Professionalism, consistency, customer service and expertise are core values for Logandale businessman Bruce Whitney. And it is around those values that Whitney has built his business: Whitney’s Water Systems, Inc., one of the longest running service plumbing companies in the northeastern Clark County communities.
Whitney began his business back in 1987, starting in the field of selling and installing water treatment systems. Within just a few months, he had expanded his sales into the Virgin Valley communities. Then, a few years later, he expanded the business into a full-service plumbing contractor.
It has grown from there. Whitney’s Water has earned the trust of many customers in both valleys over the years. The company does a brisk business.
“We have four full-time employees and we keep them all busy,” Whitney said. “In 33 years, no one in our employ has gone home with less than a 40 hour work week; that is, unless they wanted to. We have been blessed that way.”
Whitney has aimed to keep Whitney’s Water a cut above the slovenly plumber stereotype that many people have. When he sends a technician into a home, he wants them to make a good impression in their appearance and reflect well on the business. He is so dedicated to that concept that he sends all of his employees to a special Pro Plumber course offered by nation-wide association Success Group International (SGI).
“It is a three day course, offered regularly in either Southern California or Texas, on being professional in appearance and presentation,” Whitney said. “They go into depth on customer service best practices and spend time doing role-playing with those techniques.”
Whitney even sends his inside office staff to special “call center training” which focuses on telephone etiquette and how to deal with the public in a front-office environment.
And none of that counts the extensive technical training provided to the Whitney Water servicemen.
“Once we have someone on staff for a while and we know that they are compatible with our business model, we send them to a special one-week training in Little Rock, Arkansas,” Whitney said. “It is a hands-on course in all the things that they are likely to encounter in the field.”
This includes things like water heater installation and service, replacement of faucets and fixtures, and a long list of other service plumbing roles, Whitney said.
“It is good because we are serving small communities, and some types of calls our technicians might only see once or twice per year,” Whitney said. “So this course gives them hands-on experience with all of those things so they know how two deal with them when they see them.”
The training doesn’t stop with these programs. The staff at Whitney’s Water meets first thing in the morning on three days a week for continuing education.
“We discuss the service calls that we have done that week and evaluate what was done and how it could be done better,” Whitney said. “We also have access to hundreds of training videos that we share during those morning huddles and discuss them together. We are always looking to learn and improve.”
Whitney said keeping his crew on top of their field has become more important to him in recent years. Over the past ten years, he said that training in the company has gone from just putting out the fires that pop up each day, to planning ahead and bringing organized training to prepare for those fires.
“There aren’t many other plumbing companies out there that do the kind of training we do,” Whitney said. “Most of them are just on-the-job training, learning as you go.”
Whitney acknowledges that his technique requires a significant investment. When he sends his employees to do out-of-state training sessions, the company pays for all travel, accommodations, meals and training fees.
“The fact is, it is expensive to do this kind of training,” Whitney said. “But it has really helped us become who we are. It has helped me to run the kind of respectable business that I’ve always wanted to run.”