Plumbing and Entrepreneurship

[John]: And you are listening to the Ask The Experts Radio Show on Talk Radio 1190, I’m John Wolf. I have two guests with me today Roger Wakefield of Texas Green Plumbing and Chas Wilson of Master Networks., Now Roger has, as you mentioned earlier but you may have just tuned in, many instructional videos on YouTube. Probably everybody goes to YouTube to find out how to do something and go “Oh my God! Thank you, thank you! This is on here.” and you’ve told me in the past that sometimes you get a little guff from other plumbers about: why are you taking away our business? Explain why you are so helpful to people to not give you a call, not need to give you a call.

[Roger]: It’s really funny because I do. I get emails, I’ll get phone calls: God, why why are you teaching people how to fix this? You’re taking money out of plumbers pockets. Well if I can help homeowners keep money in their own pockets by showing them how to repair things that aren’t very difficult to repair, number one, they’re going to remember me. Number two, I’ve saved them money. So I’m making their life better and to me it’s a more informed consumer/plumber-purchaser, I guess. you know, if I’m having an electrician come into my house and I don’t know anything at all about electricity; I’m at his mercy. But if I watched videos and I know about what he’s coming to work on and be like: wait, why are you doing all that? And that’s my thing about plumbing the videos that we put together and like I said we’ve got a YouTube channel: The Expert Plumber. It’s great we’ve got some good videos, we put the videos of these shows on there. But we’ve got videos that teach people how to do things. One of the most important ones is how how to turn the water off at your house and I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal but if you walk in your house one day and your water heater is flooding and you got water coming out of your attic the quicker you shut that water off the more money you’re gonna save. That’s a very simple one.

[John]: Now what about the danger side if you come upon situations where people thought: oh I could do this, I watched a video and they make a situation worse?

[Roger]: They can. The most important thing that I tell people is: look, as long as you have the water turned off and you’re careful when you turn it back on, you turn it on slowly, you check it, you watch it, youn keep an eye on it, you know you’re gonna be okay. The only thing that I tell people about plumbing is natural gas is considered plumbing in Texas and a plumber is licensed to work on it. Luckily here in Texas due to the plumbing license law and board rules a homeowner can work on anything in their house as long as it is registered as their homestead. So you can go home and work on your own plumbing, you can go home and work on your own natural gas system. Make sure you test it and make sure you inspect it and if you’re not sure at that point, call a plumber that hopefully you know, like and trust.

[John]: When it comes to the – I could see risking the water, but when it comes to the gas the only good thing if somebody screws it up, I think would be you’ll be gone in a second.

[Roger]: Maybe.

[John]: That -yeah, that may be a little over the top to mess around with something that could explode like that.

[Roger]: And it is. Atmos has done really good here lately, you know there’s a lot of leaks. Dallas is an old city, a lot of underground piping. It has leaks in it whether it’s water, gas, sewer, it happens. That’s why it’s funny and I keep looking down at this TREC report in front of me, that’s why most people don’t even realize that they have leaks in their house. They don’t test it, they don’t check it, they’re not looking for a leak. It’s under your house you never see it, you may never hear it, you may never feel a warm spot and then when somebody goes to buy your house they want to do a sewer and water test, and I tell every Realtor get away from the word hydrostatic test because we’re not plumping up the system any. We’re not increasing the pressure, we’re not blowing anything apart. Most people don’t realize they have a problem till somebody comes to buy their house, does a sewer and water test and then tells them: hey by the way you have a leak under your house.

[John]: What type of test, if someone’s not selling his house, just for peace of mind and to prevent such a problem in the future, what type of test and how often should they have it done?

[Roger]: Really to be honest, I mean if your sewer is leaking if it’s not leading the foundation problem you’re probably never gonna check it. Most people don’t worry about things like that. Why spend – we charge $350 for a sewer and water test, why would I want to pay $350 just to find out if I had a leak under my house or not?

[John]: You have too much money.

[Roger]: Most people aren’t gonna just spend that money, right.

[John]: No but I’m asking if somebody wanted to know that there wasn’t a problem, would you tell him once a year once, every five years, once every 3,000 miles?

[Roger]: Probably once every yeah, three to five years. That would have been a good question for Roger at Williamson Foundation because here’s what happens: is water leaks under the house leave the foundation issues that leads to more expensive repairs.

[John]: Now, how with this slab repair I believe on your website you said that you’re able to put up something called hangers to keep that problem from happening again and I know when I had the slab leak which you were not there for because I didn’t know you, the plumber said: could happen again any time, you know just hope for good luck.

[Roger]: Well and if you’re doing a spot repair it can happen anywhere else in your house. So what we do is whenever we go in and do a repipe or even when we go into a spot repair, we drill anchors under the bottom of the slab and support the pipe to it.

[John]: Okay, so it can be good. Now what categories of people of homeowners I should say would be the right people for to get a tankless water heater versus not having a tankless, not being
really wise to…

[Roger]: It’s kind of depend on a lot of things. You’re gonna have to do a gas load calculation chart, if the water heaters in the attic, it’s easier to go tankless. There’s – really it’s just it depends on it’s a per house, per
installation type deal to look at and see who’s the best qualified candidates are.

[John]: Okay switch back to Chas for a second, you talked about the organization you have. You meet people, you develop relationships, you build trust, you meet more people through them that could be of value to you, even if they’re just as friends much less as business connections. How does it work? Do you have meetings on a weekly basis or monthly basis or send out emails or… Just give me the blood and guts of it.

[Chas]: Yeah so – thank you. So we meet every single week for one hour. Our business meetings are one hour, we believe it’s the most important business meeting of the week for that one hour because I get the opportunity to meet new people and connect with them. But where I really get to know someone like Roger isn’t… I’m introduced to him at the chapter meeting once a week but I really get to know him outside of the meeting when we get together for a face-to-face meeting and and then we use that bond method to build our relationship and understand the opportunities that might be there, I understand what needs he has and then we can develop those opportunities and so the meeting once a week is it’s just that: to introduce, to have business training, to pass referrals, to connect there we have a whole structure for that. But where the real magic happens is when I get the opportunity to hang with Roger or anyone else in the chapter one-on-one have that face-to-face meeting and get to know, and then we have social events and other national training events and those kinds of things we do some online we have an online university for business training all of that and our membership is $49.95 a month.

[John]: Okay and probably if you get one good referral out of that that more than makes up for the for that cause.

[Chas]: Well that’s the return on investment but there’s also that intrinsic return on value that I get through the relationship that almost can’t be measured, right?

[Roger]: And the good thing is, especially through Master Networks, you know we can all help each other and I mean I do a lot of networking with real estate agents and I’ve got people that I’ve networked there that I’ve invited into and brought into Master networks and they’re now members. It’s – you realize how good it is for you and I mean I’ll tell anybody right now if you’re on a plumbing company, a roofing company, an HVAC company, electrical company, call me I’ll tell you about it. Call Master Networks and it has been really good for me because it is, it’s a good referral source because of the people that I meet but also it’s good business training that helps me learn things that maybe I may not have been looking for.

[John]: Okay and once again since it was a while back in the show, we’re almost out of time here, quick thing about your recruiting how you need people.

[Roger]: I’m just, I’m looking for plumbers, guys. Our phone is blowing up and we’re turning down work every day but I’m looking for the best plumbers in town. I don’t want just somebody that’s just had their license and they’ve been doing commercial work and they think service would be a great thing to do. Don’t get me wrong I could bring you in and train you, but I’m looking for the best plumbers in town.

[John]: What would you tell someone who is not a plumber, but is young and looking at it as a possible great trade to get into.

[Roger]: Call me. I bring in apprentices, I recruit apprentices, I think it’s huge. Talking about bringing in somebody looking for something new and has talked about it about while ago about a guy coming into a meeting right after his house burned down, I cannot tell you how many people have walked into a Master Networks meeting as somebody’s guest and said: look, I don’t have a job but I’m looking for one, here’s what I do and before that person leaves there’s four or five people in the room saying: look, I’ve got somebody you need to call and they come back a couple of weeks later and like: okay look, I have a job now I worked for so-and-so so-and-so.

[John]: And a career that not just a job

[Roger]: Absolutely.

[John]: This has been a great show, we’ve been speaking the Roger Wakefield, The Expert Plumber of 

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