When Dean matriculated in 1995, he worked in a restaurant as manager at the Randburg Waterfront in its heyday. Not happy being cooped up in a restaurant all day he grew to dislike the job.
Dean’s cousin, with whom he shared a close relationship, took another route and after standard eight (Grade 10) went to Technikon and studied plumbing, where he went on to form his own company called Super Plumbing.
His company did work for the restaurant and to use Dean’s own words, “I could see that he loved his work.” One day during a sink mixer repair Dean confided in him about his dislike for the restaurant job and right then and there he insisted Dean come and work for him as an apprentice.
History records that 26 years later Dean is a well-recognised plumber, having qualified through Super Plumbing in 2001. “So, I got into the plumbing industry by accident. I neither had ambitions to become a plumber nor did I dream of becoming a plumber. But over the years I have experienced both construction and maintenance plumbing, working for a large construction plumbing company for several years, as well owning large and small plumbing companies.
”Being the modest fellow, he is, and we all know him for, he describes himself as 44, Married to Debbie for 14 years, and has three beautiful children, Dalia, Eden, and Ezra.
Dean attended Highlands Boys, Northview High and Sandringham High schools. What advice does he have for young plumbers both in the field and entering it, (probably some old plumbers as well!)
• Read and learn. Then read and learn some more, and then read and learn even more.
Knowledge is power and with technology changing very fast a plumber who does not keep pace with change will not be happy.
• Get yourself a mentor, have a sounding board, and use him or her to guide you in how to run a plumbing business. • Be proud of your profession as what you do as a plumber is a vitally important role within your community.
Some advice he offers for when you go into your own business: Your mentor will guide you in running a business. You were taught to do all things plumbing, now you need to learn how to run a business. Learn your financial numbers, cost correctly, learn better ways of controlling money and costing.
This mean running a lean and mean operation and when you get staff, look after them well. They are the heartbeat of your business, and when you look after them, they will look after you. Above all, give exceptional service – your customer will decide whether you excel in this area, do not let them down. Providing exceptional service is hard work, humble yourself and look at the issue from the customer’s perspective.
Be different – only you can decide how you will differ from your competitors. You need to give customers a compelling reason to use your services. Be prepared to give back. Someone took time and trouble to train you, be prepared to do the same.
Finally, accept that the journey is going to be hard. In fact, it's going to be much harder than you think. There will be ups and downs so prepare mentally for this. Having the right mindset from the get-go, will help you handle the inevitable ups and downs. In conclusion, “I see the industry going forward in a positive way. Sure, it has its problems, but it is better now than in 1995 when I started.”