Plumbers using technology to help get jobs done amidst coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 2:21 PM, Apr 14, 2020

Plumbers are essential to cleanliness. These days, they can't be too careful. Now, amidst the coronavirus outbreak, many are connecting virtually to help get the job done.

Jimmy Vandivier wants his clients and his employees to know that Flowrite Plumbing takes safety and sanitation very seriously.

“We wear rubber gloves. We have sanitizing wipes. We wipe down the tablet if the customer is to sign on it. We have a N95 face mask; we wear when we greet each customer,” he described of the safety measures his company takes.

The second-generation plumber has operated Flowrite Plumbing in Northern California for more than 20 years. That now amounts to about 8,000 customers. This time of year is usually slow for the business, but not now.

“It really dropped off for a week,” he said. “The phones pretty much stopped and now this, last week, it’s through the roof again.”

You could say all plumbing calls are essential. But during this pandemic, people are only calling on the real emergencies.

"No hot water, clogged drains, stuff is leaking, shower leaking, stuff like that,” he said.

Plumbers work around contaminated and unsanitary things, so Vandivier has always had protective gear and has always taken precautions for himself and his clients. Now, he's gone a step further. There's the standard hand sanitizers and wipes, but his gloves are distinct and unique.

“Orange, so customers can see them on every call,” he said of his gloves. “I’ve noticed if you wear black, they can’t quite see them. Orange you can see from a mile when you’re walking up to the door.”

Flowrite just implemented a virtual plumbing diagnosis.

“To look at the job before we get there, so they can show us everything that’s wrong,” he explained. “Then, we get there, we can go in. They can keep their distance on another side of the house. We can go in and kind of do our thing.”

A simple FaceTime or Zoom will do to minimize contact and make sure the environment they're about to walk in to is as clean as it can be.

Vandivier says he’ll turn down work that is deemed unsafe or in need of major restoration, and he's thankful for considerate customers who keep him working toward a clog-free nation.