Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

COMPANY: Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, McKinney, TX OPERATION: Residential plumbing service and repair Keresa Richardson, president Problem: Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is just three years old, but it has enjoyed growth and success that any CEO would appreciate. Keresa Richardson, owner and president, says the company became a franchise only nine months after opening and since then has acquired five

COMPANY:

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, McKinney, TX

OPERATION:

Residential plumbing service and repair

Keresa Richardson, president

Problem:

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is just three years old, but it has enjoyed growth and success that any CEO would appreciate. Keresa Richardson, owner and president, says the company became a franchise only nine months after opening and since then has acquired five other plumbing businesses.

Nine Mitsubishi cabovers, each equipped with about $50,000 worth of parts and supplies, currently operate from Benjamin Franklin's two offices in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. The company describes itself as “the punctual plumber,” and backs up its pledge with a promise to give any customer who has to wait more than 45 min. past a scheduled appointment time a $100 bill — with Benjamin Franklin on the front. Only five customers in three years have been paid.

If none of this sounds much like a problem, it's because Richardson and her husband decided to tackle their punctuality and performance “problems” before they opened their doors for business. “That meant we needed the best equipment and the best technology we could find,” says Richardson.

Solution:

For Richardson, the best technology meant implementing VMI, the GPS vehicle tracking system from Minorplanet and SuccessWare 21, a management system from SuccessWare Inc. Those decisions, she notes, are helping them achieve their high performance and profitability goals.

“Our GPS system is real-time, so we know where our trucks are every minute. Using the SuccessWare system enables us to divide the Dallas-Forth worth area into regions, which we color-code so we can tell at a glance what trucks are in what area.

“Data from the GPS system feeds into the SuccessWare system, so when a customer calls we can enter the zip code, pinpoint their location and dispatch the closest available plumber,” Richardson says. “This helps us keep our punctuality promise and enables us to be more productive. We can serve more customers every month thanks to better scheduling and routing.

“While all our plumbers are licensed, bonded and insured and we do background checks every month, customers can also use our system themselves to personally learn about the individual who will be coming to their residence. Women especially appreciate this extra attention to security,” she says.

“Eventually, we hope to have 14 Dallas-area sites, with a minimum of 8 to 10 plumbers at each location,” Richardson notes. “That way, customers can work with the same plumber every time. We believe in a neighborhood-based model rather than a central-location model because people like to work with service providers they know and trust. Our plumbers appreciate being able to work near where they live, too.

“I think you should enjoy what you are doing and do things right,” Richardson offers. “It is the philosophy behind our business. Great people and the best available technology are what bring that philosophy to life.”

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