Feb 2017 Pros of the Month: Robert & Kelli Frank

Posted by Spartan Tool on Feb 06, 2017

Spartan Tool takes pride in the many businesses with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working since we opened our doors in 1943. We are honored to support plumbers and drain cleaners with our finely-crafted, professional grade equipment.

Join us every month as we highlight customers who have become part of our Spartan Tool family in our Pro of the Month Series.

This month our “Pros of the Month” are Robert and Kelli Frank and Four Star Plumbing in South Orange County, CA. We talked to Kelli about the business that her husband started over 24 years ago. He ran the business for many years as an owner-operator with just one tech. His business model was based on being the most honest and hardworking, highly-skilled plumber his customers could ever want. He saw that need was not being met in the community, and knew he could provide that type of service.

Robert & Kelli Frank

Four Star Plumbing Team

Based on these principles, Robert provided outstanding service to his customers, and his business began to grow. As the business continued to be successful, Robert knew his business could grow even more if he had the right people in place. Before they were even married, Robert and Kelli spent about 4 years discussing their goals for the future of the business, and how they might achieve those goals.

Kelli has extensive experience in marketing, sales, and management. She knew that her husband was an honest, hardworking, and compassionate person of high integrity, and representing his standards and abilities provided a perfect fit for her skills. They knew that by combining their strengths, the business could flourish. So Kelli left her job in the legal industry to come on board as Vice President and partner in Four Star Plumbing.

Today they have a brand new building which will allow them to continue to grow and offer expanded services to their customers. They offer 24-hour emergency service that provides a technician on the job site within 1 hour, if not sooner. Kelli’s earlier jobs in the legal industry made her realize how important it is to provide clear, comprehensive information to the property owner – particularly in cases of a property manager or owner who is not on-site at the time of the problem. “When someone is offsite, they don’t know what work or damage has been done. They don’t have ‘eyes on the ground’.”

Four Star Plumbing provides those “eyes on the ground” in multiple ways. They use technology to keep detailed records of every job that has been done for each customer. They document every inspection, every repair, how it was done, what it looked like when the technician got there, and what it looked like when they left. If there is water damage, they call the property owner immediately to let them know the extent of the damage. They send immediate status updates to the off-site property owners so they aren’t waiting and wondering about the problem. They also let them know if further work is necessary.

They use their inspection cameras to show the owner in real time the state of the inside of their pipes. Without Four Star Plumbing technicians, customers don’t know what current or potential problems may exist in their pipes. Four Star Plumbing then uses thumb drives to provide the customer with a record of the progression or regression of their pipe issues. These thumb drives are also used as part of the customer’s record.

A large part of the success of the business has been making sure that all aspects of the business are up to the high standards Robert set when he initially founded the company. Every call is answered live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company utilizes a call center for the after-hours calls, and there is a detailed script that ensures the customer feels confident in the technician that will be attending to their problem. Additionally, they have specific procedures for every aspect of the job process, from walking up to a customer’s door, what work procedures are done for an HOA vs. a personal homeowner, to how to document that work.

As with many people in this industry, Kelli and her husband know that the growth of their business is largely based on hiring the right type of employees. They look for people who are self-starters, with qualities such as honesty, integrity, and a good work ethic. They know that they can train someone in the skills needed to be a great plumber, but the other qualities are difficult to teach. They created an apprenticeship program for people who have these qualities and are looking for a solid career with a good income. The experts at Four Star Plumbing teach them everything from the ground up, and they are put through a rigorous and extensive training curriculum before they are ever allowed to even ride along in a truck. Their motto is “Hire on character, and train the skills”.

Four Star Plumbing now has 8 employees and is looking to hire 3 more. They have a very extensive job application that asks specific questions about the qualities outlined above. For those who have those qualities, a strong work ethic and are dependable, Four Star Plumbing offers outstanding benefits and opportunities for their employees. Those employees are dedicated to the company, with many employees being there between 3 and 6 years.

Overall, Kelli and Robert want to make sure that their employees provide customer service based on Robert’s original vision of high quality workmanship and compassion toward people. Their goal is “to gain and retain customers for life, not just for the dollar.”

Part of providing top quality service to their customers means staying abreast of the latest and greatest in plumbing technology and equipment. For this, Four Star Plumbing turns to their Spartan Territory Manager Phillip March to keep them informed of the newest technology Spartan provides. Philip’s product knowledge along with his ability to train Four Star Plumbing’s staff on these advances proves to be a contributor for allowing Four Star Pluming to stay on the cutting edge of plumbing technology.

Please join us in celebrating Robert and Kelli and Four Star Plumbing for the fantastic growth and service they have achieved. We look forward to helping them continue to grow in the future!

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