Raul Rodriguez, who founded Power Pro Plumbing in Southern California in 2002, sees his business first and foremost as a vehicle for making life better for everyone they encounter, from customers to employees.
Here’s how Rodriguez sums up his core values as he shepherds Power Pro Plumbing Heating & Air through its third decade: “Helping and serving the community.”
Make no mistake, Power Pro is successful. Based in Long Beach, its service area includes Los Angeles County, Orange County, and parts of the Inland Empire. But that’s not what Rodriguez wants to stress.
“We strongly believe in the three wins,” Rodriguez said. “The employee, the customer and the business. All three have to win.
“You just feel that helpful mentality. You help somebody, and then they pay it forward.”
That’s what happened for him, when he got a chance from a plumbing company in the 1980s, an opportunity that launched him to where he is today.
As part of his plan for paying it forward, Rodriguez did what someone did for him: hires good people, then trains them.
More than that, though, Rodriguez emphasizes a work-life-balance for every employee and displays an attitude that puts others first.
“I represent what opportunity looks like,” he said. “What the helper looks like, what the plumbers look like, what the careers look like, what the trades look like. And to me that's important.”
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Rodriguez grew up working at farms near Oxnard, 60-some miles northwest of Los Angeles. He moved to the city and in 1988 settled into a plumbing job for new construction. He found barriers to advancement, and to starting his own business.
“Being Hispanic, some didn’t want me in the industry,” he said. “They basically said, ‘If you want to come, we don't want you here. But you can do drains, right?’”
“I can do whatever; I’m just looking for an opportunity.”
Doing drains became the opportunity that led to his belief that his work could make a difference. He grew from working drains to becoming a plumber’s helper to a plumber to a supervisor to a manager.
By the mid-1990s, Rodriguez said he felt the industry growing, and becoming more accepting. At that time, he realized customers could see the value he brought, and that he could be of service.
In 2002, he founded Power Pro Plumbing, and he’s proud to say that some of the people present for the opening still work for him.
“That is very nice,” he said.
Rodriguez has a unique view of the idea of service. He feels that good people look at themselves while great people are focused on others.
“If you want to be great,” he said, “you have to help others.”
In the trades, that means being professional in every way. Taking care of people as well as pipes. Doing sterling work. Generating loyalty. Teaching and training to help the team grow. Accepting profits, but putting people over profit. Basically building a community around a business.
“Being the company that helps people,” he said. “We want to make money, but do it from that ‘help’ angle. Even if it takes a little longer, or it's a little more work. We're OK with that.”
Using ServiceTitan to serve customers
Power Pro’s software is ServiceTitan and its cloud-based, all-in-one approach. That software facilitates Rodriguez’s service-based philosophy through the information it provides customers, including pictures of past and present jobs, and complete explanations of work proposed and completed.
“Being able to connect with the customer easily, it becomes easy to do it through ServiceTitan” Rodriguez said. “When you go to a job and look at the history, everything is there, right?
“It’s streamlined. I think that’s one of the things from a tech perspective. It’s so easy to show and explain to the customer. Instead of ‘tell you,’ let me ‘show you.’’’
ServiceTitan also offers the consistency that Rodriguez wants to bring to his customers.
“This is who we are, this is what we do, and this is how we do it,” he said. “For a consistent process and growth … absolutely yes, it’s a game changer.”
Ask Rodriguez what he’s proudest of with his business, and he answers humbly, “I would say to be able to help and develop people and be around the company that cares to do what's right and project it through its people,” he said. “Be able to project the Power Pro approach through people and in the process help and develop people and relationships, and help the industry.
“That could be it. That could be.”