Bill Howe Plumbing: builds Empire

Bill Howe Plumbing loves to create businesses. That’s exactly what this entrepreneur has done. This year, the Bill Howe Plumbing of Companies celebrates 35 years of being in business. He is the owner of the $20 million plumbing, heating/air conditioning, and flood/restoration companies. Even though some may be considering retiring at 63, Howe has already begun planning for his next venture: solar installation.

Modest Beginnings

Howe says, “I just wanted five, six, maybe ten trucks one day.” The company has over 80 vehicles, mainly Chevrolets, across three divisions. The company also has 20 cameras and five letters of service. Howe uses equipment from U.S. Jetting and Ridgid Tool as well as Milwaukee Tool.

The company started modestly as a single-truck operation, based out of a small apartment in a local beach community. One of 14 siblings, Howe grew up in Chicago. He attended college in Los Angeles where he began his plumbing career. He and his father Bill Howe Sr. founded the plumbing company AM/PM Sewer & Drain in 1980. It was so named because it was the first one listed in the telephone book.

They started with just them and his dad. He ran 24/7 service calls, so the books were only for the two of them. Howe says, “I didn’t make any money for 15 years.” “The first month we reached $1,400 per month, I believed we were doing well,” Howe said.

The company was founded in 1985 as Bill Howe Plumbing. In 2007 and 2009, they opened the HVAC and restoration divisions. With his three companies, Howe is gaining a lot of attention from both customers and the industry. He was awarded the title of Contractor of the year by Delta Faucet and the Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors Association. Contractor Magazine also awarded him this title in 2013.

He attributes his customer service awards and awards for excellence in customer service to three simple words: “Just be truthful.” Howe believes it is the most important aspect to retaining customers.

Howe tried a risky strategy to remain successful during the recession of the 2000s. He also gained customers. Howe cut his advertising budget and sent out flyers to customers, offering drain cleaning free of charge for two years. The people were skeptical. Howe states, “The competition hated it for me.”

The family-owned and operated Bill Howe Plumbing Heating, Air Conditioning, Restoration and Flood Services company, which was founded in 1980, has been focused on providing reliable service to customers and a high level of safety. Driver coaching improved the driver’s safety score from 77 to 95. Before Reveal was implemented, 16 accidents caused nearly $1M in damage. The number of accidents fell to just two after Reveal was implemented.