It is now official: we have been in our new Robins Plumbing building for a year! It’s crazy how fast the time has gone. After 14 years of working from my home office, last year we made the leap and purchased a commercial building. Much like buying a home, it was stressful. We looked at building after building, only to discover during the process that our business required us to be in special zoning because, believe it or not, communities don’t want a plumbing company near them. We ended up having to purchase a building twice the size of our original intention and budget, but we took a leap of faith and a year later, here we are! We are now the proud owners of a 10,000 square foot building in the center of Phoenix.
The building is coming along nicely, and while we aren’t quite where we want to be yet due to hold-ups with permitting at the City of Phoenix, we are well on our way to the building of our dreams. I did not expect in a million years that a permit would take 7 months to get, and with the architect and engineer coming in at a whopping $12,000.00, I felt blindsided by the unexpected complexities. I won’t lie, paying that much to approve a relatively small remodel hurt my soul, and I was quickly reminded why so many people get tempted to cut corners and go without a permit. The process was a painful, constant back-and-forth conversation with the city as they continued to tell us “wait, there is one more thing we want you to update.” For good or for bad, being in a commercial building allows the city to make a lot of decisions for my building that are out of my control.
When we bought the building, we knew it would require some TLC and love, but who better to do that than a group of passionate plumbers? The building had the bones for what we needed, and we had the love and commitment to make it perfect. The building has warehouse space, but it had been closed in with offices by the previous owners. We are still working on opening the warehouse space, partly because we focused on the “living” space of the building first.
We have taken out one of the very front offices and converted it into two bathrooms. That was a LOT of digging! Admittedly though, it is a pretty cool thing that you can turn an empty room into two bathrooms. We didn’t have a bathroom at the front of the building at the start, and that was an important addition for us.
We wanted a warm, welcoming feel when you walk into the building that still reflected our professionalism and dedication to a job well done. I believe we nailed that in our front foyer. We have a small seating area (which is usually occupied by the company dogs), and our bright red robin on the wall along with our mission statement and the list of our 12 values. We want people to know who we are and what we stand for as soon as they walk in the door.
Training Room And Conference Room
Another room that I absolutely had to have was a training room. Education is one of our company values and I believe the more educated our team is, the more educated our clients will be. We’ve created a conference room which duplicates as our training room. The techs come in every Tuesday morning for technical training while enjoying a breakfast that usually Brian makes for them. It is wonderful to have a space and time dedicated to the education of our team. This room is often where the team has lunch during Nest Fest as well and then they go off and shoot each other with their Nerf Guns.
When I dreamed of where my company would be back when I started it in 2004, I always dreamed of having a dispatch center in the middle of the building. When I walked into this building, I knew it was the one for me, it had a large room in the center of the building with glass walls and it was like I’d always envisioned. BEAUTIFUL! We turned that old storage room into an epic dispatch room. I’ve always wanted a huge dispatch room at the center because I believe that dispatch is the center of our business. Having dispatched most of my life, I know that the first contact a client has is with dispatch, and our technicians work closely with dispatch as well. Dispatch is the heartbeat of our business, so it is incredibly cool to me to have dispatch in the center of the building. Depending on the day you will either hear laughter from dispatch most of the day, or zen elevator music to calm them down. Client stress can often bring stress into the office as our team empathizes with the frustration clients are going through when they have a plumbing emergency.
Our team of plumbers are amazing at being plumbers and good human beings. Here’s a secret for you: plumbers hate paperwork — if they could pay someone to do their paperwork for them, they would. Plumbers would rather build with their hands, talk to clients, solve real-world problems and leave all of the paperwork to someone else. To make the necessary evil of paperwork easier and less like suffering for our team, we created a technician paperwork office for them. This is a quiet area with phones and laptops so the plumbers have a designated quiet area to find plumbing parts, create estimates, load their camera inspections and all of the other things they hate doing. This is also the room where they stash their Nerf Guns, for those moments when the team erupts into a Nerf Gun war.
There are few things more important to me than my team. My people are my passion. Admittedly it is hard to get into my circle, but once you’re in, you can pretty much expect that I will stop a bullet for you. The building is a reflection of my passion for our team and culture; the gym is a perfect example of that. The gym is located upstairs and is equipped with cardio equipment, weight lifting equipment, yoga stuff (if you’re into that) and boxing equipment. We even have a TV in there for physical video games and workout DVDs and videos.
The Perch, AKA The Employee Lounge
Remember when I mentioned that my team means a lot to me? They are my family that bleeds green. One of the more fun rooms in the building is our Perch, which to the non Robins Plumbing person translates to the employee lounge. This room is dedicated to the hardworking team members that need a moment to chill with a book or a puzzle, or the ever-busy plumbers when they are staging, so they have a place to play video games or watch a movie. Other plumbing companies often have their plumbers stage at supply houses when they are clear; we’d rather have our plumbers here annoying the office by hanging out upstairs playing video games, board games, or watching a movie on Netflix. No, my team isn’t spoiled, they are just appreciated a whole lot!
It Takes a Village
Even running a small family-owned business like ours takes a lot of support in the office. Our plumbers are the faces of the team you see in your homes and offices, but the faces you don’t see — the unsung heroes at Robins plumbing — are the hardworking people in the office that make possible what the plumbers do so well.
We have offices for our CEO (that’s me, the lady writing this blog!), our General Manager, and now an office for our recently created position of Client Relations Manager. We have offices waiting for a bookkeeper (when the time comes to finally bring one in), a marketing person (when the time and budget are right), and there is even an office ready for an incoming Field Service Manager.
The next big step for us is converting the small warming kitchen into an epic kitchen! We are removing two of the bathrooms downstairs and adding square footage to the kitchen. A big part of our company culture and what keeps us all so happy is food. Brian and Janet are amazing cooks, and they love spoiling the team with their awesome culinary creations! We all cannot wait until Janet and Brian have a big kitchen to cook in.
We are also tearing down all of the old office in the back third of the building and creating warehouse space in its place. The back of this building used to be a warehouse a long time ago, but the previous owners filled that space with small offices that they rented out to other businesses. In the end, the entire building turned into a collection of small offices that were individually rented out. As part of our renovation plans, we will end up taking out six offices from the back area to make that space a warehouse again. The guys are very excited to be able to stock parts here at the office.
One step at a time, but we’re getting there!
Services in Phoenix & Beyond
When you’ve found yourself in need of plumbing services in the Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Chandler area, you can trust Robins Plumbing to provide you with prompt and expert care, contact our team today! In addition to our toilet services, we also offer a variety of residential and commercial plumbing services, including: drain cleaning, water heater repair and replacement, sewer camera inspection and locating, backflow prevention, commercial and residential jetting, water treatments, and more. Visit our reviews online to see what others have to say about our local plumbing company!