About the OwnerHello, my name is Robert Curtis Allen. I own and operate Allen Plumbing Co. in Houston, TX. I've worked in the plumbing field since 1980.
I served my 4 year apprenticeship at International Plumbing Co. There I did plumbing on high rise condominiums and townhomes, new construction mostly. Some notable projects I worked on were "The Breakers" condominiums and "The Victorian Condotel", both in Galveston. During this time I was going to apprenticeship school 2 nights a week to learn plumbing theories and procedures. It was fun making it to class on time with as many out of town jobs as I had.
After taking the Journeyman's exam (passing it with high grade of the day; a 98 ) I went to work with my father in his plumbing repair business. The business was already well established and continued to grow as I brought new ideas to it. I learned customer relations, and repair work in general from my Dad, the things they don't teach you in plumbing school. After a year, I then took the master's exam, making an 89.6 on that one. As a master plumber, I now could own the company legally once Dad was ready to retire. On January 1st, 1989, I officially purchased the business from my father. I made payments to him for several years afterward to pay off the business.
For the past 8 years I've been upholding the traditions my father had in place before me. And doing my best to keep the customer happy. Work has reached such a volume that we had to hire a plumber to help out. Hopefully, our business will grow and prosper in the coming years so we may continue to serve the Houston Area with the same family pride my Dad always had.
The History of Allen Plumbing Co.Remember when it all started Dad?
I asked him the other day. He hesitated, and started asking what I needed to know and why. I told him it was for a web page for the company. A sort of company history I said. "Well, lets see.
It was back in 19 and 56 when Ralph Gilbert, owner of 'Texas Plumbing Co.' decided he was closing operations in Houston and moving." Dad said. This left a dilemma, of sorts, for all the workers who preferred to stay in town. So Mr. Gilbert, being appreciative of the good workers he had over the years, offered us a deal. We could buy our service truck from him and pickup a few of the customers from the company and start our own business. One can only imagine the doubts, fears and hopes that all were going on in the minds of those dedicated workers. Not to mention the wives who heard the story and the intentions of their husbands that evening. It was trying times.
Times were tough at first, for the newly formed 'Allen Plumbing Company'. Doing remodel, new construction and repair at the time, it was a juggle. But with baby number two on the way and no steady income yet, we took what we could get. Several strokes of good luck with business contacts helped to set the company apart from the others.
"One day I met a man by the name of Jim Westbrook", Dad said. "He was a repair man for a new appliance on the market which only the wealthiest of homes had at the time." The appliance? A dishwasher. Those in the River Oaks community all either had one or wanted one. Jim Westbrook sold and serviced them, and handed out business cards of a plumber he thought highly of; Bob Allen. The upper class neighborhood was still new then and the residents were highly dependent on referrals for good contractors. Word of mouth was then, and is now, the best form of advertising. There were other tradesmen who helped each other, painters, carpenters, etc.. They were all in this together, everyone wanted a good reputation in a neighborhood sure to be a hub of the city.
There were then and are now, many famous and well known personalities we provide service for. We won't disclose names as their privacy is important to us much more than self-promotion.
Later on, when the clientele was more established, there was less need to do new construction or remodel. That part of the business was phased out. Labor problems along with the numbers of it all, pointed to a more secure, stable business doing only repair.
Several good connections were made on the industry side as well. Allen Plumbing Co. was a factory authorized Dishmaster repair service company. One of very few companies who worked on them, both then and today.
The basic theory behind the success of the company is give the customer what they want and need. So many contractors today will sell new fixtures when the old one can be repaired. Allen Plumbing Company is a repair company. Oh, we'll recommend replacement if it's necessary. But if it can be repaired and that's what the customer wants, we will fix it. We pride ourselves on having the parts on the truck and the knowledge to do just that. Those principals are the reason we endure to serve you today.
Recently many changes have been made in the company. For the past 8 years I have owned the company. My Dad, Bob Allen, taught me much in the past and is still a source for knowledge from time to time. I've pledged to never learn the hard way, a lesson my elders have already learned and shown me. Modernization of the company brought new efficiency in the areas of bookkeeping, budgeting, and dispatching. Computers are a part of this, as are pagers and two way business radios. It's a new age, and our company will be in step with it all the way. If you don't your history... your legacy, will not survive.
I still work for many of the old customers, as well as their children, and children's children. As new customers come and old ones fade away, one thing is for sure, I'll never forget... they are the reason I'm here.
Robert Curtis Allen, Owner