Pipe Works Services, Inc.
Today, the owner of New Jersey-based Pipe Works Services has 32 employees and a fleet of 21 vehicles. His focus is on providing comprehensive, high-quality service to residential clients in the affluent borough of Chatham, 30 miles from New York City. Giglio initially focused on plumbing, HVAC and sewer cleaning services, but from the beginning, he had his sights set on additional services and becoming a one-stop shop for his customers. Along the way he has added divisions to provide insulation, water conditioning and electrical services. While the plumbing division remains dominant with approximately 70 percent of the business, sewer cleaning, relining and excavation represent a growing piece of the pie. That sector is gaining ground significantly, and he sees a future where those divisions will amount to a more substantial figure.
Chatham, NJ - January 12, 2017
Today, the owner of New Jersey-based Pipe Works Services has 32 employees and a fleet of 21 vehicles. His focus is on providing comprehensive, high-quality service to residential clients in the affluent borough of Chatham, 30 miles from New York City.
Giglio initially focused on plumbing, HVAC and sewer cleaning services, but from the beginning, he had his sights set on additional services and becoming a one-stop shop for his customers. Along the way he has added divisions to provide insulation, water conditioning and electrical services.
While the plumbing division remains dominant with approximately 70 percent of the business, sewer cleaning, relining and excavation represent a growing piece of the pie. That sector is gaining ground significantly, and he sees a future where those divisions will amount to a more substantial figure.
“From the beginning I wanted to build a business that would provide 24-hour service, seven days a week, and to offer a higher level of service,” Giglio says.
He immediately focused on the residential market and has stuck to that path, with 95 percent of the company’s business in home services.
Today, his company serves about a 25-mile radius going into several adjoining counties. With two technicians always on call, they are able to respond to emergencies within minutes at any time of day or night.
Having just opened his business when 9/11 hit, Giglio wasn’t sure how things would sort out. It was a troublesome time, but they worked through it and moved on, and began the march to growth while some competitors had to downsize.
By its fifth year the company had expanded to eight employees. Even though the country was poised for an economic downturn, there were bigger things ahead for the company. They weathered the economic downturn and the service business continued.
“Our customers still needed plumbing services,” he says, adding he had been careful to not overspend, and was able to continue running the business and providing excellent service.
Pipe Works Services really took off between 2012 and 2016, doubling in growth and adding jetting and relining to the package.
The company hit its stride when it added a truck fully outfitted with Perma-Liner equipment and moved into CIPP lining. The vehicle is designed to carry all materials — a complete package for the company.
“Perma-Liner helped us with everything,” Giglio says. “Sales, marketing, training — it is a great company.
“We do a lot of research with the manufacturers we want to partner with. Perma-Liner gave excellent training. We had them at our facility for five days to learn, which we were happy to pay for. But they offer training at their facility in Florida continually. Their training won me over.
“There are a lot of unknowns when you excavate to replace lines. Some are difficult to overcome as you find things in the earth, like underground utilities not marked properly by utility authorities. We wanted another way to replace a homeowner’s lines without excavation. I cannot say enough about Perma-Liner.”
Pipe Works does a lot of work in older neighborhoods, and the team sees a lot of old cast iron, clay and Orangeburg pipe. Most homes they deal with were built in the 1940s and ’50s, and they have well-established lawns and trees, which makes excavation a difficult solution.
“Pipes may be corroded, falling apart, rotted and with root infiltration,” Giglio says.
Giglio says these old pipes can typically be lined, even if they’re in bad condition.
“As long as the hole is there … we can line it. Even with a break in the line, or if it is collapsed, if you can jet it and clear it, the liner can pass through. Once you reline the pipe that liner is as strong, if not stronger than the original pipe.”
Giglio has four technicians specifically trained for this work.
“It is a technical process. A lot of calculation is required to line the pipe.”
He says it took his people three to four months before he felt completely comfortable with the actual work in the field.
From the startup, they had customers opting for relining, and there were no problems on the projects. He says the typical length of a lateral line in the area is 60 to 70 feet, and all they need is an accessible clean-out from inside the house, or they will dig a small hole just outside the house and shoot the liner. This saves their customer money and preserves the outside appearance of the home.
Lining isn’t the only reason for the company’s growth. Jetting has also been a huge part of the company’s success.
“We are proud of our 2016 Isuzu jetting truck. It is a cab-over-chassis with a Hackney box on the back,” Giglio says. “The jetter (US Jetting) is mounted inside the truck, and offers 3,000 psi/12 gpm. There is a side door and the jetter is wheeled out. There is no tow-behind trailer. With any kind of drain cleaning, the jetter is there to meet the additional needs of the consumer.
“It is a great way to clear the drain — scrub the lines clean again.”
All these services are helping in his quest to be a one-stop shop that meets all the needs of its customers. Part of that quest is proper diagnosis.
“Sending the camera down the line, it’s like going to the doctor and taking care of your health. Obviously medical issues are more complicated, but we need to take care of our bodies. It is like cholesterol in the arteries, and sending in a camera to see what is going on.”
Giglio says that with the company’s extensive stable of equipment and long list of services, other plumbing firms frequently call them in as a subcontractor.
“We do a lot of this,” he says. “Our trucks are all heavily logoed, but it’s never a concern. In fact, we really pride ourselves on the design of our trucks.”
Having the equipment to handle all their own work has been positive, as they don’t find it necessary to bring in subcontractors that might not meet their quality expectations.
There are 12 service technicians with Pipe Works, and then there are those they call “underground experts.” These are the fellows who go out and evaluate the situation after a technician has televised a line and found root infiltration or structural issues.
There are four underground experts who typically arrive on the job site in Ford Transits outfitted with RIDGID cameras and locators. Their job is to find the right solution. They consider the depth of the line, the situation with landscaping, and determine the costs, logistics and ultimately the most appropriate way to solve the problem.
“I’m very fortunate because of the people I have surrounded myself with — core people from the start. Michael Tapia, my service manager, has 12 years with us. Kevin Jensen, production manager, has been with us 14 years.”
The company’s 12 service vans are a mix of GMC, Chevrolet and Dodge, some with Hackney bodies. They partner with several manufacturers for co-op dollars and include those logos on the vehicles. They work with Lennox, Kohler, GROHE and Viega.
“We also partner with Dr. Energy Saver out of Connecticut. They offer systems we install for our energy division. We work closely with them and they with us. It is a fabulous partnership.”
Giglio says during the downturn in the economy, they promoted their company by starting a coupon program that went out to their customers. The coupons offered savings with no expiration date.
“Those coupons were a great value to the customer and to us,” he says. “They were dated 2007 and 2008, and we still are getting calls using that same coupon. Something unbelievable — they had a very long shelf life.”
He believes one of the smart things he did from the beginning was establish a high level of service, and he attributes the regular meetings and training sessions with keeping his technicians in that same mode.
There is a management staff meeting every Tuesday at 9 a.m. where they discuss any problems or challenges. Then the technicians meet every Wednesday morning for an hour and a half to train and discuss issues.
He has also set up a call center, with three staff members handling the myriad of customer calls, dealing with scheduling and getting everything properly coordinated.
Finding qualified plumbers/technicians has taken an interesting turn since he opened the company, and not for the good.
“It isn’t a problem for a technician to do both plumbing and drain cleaning. The problem is finding anyone who can come with the experience it takes. When we started in 2000 it was easy to find people, but today it is difficult and it is a big hurdle for us to overcome. Back then you could hire someone with the work experience. Now, viable workers are 55 and 60 years old — it is a challenge.
“There is no real training available. A true training is working in the field. That is the experience it takes.”
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