SEO Interview with Richard Saad Video Transcription:
Alright, well hey, well thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode of the plumbing and Hvac marketing podcast. Today I’m super excited to be interviewing Richard Saad from Nick’s plumbing. They are a full service plumbing company based in, in the Houston market. Nick, thanks so much for joining us today.
Thank you for having me.
So the way I like to start these interviews, if you don’t mind just kind of give us a high level background kind of where your company is at, how many trucks, how much revenue, you know, some of that type of information.
Sure, absolutely. We are currently at 16 trucks but we’re not running. All of those were running 14. Houston has been a tough market and I’ve got two trucks ready to be filled, so if you’re ready to come I’ve got a truck for you. And so a little bit challenging these days in the Houston market,
finding good techs and keeping those trucks full with, with good guys. Right?
Absolutely. Absolutely. And the real challenge too is I’m a big training company. I still believe in training and a lot of these companies in Houston have gotten away from training, uh, but I am a firm believer in it, but the challenge that I’ve been dealing with the past 10 years is I get them trained up to where they’re able to take the keys to that vehicle and then someone comes in and offers them just a tad bit more and they’re gone. And that’s the real challenge. And that’s why most of these companies in Houston have quit training, uh, it’s happening all over the place here. And then you try to keep them and the only way you keep them as you just start getting into money battle, which is a losing battle anyway. So it’s kinda like Josh, if you had a company over there and you’re an x amount that you’ve taken my guy for and then I’m trying to keep them and okay, well what’s it gonna take to keep ya? Well, it starts becoming just a, a game at that point. That’s just a losing game. And then all of a sudden you’re overpaying for something that, um, you’re not going to get the results from.
Yeah. You’re still making those investments in building those guys from the ground without knowing some percentage of them are going to align up. You can kind of taken by the competition.
Absolutely. Yeah. I’ve got four right now in training and two of them are going to be coming out of training. I probably have about another 12 months. Um, but you know, I’m kind of gearing myself up of what I’m gonna do different this time to where I’m not gonna lose these guys is when they go to these continuing ed classes, you guys are in there. They start bending their ears. Hey, you need to come over here. This is a great place to work and next thing. You know, they’re like, oh, well Nick’s hasn’t taken care of me four years. But they’re failing to remember they’ve been in training for four years out the window.
Well, I’d love to hear in the comments for those of you that are joining us live or listening to this after the fact, you know, if, if this is something you dealt with in your plumbing or HVAC business, what are you doing to put an iron fence around those techs to make sure that you don’t plant the seeds and wind up seeing and go somewhere else. And maybe we’ll talk a little bit more about this as we go. Richard. So op. So 16 trucks, uh, tell us a little bit about how you got started. Like, what was your background? How did you get into this business in the first place?
That’s a very interesting story. By the way, I was not in plumbing. I’m actually a financial technical guy and uh, I started off, I graduated, I’ve got an Undergrad degree in finance and I’ve got two monitors, economics and accounting and I started off in finance, uh, on a side that I absolutely did not like I want it to be like a merger acquisition guy or a bond guy. And I graduated in the bond market and 75 years. So that wasn’t gonna happen. Um, I went from there and then I did software for three years and uh, that was in the late nineties and that was the whole ride of the tech industry was that late nineties and I got very lucky I got hired on with a company that we ended up going public. So I got to write a pretty good wave in the late nineties.
And I saw, um, everything started to change that or around that 99, uh, we got bought and comp plans started to change. Territories were changing and once companies start taking you from one territory to the next and that industry, and I would blanket this statement in any industry that you’re in the territory, they start moving your territory’s and ripping you out of territories, very hard to make money. And it was a company out of California that bought us. And um, we were basically a parasite off of Microsoft. So it was a great products. Um, but they made it where you just weren’t going to make money anymore. And then finally, I was senior level by this point and they started taking me to different territories and that was just kind of the end of that ride. And uh, I had enough money saved up and I decided I was almost 30 at that time.
I decided, you know, I’ve never had a break. All I’ve done is work. I’m going to take six months off. And this guy who owned a plumbing company in Houston, uh, I’ve been around him for years, didn’t really know him well, but he heard that I am now an employed and he had not really made any money and asked me to come down there and look at this books, uh, from a financial standpoint and, and make some suggestions. Well, uh, but then he couldn’t afford to pay me and I’m starting to think, well, I don’t have anything else to do. So that will occupy my time a little bit until I’m ready to go find another software career. Right? So I go down there and the third day I was there, I knew exactly what was wrong with this company. And I start making changes, start making recommendations on, okay, from a financial standpoint, here’s what you need to do business standpoint, here’s what you need to do.
Start helping him work through those issues. And when I was down there, this company called next plumbing, about three or four weeks while I was there, he, uh, told me about this company called next plumbing. The owner was at retirement age and um, why don’t you buy that? Let’s merge it together, Huh? Okay. That’s an idea. And I start looking at this plumbing company and I started looking at h Vac and I’m like, wow, vac is completely different. Runs completely different. Plumbing is a great honest business. Um, and I did all my due diligence on it and decided to go for it. And I bought the company about two weeks prior to buying the company though I figured out that this other guy was just going to use me and it was not going to turn out to be in my best interest to merge. So I decided to go at it alone.
Yeah. I went on my own not knowing anything about plumbing and I was pretty naive at that point. You know, you’re at 30, you’re still not very smart, right? It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you’re just not smart. And I miscalculated a bunch of things. And what I miscalculated was you and I are behind the desk at this point right now, and I could kind of manage working from that standpoint. Well, that absolutely didn’t work. I, I lost a 100 percent of all my money and it only took about a year and a half. It was bad. Um, it created a lot of damage and, and heartache and presser virulence is what it created. Um, and I had dad coast signed on, on notes to buy this company. So there was zero option of failure. I just had to grind through it. And by year three I had, I had, I’m going to back up a little bit because what I figured out after the first 12 months was if I don’t learn plumbing from the ground up, if I can’t do everything myself, I’m always going to be stolen from.
I’m not going to make it and it’s going to equal failure all the way around, so I actually threw myself on a truck and started off on the shuttle and work from the ground up and uh, so there’s nothing today that I know how to do or what to do unless you’re talking about, of course industrial or something like that, but from a residential standpoint or a commercial standpoint, there’s, you know, it’s, there’s nothing that I don’t know pretty much on what to do. Um, but that third year it violated, just snapped in my brain, just kinda snapped and went off. And, and that’s where the ride really started to take off was that year three and I worked myself out of all those issues that got created, um, and just never looked back from year three and it’s been going forward every sense. What are that?
That is an interesting story. Not Usually the path, right? A finance guy, publicly traded organization and then shifts into buying a plumbing company. So very, very interesting. How much is the company doing when you bought it? I think you said back in 1990. And what’s the, what’s it doing these days? It was 2000, but it in the first part of 2000. So if I said 90, I’m sorry, I meant to say, um, it was kind of interesting because this guy was a two man truck company and as you’re aware of most of these one man or two men companies don’t really have accurate books. So from a um, acquisition standpoint, I got it very inexpensive. So that’s kind of a loaded question because it was really hard to say what kind of revenue that he was doing. Um, a lot of that was not on the books.
Right? So I did take a chance. I, I did take a risk and it ended up coming. It was his, his numbers that he, uh, was telling me at that time were accurate, are fairly accurate. Um, but now when he was taking home an income was a, uh, a lot different. So, but the multiples that I was able to buy the company for, we’re a lot different too. But in saying that, I was very fortunate that I did get it for what I got it for. But because I did have fraud, I did have some things happened to me at the get go that created another heartache. And um, I didn’t really realize this, you know, my, your viewers have seen my last name and you know, my family heritage is Lebanese. Uh, well this guy was a Greek. Well, I didn’t really realize that a lot of his clientele were Greek and they only do business with Greeks.
So I lost about 40 percent of the clientele from day one. They would not do business with me. They only want to do business with Greeks. Kind of interesting isn’t it? That is interesting. If I had paid full value and all of a sudden 40 percent news got cut instantly, bad news, but it was already bad news to begin with. It I had to work out of and then that would have just extrapolated and compounded the issue. But you know, it’s like anything else, I just press a beard and kept working and working and, and just never giving up. And just so basically from, from a two man operation to a 6:16 truck operation, that’s so massive growth over the last, uh, last couple of years. Absolutely. Absolutely. I had tremendous growth at about year eight and I, my infrastructure was not great, so I slowed things down a little bit.
And then I, and then I proceeded to go through even more failures because, uh, I was hiring operation managers and paying them very well. Six figures to help me, um, and these guys absolutely just couldn’t do the job and these are guys that were high up in other companies as well. And so I went through for those. So if you look at multiple years, the next, you know, from eight to 13 or 14, you know, I was having these failures with four ops guys and then I just took it back over myself. And um, which was, I wouldn’t really recommend that because I had moved up and I was trying to keep going from that, but I had to throw myself straight back in the day to day, second by second operations. And um, I did that until two years ago. And now I have found a fantastic operations manager and he can handle the 16 trucks with no problem.
So now I’m starting to climb up again and I’m really focused on working instead of working in it as hard as I was, I’m now again, focus working on it. Fantastic. So that’d be great. Great. Great background. We’re going to get a sense of where you’re at. Some of the struggles over the years. Obviously you’re, you’re in a better place now and the company’s continuing to move in a positive direction. I’d like to shift our focus now to marketing, right? The whole purpose of this podcast is how are companies like yours marketing to keep the full agreeing to keep the trucks running and really to keep the business moving forward. So for me, you know, marketing breaks down to three core elements, market message and media market and being quoted is that you sell to and then kind of the unique demographics of those ideal customers. A message being what you say, how you position yourself, that makes somebody want to choose nick’s plumbing versus all the other options. And then the media comes into play, like how do you get that message in front of that ideal customer? What’s the marketing mix look like? So let’s start with your, your market. How do you define your ideal customer? They’re in the, in the area that you serve.
Early on when I first started, I made the decision to where I need to instead of focusing on everything I need to pick close to home areas to really focus on and spend my money that I didn’t have because remember I lost it all. Really focus on where I was. And currently the old owner, uh, within the Houston heights and he had been there since 1979. So he had already had a pretty good presence in the heights and Montrose as well, but not nearly as much as the height. So what I did is I focused on those two territories and a lot of it was just word of mouth and me going and showing up the different meetings of what I could, like chamber meetings and that’s kind of where I started going and growing. I’m from there. And then our listeners that aren’t familiar with the area, like how far would you say that is from where your office was based on how far is that?
Is that 15 miles? Thirty miles. My office is currently in the heights and when I first purchased the company I moved it to Montrose, which was just a couple miles away, like a five mile radius of the offices where you were venting, right? That’s pretty much correct. That’s right. Um, and if you want to extrapolate that a little bit further, let’s call it inside the loop, but there’s inside of the loop would encompass the heights mantra as west you in river oaks and a little bit of memorial. So I really started focusing inside that loop and trying to start by getting referrals and then from there started attending meetings and it just kept going from, from that standpoint and by Oh eight, I was ready to move to that next level and I’m in my head that next level. In a way it was TV, which ended up being a detriment to us too.
I spent a whole lot of money and very little return at that point and I was locked into a contract that there was no getting out of. So, um, way I had some things happen that was just one of them and then operations weren’t going good with an individual and take it from there. Right on that issue. Um, and then I started doing. The Internet was still coming into play at that point. Really didn’t I focused on the website. I’m back in La, but I think in a way was what, nine years in a for the lab, I believe roughly give or take a little bit, eight years, 10 years, somewhere in there. So I was, I had a website that was kind of focused on it, kind of not doing a lot of um, mailers and uh, I was having my guys also do door hangers.
So if we went and did the job, I would have them go to each neighbor and put a door hanger on know whether that actually happened or not. I could never verify, of course. Right. Could have gone to the garbage a very hard to manage that. Uh, and then by 2010 is when I really got my focus on doing different types of marketing, uh, via the Internet. Um, and that’s the Seo, the PPC. Um, and I think a lot of companies that are in my industry waste a whole lot of money because I know that I did until you figure it out and it, and it seems like these days and even in the past, it took a long time to figure that female. Um, I, I think now that we’ve got a really good handle on it and, and I also think what’s changed is our market for marketing.
You know, back in the day, I think in the nineties you could actually say that if you heard next plumbing three times, you could remember in explaining when you had a, an issue come up. I think these days it takes over 20. I mean, everybody’s just absolutely bombarded with a message, you know, it’s just overwhelming. So sorry, I said yeah, absolutely true message fatigue. Yes, absolutely. And the way that people are getting messaging these days are, are so much different now. What I’ve done currently, and this is what I’ve done for about, I think about three years now, is I have focused solely on the Internet, uh, for the past three years through Seo and PPC. Alright. Really focused all of my attention and money into those and thing that I’ve done a little bit of radio. I still do a little bit of radio. Um, now that we have this down and our seo and our PBC or a in line and everything’s jenning pretty well.
I’m hitting the TV and doing tv again, but on very targeted on what we’re spending in, where we’re spending it on the TV. So I’m still keeping it local in our territory because there’s still so many locals still within, let’s say that five to 10 mile radius. Are you going out to the greater Houston area with the TV that five to 10 mile radius and really focused on, uh, trying to capture more, uh, services in that area. It’s kind of interesting though, the way that I view it, you know, currently this year we should fall six and a half to 7 million in revenue, um, and out of that six to seven, let’s call it six to 7 million in revenue, out of that, we still have no market share in our territory. It’s still wide open. So, um, we could be doing that amount of money just in my backyard. So I’m really trying to hammer home that, hey, we’re here, we live and work here, um, use us and nobody else and that’s kind of what I’ve been focusing on.
So just kind of narrowing in on the market a little bit. So it’s, it’s, is it homeowners, is it mix of homeowners and business? Is there a certain demographic you like to try and focus on? Most specifically?
Our revenue is about 90 percent residential and it’s about 10 percent commercial. And that partial revenue. Um, I used to be, I used to do this and I’ve kind of quit doing this, but one of my favorite things to do is build restaurants. I love doing the plumbing and new restaurants in retrofitting restaurants. We’ve kind of gotten away from that and now we’re basically just doing the service, so we serve as quite a few restaurants. Uh, quite a few commercial facilities in our territory is very small percentage of our overall revenue. I am now focusing on getting more of that revenue. That revenue is a little bit different. It’s not as personal as residential this, so I would actually like a little bit better than what we have now. So I’ve really been focusing on trying to get more service, uh, on that commercial in our area.
Excellent. Very, very good. And so then messaging, you know, how do you position Nick’s plumbing, like why does somebody choose you guys were versus the competition? How do you, I guess, how you message that on your tv ads and radio ads and your Internet marketing?
That’s a great question, Josh. I mean in Houston there literally is a plumbing company that’s popped up on every corner now, but let’s call them plumbing companies, right? I’m either one man shops or two man shops and the city and state are not doing anything about that are cracking down on anything around that. So what that has done is it just keep slicing our pie, making it more and more difficult to be able to reach individuals with a message and a message where they’re going to want to call you. Um, I think that question is a constant challenge. You know, our messaging is, hey, we’re here for you right when you need us. We are on the way and we will serve as you saying that, um, we always do what we say we’re going to do and I really feel like if we keep doing those processes, we’re gonna eventually and we’ll. And we’ll win. But the challenge these days is it, it’s basically like attorneys, you know, an attorney now is on every street corner and now it’s become the same. So how do you differentiate yourself from that guy on the corner that’s across the street? It’s, it’s been a challenge. It has. And all I can say is, is it’s keeping a consistent message that I’ve tried to keep that were on the way and we consistently do the right things eventually should produce winning.
Got It. Excellent. Excellent. Great. Great insights. So you mentioned a little bit about the media and the mix of things that you do. Sounds like it’s predominantly internet marketing with a little bit of TV and a little bit of radio. What kind of drill down a little bit on, you mentioned direct mail. What are you doing along the lines on direct mail?
I’m really stopped doing direct mail except two pieces and this has actually been successful for us. Um, I send out a fourth of July card and I sent out a Christmas card and it depends on how many I sent out. I might send out $500 for a July fourth, I might do 10,000 for Christmas, but I do coupons, um, to our existing client base, so I only send them to our existing client base and that’s worked out really well. But as far as just a direct cold piece of marketing, I’ve stopped that now when I have done is um, email. I’ve just started this and we did our first one about a month ago, uh, is email marketing and sending it out. Right now we’re sending out to our current clientele. We’ve got some good responses off of it, but I would like to take that email marketing and extrapolate that into cold email marketing where people really don’t know us. We haven’t gone there yet, but I’m going to go there.
Excellent. And what’s the, what’s the message in the email marketing? Is it a newsletter? Is it a personal letter from you or is it more like, like a, a very similar to what you were sending it to?
Who’s car informational piece? Mostly you’re talking about to our existing clients. Information that, hey, we’re here for you. Um, we’ve got a VIP program. We want you to join the, the first one that we did. I’ll tell you what it was. It was just an informational piece that, uh, we’re here for you. Um, we’ve got a VIP within this VIP program. You’re getting all of these benefits, um, join us today for this and, and you’re going to enjoy these benefits and this percentage on. Wait, we had pretty good success off of that in the next email piece that we’ll probably do is another type of informational piece. I’m trying to kind of stay away from the salesy approach. I think people are so turned off around that these days that, you know, if I just help them with information of a, it’s, it’s winter time and you know, are all your pipes insulated properly, uh, you need to go check, if not, here’s how you can do it or you can call us and we’re going to be on the way right now and get that done. Things of that nature is, is, is more of what I’m focused on for versus hey, I’ve got a these reading glasses and you need the bio
and it’s a great strategy that you’re starting to leverage email. I love that, you know, it’s just so low cost and so a high high impact that I’m delving into that. You didn’t mentioned something that you guys are doing that I thought was really interesting. You get a video studio setup in there. You’re doing facebook lives. I think that’s really on the cutting edge for most plumbing and HVAC companies. Can you talk to me a little bit about, you know, what you’re doing with those facebook lives to what the strategy is.
Super excited about that. Josh. Actually, we started those back in April. Um, the idea just came up that I want to get some more messaging now. I want to show people how to do some more things. I want to talk to some more people. Um, and then it just kinda went from there and we’re like, okay, let’s, let’s, uh, what’s the platform that we can use a we can podcast, what do you want to do? And I’ve actually had, I’ve been on the radio and I used to do a show and I did not, I didn’t speak to that earlier, but I did a show for about three years. Um, so I understand how the podcasting works. Um, somewhat. Um, but this whole idea of doing this live video like you and I are doing today is came up and then we figured it out and we just did it and it just keeps getting better and better.
And My, I have a cohost, John, which is my operations manager. We play really well off of each other and we allow people to ask us questions, we’ll answer them. Um, and it’s exciting. We’ve been doing it since April and we pick topics that are maybe important to you. Maybe not, but I’ll give you an example. Our topic yesterday, we do them every Thursday at 11, but our topic yesterday was over over tubs. Well, you might not have an interest in tubs. Um, I try to keep it to 15 minutes. I don’t want to go any longer than that. Fifteen minutes. Uh, but we talked about yesterday. So hopefully the people that want to watch and understand a little bit about tubs of what can go wrong, how much you can spend a or they want to ask us questions about it. They’ll watch it. If not, next week we’ll do one on, let’s say kitchen sinks, so every week we’re picking a topic and a pupil can choose to, if they’re interested in the topic, watch it. If they’re not, they will eventually, hopefully have one that they’re interested in.
That’s awesome. I love nature. I love that you’re doing that. And uh, you know, you made an investment in sound equipment and lights and you’re doing it consistently sell on very, very cool stuff. I, I didn’t mean to cut you off. Keep going. Sound like you had another.
No, it was good. And now we’re, we’re actually, uh, I’m having so much fun doing it that we’re about to take it to a whole different level of Josh. I can’t wait to see you to see it. It’s going to take about two months, but it’s going to be a, it’s going to be a production set. It’s going to be really cool and I’m super excited about it. We, we purchased a lot of things yesterday in other words, and that was the hearing next week. So it’s going to be exciting when, you know, hopefully you’ll, you’ll watch one and seeing the difference between now and two months from now. Um, but it’s interesting, we have been getting questions. People have been watching it, so there seems to be a need for it. So I’m going to keep going and it’s like I will always tell you Josh, I’m going to do it until. It’s just not fun to me anymore. It was not fun is when you’ll see me not do it anymore. Yep.
And what’s cool is, you know, you get the live audience, you get to put out great information which positions you guys as the experts on. And then of course you could always syndicate that video too. You can download it and put it on Youtube. You could put it into your email broadcasts, you can embed it on your own, your website. Are you guys doing some of that stuff at this point or what are you guys doing with the broadcast after it’s complete?
We’re doing all of that currently. It goes onto youtube, goes onto our facebook. Of course you’ll get pulled out and then repost it and then it goes onto our website as well. So we’re doing all of those platforms, pushing that messaging out. I know that Ursula has boosted it before. We haven’t really been doing that lately. We know that there’s that option there to boost. Um, I think we’re going to wait probably the boost anything until we get the studio done. Then we transcribe it. Content versus yelling at me for, by the way, is there is their marketing director who’s doing a fantastic job.
She is. Yes. Ursula has been with me now for a couple years. Super excited about that. Um, she actually worked for a company that used to do all of our PDC. She left them. She was not my go to person there. I had another person there that, that helped me. Um, but I, what happened is I came to, and I had a real internal struggle with this, going back to this marketing piece for a second real internal struggle with this because the easiest way for other companies to steal from a company is selling them something intangible. Will this whole Internet piece is pretty much in tangible now, how do they make it tangible and how do they make it for you and I where they say, Oh, look at these pretty reports like Kennedy calls that you’ve got. Um, they’re trying to make it tangible, but they can also make it look like the way they want to make it look like.
Right. How many impressions did you have Josh? Look at this. We showed you you’ve got 2000 impressions. Okay, well great. I guess I should keep spending five grand a month because I got that. You just don’t know. And it’s very challenging. So I decided to. I had four relationships that I’ve had for a long time. I terminated all four of my relationships. I pulled all of that money back in house. I hired Ursula. Her and I sat down and, and she got thoughts and feelings out of me of the directions and what I want to do, accomplish and do. We then discovered the Seo company that we had hired a was absolutely not doing their job and just taking money and I was spending five grand a month on that. I’m just on the seo part, maybe not that high. I think it was maybe four, but somewhere right in that arena and saw nothing from it and the issue is they can make it whatever they want to make it because you don’t know because it’s intangible. So you know, I’d already made the decision that I’m terminating all of this help and all of these companies take the money back in. So we have hired our own Seo guy, Ursula manages that. We have hired in, not rehired but hired new companies to help us from an outside standpoint. And then we have our own graphic designer on staff. So really interesting times the past couple of years I think tell you that now we’re getting into videos.
I love it. I love the the control you guys have with the content creation specifically and the way that you’re creating content and syndicating the content is very cutting edge and I’m not a lot of plumbing companies that started doing that yet. I think that’s going to position you a couple of years ahead of the competition, at least.
I hope you’re right and I honestly believe that too, and that’s one of the reasons is it goes back to it’s extremely challenging these days to get yourself set apart from the guy on the corner. Well, I, I firmly believe everything that we’re doing today, I think we are showing people why we’re able to fix their issues at their house and then we have that opportunity. Very cool stuff. Let’s talk. Let’s talk a little bit about online reviews. You guys seem to have a great online reputation. Can lots of positive reviews. What kind of things do you guys do to stimulate that review activity? If you want to see me lose my temper, that’s one way to do it.
If you want to see me break some things, Josh, that’s one way to do it. This, this Internet review saying, Oh wow, what, where do we start? It’s been fantastic, but on the other hand is extremely challenging. It’s that one person that ruins my month, right? We’re in four to 600 homes a month and it just takes one for me to start breaking something. Um, from a mental standpoint. Right. But I have been so focused for the past 12 months on reviews I have gotten to where it’s like OCD is really bad and it’s the only thing that matters to me and I know that I’m going against a 20 pound gorilla. And who is that? It’s Google. They’re controlling our destiny there. Controlling truly a how I’m presented to you and the customer. Right? So I have been so focused on making sure I’m giving them bananas and making sure that I’m, I’m, I’m doing what it takes and we’ve got software inside a software, um, that I’ve had for two years, not two years now, probably a year to 18 months.
It’s a bolt on software to where if we come to your house, Josh, we perform the service. As soon as my technician closes that ticket, you get a text message for a review so my technician can stand there. Um, and um, I’ve got kind of an issue because there’s a two minute delay and that’s a problem. So I’m trying to make an incident which is kind of challenging right now, but so my technician has to stand there in front of you for two minutes, kind of twiddling his thumbs until this text message comes. But it makes it so simple because you’re already logged in on your phone. You just hit Yo, it’s Yelp, Angie’s list, um, Google, facebook, and what’s one more? The other one is a city search in one more maps, I think. Uh, so you pick whatever you’re happy with. Now I want you to kind of go to google because they’re the ones I got to make happen. So we let you choose where you want to go and they can instantly get it done. I have been really focused on that and that’s why you see our reviews different today than where they were 12 months ago.
So he can hear you speaking, trying to listen in or speak up a little bit. We make it a point to respond to all of our babies, whether they’re good or bad. That’s right. And we respond to every single one. But it’s really interesting as a business owner, Josh, that you know, is that one bad apple. And I’ll give you an example. We just did one, um, a $375 service. We found a broken part of the sewer. We gave him a price to replace the entire city sewer because it was old. It needed to all go. Now that my guy make a mistake, you can argue the point where, why didn’t you just give him a price for a repair versus replacement? Well, he didn’t do it because the material was 19 thirties. Right. So the correct thing to do this replace the whole thing.
Well this guy went on it. Are you familiar with next door? Yup. Okay. He went on next door, which is very crucial, critical in our area and just absolutely lamb blasted me. I’m talking. We are the biggest, biggest thieves ever. He went and dug it up himself, right, and he didn’t have. Nobody should have to spend money on doing this and I really just was. I’m like, okay, I’m going to fix this. Let’s call him back and give us money back for free. Let’s do it. Let’s give him a whole sewer line for free. Tell him to take that off next door. We didn’t do anything wrong. Take it off. I’m gonna. Do everything for free. I just need it out of my hair. We did all. He agreed to it. He did all the work for free and then he won’t take down his review. He still didn’t take it again. No, that’s not right. No, it’s really bad. So now I’ve learned another lesson. You take that down and I’ll do everything for free even though we didn’t do anything wrong, but that’s kind of weird once it’s down. Yeah, that’s frustrating. Yeah. So basically he got $3,000 for the work for free.
Yeah, but that’s the challenge because people can go online and say whatever they want to. It’s very minimal consequences whether they’re right or wrong. There is no judge and jury out there saying, okay, that’s not the way that it happened, so they can go and make up whatever story that they want, and I think in plumbing these days you’re finding that more and more, and I think where you’re seeing this on these online reviews is they need the work done. A company Xyz company charged them. Let me just use an example. Let’s say $500. They need the work done. They say, yes, they sign on the dotted line, get the work done, they pay. Then you go away and then they’re very unhappy with what they paid originally. They go online trying to strong arm these plumbing companies for a refund. I think you’re starting to see more and more of that to me, you know, just kind of like SCO paperclick, lots of internet marketing, aggressive on social media, a little bit of TV, a little bit of direct mail to the customer base.
Where would you say the lion share of the leads come from? Like what’s the number one lead source? I would still say it’s, it’s, it’s referrals and internet, so I need to, I need a place to in there and not one, but in referrals we still get a very high volume of referrals, which has kind of interesting because I’m double talking now because you know if earlier with what I said, the only way to win is the Internet, but people really aren’t getting referrals anymore. They’re going to that Internet versus getting that referral, but we still do a high traffic volume on referrals and I’m very glad to see that that means my team is doing a good job and homeowners are wanting to give our name out and then the second one with the PPC campaign and all the work that we’re doing with Seo Nice is the most important piece to the entire puzzle.
Nice. What’d you. So you’d say the quality of leads that you’re getting from Seo, the volume of leads from Seo is still pretty significant. Significant and better than PPC. Yeah. You know, that’s interesting. Even with Google changing, the algorithm were on mobile. You get the paid listings in Houston, you’d get your local service ads, you know, a lot of people would argue stos is going away. Nobody clicks the organic listings, but the fact is most people still scroll right past those paid listings to the map and the organic listings. But it sounds like that’s proving out in your case, even in today’s market. Correct. Yeah. I firmly believe exactly what you said. It seems like it’s a different caliber of buyer that’s looking at the ads versus organic. I don’t explain that, but I don’t have any data to back it up. That’s just a feeling. But you know, if I correlate from an ad buyer to somebody who found me organically, it seems like we’re more successful with the person that found us organically than we are the ad buyer. Yup. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s funny that you say that and it’s, it’s,
it’s, it seems like it’s the case. We’re trying to get more data to back that opera and show that the case is your organic traffic organic visitor is a higher caliber, higher quality than, than a paid listing. Um, and I believe that’s true as well.
I find that interesting and I haven’t been able to figure out why that is. Then in saying that, I feel like that I can’t stop ppc because as soon as you stopped the DVC, um, it might work differently than what I’m thinking today. So I’m scared to stop that PPC.
Well, you want it, you want to do both, especially at your size, right? You know, you want to be showing up all the places your customers are looking, right. So you want to be in the page, you want to be in the local service ads. You want to be showing up organically. You want to be coming up with the directories like yelp and Angie’s list and next door like you mentioned, and I think you’re doing the right thing and as long as you’re showing up and you’re in a dominant presence in your local sphere, you’ll be in a great place going forward.
I agree. And we’re working really diligently. Ursula is uh, and, and she’s really on top of that campaign when it starts to falter in our, in our click ratio is going up with less calls, higher tickets she does in the action and she’s like, what’s going on here? And it’s great having somebody in that position because I don’t have time or the knowledge or the care to, to go through every single thing. I’m too busy trying to make the overall function. So she, she’s doing a fantastic job doing that.
Fantastic. So it sounds like pretty, you know, really good marketing mix, really appreciate you sharing kind of what you’re doing, what’s working, what’s working best. I really like the strategy on facebook lives and leveraging that to create great content and syndicated across the web. And I know that’s gonna play well for you into the future. In closing, we’re kind of getting to that, that one hour mark, what would you say to the plumbing rates Vac guy that’s, you know, maybe it half a million or maybe at a million of trying to get to the next level and the struggling what, what note gets it? Somebody that’s kind of been to the top of the mountain and is continuing to climb, you know, what nuggets of wisdom would you share for that guy or that gal?
I think I can sum it up with one word. It’s perseverance. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever give up. It is a. You will always wasting money. You will always throw money against the wall and it’s very easy to walk away and not do anything because you fail. Don’t take it as failure. Take it as a learning experience, accumulate a little bit more money and go try again and don’t ever give up. That’s what I would tell you, and something is going to work for you. Either your messaging changes, um, your response changes. Something will change and eventually something will will work for you. And going from that $500, million to the million and a half, you’re going to hit tremendous roadblocks. You’re going to hit staff roadblocks. You’re going to have all these, these things in the way and you have a choice whether to give up or you don’t. And what I would tell you is don’t give up.
Keep going, powerful testament for that, right, for having had those struggles continuing to get through, figure out and make it to the other side. So, so great feedback. Thank you so much for sharing guys. If you guys got value from this session, be sure to reach out to, um, to Richard, be sure to thank him for sharing his time and sharing. Kinda has experienced. If you want to hear more interviews like this, go to plumbing, marketing.net. You can hear interviews with highly successful plumbing, HBC business owners, subscribes. You’ll get alerted as new episodes are posted. Be sure to join the plumbing and Hvac marketing mastermind facebook page where you can engage with other highly successful plumbing and Hvac entrepreneurs as well. So thanks for joining us live. Richard, thanks so much for your time, Ursula. Thank you for setting this up and we will talk to you guys later. Thanks Josh. Have a great afternoon. Take care.