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2020 New Zealand Master Plumber of the Year

20 May 2020

iPlumber Ltd in Hamilton is the 2020 New Zealand Master Plumber of the Year.

Winners of the 2020 New Zealand Plumbing Awards were announced in a special online ceremony on 19 May.

As its name suggests, iPlumber is a forward-looking company that uses modern technology wherever possible to streamline its business operations and provide proactive communication.

Over the past 10 years, company director and Certifying Plumber and Gasfitter Jamin Saes (pictured) has grown his business from a sole trader to a team of four.

Jamin and his team use trade-specific job management software for job management to track jobs, manage documents and streamline admin.

This technology benefits their business and their customers. “We use it to upload photos, record hours, job info and materials, and access prices from suppliers.” It is also used to invoice and take payment on site.

Fleet management software helps them get to jobs quicker. “GPS in the vans ensures our people take the best route to a job, which ultimately means the guys do less driving, so it’s good for time management and reduces fuel emissions—it’s a win-win.”

An environmental focus means iPlumber try to be paperless and recycle items whenever possible.

The business focuses on residential maintenance and renovations, with urgent, 24-hour and general service options.

iPlumber won the 2019 Waikato Master Plumber of the Year award last September. Jamin believes the company’s strong communication was key to their win—and to their large number of happy customers.

Technology is used to send clients automated service reminders by text and iPlumber’s new website includes a 24/7 LiveChat function answered by real people in the United States. This means customers aren’t left hanging and the team is better placed to prioritise urgent jobs.

The company has recently been engaged by PAK'nSAVE Hamilton—the largest of the nationwide stores—for their ongoing maintenance and is also carrying out a total upgrade of a local retirement home.

Good presentation is important at iPlumber, with tidy, sign written vehicles and a clean-cut team in uniform.

The company has reaped financial rewards from heavy investment in rebranding, online marketing, business coaching and staff training.

Good team mental health is promoted through a workplace culture of regular social functions and keeping work hours to a set limit.

iPlumber’s plan from the start was to stand behind top-quality customer service by being on time, doing the job right and offering a 15-year labour guarantee. If anything isn’t right, it’s fixed efficiently and at no cost to the customer.

Integrity is central to iPlumber’s ethos: “If you are going to do something, do it right and do it where, when and how you said you were going to do it,” says Jamin. 

The Master Plumber of the Year award recognises a Master Plumbers member that can clearly demonstrate business acumen and drive for success. The winner exemplifies the highest levels of professionalism and service across five key business areas: customer service, marketing, image, business performance and personnel. 

The winner receives a pounamu trophy, a certificate and $2,000 for marketing purposes.

2020 New Zealand Plumbing Award Winners

Award winners in all categories are listed below. 

  • New Zealand Master Plumber of the Year: iPlumber Ltd, Hamilton
  • Graeme Victor Smith Contribution to the Industry: Jack Rogers, Rogers and Rogers, Kaitaia
  • Jackson Women in Plumbing: Colleen Upton, Hutt Gas & Plumbing, Wellington
  • James Douglas Medallion:
    • Gasfitting Finalist and Overall Winner: Brent Ewing, McIvor Plumbers & Gasfitters, Wanaka
    • Plumbing Finalist: Thomas Walls, formerly at The Plumber, Havelock North, now at East Coast Plumbing & Gas, Hastings
    • Drainlaying Finalist: Ben Howie-Stevens, The Lewis Plumbing Company, Rotorua
  • Outstanding Project of the Year: Hutt Gas & Plumbing, Wellington, for work on The National Biocontainment Laboratory
  • New Zealand Plumber, Gasfitter or Drainlayer of the Year: Sean O’Shea, Plumbing & Gas Works, Hamilton)
  • Product of the Year: Greens Tapware, Vantage Range
  • Training Leader of the Year: Mark Watkins, Advanced Plumbing, Drainage & Gas, Hawke’s Bay
  • Kava Cup: Canterbury Master Plumbers Association for Kowhai Rest Home community project
  • Plumbing World Scholarships for Masterlink apprentices:
    • Overall Winner: Alan Wharton, hosted by Flints Plumbing & Drainage, Queenstown
    • Winner: Darren Mills, hosted by Graham Bond Ltd, Christchurch
    • Winner: George Steed, hosted by Rogers and Rogers, Kaitaia

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