We took some time to interview Dave, the owner at Aqua Flow Plumbing, and his answers to our questions are below:
1. Did anyone in particular have an impactful positive influence on your career?:
I actually have two people that come to mind. 1.) My old boss, who taught me plumbing, heating, cooling and hydronics. That’s primarily what we worked on. And 2.) one of my peers, who is a retired state inspector. He was president of the Illinois Plumbing Inspector Association and a continuing education teacher. He’s been very instrumental in making me appreciate my industry more and giving back to my community.
2. What excites you the most about your job?:
Every day is a new challenge. Meeting new people and seeing new jobsites still excites me. The plumbing industry is continually changing with new products, tools and ideas every day.
3. What is it like working with Oncourse Home Solutions?:
Oncourse Home Solutions has been a great partner in helping to build our company. The added workload we get and the steady flow of customers for service has been instrumental in growing our company. By increasing our customer base, we’ve been able to grow the company even during the lean recession years.
4. What does your company do to give back to the community?:
We have been a proud supporter of our local park districts, both with sports and drama. We sponsor the Carol Stream Cougar baseball team, with the local park district and with the traveling teams. We have sponsored Carol Stream football and wrestling for years. We also donate to local charities. We’ve done radio commercials including anti-drunk-driving campaigns that we’ve been involved with around summer holidays. Our income comes from our communities, so when we give back to them, it’s great.
5. What do you do when you are not working?
I’m happily married with two children. I have a teenage son – he’s 13, and a 7 year old daughter. My son is in wrestling and football. My daughter is involved with theater, dance and gymnastics. Between my son and daughter’s activities, I’m pretty involved. I’m also very active in giving back to the plumbing industry. I’m currently president of the Illinois Plumbing Inspectors Association and President of the South Suburban Building Officials Association. I sit on the executive board for the Illinois Council of Code Administrators, and I’m also a trustee for the Illinois Plumbing Inspectors Charter Chapter. I sit on the scald-awareness task group for the American Society of Sanitary Engineers. I teach plumbing code and theory, as an Illinois continuing education sponsor. I don’t know how I find the time some days! It can be tough, but it’s very rewarding.
6. How are people aware of your business?
Referrals play a huge role in our business. Nothing is better than a personal referral. We also advertise in the Yellow Book and online. We have a Facebook page. We are constantly tweaking that trying to make it more user-friendly to drive more business to the company. All our work trucks have our company name and phone number on them. Being a sponsor of local youth sports, the signs and banners they provide help to advertise our company to the community.
7. Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
Continue working with Oncourse Home Solutions like we have been for the past several years. We would like to expand into other service fields, as well. I have an HVAC background, personally, but nobody else in the company does. When I started in the industry, I was more focused on hydronics and HVAC. Plumbing came as kind of an after-role. I still try to stay on top of those trends with HVAC. I’d like to maybe also open a plumbing school at some point.
8. What’s the key to your success?
Staying on top of trends in the plumbing industry and giving back to our communities and business. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year for our customers having emergencies. As a business owner, I’m available 24/7 for our guys, whether I’m at home or on vacation. I’m always available when something happens. It’s very rewarding, both personally and professionally.
9. What advice would you give someone just starting their own business?
Owning and running your own business is not for everyone. It takes a ton of dedication and commitment. As our company has grown, the biggest thing to me is to make sure employees come on board complete rigorous training. Paperwork is extremely important. We document everything that we do. We take pictures of all of our jobs. We try to let customers know in advance of anything that may become a problem – such as code upgrades – we let them know that in advance. I never ask anybody to do anything that I’m not willing to do on a jobsite. I won’t put anybody in harm’s way, ever. I treat everyone as family inside our organization. I try to give back to the people who are good to me. I give back to my employees and our community as much as possible. There have been lean years where I had to make personal sacrifices. It was more important that everyone else got paid before I got paid. I always put our company first and in front.