Keith Hankins says he was born a plumber. His dad, Tom, was also a plumber so when Keith graduated from Terry Fox Secondary, his natural next step was to apprentice with a big Port Coquitlam company.
After receiving his apprenticeship, Keith joined his dad in 1999 at Tri-City Plumbing & Heating. Tom groomed his son and prepared him for a takeover in 2002.
Tri-City Plumbing, like many other businesses, found success in mass production and multi-family housing during the early 2000’s while maintaining some variety, taking on commercial new construction and tenant improvements. During this time, it also sustained an ever-growing service department.
When the global economy changed, it overnight halted the way business was going to be run.
This transition forced Keith to retool the way he did business: no longer would his team handle work on high-rises, large subdivisions and speculative homes. Rather, they would concentrate on maintaining his respected service department, new construction for custom homes, commercial jobs, and tenant improvements.
“We had to roll through some tough times,” Keith remembers, “but we did it.”
By 2011, business had picked up and Tri-City Plumbing was back on the map. Today, Keith has a core group of a dozen employees including his wife, Nicole, who works in the office, two full-time in-house estimators, a project manager and seven accredited plumbers who take calls from clients around the Lower Mainland—from West Vancouver to Chilliwack.
They work on repairs, replacements, and new installations of everything from toilets, sinks and tubs to sewer systems, gas pipes and boilers.
“We’re good at what we do,” Keith says. “We’ve built a solid reputation around that. Good word travels far.”
Though Keith now calls Maple Ridge home, he is proud to have the Tri-City Plumbing & Heating headquarters in his hometown of PoCo.
And he is happy to carry on his family legacy: his brother, Brad, is also on staff while his children come after school to help with chores. “It’s been three generations in our office.”
One of the reasons Keith has maintained solid performances is because of the on-the-job training and experience he provides to his staff. He likes to keep on top of trends and bring in experts for product or technology learning.
Trade apprentices get paid to work and to go to school so there is always an income for the trainee, he says.
Keith says if the apprentice comes in with a good work ethic and attitude, “they’re going to make good money and they’re going to do well.”
His mantra? Do the job right the first time and do not cut corners. Treat every job as if it were your own property.
Customer service comes first at Tri-City Plumbing & Heating. During the pandemic, Keith says his plumbers have been taking special care to protect the health and safety of their clients as well as themselves, wearing masks and gloves on the job, and adhering to contractors’ COVID-19 protocols.
But what does Keith want you to know about plumbers?
“Not all plumbing companies are unscrupulous. There are good honest plumbers out there. For us, if there is a problem, we deal with it the right way. We will not up-sell you on something you do not need. We are just here to get the job done.”
For more information, visit www.tri-cityplumbing.net.