Chris Swenson: Okay, so I’ll just go back over the basics. I’ve been in the group nine years, now.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Wow.
Chris Swenson: Next year’s going to be my tenth year.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Wow. That’s great.
Chris Swenson: I can’t believe I made it this long, without these guys kicking me out. Wow, you laughed along with that. So, okay, I’m basically going to go over everything I do. And my experience, and everything. I’ve been a plumber, since I was 18 years old. So, over 20 years. I won’t say exactly how long that is. My dad is a plumber, my brother’s a plumber. So, I grew up in the industry.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Wow.
Chris Swenson: So, I pretty much trained under. Most repair plumbers you call out, most of the time, they only trained about a year, in a truck, only to do repair. Since I started, when I was about 17, I didn’t want my own truck, within a year. I just wanted to be young, and have fun, and have somebody close to me. So, I trained, actually, for six years under different plumbers, because I didn’t need a lot of money. I just wanted to have a good time, back then. I’m probably still that way.
So, yeah, I’ve got a lot of experience. Pretty much have built the brand new tract housing I’ve done. I’ve done high-rise work. All forms of repair work. That’s what I really like to do, is be a repair plumber, going to three or four different locations a day, fixing problems. It’s a lot less work, more money. So, we got through that. Oh, areas worked. I have a pretty good work area. I work about 50 miles from Huntington Beach. So, I’ll go all the way to LAX, all the way out to Pomona, for riverside areas. And then, I’ll go all the way down to maybe Alisa Viejo, Mission Viejo. So, I got a really big
Boy, you guys are a long ways from the freeway. So, yeah, I got a big work area. So, no problem. I go about 55, 60 miles. If it’s a big job, I’ll go up to 100 miles. I try not to go that far, with gas four dollars a gallon. So, mostly, I do repair work. I do some remodels. And then, every now and then, we’ll have a customer, I’ll do a custom house. Me and my brother, I’ll call my brother, and we’ll do a custom house for people.
This is some of the stuff I do. A full draining cleaning service. Three different kinds of sewer machines: a little small one for your bathroom sinks, a medium sized one for kitchen sinks, two inch drain lines. What it is, is that actually sends a cable into the drain line, and cuts all the debris out. Kind of, like, you go to Dr. Mark, and they scrape your teeth. Kind of the same premise.
Chris Swenson: So, a lot of people ask me, “Can I just pour some Draino or something down the drain to clear my drains?” It’d be, like, using mouthwash to clean your teeth, every six months. Really not going to work. But they make millions of dollars off of mouthwash, and drain cleaner.
Me and Dr. Mark should’ve got in that business. Big mistake on our part. Just last year, I just bought camera equipment. I’ve got $10,000 worth of camera equipment, and locating. So, if I come out, and find out you have a problem with your sewer line, we can actually put a camera in it, kind of, like, a colonoscopy. Put it on a video screen.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Big screen. With a snake, too.
Chris Swenson: It does. It’s a little crappy in there, let me tell you.
Business Growth Innovators Member: No pun intended, huh? All right.
Chris Swenson: I also do water heater installation. And I do take those water heaters, but I really don’t like them. The house wasn’t designed for it. Brand new houses, newer houses, they’re a little bit more designed for it. A lot of people are into the tankless water heaters, going to cost you about four times as much. So, once I quote prices on that, a lot of people are not that into it. I also do small jobs, installation of sinks, toilets and garbage disposals. Any of that kind of stuff. Anything to do, with anything that water comes out of or water goes into. Potable water.
I do copper re-piping, and repair of copper water piping. And that’s inside the house. Outside, we sometimes use PVC piping, for fresh water systems. That’s only allowed inside [sic]. Inside, is only copper plumbing. Right now, they have this PEX piping, this new plastic piping they’re putting in residential houses. A lot of plumbers are starting to use that. I won’t do that. For my customers, I only do what I would only do in my own house.
So, they’ve been trying to come out with plastic piping for houses, for 35 years. Usually the companies last about ten years, before the lawsuits start up, and they shut them down. Because the piping breaks, and causes a bunch of damage. And homeowners ain’t going to put up with it. Got that off. Leak detection, I really love to do leak detection, and slab leak detection.
It’s really prevalent, all over Orange County, where you’ll find your carpets wet or your cabinets start getting wet. There’ll be a big copper line underneath your concrete, and it’ll spring a little pinhole leak. And after a couple weeks, it’ll start coming out. That’s the good thing about copper plumbing, rather than the PEX plumbing, the PEX is the plastic, is copper plumbing, when it leaks, it’ll pop a little, tiny pinhole in it. And it’ll give you time to find the leak, before it destroys a big area. This plastic piping, when it breaks, it’ll split in two, and dump about 150 gallons, in an hour. So, you find the leak pretty fast.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah.
Chris Swenson: But it destroys your house pretty fast, too.
Business Growth Innovators Member: You don’t need a leak detection.
Chris Swenson: Oh, yeah, a lot of people don’t know this, plumbers, we do natural gas piping. All natural gas piping is installed by plumbers. On your gas meter, the left side, belongs to the gas company. I can’t touch it. Everything that comes out of the right side of the gas meter, is your responsibility as a business owner or as a home owner. Everybody calls the gas company, when they smell a gas leak. And the first thing the gas company comes down, is shuts off your gas, and locks it up. I love that. So, then, they tell you, call us, “Call a plumber.” Actually, I have two gas guys, right now, within the last year, who came out and saw my work. And I gave them cards, because they liked my work so much. And now, they’re handing out my card. They’re not supposed to do that. They say, “I use this guy on my house, but I can’t really recommend him.” But it’s been great work. Pretty happy about that.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah. I think so.
Chris Swenson: I deal with low water pressure issues. Rusty water issues. And sewer line repair. And then, let’s see what else? Oh, I wanted to just tell a lot of people here, about something new I’ve just gotten into, in the last year. The reviews — I’ve been on the Internet for about three years. Sean (sp) helped me get into that. Wow, that’s a really expensive endeavor to get started with. But once it gets going, Sean promised me it would pay itself off. And I got to say, he was totally correct, times ten.
I would totally recommend you guys really try to get into Yelp reviews, and Google reviews. It’s, actually, transforming my company, right now. And it seems like people are really into reviews, rather, the pricing. People want to make sure that they’re getting good quality for the money they are spending. And Yelp is becoming outstanding. The women of the world love Yelp. And women, pretty much, hire me most of the time. The women control the house for me.
Business Growth Innovators Member: That’s right.
Chris Swenson: Okay. I want to open up for questions. Pat?
Business Growth Innovators Member: I asked Carl before, some of the homes, their pressure’s, like, 80 PSI. What about things like that?
Chris Swenson: Yeah, we install a pressure regulator, where the hot water’s coming into the house. And then, get it down to about 60 pounds. You want it between 50 and 60 pounds. It can go up to 80, 90, all the way to 120. It just causes more leaks.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Yeah.
Chris Swenson: You’ve got great water pressure, but more leaks, too. So, we get that fixed. About $300 to get a pressure regulator installed, with a new valve.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Hi Chris, what about some of the new water saving regulations, that are going to be coming into place?
Chris Swenson: Oh, yeah, it’s going to be great for plumbers. We’re pretty excited about that.
Business Growth Innovators Member: We’re working.
Chris Swenson: Yeah, now, the Democrats are controlling Sacramento, we got all these regulations coming down, as far as the water heaters. So, now, water heaters used to last 20 years. Now, we’re lucky if we get five to six years out of the heater.
Business Growth Innovators Member: Oh, gosh.
Chris Swenson: I put a water heater in my own house. And I had to fix it, under warranty, within two years. And then, after five years, it broke again. And I just threw it away. So, I just tell my customers, “After five years, just plan on replacing your water heater.” Because there’s so many electronics, with the emissions, now. And it’s only LA, Orange County, and San Bernardino that’s doing it. So lucky us.
Business Growth Innovators Member: I have more questions.
Chris Swenson: More questions?
Business Growth Innovators Member: Chris. See him after the meeting. What things do you do? Is there anything you, really, can’t do?
Chris Swenson: As far as plumbing, as far as water, sewer and gas, I pretty much can do everything.