Fritz Plumbing and Air LP
- Written by: Will Bleakley
- Produced by: Chuck McKenna
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Fritz Plumbing and Air LP (FPA) has been serving the region surrounding Frisco, Texas, since 1982. It was founded and originally run by Sam Fritz, but the majority of the work of late has fallen to Thomas Fritz, Sam’s son and the company’s general manager. Throughout two generations of leadership FPA has become established as a leading plumbing and utility contractor in the Dallas region by focusing on the customer’s needs, and sticking to the philosophy of quality, customer-minded service set at the company’s founding.
Utilizing a Better Form of Advertising
“What has set us apart from our competition is the motto that’s been carried on over the years, which is ‘We take care of the customer regardless of what it costs,'” says Thomas. “Even if it ends up costing the company a little bit of money to take care of the customer, we’ve always done so.”
While many companies claim to have great customer service, FPA takes the approach seriously by often putting more money into a project than necessary in the hope it will pay off in the long term through repeat customers.
What’s more effective, a billboard, or a close business associate saying that FPA went out of it’s its way to serve the client and project’s needs? To FPA, the answer is clearly the latter. “Referrals is the best marketing tool out there, so that’s basically what we have relied on, we don’t do a whole lot of advertising. Every customer we have has been referred to us by a previous customer,” says Thomas.
Because of this repeat business, FPA is able to employ around 20 employees, and generate $7 million in annual revenue (still a substantial amount, although that number was up at $12 million in 2008 prior to the recession). “The key to our business is absolutely about building relationships,” states Thomas, further explaining he means relationships with not just customers but also suppliers and subcontractors as well. “We do around 50 percent of our own work, so our subcontractors are critical [to complete the rest]; we wouldn’t be where we are without them.”
FPA, in addition to offering superior customer service, has three different divisions of service that offer a wide range of industries in the Dallas area. “We have a service and warranty department, a residential construction department, and a commercial new construction department,” says Thomas. “On the commercial side we do a lot of schools and hotels. We also do municipal work. Currently we are working on city hall, a MRI facility, a high school, elementary school, hotel and library. We also just got our foot in the door with Costco and Sam’s Club.”
A New Breed of Physical Therapy
The most interesting project that FPA is working on is in conjunction with the ManeGait charity and Darling Homes. The charity was started by Bill and Priscilla Darling, the husband and wife team that are partners in Darling Homes.
The charity champions therapeutic horsemanship and its healing power on children and adults with disabilities. “What they do is, they have children with special needs come out and ride horses as a form of therapy. It’s quite amazing on many levels. For kids with autism it helps them come out of their shell by forming a bond with the animals. For kids and adults with physical disability issues, riding horses actually helps strengthen a body’s core,” says Thomas, extolling the healing properties of this innovative form of physical therapy.
To help raise money for ManeGait, Darling Homes enlisted FPA to help build a home to be a part of the ManeGait’s Lucky U Home Giveaway. “We did plumbing for a $300,000 home that is being raffled off for charity, and you buy $100 raffle tickets to participate in the raffle. It’s pretty cool,” says Thomas.
Expanding the Business to Combat Tough Times
Plumbing work remains much of FPA’s activity, but there has been an industry wide shift for that sector in recent years, according to Thomas. “With the decline in the new housing market, plumbing companies across the board have had to downsize. There’s less work and increased competition,” he explains.
While competition has heightened and revenue has lowered for FPA, Thomas has no plans on slowing the company down. “Soon Fritz Plumbing will be HUB certified; this will gives us an advantage on the competition in the commercial industry. Another thing we’ll be getting into is medical gas. That will allow us to install medical gas systems and air compressor systems in hospitals,” Thomas says.
Be it through helping construct hospitals, through assisting charities to give away well-built homes, or merely through providing clients with the same level of quality customer service for 30 years, Fritz Plumbing and Air LLC has stayed true to its philosophy and continues to be a respected contractor in the Frisco/Dallas region.
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