Company’s Heavy Training Investment Pays Off

Utah’s Valley Plumbing and Drain Cleaning believes in consistent and varied training as a valuable employee retention and recruitment tool

Company’s Heavy Training Investment Pays Off

Lawrence Snow 

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When Lawrence Snow established Valley Plumbing and Drain Cleaning in suburban Salt Lake City in 2010, one of his goals was to be the best plumbing outfit in the area — a place with such a good reputation that technicians would want to work there.

“I didn’t want to be the largest company,” Snow says. “I wanted to build a company where employees would say, ’I’m proud to work for Valley Plumbing.’”

To accomplish that, the company, owned by Snow; his two sons, Rob and Corry; and his son-in-law, Brett Reeves, invests heavily in training technicians. That includes not only technical training from manufacturers, but also an innovative twist: Technicians spend time “shadowing” technicians at other plumbing companies owned by people that Snow knows from his previous career as a business coach, he says.

For example, Rob Snow recently spent three days working at a plumbing company in Spokane, Washington. And some other technicians recently worked for several days at companies in Florida and Texas.

“They go and kick the tires and try to learn something new,” Snow says. “They’re required to come back with five ideas for making our business better and they have to implement three of them in the first month after they come back.”

It isn’t hard for technicians to come up with five ideas, Snow says.

“In fact, they come back with pages of ideas. The hardest thing for them is picking which things to implement,” he says.

One idea that yielded great results was holding two one-hour meetings a week with all technicians, one for motivational sales training and one for technical training provided by suppliers. The long-term results speak for themselves: sales increased and profit-killing service call-backs decreased, Snow says.

Snow also provides the company’s apprentices with an hour of technical training every Wednesday. And if technicians encounter problems on service calls, they routinely use Zoom or Skype on tablets to contact managers and discuss solutions, which is faster and more convenient than having managers drive to job sites to help, Snow says.

“Most times companies give techs the keys to a truck and tell them to bring back a check at the end of the day. And that’s where they leave it. But they need more than that — they need consistent training.”

Read more about Valley Plumbing and Drain Cleaning in the March 2022 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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