Watch the Full Interview with Innovation Plumbing's Andrew Tomasetti
Innovation Plumbing Services
Cardinal: Hello and welcome back to another episode of WCBC review, where we put the spotlight on small businesses. Today we've got Andrew Tomasetti of Innovation Plumbing Services. How are you today, Andrew?
Andrew: I'm great Cardinal. Thanks for having me.
Cardinal: Of course. It's good to have you on WCBC finally. We've been working with Andrew and his father, Bill and Innovation Plumbing redoing their website for a little while now.
So when I link to that below, hopefully by the time this interview goes live, they'll have a shiny new site ready for them.
Andrew: Yeah. Looking forward to it. You guys have been doing great work so far. Really appreciate all your guys' efforts. No, you guys really a plus.
Cardinal: Aw. Okay. But this interview is about you, so let's dive into it.
I'm curious. When did Innovation Plumbing start? When, what year?
Andrew: So Innovation Plumbing started In 1990 and then officially in 1991, when my dad got his a C 36 plumbing license for the state of California. And so we've been, you know, legally licensed operating since 1991. So I was two years old at the time.
Cardinal: And what is it you guys do exactly?
Andrew: With 30 years of experience, there's a lot of depth to that question, but basically we've been B2B. So we started out working with restoration contractors directly where a property or a structure would burn down and we would subcontract with the general contractor to put back all of that plumbing.
So we would contract directly with a restoration contractor. We still do that. But over the years, it's evolved. To where we've become a plumbing expert for a lot of insurance carriers. And they look to us for our expert opinion and various matters that are related to water plumbing.
Our name, Innovation Plumbing; we really stand by that. So we've been early adopters to thermal imaging technology acoustic leak detection technology. And we've been really on the cutting edge of just really nailing down the leak detection industry and perfecting it for ourselves. And That's been kind of, our journey is really insurance, B2B working directly with contractors.
And then of course, you know, we get a lot of word of mouth. So we do work directly with homeowners, business owners, et cetera. And, and that's what our big focus is now and why we've partnered with you guys Genuine Growth Marketing, because we see a huge need in the business to consumer space going directly consumer.
For various reasons that we might get into. And so that in a nutshell is how we got started and, and, and just kind of the Genesis of our company and where we're going.
Cardinal: Wow. That's a lot going on there. So what made you want to start this business? Well, obviously you didn't start it cause you were two years old.
I mean, I know that entrepreneurship supposedly starts early signs are showing when you're a kid, but that's, that's pretty early.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. My dad was very influential on me. He's the most selfless person I've ever known. It'll get me emotional in a minute, but hardest working person I've ever known. And yeah, I mean, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him and all the, the values that he instilled in me.
And like, I've been with him since I was two, I, some of my earliest memories were us driving in his little Toyota pickup truck with handmade flyers. And we were literally, I was door knocking it four or five, six years old. I've got no formal sales training. I've never gone to a seminar. I don't have time for that. I run a business.
Definitely entrepreneurship runs in our blood. My great-grandfather Dominic Tomasetti came to this country from Italy. First-generation he got on a boat and didn't know what to expect. The information, obviously back then was nowhere near what it is now. These people were willing to put their whole lives out there without even knowing what they were actually going to.
And that's so inspiring to me. He ended up on the East coast went to Ellis Island and ended up opening up a Italian food restaurant in Queens, New York on Broadway. Currently today it's a subway sandwich. He passed away at 42 in his restaurant of a heart attack. My great, or my grandfather, his son at the time.
Move with his mother to the West coast. That's how our family got to the West coast because she had some family here. She's also first-generation Italian from Bari. She was a seamstress. She had her own business. She raised up my grandfather and his brothers and my grandfather ended up owning a bar and an, a pizza restaurant in the Bay area in the East Bay here in California.
And then my father got to see his dad. Be an entrepreneur and, and go after his passion. And then I was able to watch my dad start from scratch. And literally, like I said, my first memories in life are just hustling with dad and it's, it's awesome. It's just, it's, it's completely revolutionized everything, you know?
Cardinal: Wow. That's great. So do you remember some of the struggles that your father went through and opening up Innovation Plumbing?
Andrew: Absolutely. Yeah. Thanks for that question. I watched my father first two years in business, we made $0. He had me, he had, you know, my mom has wife to support and he had a mortgage.
He made a huge sacrifice. That's a big reason why I'm here today, keeping this going because I saw the sacrifice that he made to get it to where it is today and it into the selflessness. And just his overwhelming desire to just create something and to put out the best product possible and the valuable lessons that he taught me along the way is you'd never burn a bridge with anybody.
And I've watched that so many times come back around full circle, where there was an opportunity where, where we could have just we're done, you know, we can't handle that and we can't deal with you anymore. But people change situations change. And so that's one of the many lessons, but he's taught me to never burn a bridge.
And that has helped us out immensely over time. I, with the growth of our business, with people leaving different job positions, and as we expanded and more into the insurance industry,
For every action. There's a reaction. I know that that's a very common quote, but it's so true. And over time you see that play out. And so we need to be very cognizant of our actions and if we have a long-term goal for our business, What that can mean long-term with our connections, et cetera.
So, yeah. Lots of experience in all these different fields.
Cardinal: Hmm. Well, we'll definitely talk about your long-term goals a little later in the episode, but I still want to hang around the beginning right now. And I'm wondering if you or Bill could start over from day one. Is there anything you would've done differently?
Andrew: I think in some instances hindsight's always going to be 2020, where you, you make a mistake and then you go, Oh my goodness, that was wrong. That was bad. I shouldn't have done that. It was a mistake and I recommend everyone who's interested in entrepreneurship or business, running a business. I have my notebook right here next to me.
You can't see it every time I make a decision. How did it work out? What did it, those are called principles. And over a period of time, you will build up principles for how you react in certain situations, because you'll see a lot of repetitiveness in business and circumstances in people. A lot of, you know, you talk to salespeople and they talk about it.
It's always the same. You know, it's, it's always the same rebuttal or you do get a lot of repetitiveness in life, just in general. And writing down how you handled it, what you would have done differently at the time is very important. But overall, to answer the question, no, no, I, we wouldn't have done anything differently and I truly believe that all of our experiences, all of the figuring out all of the things that we've gone through, good and bad have brought us to where we are today. And we wouldn't be the people we are today with the goal and the mission that we have today, if it wasn't for those decisions going back. So, no, I don't believe we would do anything.
Cardinal: Hmm. Interesting. Okay. So. Hopefully the it'll lead into this question of, well, if you wouldn't have done anything differently, how did all of that set you up for weathering COVID and doing business in 2020 and 2021?
Andrew: Yeah. Great question. I get that question a lot. You know, Industry by industry has been disproportionate with the success and failure rate of that was brought on by COVID.
I mean, you know, I don't have to get into all of that. People are very familiar with the winners and losers obviously, of, of their various spaces and how that impacted them in this time. I would say that we've become, as we are kind of forward thinking, we've really leveraged technology. So just the supercomputers we carry in our pockets provide so much that, you know, we came into a situation where, Hey, I might not be able to meet you in person, but there's a lot of things I can show you, you know, via zoom, via FaceTime on an Apple products and things like that, where, or I can just take a video clip and send it straight over to you.
So we've really leveraged that. And one of I would say the tailwinds that we had for 2020 in our business was a lot of our insurance carriers. Weren't able to actually do field inspections anymore. They weren't there corporate policy change to where they couldn't go out and do field inspectors.
They couldn't do the things that they normally do. And so, because I have a lot of Lance, a longstanding trust and relationship with a lot of these people, I was able to say, look, and I put this in a LinkedIn video as well. I'll be your eyes and ear and just like, I'll go out. Like, it's going to be just like, you're there, whatever you need for me, I will do it.
And that's kind of been my mantra through 2020 and 2021. And so I would say that we were quick on our feet and we definitely navigated it. And we had a record year, actually 2020 was a record profit year for us. Nice.
Cardinal: All thanks to your innovation. Yup. So if a customer had to choose between you and three other plumbers or leak detectors, why would they choose Innovation Plumbing Services?
Andrew: Wow. Yeah. So number one, I think is just the depth of knowledge and storied history that we have. So we've, we have the confidence of leaders in the industry. I mean, that's number one that we it's to the point now where it's like all of these blue chip companies trust you.
We're going to give you a shot at least. And it's not for no reason. It's because of a long history of that, of just really being customer centric and really just putting them first. And so that's number one. It's the, we're not a startup we've been around.. We've been out, we've been out here a while, so that's number one.
And that just gets you in the door, obviously based on reputation. But once you've given me that an opportunity to, to meet with you and give you've given me the opportunity to talk to you, which you'll find out very quickly is we're not like other plumbing companies in the sense of I'm going to finish this job, I'm going to complete it.
And then I will send you an invoice later. And you're scared because you have no idea what that invoice is going to look like. Before we ever ask you for any money, you will know guaranteed flat rate price. What this project will cost you. If it goes bad for us, we will lose money. If it goes good for us, we will make more profit.
But that's our business model. We want you to be comfortable right away. We don't want any guesswork out of, we don't want any guessing around, out of like, what's this going to cost me? And I th I see that as a massive fear in our consumer, where they want to call a plumber, they want to call somebody, but.
Maybe they've had a bad experience. There's a lot of that. And then, or maybe they just, they don't think that they're going to be dealt with fairly, or they're afraid that the price is going to exceed their budget and they don't even want to inquire. So that's one thing that really sets us apart. We will give you a price upfront and it won't change.
If, if the situation changes, we're not coming back for more. And so we lock in and we guarantee our price. So that's, that's another really big reason that says that people choose us because they feel very comfortable knowing beforehand what that's, what this job is going to run them. The other thing is we offer an incredibly good warranty, even if.
Like we'll put caveats in our, you know, if we don't if we don't provide the materials, for example, we will put, you know, we don't warranty materials because we didn't provide them. That's just one example, but we're so hyper-focused on the customer that we breach that contract all the time, just helping people out with the different situations.
And that's just one example, but we will help you out and be there for you on the backend, like no other company that I've ever seen in the plumbing space. We treat our customers like they're members of our family, and that's just, I want to treat every person I come in contact with, like, they're my brother, sister, mother, grandmother, and put that level of care on every person that we come in contact with and just add value to them as much as we can. It's not about us. It's about, it's about, yes, you need my service and yes, we have to make money to operate the business, but we want to, we want to add as much value to you in that process as possible. And so there's a massive lacking of that in this industry.
That is a massive motivator for us going forward, going more B2B to direct to consumer because there is a huge need in this field for that type of transparency in customer care. And. Every business, in my opinion, every, every business that is not adding value to their customers should be disrupted. And not only they're not adding value. They are taking away value. They are actually predatory to their end user, to their customers. And. This is a business that needs to be disrupted. I looked back, you know, I think back into the nineties when we were getting started and me and my dad used to look at the yellow pages and these guys would take out full page ads and it was massive amount of money.
We didn't have that type of money. And. I remember thinking even back then, like someday, I'm going to compete in that space because the industry, the customer, they need, the people need us, they need the honest, they need the good. And there's a lot of legacy. Franchise companies that have big advertising budgets that get the call volume that get the work volume.
And it's not because they're earning it. It's not because they're a good company who treats their customers, right. It's because they have a massive advertising budget. And so as we've been, become more and more successful and gain more and more resources through our efforts, I believe it's our duty and our responsibility.
To get out there, who we are, what we do and let us help you. Because I am personally tired of going behind a lot of these businesses who aren't adding any value to their customers and they're, they're actually hurting their customers. And so, because of all of that, I'm willing to make the investments that we're making now.
Cardinal: And the marketing industry. I see that so much with what we do with digital marketing is that there are "experts" out there who. Much like a car mechanic knows that you have no idea what's going on underneath your hood. So many marketers know that business owners have no idea how digital marketing works or stuff like that.
And they just totally. Yeah. And they just totally take advantage of people and actually end up subtracting value.
Andrew: And I told you, I did looking for a marketing company for two years. Two years because, you know, because of all the things that you just stated. And so I feel like our missions have definitely meshed very well, and that's why we've been, so our relationship has been doing so well as well.
Cause we agree on all of these issues. Yep. We're definitely aligned on, on, on that disproportionate situation that takes place in the marketplace.
Cardinal: Yeah. It's a little different for marketers though, because we all know how to market ourselves. It just comes back to bigger budgets in the end.
So I'm kind of curious what your biggest business dreams are. Where do you want this Innovation Plumbing to go ten year inton the future?
Andrew: Oh, wow. We've gotten to the point in our business where we are established and we, we are not innovating out of necessity.
Let's put it that way. You asked me one day, what does innovation mean to you? And essentially innovation happens in two ways. You're either forced into innovation for survival, or you are just so determined. To innovate and make a change and to make things better to improve, I think is the right word.
That you're, that that becomes your drive. And so that's where I'm coming from. So we're not in a place of you know, we're, we have to panic and we have to innovate to survive. We're at a place where in our business where I can't grow personally, I can't grow spiritually. I can't grow as a human being and less.
I take it to the next level, unless I sort of can surround myself with the best in the business, the most positive people, the people that I want to surround myself with all the time and part of growing as a business and going more direct to consumer is really not about our us at all. It's really about bringing on people and having the resources to bring on people who are experts, who are cutting edge, who are
people that will take us to the next level, who will inspire us on a daily basis. And that will all translate into sales which will end up being a wonderful consumer experience. And so I believe that that if you keep those core principles in mind that the opportunities are limitless, you know and what form that takes, I don't know if you would've asked me 10 years ago.
Would you be going direct to consumer? I might, I probably would have been like, no. And for a lot of reasons, but you asked me today and I'm a hundred percent focused on not only keeping our B2B clients. Insanely satisfied with our service, but expanding that service to do even even more, add more value to the people that have been loyal to us over the years, to those businesses that have been loyal to us while also taking that revenue stream and putting it over into a completely different strategy, focused on a completely different client who might not even know they need us yet.
You might not even know that in the wake of. A massive property loss where there's a flood or there's a fire, or what have you, that there are decisions to be made. And typically the person, historically the company who gets that, that business is the one who probably isn't customer centric, who isn't people centric who doesn't, they are there, their motives are not aligned.
With the consumer. And that, I think that summarizes really the difference between us and them, our motives are completely aligned with them. And so when you ask me, you know, what is my, you know, my big dream and my goal it's to get in front of more people, people to know who we are, because we've kind of been in the shadows cause B2B.
They don't care what your website looks like . They care about results. And so we execute on the results and we don't brag about it. We don't put it on because our space, our clientele, they don't care. They just want us to get the work done. They want us to do a good job. They want us to be very professional, but as far as our marketing is concerned or our web, this is a complete shift towards a totally different demographic, a totally different customer.
And the opportunities are limitless. You're only bound by, by your own belief systems.
Cardinal: Those kinds of values are so important. They really, we are ending nearing the end of the interview and the question that I love to wrap up with for everybody. And I'm so excited to hear your answer because you folks have been in business for a while now is if you had a brand new business owner in front of you, what advice would you give them?
Andrew: There's a lot to that question because there's a lot of specific angles to that question where. You could spend as much time as we've been talking to on one of those angles. And we're obviously not going to do that. But overall, what I would say is obsessed about the customer experience. Obsess about the customer's experience because without your customers, you don't have a business.
So you're back to doing something that you don't want to do anymore. So. It's not about you. I think a lot of, and I went through this too. It's one point in my life. It's me centric. It's what can you do for me? It's you know, I want to be able to brag about my new purchase or whatever and how great I'm doing in business.
It's not about you. The quicker you get that really nailed down and having kids and being in business with my dad all this time, like, it's really taught me like, The quicker you can die to yourself. The quicker you are, the last person on the list of cares, the faster you will see the results that you were always hoping for.
And that's been my personal experience going from me centric. Very self-centered. I think we all start there. Kids are very self-centered individuals, so we have to grow. We have to learn and being a servant and having a servant's heart and attitude. In life in business in your personal life is a game changer.
And if you can adopt those principles now, early on brand new in business, and you can obsess about the customer experience and you're not going to obsess about how much time you're spending with them and what else you could be doing. But you're really going to invest in that conversation in that time with that person, and really build a meaningful relationship with that person.
And they know that you will be there for them. You will help them. You will, you will pull each other up. Through hard times COVID was a rough year and I don't know what we would've done without our friends, neighbors, colleagues, a church, family. I mean, you name it. It was just, you have to surround yourself with those kinds of people and people want to associate with people like that.
And so it's not even really a business answer, is it? It's more of a, it's more, it's more of just a philosophy. Even if you're working for somebody, I would highly advise that, do that with your boss, let your boss know that you're on the same team as him and, and be there for them. And it's just, it's an overarching answer to a very big question. And I always come back to that obsess about the customer. And put them first and put your needs last.
Cardinal: That is some great advice. Thank you so much, Andrew. Where can people find Innovation Plumbing for anyone watching this video?
Where can they go check you out at?
Andrew: Okay, so we have Innovation Plumbing dot com. And also we have a Facebook account that's Innovation Plumbing on Facebook, and then you can find me at Andrew Tomasetti, T O M a S E T T I on LinkedIn Innovation Plumbing Managing Member.
Cardinal: And then for anyone listening, I'll put all the links to all of that down below so you can go check them out if you're in California, they're based in California, Modesto area.
Andrew: Yes. We're central California and we cover about a 70 mile radius around our shop.
Cardinal: Yeah. All right. Well, thank you. Thank you again for coming on WCBC review and I hope all your business dreams come true.
Andrew: Thanks so much. I really appreciate it. Cardinal, have a wonderful day and keep doing all the great work that you are engaging in as well.
Cardinal: Thanks, bye bye.
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