Finding a passion for entrepreneurialism and the trades early in his life, John Thompson set out to build his passion into a livelihood. With the mindset to always take his endeavors to the next level, John has since accomplished much more. Tune in to hear John's full story.
Jeremy Perkins 0:00
Hey, this is Jeremy and you're listening to bucket talk powered by BRUNT. Today we're talking to john Thompson, having realized his passion for plumbing early on in life. John's main hustle in his Commercial Plumbing business on the side. He's co founder of his very own media company that shines light on the potential in the trades for anyone willing to get their hands dirty.
Eric Girouard 0:19
This is bucket top weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive, but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trades and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discuss what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day.
Jeremy Perkins 0:47
Today, we're here with john Thompson, who goes by the name o g plumb God. JOHN, thanks for being with us today.
John Thompson 0:53
Yo, what is up, Jeremy? I'm so stoked to be on here. I'm exhausted. I'm a little exhausted. So you guys bear with me? Probably.
Jeremy Perkins 1:02
Yeah, dude, I caught a live of you the other day. You snap in a course at least I got the bud lights flowing. So Yep. Yeah, I just cracked a Budweiser. So yeah, here we go. All right. So you are you're a plumber by trade. I want to dive into all different types of trades. And you're a plumber. I want to know more about you where you live, and honestly, how you got to being where you are right now.
John Thompson 1:28
Yeah, so my name is john Thompson. And I own and operate a business called Thompson family, plumbing, and rooter. And we have two locations. One in California where we started. And then one in Arizona, where we just recently branched out, I, for a long time, worked at various different places, just like everybody, you know, sandwich shops, grocery stores, I did fencing for a while, and I really loved that because it was very physical. But everywhere I worked, I never really felt like I got where I was supposed to be at, you know, I always felt like I moved up the totem pole. And I mastered everything that they were giving me really super fast, but they wouldn't let me progress, you know. And so, when I get when I got into fencing, I was able to rock and roll and just kick ass and, and progress myself and actually go out on my own and start doing my own thing. So I was, I was a business owner doing fencing for about a year and a half. And that actually was a demise. My first my first marriage, because I was gone all the time. Yeah, I put my work before everything, and I still kind of do. Obviously, my kids are very, super important to me. And so it was my wife and and my other my employees to, you know, at when I was younger, I was thinking about how am I going to succeed in this life, you know, especially being married for the first time and, you know, trying to meet expectations, all both of our families, right? Yeah. So I just was kicking ass and I wanted to just go go go off. And, you know, we broke up. And I was on my own. I did music for a little while, for about a year I was traveling, doing music touring. And then I stopped that. And I was like, you know, I got to get back on the horse with this work stuff, man, real a real job. So I found farming. My friend was there looking for apprentices at the time and they're hiring a bunch of young guys, they'll hire anybody that was over 23. And just so happened, I was 22 it was a perfect time for me. And I got in there and they hired 20 other people, okay. And at the end of the year, there was only three of us left out of those 20 people. And it was, it was so bizarre to me. But when I got into this trade, okay, when I got into plumbing, I'm like, holy shit, this is exactly where I need to be. It just like clicked for me. I'm like, this is it. This is my career. It was it was so weird, but I feel like anybody that's in the trades, they kind of they kind of get that that same kind of feeling like this is where I belong, you know? Right?
Jeremy Perkins 4:04
Right. So I mean not to talk too much about myself because our listeners already know about me but that was the same way I felt when I went from you know, I was at a college prep High School went right into the military didn't have the grades to go to college. So you know, that was what it was. But I jumped in to the Coast Guard and boom right they I had all these trades they're like what do you want to be Do you want to drive boats? Do you want to do you want to Well, do you want to do plumbing Do you want to do this this and this? So I went right to my first duty station with no like essentially job and it was like figure out what you want to do and it was within engineering and go from there. And honestly the first time I got on the boat we had this it's damage control man but essentially he was unclogging a toilet and there's a sewage everywhere and I was like I don't I do not want to do that. But so I found I found my passion in in mechanics and you know, weed dealt with pumps from, you know, wastewater pumps, gray water pumps all that stuff. And, you know, it was good. It's a but yeah, right then and there, I knew what I wanted to do. And like I said, these things aren't taught to us anymore. And now so it's nice to be able to talk about it and, and bring light to this. So
John Thompson 5:17
something that our teachers have missed and our parents missed, and they grew to the wayside because I mean, how old are you, Jeremy?
Jeremy Perkins 5:25
I'm 35. Now,
John Thompson 5:27
you're 35. I'm 36. So our generation telling us if we didn't go to college, we're going to be nothing in our life. Right? That's, that's
Jeremy Perkins 5:35
John Thompson 5:36
So people like you and I that need to work with our hands, we got pushed to the wayside. And we got forced into thinking that we're not going to be anything if we didn't go do what they wanted us to do, or what they're telling us to do. And so I think that's why I pushed so hard to succeed, because everyone was saying, hey, if you don't go to college, you're gonna be basically a piece of shit. You know? Yeah, no,
Jeremy Perkins 5:57
keep going to Europe.
John Thompson 5:58
It wasn't it wasn't for me. I hated school. I, I wasn't good at it. And I believe most people that are good with their hands, and that are great mechanics. They were never good at school. They're, they're probably good at math, but nothing else. Right?
Jeremy Perkins 6:12
Yeah. And I don't want to I don't want to sound too crazy in this either. But like, it felt right with with being a mechanic like it was, I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was I have to try when when I'm reading a book or when I'm, you know, learning or whatever, it feels forced, it feels natural when I'm, you know, going over wiring diagrams or diagnosing something or just getting dirty. I mean, it just makes sense. It clicks it's still hard. But it you know, that's the way my body's built.
John Thompson 6:40
It's crazy. But but they don't teach us how to find that our careers, right. And I tell you how you find your career is you experiment with jobs, and what feels right is right. Yeah. Don't put your feelings to the wayside and say, This isn't where I belong. It feels so right. Don't listen to other people telling you shouldn't be doing it if it feels right to you. goes along with with what you feel as an individual and what fits you not not not what everyone else is pushing on you.
Jeremy Perkins 7:08
Yeah, so So why did you just jump in? Did you jump into becoming a business owner in the plumbing field? Like, has that always been? So what?
John Thompson 7:17
It really wasn't my passion? Obviously, I'm I'm a born entrepreneur. And yes, I just am. I've been doing it since I was a kid slinging baseball cards. And it's just in my DNA. My dad was always a business owner. And he always taught me to reach for the stars, you know, wherever you want to do, you can do it. And you don't have to rely on other people to do it. You can make your own shit happen. You know, I don't really communicate too much with my father anymore. But he definitely instilled some great work ethics, and not just me, but my entire family. And we know how to get shit done. Yeah, it goes with your confidence level and stuff like that. But anyways, I was working. And I was instantly making the most amount of money I can make at this shop. I was beating out everybody. And I was just like, you know, a year and a half in and I'm already the top guy and in my shop in sales. So I'm like, I was, I was young. I was 23 at that time, and I felt so much pressure to like, continue doing better and more and more, and I did. But there's a certain point where you break you know, you can't hold on, you can't hold up 30 guys by yourself. You know, that's, I know that that's not what was happening. But that's what I felt. I put it on myself to hold the whole crew, you know? So anyways, I'm like, dude, I was like, I can't do this forever. I got it. I gotta find my own sanity here. And I worked my ass off. And I love what I do. I absolutely love working with customers and the way I I'm conducting business with with them. And my profession. Am I how am I? How am I going to make something out of this at that time? I had two kids. I had my my oldest daughter and my my oldest son. And I'm like, What am I going to do? I'm like, never home. And I'm like I want this is every every every business owners thought, right? I'm going to be able to control my schedule by owning my own business. Well, that's the first wrong thought. Because now you think you're going into business not having any bosses, but now, every single one of your customers is your boss. Yeah. And you better think of it that way. Otherwise, you're going to lose business and you're not going to be a good business owner. But so I was game planning on obviously how to get my license. I had a really good mentor where I was working with and he he helped me get my license and taught me how to do it. And he showed me a little bit about business on as far as how he saw me running my business because he had already done it before. And he's already he was already retired million millionaire and he was just you know, he went back to work working for Ask your routers where I was at, because he needed something to do. You know, yeah, he didn't have to have the money. He just was going to work. And he was already done with his life. He already he's already got his money in the bank. But anyways, so I'm like, Okay, well, if this is what I'm doing, I need to go work for a mom pop shop, because I was looking for pretty big corporate company. So I'm like, I want to know how small businesses doing it in this industry. So I did that for a little bit, they found out that I have my license. And they can be no, I was obviously it was already trying to make moves. But I wasn't doing any side work, or nothing like that. I wasn't pushing my business at all at that time, because I wasn't ready. And I'm the type of guy that if I'm going to do something, I want to make sure everything's like lined up really good before I actually do it, but they pushed me off the ledge, and I just fucking took my parachute and just rolled with it. You know what I mean? So I had a really good support team with my wife, my wife, Devin Thompson, she's amazing.
Jeremy Perkins 10:58
Yeah, no, she, I saw, you guys had a YouTube channel, and you guys do a little bit of empowerment and a little trade talk that you and I, you know, I caught a few of them. And it's awesome. She seems like a rock,
John Thompson 11:09
dude, she is my rock. Without her. My business wouldn't be surviving and thriving, it may or may be surviving, but it may not be it definitely wouldn't be thriving the way it does, you know, she's in charge of HR, keeping, keeping the bills paid, making sure we're making the right decisions with the amount of money that we have, so that we're spending adequately, you know, all of these things come into play, when you're dealing with big money, you want to make sure you're dealing You're doing good decisions. So, you know, she's definitely guided us to success. And, you know, I can I don't think I'll ever be able to repay her for what she's done for the family. You know, she definitely put put us on the map. You know, our families, we're both for, you know, so we feel really good about where we are and what we're doing. And, you know, we want to take care of Dad, Mom, you know, we want to take care of everybody and how are we can, but the biggest thing is, is we want to set a great example for our children. And, and not just our children, but our employees, children and the kids and around us in the areas that we are building our businesses at. We want to teach these kids that there is some place for you in this universe. And it may not be at college, it may not be in the book, it may not be at that desk, it may not be with animals, it may just it may be you need to get dirty man. And it's perfectly okay. And don't let anybody think that you know, you're not worth something because you are and you can make a damn good money. Blue Collar, you know?
Jeremy Perkins 12:41
Yeah. So So how do you do your outreach? I mean, so you're, you're with the kids, you're here. You're teaching them about the trade. I mean, somebody mentored you, so you want to pay it forward? What's your go to you? What are you affiliated with the school? Do you? Do you just kind of take on? Yeah, go on. So
John Thompson 12:58
we were really big in our community, especially in California, in Arizona here. I'm new to the area. And I'm really trying to, you know, grow some roots here. But realistically, my wife grew up in Hesperia, California, born and raised, and she knows all everybody in the school district, she knows everybody in the community. So it's, it's really, that's really what what has helped our business grow is that she had a good reputation as a child, you know, and they saw the honesty in her. And they supported her. And so we support them, obviously. But so we get in contact with the school and the school contacts. That's whenever they have any talks with the kids? Or what do they do? It's the,
Jeremy Perkins 13:44
like, a co op, or anything like that.
John Thompson 13:45
They do like dress to impress they do they do little job interview stuff with with the high schoolers. Yeah, middle schoolers. So we do that stuff. Whenever we can, we make sure that we're a part of all the marathons in town, or anything, any big event in our town, we try and make sure our presence is seen and known there. So that when these we see these kids, we talk to them about what we do. And if they have any questions, you know, we tell him we're always hiring and we're always going to teach you guys something, you can do ride alongs with us and see if you something that you like, you know, we try and do whatever we can to show these kids that there's another way to succeed life than just college. Well,
Jeremy Perkins 14:27
and it's good to I mean, because it's, you know, as much as you're paying it forward to there's a silver lining for you on the back end is the fact that, you know, you get your name out there, your your your force out there, you're trying to build a business, grow business, you need a labor force, those guys are gonna gravitate towards you naturally because you've been sitting there mentoring them. So as a business
John Thompson 14:48
Yeah, and it may not happen right now. It's not a right now investment. No, it's a long term investment. And that's the thing that, you know, I'm in it for the long haul. I'm not just Gonna be a one hit wonder, you know, there's a lot of companies out there that will take advantage of their relationships with people and then they won't have repeat business, repeat business is the absolute most important thing. So with that being said, is that you? They, everyone's saying it now, you know, you can't hire that technician that you want, you got to build them. Yeah, build up from the ground up. And the only way to build from the ground up is getting them right out of high school. And, and teaching them so. And if it's not the kids that we've already been talking to, it's like, hey, their friends sitting at home, just playing video games, like, hey, go, go check out plumbing, you know, yeah, hiring. Yeah. And it's just the word of mouth and having them know that you are willing to give them a shot, or listen to them, or try and help guide them in some way. Hey, I have got for everybody. But I can sit down and have a 30 minute conversation with you about your future. I mean, I don't mind that at all. I mean, I do it all day on Instagram. So why would I do it? In my own community? I definitely would.
Jeremy Perkins 15:58
Well, and that's the other thing, that's the other thing, too, is, is, you know, a lot of a lot of people have come down and push the broom in my shop, and you know, dropped off customers or, you know, help with oil changes or held a tool or whatever, and then realize, you know, this isn't for me, you know, and that's cool. And, and I expect, I expect there to be some, you know, people that just come right through and leave, but you know what, that'll build a smarter person somewhere else. And you know, they'll have some work ethic, and maybe they'll have, you know, be a little bit more lenient when it comes to contractors, but in the same time, like, it's cool for people to come in and out and, and and move on, you know, Oh, hell yeah. So any unspoken trends or issues in your trade? I mean, for us, it's, you know, kind of overcoming the whole grease monkey thing it was, I mean, it sucks, because it's like, you know, we tried to do this whole, like going from mechanic to technician, granted, I liked the term mechanic better than technician, but it's like, you know, now with Tesla's and this, and that, you got to be more of a computer savvy person, and, you know, you're trying to build it, you almost want to be held to the same standard as a doctor, then a wrench, Turner, you know what I mean? So, absolutely. But I mean, any anything going on in your industry that that's, you know, not really spoken about?
John Thompson 17:19
Yeah, I mean, to me, what it is, is a customer's perception of the service and of the servicing technicians as a whole coming into the house. You know, we're not handyman, but what they do, what people do, they tend to do is think about handyman prices, and not real tradesmen prices, you know, and what it actually takes to get there, just a regular handyman, he's not paying workman's comp, he probably is not even paying insurance. He definitely doesn't have reoccurring education. Definitely not paying for his his license and bond. I mean, I guess there are some handyman that have general contractor's licenses, and they're doing it the right way. But 90% of handyman, they are not doing it the right way. And those are the prices that some customers want, and that they see that they're going to get out of you. And they're thinking like, you know, $45 an hour, not no $235 an hour. So it's like, how do we create that understanding for our customers, you know, before they just throw you out the house, right? And you do that with presentation, you do that with phone etiquette, you do that with software at a kit, and software presentation, really, you do that with walkthroughs. And you set the professionalism from the moment they call you. And that is how you have to separate yourself apart from these Joe Blow guys out there you want. I mean, it depends on what you want me what I want, is I want to be the most professional and the most expensive contractor around, I'm perfectly okay with that. And I have reviews all over online that say, Thompson down one is really expensive, but they do a fantastic job. I love that review, I'm perfectly okay with that. Because when people read that, they're going to know what they're going to get before they have at their house. But that doesn't mean we shortchange them. And with the service that we're providing, you know, we have to make sure that we're carrying these things on from house to house every single time if I do everything by my book, and then my next guy comes in there and doesn't he's not meeting the customer's expectations. That was their first experience with us. You know? So you know, my wife really does a great job by trying to create these standards with me about this new quality that we want to be represented by and and that that gap separation between the handyman and the actual servicing plumbing technician, that's outcoming to the home. For us. That's the hardest barrier to break down.
Jeremy Perkins 19:52
Well, it was it was funny because the one one of the YouTube videos are watching you and your wife was exactly that, and I'm not Making fun of roofers so roofers, don't take this in. But I had I literally had an issue. We had a leak I call a roofer mailbox is full. I knew the roofer Personally, I'm like, can you come and help? And he's, he's like, you know, super busy, blah, blah, blah. But that's the thing is, is like, they're really good at their craft, but awful at business. And, you know, she hit the nail on the head by saying, like, pick up your phone and answer the call. Like, that's also to do.
John Thompson 20:30
Yeah, so that's, that's the whole thing right there. We don't go into business, to be a businessman. Most of the time, as tradesmen, we go into business, to work for ourselves, and to do our job, right and create work for ourselves. But we're not businessmen, we have to learn how to become businessmen, and create that professionalism for our customers that they're probably expecting from you.
Jeremy Perkins 20:52
Right. And that's, and that's what's difficult, you know, when you finally hit that, that ceiling, and you're like, Hey, I'm gonna go from being the foreman or being, you know, the number two guy and like, what's the next step for my family? I'm whatever, 2535 It doesn't matter. You know, you still got 2530 years left in the industry, like, Alright, what's next? business ownership? Well, you know, and something totally different. It's a different mindset than some people aren't cut out for it. And it's funny, because I've seen some really good guys, and really good at what they do just fail a business because they just don't have what it takes. And and it's and it sucks, because there's skilled tradesmen, you know what I mean, right?
John Thompson 21:32
But that's perfectly okay. And it's not for everybody. But that doesn't mean that can't get paid, what they're what they're owed, you know, I mean, there's plenty of great companies out there that are willing to pay top dollar for these guys to come and work for them. But they still have to, you know, a lot, a lot of the good guys, they have their attitudes, and they have like, Oh, I'm better than everybody else, you still have to come in with an open mind and, and still be willing to learn even if you are the best, you know,
Jeremy Perkins 22:01
if if you're if you as a plumber, you as a mechanic are doing side work, that means your employer isn't necessarily valuing you at what you're worth, right? You need more to make ends meet. So it seems like it's a circle, because then side work actually hurts your employer because you're undercutting your employer.
John Thompson 22:19
Here's why they fired me is because I had a license and they thought I was doing side work. I'm like, Well, I don't have time to do site work, right? I can make 100 You think I can do $80,000 worth of sales and produce that work? If I'm doing side work? I'm like, I don't want to I'm exhausted by the I'm like, my family calls me for service. I'm like, I tell him to fuck off.
Jeremy Perkins 22:42
Well, and that's the thing, too, is you know, I actually, my mother in law, she brings her car to the shop, I pride myself on being able to give a good price and give you an honest shop to to to get your car serviced. Yeah, I mean, I think that's good in its own. Right. You know what I mean? I, you know, there are other people that I might, you know, help out a little bit here and there. But you're right, I have no time to, to make an extra 200 bucks on the side. It's just not worth my time. So cool builder projects, something that you've done recently, or in the past that really excited you whether it was plumbing related or not a new tool, a new style of doing something.
John Thompson 23:20
Well, so right now, a lot of people know this, if they follow me on Instagram that I've been doing lining, so yeah. So and I know Russ probably talked about this on on the podcast, too, because he's, he's recently gotten into it in the past year or so. And it's, it's a really exciting thing for me, because I've always, I've always sold the projects. I've always, I've always seen the process and been there when they're doing these jobs. But now I physically am doing the math and doing the science and actually producing the product myself. And it's exciting to me, because it's gonna open up a whole new world for my business. I'm, like, super stoked into it. Just and honestly, what really got me really excited about Drain Cleaning again was was precoat technology and precoat sit machines. The Clean pipes is just ridiculous with this equipment. And so it really got me pumped up about drains again. Plus when I moved out to Havasu, I got a lot more drain calls. So in hysteria, California, you know, we're Thompson county plumbing and rooter, we barely get drain calls, because we're primarily septic area. It's like septic. So what happens when they get a drain, drain stoppage or a slow drain, they're like the people instantly think, Oh, I have to pump my septic tank. So they call pumpers to come out and pump the septic tank versus clearing the stoppage and then they have to clear the stoppage afterwards because the septic tank didn't even really need to be pumped. But that's their first go to is to pump the septic tank so I don't get those calls. So out here is a little different. I get a lot more drain calls and it's you s ri pumps me up because that's what I grew up doing plumbing as is just drain work. And I just mastered the shit out of the sails. And I loved doing the services that I love digging. So, hey, if I've never fucked up in the brain, you put a shovel in my hand and tell me and I snapped out of my shit. So,
Jeremy Perkins 25:18
so we as plumbers and you know, this is a mechanic looking in. So you've gone from like cast iron and old pipes to PVC. Now your your packs and linings is the new thing, right? So tell me tell me about the lining because all I see is like this sock chute through this old crusty drain and like this goo come out of it. What is it?
John Thompson 25:39
So it's a it's a resin and hardener mixture? Yeah. And the sleeve is like a cotton sleeve. I pretty sure it's gotten. But it creates almost like a like a casting like you would have like if you broke your arm, right? Basically this that same strength. And so the outside has a PVC coating, if we impregnate it with the resonant epoxy, yep. And then it inverts itself. So the resin actually sticks to the existing entered pipe, and the outer sleeve actually becomes the new inside of that pipe. So it, it's just amazing. Because, you know, when we have to traditionally jackhammer throughout a house, and dig up the sewer line all the way across the house, what are we doing, we're, we're definitely compromising the foundation of the house, obviously, and the structural sound of this property for ever, not just right now, when we're doing work, it's for ever fucked. So it's always going to be different and changing unless you, which most people don't do, like rebar reinforced the trench that you're doing. Nobody does that. And if you do do that, you're a badass. So I thank you for doing that for your customer. I try and do it as much as I possibly can. Yeah, with this new technology, we don't have to dig holes, like literally, you don't have to dig a hole. Unless it's completely collapsed. That's the only case it is completely slapped, we have to dig up that spot. But if there is a break in that line, or if there is rotted out channel, through that time, we can we can replace that whole pipe without digging a hole at all. And you know, all these pipes now are pretty much at their lifetime capacity. I
Jeremy Perkins 27:22
mean, you're just going to be doing it more and more. I mean, we had a we had a root system growth through the the sewer line at the at the shop and the boss just had the parking lot paved. And now you guys got a guy out there saw cotton. And then the curbing is removed. I mean, the trees taken down and now and like you said, I mean, it's fine, it's patched, whatever. But there's nothing like looking out into your parking lot going, you just had that paved. And now I got a patch in it, you know?
John Thompson 27:52
Yeah, that sucks, dude. So out here in Lake Havasu. These people, they're flip houses all day long, buy flip, flip, flip, it's a really hot market for buyers out here. So they get these houses that are built in the 70s. They're, they're trashed, right. And they just put lipstick on a pig. Yeah, they sell the house to this person that thinks they're getting an amazing house. And then the first week they get into it, the whole thing's flooded with sewage, you know, people don't think about what's under the slab and under the foundation is they just think about what they can see. So it really irks me that when people buy houses, that it's not mandated by the state, or even the banks to perform a sewer camera inspection before they actually purchase that house to protect that investment, you know,
Jeremy Perkins 28:40
well, and to be honest with you, it's kind of a detriment to everything is is the fact that, you know, with housing, boom, you know, everybody's buying up real estate now, people are foregoing inspections, and not that and like, I'm not making fun of inspectors, but I've heard horror stories there that, you know, they paid for inspections, inspectors don't have liability. And now all of a sudden, somebody stuck with a house that, you know, has extension cords mounted through the drywall and you're like, how did they miss this and, and literally have no a buddy of mine. And it was like, This is awful. And it boils down to now you're you're a new homeowner, you and you have 2030 $40,000 worth of repairs that you can't make. I mean, you could do them a little bit at a time, but your house is deemed unsafe, essentially. And it sucks. And I do you know, I'm not one for rules and regulations per se as a whole. But I do think that you know, yeah, when it comes to looking over a house, I think that that's a very important thing.
John Thompson 29:40
What do you think about that's, that's everybody's largest investment or largest purchase you'll ever have in your life, right home. And that should be you know, worse, something that should be worth more than just $1 amount we should be able to protect these people buying these houses and, you know, through the biggest decision of our lives, you You know, yeah, we should be able to guide them better. And I feel like realtors really missed the bar on that stuff.
Jeremy Perkins 30:06
Yeah. So other than other than the linings that you do, what are some of I usually like to bring it back to the the new people that are coming into the trade, but you can go in whatever direction you want to do. What do you want as a plumber? So your your, your get you want to get into the plumbing trade? What should I invest in for tools? Like, what what should I you know, have mom and dad give me for my birthday? What are we looking at?
John Thompson 30:33
Well, I would definitely stick with Milwaukee tools that are cool. So and the reason why I say that is because they specifically make tools designed for plumbing situations and our trade. And they work they do product development with products that are right now happening right now. So it's important to stick with a company that's really pushing the bar for your trade, and pushing the bar to make your job easier, faster and safer. And, you know, and I believe that that's what Milwaukee does for me, and always has. And like the first Milwaukee set that I got was the M 12 kit, I got the Milwaukee tubing cutters, I don't know if you've seen those things are awesome, automatic cutter so you don't have to keep on twisting your wrist and it just cuts it by itself. And I had like an M 12 drill which I burned out real quick. Because that was before brushless was around. Of course, I just abuse the shit, I have everything like you bought you, you give me a brand new tool, I will find a way to break that in less than a year, I promise you
Jeremy Perkins 31:40
that those 12 volt systems were the best in their day. I mean, I invested in the wallet system. And I was like No, I'm not going to do this. I'm pneumatic all the way. And, you know, I saw these guys using these 12 volt things. I was like, This is great. I don't have to drag a hose through a car. It's It's awesome. And now for us it's the same way I feel the same way like Milwaukee is extremely receptive to the trades. And
John Thompson 32:05
you know, I never wanted to buy another m 12. again after I bought that set because I was kind of disappointed because I got the M 12 hacksaw and first came out the hacksaw.
Jeremy Perkins 32:13
Yeah, the little the little six inch blade there.
John Thompson 32:15
Yeah, dude, I burned that thing out so fast. And same with the drill. And I was like, Fuck this shit. So I got ma teens. Yeah. And I was super stoked. And my teens, but now I'm like ma teams trash, all they need is m 12. Because m 12 is finally really stepped up. And anything that's lighter for me, I'm gonna take it every day, because I'm getting older, you know, and I'm hurting more. And so if I can limit the weight that I'm holding, then I'm going to do that.
Jeremy Perkins 32:41
Well, that's actually a good point. You know, a lot of actually, nobody's brought that up. Actually. There was a guy that brought up that you know, he has less on his tool belt, but that's true. You know, the fact that you're not going for the biggest and baddest anymore you're going for Yeah, more simpler and sleeker is is
John Thompson 32:56
is crazy. Oh yeah, for sure. And so like if you're if you're going to go buy some tools, you know, honestly, you know, if you want to get a pipe wrench, you don't have to get the expensive shit, man. I mean, you go buy a husky one from Home Depot, that shits gonna last you until you lose it. I'm telling you. No, I mean, it's just you don't have to buy a $60 wrench to get the job done. You know, I mean, just because you see on Instagram, that doesn't mean you have to go buy it. If it's not in your budget, don't do it. I do think it's very important to set a goal to buy at least, you know, one thing one small tool week and one big thing a month, in my opinion.
Jeremy Perkins 33:40
Yeah, I mean, that was that was what the older guys told me when I got into the trade. If you borrow it twice in a month, it's probably time to, to look into it.
John Thompson 33:48
And and I and your employer, I think your employers will help you buy tools. So like when I actually, when I started out, they actually let me borrow money. And then they would they would take out of my check throughout that month, they would let me spread it out. So if I bought a $300 tool, I can spread it out for four weeks. And I can only pay I can pay for an easy way easier for me, you know, try and work with your employer, maybe they'll help you out?
Jeremy Perkins 34:13
Well, if you and that's another thing if you bring it up to your employer. Now the tax laws are a little bit different. And for tax people out there don't crucify me on this at all, from what I what I've heard is, is that it's harder for an employee to to write off their tools versus the employer being able to write off their tool so it's actually the employer to pay I'm not saying to pay their employee last but if you're paying was so for us, I pay you know, close to 100 or whatever a week in tools because I got to stay current. It might almost be better for my employer to pay that pay me less and you know, it works out for everybody. He writes off my tools, I get the tools. It's It's crazy. So yeah,
John Thompson 34:56
that probably there's probably way to get around that but I was Not to say it's probably legal to do that. But if there's a bonus structure program that is different, you know, if there's a bonus structure, you just don't pay him that bonus, and you pay for that tool, and it acts as their bonus. Right? So right, what I try and do is if I have a bonus structure, I try and give away tools, every Christmas, I give gangs, the tools, man, like I like last Christmas, I bought $1,000 the tools for all my guys, like, I just did it, because I knew the tax laws changed. And I knew they weren't gonna be able to write it all off. So I wanted to be able to make sure that they're getting what I think that they deserve on a truck.
Jeremy Perkins 35:38
Yeah. And that's and that wasn't to be, you know, I my understanding that, hey, I'm a mechanic. So my understanding of how taxes and everything worked is not for anybody to, to skirt, the government of what they are, what they got. But you're exactly right, though. Yeah, I mean, there's other ways of doing it in the traditional way isn't necessarily the right way. And, and that's why it takes your employee and your employer to work together to understand that, you know, for me to get it done, I need to have the tools, and it's a lot of money to do it. So stipends, everything is great.
John Thompson 36:12
So what I do is I actually I do rent my tools to my guys if they want them. So, and there obviously, is a fee, but if I see them renting it all the time, I'm like, dude, get this frickin tool, you would have already paid for it, you know. So I do try and help my guys out. But at the same time, I do know, there's tools out there that are really expensive that they can't get. But anyways, as a business owner, I do rent my equipment. I know there's a lot of people that don't like that idea. But for me, I have to do that. Because what happens is my employees, and I'm not saying anybody in particular, but I'm just saying, being an employee, period, if you break a tool who's going to pay for it,
Jeremy Perkins 36:51
it's accountability. I love it.
John Thompson 36:54
No one's gonna, no one's gonna pay for it. Everyone's gonna be like it was the other guy. Everyone's gonna point the finger at the other guy. And no one's gonna have the balls enough to say, you know what, I fucked this up. And all I want is for them to do that. And I will pay, I will, I would be happy to pay for it and fix it, right? Because I know about ahead of time. But if I find out about it on the back end, I'm like, fuck that you guys are paying for it. Someone's paying for it. You know,
Jeremy Perkins 37:18
but I mean, and to and to be honest, too, I've also been on the receiving end of having the shop saws all and then it just dies and you're hanging, you're like, I didn't do anything wrong. And you broke it. You just, you know, the guy. And that's why renting it out is actually a cool, cool idea. Because, you know, essentially, you can sit there and say the guy don't worry about it. Why? Because he paid for Exactly.
John Thompson 37:43
Exactly. Every every one of the shops renting equipment, and that's our insurance plan right there. Right? This money goes into the end of the repair pie. That's what it does. Nothing happens. We are not harping your ass anymore. We're just fixing it, right? unless there was a really big fuckup then we're having a conversation, right? Like you back up the trailer into a wall.
Jeremy Perkins 38:03
So single thing that's changed your career. I know, you've touched on a whole bunch of things that's kind of, you know, molded your career. And
John Thompson 38:13
that that is like one of my favorite topics. And honestly, I feel like shit, because it's my favorite topic. But I don't remember all of the fine details of what I'm about to say. So I had this guy come into the shop one time and it was this. It was a salesman, he was a salesman, but his pitch was so bad ass that it just blew my fucking mind and I just could not get over it. Okay, well, there's two, there's two things. There's this guy. And then there was the secret. Okay, I like the secret a lot. Know, if anybody's listening to this, and you have not listened to the secret. There's a Bible thumping version. And there's a kind of a non Bible thumping version. So depending on where you land on that spectrum, you know, there, were you there. So anyways, I had gotten into the secret, like pretty heavily. And I really loved the theories of energy and all these these things. And it I really believe like, that shit works. So what you put into the universe comes back to you. And I have held on to that very dearly. But this other man gave me a lot of really different side of the way we actually think as humans. So he comes in and he throws this pitch in, there's only three of us in this class because, you know, he's trying to sell his services to our company, so he can do a whole group thing, right? Yeah. He talks about sales in a whole different way than I had ever thought about it before. Because I'm not a salesman, okay. I'm just a people person that can throw dollar amounts to people and they buy. That's just, I don't I don't consider myself a salesman. But yeah, likable guy, when I get to your house, I am very personable. I, I asked you about you and I give you a little bit about me. And that builds a relationship, right? So this man, like literally broke down how people learn. And he's like, I'm going to tell you exactly how to sell to every single kind of person, I'm going to tell you how to identify every single person, you are going to be able to pitch them on their level. And this man just freakin blew my mind and changed my life. And I swear to God, my numbers, my paycheck, like, almost doubled. After learning this technique, these techniques, and it was just learning about how people learn. And he said, this whole pitch was about not being abusive to your own children, learning how to teach your children so you don't build aggression, and, and have physical appearance Are you give physical abuse to your children, you know what I mean? So it was a really unique way to look at it for me, because I grew up in a household of massive child abuse. You know, it really intrigued me to learn this because, you know,
Jeremy Perkins 41:10
I'm a, I'm a new father and I, I want to be the best dad that I can be for them. You know, I want to be able to teach them in the ways that they can learn. And so, you know, some people learn with sight, some people learn with visual cues. Some people learn with emotions. So So you are and I don't mean to cut you off but I this is this is one of the biggest things that me and my wife have been going through recently was we I grew up in a time and you know, I know families listening and whatnot. But it was a it was a tougher time. There was tough love it was it was what have you, and I'm not going to go down that road. But when me and my wife decided to start a family, my idea of doing it was was this this tough mentality. My wife was like, specking Let's rate exactly so let's let's my kids. She goes, let's do it differently. So for me, it was we read peaceful parenting, and it is the hardest thing too. And like I said, I don't want to get back you know, off on a tangent. But I think this is really important when you're growing your business and speaking to employees is the fact that there's the you could be the the hardline asshole who you know, you're feared but not not respected. Or you could be the guy that's in the trenches and working with them. And understanding where they're coming from and what they're going through outside of work, and what their needs are. And then all of a sudden, you're not you're a leader versus versus just being the guy that's pointing and saying to do this, but so works with my family is and it's difficult, and I and I fail at it daily is is this this whole mindset of literally empowering my tiny children to to be better people and talking to them differently. And so it's it's interesting to be able to try to rewire my brain to think differently, and I'm sure that's what you're you're absolutely going down.
John Thompson 43:07
Yeah, absolutely. And that's and the same traits, you can use it throughout your entire life, right? I mean, but it's so like right now, I literally feel like I've revert reverted back to my old self, because I have no time to focus on what's going to make me a better human being right now. Like I literally don't, and I'm throwing excuses out there, for me being not the man that I want to be at. But I'm just saying like, there, there are things that will weigh your ass down. But you have to see that in yourself and get your Get your shit together. And pull yourself out of the trenches and, and focus fucking focus on yourself, and the love that you can have for other people. Because that's going to be more respected than anything else. That's the same way as as your customers are going to see you that here's, here's my biggest sales tip right here. This is where I tell everybody that if you cannot teach your customer something, then you will never be able to sell them. You will never be able to get that job if you can't teach them something. I mean, some people, you know, some people just like I just get down Sure, whatever. Yeah. But that's few and far between. So you need to make sure that you know how to communicate and be able to capture that job because it's not easy getting that phone to ring. It's not easy to build trust in and a relationship. And if you can, that that customer will be indebted to you no matter how much you charge them. They're gonna always think positive of you. And that's, that's my goal every time is that no matter what the circumstance is, is that I want my customer call me back, no matter
Jeremy Perkins 44:43
what. So that that that is a good point because with the lack of tradespeople in clearly in our trades. Also the lack of understanding for people that are in the trades has become the gap has been bigger the people the DI wire are done like the guy that the old Yankee that knew everything about his house and those those days are gone, you know what I mean? And and those were the guys that would come in and tell you, yeah, do do this, this and this and you're like, Okay, whatever. But now you're right education, educating the customer actually makes the customer feel better about the repair and keeps you coming back. So honestly, being forthcoming, you know, explaining to them what's going to happen, how much it's going to cost before and, and, and I think that's not necessarily being a good businessman, but more being compassionate for, for your, for your person, because, you know, sitting there going, Hey, if this was my mother, what would I want to say? Hey, I want mom, we're gonna do this, this walls coming down, sorry. We're gonna get another guy in here to do it. Right. And but we got to fix this line. And there's no other way around it, as opposed to her coming home and seeing that her walls down and going. This is what we got to do you know what I mean? It's a, I don't know, there's, there's a lot more to it.
John Thompson 46:04
Yeah. So when you when we reel it back into the original question that, like, you asked, you know, what has been this big thing that changed me, it's just, we went off on a tangent, I know we did. That's perfectly okay. Because, you know, it comes down to communication. Right, right. And all the way around the board in our entire life. And that's what I loved about this guy that came into our shop. And not everyone got, there was only three of us in there. And only three of us heard it because they didn't have this guy come back, which was a real bummer to me, because I felt like a lot more people could have benefited from this conversation by and seeing it through different eyes. But you know, if we can learn to communicate with our staff, better our co workers, our family members, our children, life around you is going to be so much better. And that's, that's what that's my my focus for this next year is to really get that back. It's so easy to get lost in the mud of things in the hustle and the grind. And what that does, that just pushes you further away from the things that actually mean shit. And I'm guilty of that right now. And that's, I think that's why focusing so much on it is that I feel guilty that I haven't given my my kids here the amount of time and attention that they need. I mean, I've been I've been living in Arizona for a year and a half and going back and forth to California and back. And my wife's been doing the same thing. God bless her soul. She's been a huge trooper in this expansion that we're working on. And she's visions that I have, she's just crazy. I couldn't ask for a better woman to be with, and mother to my kids. But you know, if we can learn how to communicate better, we're all going to be better for it.
Jeremy Perkins 47:49
Well, just just talking about it and and understanding what, what you need to work on is is you know, there's a lot of people that don't even know what's going on. And the fact that you're aware of it is is, you know, half the battle there. But anyway, moving on to a more lighter topic. Dude, what do you do to unwind? I mean, like, God,
John Thompson 48:14
I do go on. Like, I love that fantastically love that. I don't get a drink and party when I'm driving the boat. But you know what, my kids watching my kids and watching my wife have a great time, or my company have a great time on the water that soothes my soul. So
Jeremy Perkins 48:28
it's awesome. You know, I
John Thompson 48:29
love doing that. And what else do I do? Oh, I got a razor. I love riding my razor. That's fun. And I honestly that the core problem that I have is that my work is like literally my love my hobby and my passion. So it's really hard to do better than working. But so I like that's, that's what I have to really actively work at is trying to find something that I love more than work so that I don't want to work all the time. You know, I mean,
Jeremy Perkins 48:59
no, there hasn't been a person that has come on this podcast that say, I hate what I do. And I you know, I like I like doing this instead it's like no, I I mean, I so many people have said I don't do anything else or even the right people. So, as we wrap up the show, there's one last question I asked and I'm a diehard Chevy guy that's what I do. And I was wondering what you drive for work. What you drive for, you know your personal vehicle. Are you brand specific? Let people know what what works for you and your work atmosphere your home atmosphere, Bro,
John Thompson 49:46
I love Chevy again. Yeah. I love Chevy like I got a Chevy Tahoe and I feel like they're the most reliable vehicles. Absolutely. I have a Ford F 250 Platinum for For my for my personal truck. Yeah. And so with me and my wife, we both love Chevy. Okay, we know like this, they're super reliable, and all this and that, but her grandfather and their father, they worked for the Ford factory. So that means that I do support Ford as much as I possibly can. Because of that fact alone, you know, I, her grandfather's like, Oh, you better buy a Ford, right? So, I'm like, you know, I buy a Ford and I sent him the receipt and I just bought a Ford for you. You know, it makes him feel good that you know, he contributed to the family business by us buying a Ford you know what I mean? Is that weird?
Jeremy Perkins 50:43
No, I'm just trying to keep the rivalry alive. I mean, it's, it's awesome when you go when you go somewhere and they're like, you know, fuck Chevy or Ford. They're always looking at dodge going like, why are you driving a Dodge my brother in law is from Ireland. And he actually likes the transit connects likes the more European vehicles and they've actually become more practical for the trades than your clunky 250 or your T van.
John Thompson 51:07
And I honestly can't wait for Chevy to re up their hands their van shit, because check this out. So I got three four transits this year. And all right, sorry. Now it was last year, I bought three of them. And bro, so you know, when the brakes go bad. You got to replace the whole caliper and brake assembly. That's ridiculous. And it's like $1,000 and you guys are putting miles on it? Yeah.
Jeremy Perkins 51:35
I'm like, that's why I have a job. Yeah, I
John Thompson 51:37
just replace the brake pads out of them, right.
Jeremy Perkins 51:44
I'm putting my kids through college because of you guys. It's great.
John Thompson 51:49
So I do I do love. I do like boards. I think Chevy's are smoother rides though. I think they really focus on the riding stability, stability, I should say. And then Ford is more just luck and we're going
Jeremy Perkins 52:05
yeah, yeah. And that's the best part is is they've always been they've been side by side some of yours are better than others and and what have you and i think you know, that's what the best part about it is, is you really have these two camps that are like I'm diehard Chevy I'm diehard Ford and it's great. I get what I what I think about dodge. Yes, Yes, I do. I don't know. I said no, it's this. It's just a noise. It's just a sound.
Alright, so thank you for coming on the show. Now is your chance to say whatever the hell you want.
John Thompson 52:43
Yo I'm gonna plug Oh g plumb God on Instagram. I'm gonna plug mechanical hub. I'm gonna plug beyond the service mechanical hub YouTube. I'm gonna plug Milwaukee rigid. unilite bad work where? Thompson family plumbing. All my my staff Thompson family plumbing. And who else who else who else? That's it. There we go.
Jeremy Perkins 53:07
All right, Dude, seriously, thank you. Enjoy your time off. Go home and be with your family. Thanks, brother.
John Thompson, aka OGPlumbgod, has always seen the massive amount of opportunity that lies within the trades. As an influencer, licensed plumber, and co-founder this ambitious entreprenur has taken his career to next level heights.
His day Job? Owning, running, and managing a commercial plumbing business with his family. But, outside of the day to day grind, John is taken on some bigger feats. Having launched his very own media company, John's core goal is to educate anyone willing to learn, on the opportunities available to them within the plubming trade.
John has spent the last few years putting together thoughtful and insightful content, finding people in the trades who are crushing it and shining on their achievemnets, all the while becoming an influencer along the way. When Bucket Talk head bout everything John was doing, we knew we had to get the full scoop.
Listen in to hear John's story, his rise to the top, and what goals he's tackling next.