O Connor Plumbing: builds on its customer base

Most successful contractors reach a tipping point when they have to decide whether they are satisfied with their achievements or continue growing. Tom O Connor Plumbing chose the latter.

O’Connor has expanded the services and increased the size of his company over the past 10 years. Thomas N. O’Connor Plumbing and Heating is located in Germantown, Maryland.

This move has brought in big rewards. O Connor Plumbing has grown from a small company that specialised in plumbing for residential and commercial projects, to a larger firm that includes drain cleaning and commercial O’Connor Plumbing services. The company has grown to include 20 service vehicles and a fleet of trailer-mounted water jetters as well as portable drain cleaning machines. It employs 135 employees and operates throughout the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metro area.

Two factors were the catalyst for growth. The company hired Ron Saul, a former Washington Redskins player and sales rep, to generate commercial service work. O’Connor says, “That really helped our company a lot.” “He had a lot of great relationships in the area.” Secondly, the company leveraged its existing customer base for renovation/remodelling work to generate service work.

He says that the company is always open to new opportunities to help it grow. If you have a relationship with a company that plans to do a renovation, and you like the services you provide, they will give you the chance to bid for the work. We thought it would be a great way to grow our business by offering more services.

Deep O Connor Plumbing Roots

O’Connor’s father George started a small plumbing service business in 1949 that repaired boilers and did minor repairs. O’Connor began working full-time for his father in 1959, and he continued this for nearly two decades.

O’Connor started a small plumbing and heating business in 1976 that served mostly commercial customers. After one of O’Connor’s sons, Tommy, graduated from high school and came on board, the company started installing new O Connor Plumbing for commercial-remodeling projects. The firm was hired by O’Connor Plumbing to complete a three-year-old hospital renovation. This marked a turning point. O’Connor claims that the company grew to six to seven employees during this period. He notes that the hospital liked the work he did.

Kevin O’Connor, O’Connor’s son and a graduate of the University of Maryland’s business program, joined the company just as the project was over. Tommy and Kevin O’Connor are prominent members of the company today. Kevin is chief financial officer, while Tommy is chief production officer and master plumber.

O’Connor says, “Then, we moved into apartment renovations. This involved waste and vent lines as well as replacing and adding fixtures, and replacing cold- and hot-water lines.” Some of these jobs were very large, with buildings that could house up to 300 apartments.