NAME, TITLE: Mary Jean Anderson, President

COMPANY NAME, CITY, STATE: Anderson Plumbing Heating and Air, El Cajon, Calif.

HOW LONG IN BUSINESS: 32 years

BIGGEST CHANGE TO THE BUSINESS: “One of the biggest changes we made to our business occurred when we purchased a heating and air conditioning company,” Anderson said. “We literally doubled our volume overnight. Merging the two companies, dealing with all the extra volume, the additional support staff, not to mention a myriad of other issues changed our business over all - but in the long run has made us better business people.”

KEY MARKETS: Plumbing service, repipe, epipe (relining), drains, HVAC service, residential retrofit and replacement of heating and air conditioning equipment.

ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS: Member of Nexstar® Network and PHCC (Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association).

HOW DO THESE AFFILIATIONS HELP YOU: “I believe that if you are going to accomplish anything worthwhile, you are always going to need help and assistance,” said Anderson. “The beauty of the organizations mentioned above is that you can get that assistance from people who are traveling or have traveled the same road you are currently on. The experience and the advice you are receiving is from practical application, not theory.”

BIGGEST CURRENT HURDLE TO OVERCOME: “I think it goes without saying but the economy is the major challenge,” she said. “From a personal company operation standpoint, however, I tend to think of everyone who works for me as family. While that can certainly work in your favor, it sometimes delays getting people ‘off the bus’ who shouldn’t be there. In a tough economy, it can become critical. You can’t afford to carry someone just because you like them.”

COMPANY STATISTICS:
• 25 percent service
• 40 percent heating and air conditioning
• 75 percent residential replacement
• 60 percent plumbing
• 42 trucks on the road
• Four drain technicians
• Seven comfort advisors (four HVAC, one drain, one commercial sales, and one selling residential repipe and pipe)
• Three in-house drywall technicians
• Seven install crews
• 20 combined management and office staff

FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE INDUSTRY: For Anderson, the real joy is in the people she surrounds herself with - her employees. “Quite frankly, this is the upside of thinking of everyone like family,” she said. “I love it when you bring in a raw recruit with a great attitude. You train them and you watch them evolve into true professionals. You see them being proud of what they do and who they are. It gives them an opportunity to become more than even they thought was possible. It’s fun to watch them buy homes, have families, and become contributing members of our society. For me it is truly the ‘juice’ in this business. It is absolutely the best feeling!”

SUMMING IT UP: “I read somewhere once that you should become the best you can be,” she said. “Not because of the money you will make, but because of what it will make of you in the process. I think of my company in that way. Our goal is not to be the biggest; our goal is to be the best we can be in every interaction with our customers, each other, vendors, and anyone else with whom we may come in contact. I believe as long as we are true to that objective, we will not only survive; we will thrive!”

Publication date: 10/04/2010