really don’t have the availability to go back for a return visit that won’t pay them any money—after all, they have bills to pay. If you pay an economical price, you’re probably not going to get a warranty, and if you do call the company, it’s probably not going to go well. Everyone should be aware of this added risk as a consumer. Although the price might be less expensive up front, what’s the total cost moving forward?
We’re priced to make a profit so that we can stay in business. That’s important for the security of our employees, but most importantly, it allows us to give warranties for every water heater, faucet, or toilet we put in a client’s home. Clients know they can call us back 8 years in the future if anything goes wrong. It’s well-known that most small businesses fail within the first 5 years, so if a company doesn’t properly set their prices to sustain them well into the future, they might not be around to service the product they installed. The cheapest price isn’t always the best in the long run.
We aren’t everyone’s plumber, and we obviously aren’t the largest plumbing company either. If someone can find a one-truck company that works really well with them, I tip my hat and wish them good luck. Regardless of your choice of a one-truck company or a larger company, it’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons to choose the best option for your needs.
If you want to find out whether Wisler Plumbing & Air is the right fit for your home, contact us today or give us a call at 540-483-9382.