A Modern Marketing Approach With an Old-Fashioned Aesthetic

Atlas Plumbing upped its marketing game when the second generation of the business’ ownership took over, but from its website design to technicians’ uniforms, the company has also purposely tried to use a retro angle to appeal to customers

A Modern Marketing Approach With an Old-Fashioned Aesthetic

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Bob Ray built his plumbing company, Atlas Plumbing, into a $1 million a year enterprise with no marketing. That’s according to his son, Rod Ray, who now owns and operates the 39-year-old Henderson, Nevada-based company alongside sister Sunshine Ray.

Rod admits that is a bit of an exaggeration, though not by much. Over the years, the elder Ray’s marketing budget didn’t exceed the $100 a year spent on a one-line name-and-number ad in a magazine. But that is no longer the case with Sunshine overseeing that aspect of the company. She joined the firm four years ago, bringing a marketing degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Among the things she did was create a retro design for the Atlas Plumbing website featuring a red-headed female character reminiscent of Lucille Ball, a slogan of reassurance — “At Last a Plumber, Not a Salesman” — and a dress code that has technicians going to a customer’s home for the first time donning either vintage overalls or a button-down gray shirt, suspenders, bow tie and hat.

“I’m a woman and I tell the guys that women sometimes feel uneasy when a man comes into the house,” Sunshine says. “It’s women who usually are there during a service call. When women see one of our technicians come to the door in uniform, we hope it lowers that uncomfortable feeling.”

The old-fashioned look of the website and uniform is also designed to convey old-fashioned feelings of trust.

“My father really did build this company on honesty and integrity,” Sunshine says. 

Rod says some members of the plumbing community in Atlas Plumbing’s Las Vegas Valley service area have abused customer trust and left a bad taste in the mouth for the industry. The rebranding of the company, including the technician dress code, is intended to differentiate Atlas Plumbing from some of those competitors.

“You wouldn’t believe how many compliments I get for the uniforms,” Rod says. “I tell our techs to wear the uniform properly. Put on the hat and bow tie because otherwise you just look like any other plumber. We’re different. We don’t want to look like every other plumber.”

Expanding into trenchless pipe repair has broadened the company’s service offerings, which gives Sunshine additional aspects to emphasize in her marketing. Changes include Atlas Plumbing becoming an authorized vendor for certain products so that manufacturers share promotional ad dollars, developing social media accounts so that people have another avenue for interacting with the company, and hosting occasional community events.

The rebranding and marketing changes have already produced results.

“It’s exciting to be where we are now,” Sunshine says. “Our phone is ringing off the hook.”

Read more about Atlas Plumbing in the August 2019 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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