Note: The following questions and answers are a summary of a phone interview done with Rupasi Banerjee, the chief financial officer of Plumbing Care
Plumbing Care and the challenges of scaling a plumbing business
Plumbing Care is a family-owned residential and commercial plumbing provider based in San Ramon, California. Martin Arnaudov and Rupa Banerjee founded the company in 2012, and it expanded quickly since then. Usually, Martin handles the fieldwork, acquires new customers, and supervises the crew, whereas Rupa manages the back office.
“Keeping the back office of a growing business running smoothly can get very stressful. For one, handling Human Resources is a full-time job in itself. The person handling the HR needs to perform duties such as recruiting, running the payroll, and making sure that customers are always satisfied by the quality of our service,” said Rupa.
“They also need to see to it that their best employees are retained.” Executing all of these responsibilities in conjunction with her other duties, Rupa found herself trapped under mounds of paperwork. “I was under extreme stress, experiencing a terrible quality of life.”
Furthermore, she often found her new recruits to be lacking work ethic. “Some of them had a bad attitude, whereas some just wouldn’t show up to the job site on time.” Letting them go and starting from square one would pose a new financial burden to Plumbing Care. And so, Rupa had to continue working with these workers nonetheless.
She was almost on the verge of quitting due to the stress when she decided to give Workyard a shot. “At first, the fees seemed like a lot. But considering the amount of hassle it saved, it could just be accounted for as the cost of doing business.”
The workers that Plumbing Care hired through Workyard
Plumbing Care has already hired three mid-level plumbing technicians through Workyard. “The skillset we require from residential plumbers is very different from that needed from commercial ones,” said Rupa. “We don’t care if they can read blueprints. But, we do need them to be critical thinkers who can diagnose problems quickly and effectively. For example, we would want them to figure out and fix vague problems such as ‘why are the client’s faucets dispensing gooey water only after 6 pm?’. Moreover, we need our workers to be enthusiastic and motivated. We need someone who can take the initiative, work independently, and possesses the soft skills to assure clients that they are in good hands.”
Needless to say, these skillsets are almost impossible to gauge from a resume. Many times, Rupa would hire someone who had a great resume, but sadly, they turned out to be utterly incompetent on the field. To vet these intangible skills, it often takes a specialized recruiter.
Rupa enjoys working with her account manager from Workyard, Bill Lim. “I value integrity over skills, as it’s not something you can teach a worker overnight. I need plumbers who leverage criticism constructively instead of snapping back at us for every mistake we point out. Bill understands this and has sent me the best workers so far.”
Does Workyard make your human resources operations for workers easier? How so?
As of today, Plumbing Care has been with Workyard for two years. By now, they are comfortable enough to let Workyard handle their staffing completely.
“The first six months of a new hire’s employment are the most volatile. These are also the hardest months, full of hurdles. Building mutual trust between the employer and the employee takes time. But thankfully, Workyard takes care of the HR matters during this period, which relieves us from the burden. Over this period of six months, our workers get acquainted with our personality and vice versa, and we are ready to transition them to our books. “
What could we improve about the service? Is anything missing?
“Sometimes, Plumbing Care needs workers on an urgent basis. If there is any way you can speed up interviewing even further, that would be great,” said Rupa.
We at Workyard always welcome customer feedback. We implement it to continue improving our services and make our clients’ lives easier. We are acting upon this feedback by expanding our digital marketing outreach so that we get in touch with a higher number of qualified workers in a shorter time period.