By David Smith

This month Plumbing Africa chatted to Wesley Armstrong of ARM Electrical & Plumbing. Wesley highlights the importance of being prepared for any ‘battles’ which plumbers must face on a daily basis as well as the advantages of having a diversified offering for your business.

Wesley Armstrong of ARM Plumbing.

Wesley Armstrong of ARM Plumbing. Image credit © Plumbing Africa | David Smith

David: Hi Wesley, I have just one main question for you today and that is: tell me why you became a plumbing contractor?

Wesley: What a good question, and there are many reasons but mainly I would have to say it’s the sheer diversity which plumbing offers you, the different aspects from meeting the clients to solving people’s problems, as well as attending to emergencies and helping people with things which I feel are very competitive in the current market. You’ve got the entry of unqualified plumbers into the market who come across as doing a certain level of workmanship and often they’re just in the industry for the one thing, whereas we provide a good quality, round-the-clock service which people look for in addition to reliability, so that when you do contact ARM Electrical Plumbing we respond promptly, always offering same-day service as well as cost effective and competitive service. The business has been around for over 20 years and it always makes me proud when people tell me they’ve seen our vehicles around. That’s another big factor which quantifies for why one would choose to become a plumber, you slowly build your empire and it’s almost like having an army where you have to send your troops into battle – you need to get them going in the correct manner and ensure every vehicle is equipped correctly, with proper stock as well as emergency stock to avoid needing to travel back and forth.

We take pride in what we do, customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal and makes you proud of what you do, and that’s why I got into this industry, and furthermore we always make sure to carry its name and keep the industry clean. Our company motto is, ‘Experience ultimate satisfaction’, something that we always strive for with our customer service policy, with over 100 Google reviews as well as Hello Peter reviews because we bring value for money. We service a lot of communities, such as the work we have done at the Bedfordview Police Station, providing free services to them and building a container there and doing the plumbing and electrical for that. That also helps you realise that part of the industry involves giving back a little bit. It’s an industry which everyone needs and part of why I got into it is one day I was thinking, ‘What is something which everyone needs and how would something suffice to fill those needs?’ My train of thought was that everyone needs plumbing as well as electrical and the two go hand in hand.

David: So from where did the name ARM Plumbing come about?

Wesley: Well you see, we are a family run business, my father started off in the electrical industry and ran a successful business with my mother, which is where I learnt many of the values I have. I later joined my father and became qualified in both plumbing and electrical, having identified the need in the market which I spoke of earlier for an amalgamation of the two fields. My father had successfully a run a business with my mother for forty years and eventually retired, which is when I took over the business. One of the things they instilled in me is the belief that no problem is too big, and we believe anything can be solved quickly and efficiently, giving people instant resolution of their issues and ultimately saving them money. We are part of the Armstrong clan, so we incorporated part of that into the name of the business, combined with the coat of arms which we have as the company logo. On one side is a lightning bolt for electrical work and the other side is a wrench for the plumbing work, representing our ability to service both industries.

David: That means you have dual-trades status, am I correct? Tell our readers more about that.

Wesley: Yes that’s quite right, it is very scarce, and very beneficial to clients as well. Instead of having to pay for two callouts, we ensure that our staff have some knowledge of both electrical and plumbing systems, and many of our customers are happy with that versatility as it brings additional value to them. We also make sure to hold monthly meetings with all our staff to keep everyone updated on the latest regulations and standards as well as correct PPE and the latest technologies in both fields.

David: Any interesting stories from learning both trades? How did it all begin?

Wesley: Yes, that’s a good question. I first started off in the electrical field by learning from my parents, who ran a wholesaling contracting business in Fairview Johannesburg on Commissioner Street, where I would spend my school holidays helping out in any way I could. I would sweep, pack the shelves and help with unloading of stock as well as other tasks, which gave me a huge amount of insight into the electrical industry over time. Eventually, I ventured off into plumbing but found that I could not leave electrical behind so that was why I decided to become qualified in both. This has been extremely rewarding for me, and now more recently we have also diversified into solar as well, which requires knowledge of both industries. In addition to the leak detection company we also run, this is another way we are able to provide a diverse offering for clients.

That brings me back to what I was saying earlier about running a business almost being like commanding a military operation – it is essential to manage every aspect of the business individually but only by looking at the operation as a whole can you ensure that you remain adaptable, prepared and well-coordinated in order to meet the challenges of each day – which are always changing. Bringing all the components together for a comprehensive offering is how you ensure your customer ‘experiences ultimate satisfaction’.

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