Plumber Mike Etheridge on Why He Uses an Answering Service

Answering for ABS Plumbing and Heating

What’s the name of your business?mike-etheridge-alliance-wireless-communications

ABS Plumbing and Heating.

How long have you had ABS Plumbing?

15-20 years. Time flies.

How long have you been a plumber?

Since I was 16, a long time.

Why do you do what you do? What do you enjoy about being a plumber in Kingston?

I like what I do. It’s a challenge. It’s always a different day and a different place. This place here (Alliance Wireless headquarters), I do work here too. You can go from one side of the city (Kingston) to the other, you’re never in the same spot. You’re always traveling around town. Sometimes I go out of town but not too often. I like to try and stay local if I can.

What motivates you?

Just the work itself I guess. You know, different challenges you have. Sometimes they’re a lot harder than others. Depends on what you’re fixing, what you’re repairing.

What are some of the challenges you face with your job?

Plugged sewers are always a bit of a challenge. You get tree roots in them. I actually just did one a few nights ago and she called me up – she’s a regular customer. She called me and said the toilets are backing up and I put 70 feet of cable down to bring the tree root back but the blockage was on the city property.

Then there are leaks that come through the ceiling and you’ve got to locate them of course and cut the ceilings open.

There’s tap repairs, frozen pipes in the winters, split pipes. I don’t do new construction, I just do service. It keeps me pretty busy.

It seems it’s something different every time, you can get called in for small jobs and they can turn into something much bigger?

Sometimes, depending on what it is. This one lady called me in for a pin hole in a pipe and it was the old plastic water pipe and we ended up having to replace everything. Everything kept going every time you touched it, it would snap like a dead twig.

A lot of the buildings in Kingston that you’re working on have been around for a long time.

Yes. So then you’ve got the old cast iron or the old iron pipes or galvanized water pipes. Again it’s a challenge. You’ve got to get it up to the second floor. You’ve got a job ahead of you to just remove the old stuff and get the new stuff in there.

What were some of the challenges you faced before hiring an answering service?

I’ve always had an answering service. Otherwise, you’ve got to pay for a secretary to answer the phone. Before Alliance, I was with Message Network and there was only two (answering services) in town at the time: Alliance and Message Network. So when Message Network closed they were going to transfer me to Ottawa and they were going to work out of Ottawa. Alliance gave me a local number.

Are there any things we’ve (Alliance Wireless) been able to help you with?

I get lots of good feedback from my customers saying that you guys are pretty good on the other end of the phones. It’s nice to talk to a live person, as opposed to a lot of companies they just say: “leave a message and we’ll get back to you.”

That makes a big difference when someone can talk to a live person. In that way, you guys have been a big help.

People call me and you guys text it out to my phone and away we go from there.

My job…it’s all I’ve done, I’ve done nothing else.

Well you enjoy it, you’ve been doing it as long as you have so you must.

Some of the other challenges would be like taking hot water tanks out of basements when there’s only a little crawl space. I did two not too long ago and it was just crazy. She wanted them both changed and it’s a bit of a nightmare when you can’t stand up and the tanks just barely fit in there. This was an older home, one was hers and the other was the apartment down below. So you just never know. One of them we couldn’t get it out, they’d built everything around it. So, that’s there forever…until they knock the house down I guess.

ABS “Always Best Service” ABS Plumbing & Heating has been operating in Kingston and area for 20 years. Owner and Master Plumber Michael Etheridge has 30 years experience in residential & commercial work. Call (613)541-3111

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