Plumbing, Marketing, Business Tips, Success Story

‘It’s sexy to be in the trades’: Why Matt LaMartina is bullish on his company, and on the future

Pat McManamon
July 9th, 2024
4 Min Read

Matt LaMartina is bullish on his profession.

“It’s so sexy to be in the trades,” the president of Tony LaMartina Plumbing in St. Louis said. “You've got all sorts of awesome companies that are talking about these incredible advancements like artificial intelligence and being able to use that and see how it affects customer engagement.

“It's such an awesome place to be. And we're now starting to see a lot of the younger generation, like the Zoomers, embrace skilled trades.”

He then borrowed a moniker from the Wall Street Journal, saying the younger generation is “almost becoming the tool belt generation.”

Not that there are no challenges to face, and overcome. LaMartina Plumbing is well aware of that truth as well. But its path is an example of finding success during challenging times.

Business in the trades exploded during Covid shutdowns, as people stuck at home realized they needed to upgrade or replace their systems. With the country back to normal, the emphasis seems to be flowing more to repair and upkeep.

But that has not stopped LaMartina, a well-respected business in the St. Louis metropolitan area that was founded in 1982. LaMartina now has 13 trucks, with two more on order as he tries to keep up with demand.

Truly a family business

Matt is the fourth generation of the LaMartina family to work in plumbing. Vincenzo LaMartina immigrated to St. Louis from Italy in the early 1900s. Vincenzo and his brother worked for several plumbers, usually digging trenches or moving heavy fixtures. His son Jim started a plumbing business in the ‘50s. His son Tony started what is now LaMartina Plumbing in 1982. His son Matt joined in 2013.

The business relies on ServiceTitan, the cloud-based software for the trades, and uses GoodLeap, one offering in the integrated financing feature of ServiceTitan.

LaMartina’s first-quarter forecast was for $900,000 in business, but before the quarter ended the company had topped $1 million. 

“We’re definitely on that aggressive growth path, and I’m pretty excited,” Matt said.

Aggressive means that Matt’s goal is to be at $10 million by 2028, which he communicates with his team.

“It allows us to take a look and see that's the top of the mountain,” Matt said. “And it also allows us to rise above some of the daily minutiae that we find ourselves churning in and helps us prioritize. ‘Is this an action, a behavior that's going to help us get to the next level? Or are we going to die on the hill of busy work?’”

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The three-legged stool of success

Matt said that LaMartina Plumbing is supported by a three-legged stool: marketing, an active and engaged call center, and a positive customer experience. The foundation for all three is the brand and reputation awareness LaMartina has built with more than 40 years of quality work.

Matt addressed his approach for each leg of the stool:

  • Marketing

Marketing means preparation -- being ready for what may come. And not shying away from pushing forward if or when things get tough. He said those are keys to carrying 2024’s success into 2025.

“It’s making sure that we've got our marketing dialed in, we're ready with some campaigns, we're ready with our digital content and prints and we've got these strategies in place so that we can continue to drive that business,” he said.

“I don't think that we can afford to pull back.”

  • Call center

LaMartina has put a lot of work and energy into training staff so they best address and convert opportunities, and best identify needs and address them in an understanding and supportive way. Along with that comes the effort to ensure no calls are missed.

“It's all about really engaging with customers at a really high level and making it so that they immediately understand the value from the very first touch point,” Matt said.

  • Customer experience

This emphasis stems from LaMartina’s history. The most recent effort focuses on ensuring the same positive experience from the call center flows into the work itself.

“We really invested a lot in the first quarter of 2024 to help us not just identify the opportunities in the house, but also train up our field staff so that we're able to get to a job and then identify those replacement opportunities, and then act on them quickly,” LaMartina said. “That way, we can get that water heater replaced the next day or get that sewer line replaced or cleaned out, whatever it might be.”

Combine these principles with attention to detail on pricing, and LaMartina feels growth will follow.

“I mean,” Matt said, “this is an awesome time to be in the trades.”

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