Q 1. Please give our readers a brief introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
A. Babe’s Plumbing, Inc. & Fire Sprinklers is a family owned and operated full service plumbing and fire sprinkler company, in business since 1957. Our company strives to provide quality work to our customers with the intention of creating a loyal relationship for all of their plumbing needs. From commercial and residential new construction and remodel work, to plumbing service needs, as well as commercial, industrial and residential fire sprinkler installation, inspection and repair, Babe’s offers an array of services for whatever the customers’ needs may be. In 2015 we moved from our original location on the island of Venice, to the Triple Diamond Plaza in Nokomis. We have an additional office in Boca Grande, FL to better serve the island community to our south.
Q 2.Please give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I am the second generation of this family owned company. My father, MM “Babe” Dalton, who is the namesake, had me counting inventory from the time I was in the first grade. By twelve years old, I had a summer job working in the field doing rough-ins on jobsites. My official employment in the family business began when I graduated high school in June of 1973. At that time I had a high school education, which included 2 years of building construction courses I took through Suncoast Technical College, called Vo-Tech at the time. From there I continued learning through on-the-job training and continuing education. I went on to earn my Master Plumber’s and Class 1 Fire licenses, as well as being licensed in LP Gas, Medical Gas, and earning my backflow preventer certification.
Q 3.What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
A. One of the biggest changes to the company that came to be, was the inclusion of the third generation into the management of the company. I have three sons, who manage different divisions within the one company. By bringing them into the management positions, we’ve been able to create a solid foundation for the third generation to be as or more successful as the second generation. Only 12% of family business operate into the third generation, this inspired me to bring about changes to ensure our success so that we are part of the 12%.
Q 4.What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A. The advice I would offer to budding entrepreneurs is first and foremost, keep a good thumb on your cost and profit. Never be taken off guard by what it is costing you to run your business or by what you are making from your business. Second, I would say, treat your employees well. The people on your front lines that are making connections with your customers and representing your business in public, need to be well taken care of by you so their work and attitude reflects such, And finally, follow through on your word. If you say you will be somewhere, get there. If you make a promise, keep it. This applies to employees and customers alike.
Q 5.What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. To be a successful entrepreneur, one needs to be both financially stable and financially savvy. Being able to control your money and not having money control you is an important skill. Additionally, having good people skills is important for making connections to your employees, your customers, and other entrepreneurs and businesses in your area. Integrity is another skill that is necessary. Being dependable, honest, and doing the right thing will take you a long way in business and in life.
Q 6.How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. On average, I work 12 hours a day. There are times and seasons where this number is higher, but 12 hours is average.
Q 7.To what do you most attribute your success?
A. The teaching and training I received from my father is what I most attribute my success to. He showed me that being a business-man means hard work in the field and in the office. He taught me that making connections with community members and people in other trades, such as banking, accounting, and related fields to plumbing, can make or break your business. He was also an example to me for treating employees like family.
Q 8.Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. Personally, in that time frame I see myself working less hours as I work to transition the business into the hands of my sons. For the business, doubling in size in that time frame would be a goal in the next 5-10 years.
Q 9.How do you market your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. Our signature green trucks where our initial marketing campaign at the conception of the business. Brand recognition and awareness has been a very successful marketing strategy for us and due to our longevity in the area, our brand recognition is strong. Keeping our brand in front of the eyes of potential and current customers means that when the need arises, we will be the company they reach out to. Customer referrals and word of mouth marketing have also been big successes for us and we attribute that you providing professional, quality work, every time.
Business name: Babe’s Plumbing Inc. & Fire Sprinklers
Address: 301 Park Ave, Boca Grande, Florida, 33921