Josh Shelton didn’t think he wanted to be a plumber when he was young. His dad opened a plumbing business in 1983, but Josh wasn’t sure he wanted to pursue plumbing as a career. After trying several different career paths and not finding something he loved, he began to appreciate the job security he saw his father enjoy in the plumbing industry. When his father stated, “Either you’re going to take over the business one day or I’ll have to sell it,” Josh didn’t have to consider very long. He submitted his two weeks’ notice the very next day.
Josh began as an apprentice plumber, then received his Journeyman’s License and finally his Master Plumber’s License. He took over Shelton Plumbing from his father in 2014. The company has seen tremendous growth. In 2014, their average gross yearly revenue was $500,000. In 2016, the company reached $900,000 in gross revenue, followed by $1.2 million in 2017.
Shelton Plumbing’s focus was service, repairs, drain cleaning, and some remodeling. They operated smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, and began to look for new challenges and better ways to serve their customers. They teamed up with Perma-Liner Industries for CIPP installations. Josh says, “Being able to line a sewer without excavation is one of the most amazing technologies in the plumbing industry.”
In the sewer lining industry, it is always necessary to clean the host pipe. Jetting the line before installation guarantees the epoxy resin will bond with the host pipe. Shelton Plumbing was initially paying a subcontractor $15,000 a year to jet lines before installation. In 2017, Shelton purchased their own Spartan Warrior trailer jetter to save on those costs. It increased revenue for their company immediately. Josh says, “[It’s] one of the best investments [we’ve made] to date. Amazing machine that makes quick work of any job!”
The Warrior has played a critical role in the company’s success. As is common in the plumbing industry, it’s a struggle for Shelton Plumbing to find capable people invested in the trade. Josh says, “The members of our team deserve to use equipment worthy to get the job done with quality and speed.”
Shelton Plumbing’s core values are quality, service, and price. Their vision for the future is to work toward better options for their customers. For example, if a sewer has root intrusions, it is typical to offer the customer one solution and one price. Shelton would like to offer them options. Full excavation and replacement is the most costly option. They would also offer sewer lining and rehabilitation as a less expensive option. If the customer is very concerned with price, the most economical option would be installing cleanouts and using the Warrior jetter to clean the line, followed by applications of a foaming root killer in the spring and fall. Shelton Plumbing feels that multiple options provide a pricing structure that gives the customer a full selection of choices that fit their budget and needs.
Josh’s advice to other pros who are looking to grow their businesses to is take care of their employees. He says, “The customer between the customer is our employees. They need to be taken care of.” This value has driven the company’s decision not to offer 24-hour emergency service. Shelton wants to give his employees weekends and evenings free for family and down time. He remembers a mentor once telling him, “No one ever said on their deathbed, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’” For Shelton Plumbing, good quality of life for their employees is just as important as customer satisfaction. In fact, satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers!
For Shelton Plumbing, the best is yet to come – and we’re happy to be part of their success!