Here’s a neat idea from our American cousins.
Let us have some customer feedback. Is this something Drain Doctor should be doing in the UK? What do you think?
According to a recent survey carried out by the Co-operative Bank, plumbers rank alongside bankers, MPs and estate agents as one of the least trusted professions.
The survey says that the top 10 most distrusted professions are:
4. Car Salesmen
5. Estate Agents
9. Car Mechanics
While it is certain that the plumbing trade is plagued by cowboy operators with some emergency plumbing companies charging rip off prices once they have been called out, Drain Doctor is not one of them.
Drain Doctor offers a fixed price menu with no call out charges and prides itself on providing a dazzling level of service. There is no call out charge and customers are given a no obligation quote before work starts.
This is one ‘top 10’ that the plumbing industry does not want to be in. With hard work and more transparency over pricing perhaps we can get ourselves into the ‘top 10’ most trusted professions alongside other emergency services.
A young plumbing and drainage technician and a top 30 chart singer joined forces to start their own plumbing business in 2009. They are continuing to expand in spite of difficult trading conditions.
Aaron Clark (25) and his sister Natalie O’Brien (33) took on the London South West franchise business of Drain Doctor Plumbing (www.draindoctor.co.uk) offering emergency plumbing and drain repairs throughout Richmond, Twickenham, Esher, Kingston and Hounslow in June 2009.
They were so successful in their first few months of trading that their franchise was awarded the Most Progressive New Franchise 2009 at the national group’s annual awards ceremony held at the Holiday Inn in Stratford upon Avon earlier this year.
Aaron, who has always worked as a plumber and was once employed as a technician with another London Drain Doctor franchisee, said that the time was right for him to take on his own business.
“Working as a technician I already knew all the Drain Doctor systems. When this franchise became available it made sense to take it on.
“Drain Doctor has a proven system. It offers a recession-proof opportunity where I can be an independent operator running my own business but with all the back-up that comes with being part of a large national organisation. We aim to give businesses and householders in South West London the ‘dazzling’ level of service in plumbing and drainage which Drain Doctor provides across the rest of the country.
“Our customers get fixed-price, no obligation quotes, a complete guarantee on all our work, and a full 24 hour per day seven day per week service with no call out charges – so people pay the same price for work at any time of day or night. What’s more, we turn up at the agreed time!”
Aaron started trading by providing the plumbing service himself. He then recruited a second technician. Another technician was recruited so that Aaron now concentrates on quotes, booking CCTV checks for customers and marketing activities.
Aaron’s sister Natalie O’Brien runs the office. Natalie is a mother and former singer who had a top 30 hit in 2003 with a dance cover version of Air Supply’s ‘I’m all out of love.’
Natalie said: “I left the music industry to have my children and qualify as a book keeper. I am now training as an accountant. When Aaron said he was taking on the London SW Drain Doctor business I thought that it was a perfect opportunity to help run a family business and use all the skills I have to provide ‘dazzling’ customer service.”
Aaron and Natalie’s plans for expansion are ambitious. They intend to expand further, recruiting a third technician in June and a fourth by the start of 2011. They will then have four fully equipped vans covering South West London.
Impregnated toilet papers, ‘wet wipes’ and similar innovations are leading to increasing numbers of blocked drains. At Drain Doctor we are receiving an increasing number of calls from householders who may have happy bottoms but are unable to flush their toilets.
The problem is particularly significant in towns and cities with large areas of Victorian housing served by Victorian drains and sewers. These new papers and wipes are not broken down by the flushing action in the same way as conventional toilet papers – they do not shear as easily. They therefore remain as whole sheets which can cause blockages if the flush does not clear them out of the drain and into the sewer.
There is a particular problem in older houses because the Victorians over-engineered everything. They put in 6 inch diameter drains where 4 inch diameter would have been quite large enough. This was OK when used with Victorian toilets because they were over-engineered as well – they released huge quantities of water when they were flushed.
Modern cisterns use much less water. This is not usually a problem because it is still enough to shear normal toilet paper and flush all the detritus through to the sewer. With some of these new wipes and papers, though, material is left in the pipes and gradually builds up to create a blockage.
I guess it is good for our business because we are getting an increasing number of calls but it would save householders money and inconvenience if they gave more thought to what they are flushing down the toilet.
Robin Banks, operations manager.
With all the pre-election uncertainty it is more important that Drain Doctor Plumbing conitnues to help householders and businesses keep their maintenance costs under control.
In times of economic belt tightening it is more important than ever for people to have tight control of their budgets. That is why at Drain Doctor we are reassuring both our domestic and commercial customers that we are maintaining our price check policy.
No overtime is charged for evening, weekend or bank holiday emergencies and there are no call-out charges. Every job is priced before work starts, working to a national pricing menu.
We are truly on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Service requests are handled quickly and efficiently and prices are agreed before the job is done, so there are no surprises. Our constant aim is to give superb and specialised service.
Drain Doctor now provides a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year service in every part of the country with each franchise run as an independent business.
The central principle is to deliver dazzling levels of service in a market plagued by cowboy operators who are overcharging customers for shoddy workmanship.
Franchisees offer a full 24 hour per day seven day per week service with no call out charges and they give fixed-price, no obligation quotes with a full guarantee on all their work.
Technicians are trained not just with technical skills – including the latest techniques such as closed circuit camera drain surveys and no-dig drain repairs – but in customer care that is reflected in such things as wearing overshoes while in customers’ homes and clearing up carefully after every job.
Robin Banks, operations manager