Leslie and Brent Carpel are the founders of Champion Plumbing which is located within the Oklahoma area. They began their business in 2015 after they were both laid off from their full-time jobs. Although the road has not always been easy, they’ve managed to create an extremely successful plumbing business and are eager to continue to grow.
Tell us about yourselves and how you got into plumbing?
Leslie and Brent explain that when they first began their business journey, they decided to take the route of new construction but found that they were unable to make a profit. They finally decided that to be successful, they needed to hire a coach. They completely revamped their marketing strategy and began getting a large influx of new clients. Leslie says that “from there, the rest is history.” They have doubled their revenue each year, have a wide range of clients, and have fully expanded their crew/equipment to fully optimize their business.
Brent, when did you decide to become a licensed plumber?
Brent explained that he had always had an interest in plumbing and tinkering with different projects. He had worked for a large gas company in the area until he eventually was laid off. At this point, he and Leslie knew that it was time to start a plumbing business. Brent decided to go to a trade school and was fully licensed within two years.
When you were moving out of new construction, did you know right away that you wanted to get into plumbing?
Brent expresses that plumbing is his comfort zone and it’s what he’s best at. He and Leslie had spoken about business ideas in the past, and they always came back to the idea of starting a plumbing company. He knew that he already had his trade mastered, so all they had to do is master the business aspect. Leslie adds that their business has very little to do with plumbing, and overall, it’s extremely difficult. There are so many things that factor into their success that don’t include their actual trade.
How did you go about actually growing your business?
Leslie explains that when they began their business, they didn’t have a lot of money to spare. She decided to learn more about the marketing aspect of the business and began working on advertising the business itself. Now, they allocate about 10-11% of their overall profit back into their marketing. They worked very hard on their brand and make it a point to go above and beyond with their efforts. When their business began to take off very quickly, they knew they had to hire more staff. The first thing they did was hire an office assistant to relieve some of the stress of constant phone calls. From there, they began hiring technicians to help tackle the increasing number of clients.
Is it hard working with your spouse?
Both Leslie and Brent admit that working together comes with its own set of challenges. Before hiring a full team, they found that they were spending most of their time just focusing on their business. They express that this can take a toll on your relationship if you don’t set boundaries and strike a balance. Leslie explains that to make their marriage work, they take counseling services very seriously and make sure to work through any issues they may have before they come big. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing they want more than to work together.
What kind of marketing are you utilizing?
Leslie says that she uses several different marketing companies for their business. She utilizes Google LSA and has a marketing strategist who uses multiple different social media platforms to promote their company. Leslie and Brent both emphasize the importance of great content. They have a full PR team that does a great job increasing their overall visibility. Leslie says that now, they’re currently working on developing their brand. From commercials and billboards to local SEO strategies, their marketing plan is working well for the company and generating an impressive amount of business.
What do you wish you would’ve known before going into business?
Leslie says that she is glad they didn’t know anything before going into business. This allowed them to be extremely flexible and teachable, which they believed helped them propel their company to success. She says that “ignorance was bliss for us”. Brent adds that he wishes he would’ve known the importance of numbers and analytics within the business. He originally thought that the secret to success was to be a great plumber and provide excellent customer service, but he slowly learned that there is so much more that goes into a successful business.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
They both agree that they are building this business to be sold at any moment. Leslie says that they’re going to continue to build other parts of her business. She hopes that within five years, they will be a 20 million dollar company. Both Brent and Leslie are extremely serious about their growth and are ready to dominate the market!