Friday Featured Business:
An Interview with Alan Cline, President & CEO of 1-800-PLUMBING
It’s not often that someone takes the time to write about what you do, sharing with others your product or service with their own audience and others.
And it’s not often when it’s done without any solicitation at all, so it’s very humbling and flattering when a client goes out of their way to commission an article about your business, on their own website.
That’s just what Alan Cline, President and CEO of 800Plumbing.com did recently, when he and his team posted on their blog an article about a different payment plan approach for plumbers and their businesses.
In their ‘Tips for Plumbers’ series, the article A Payment Plan Approach for Plumbers, explains how ‘offering payment plans to customers is attractive because they know they’ll be able to spread out their payments which can be huge weight lifted off of their shoulders.’
You’ll find a link to their full article at the end of Alan’s interview.
We reached out to thank him and to catch up with him about his business, what he was looking for when he found CareCap, what prompted him in sharing our story and product, and how he sees it helping plumbing businesses offer an easy way to manage payment plans for their customers.
Our interview also reveals how Alan sees offering payment options helping not only the plumbing industry, but many other industries as well.
As part of our new Friday Featured Business series here at the CareCap blog, we’re excited to introduce you to Alan Cline and his business, 1-800-PLUMBING Inc.
CareCap: Hi Alan, thanks for taking time to answer a few questions about yourself, your business and how you’re using CareCap. Please tell us a little about yourself: What is your role and how long have you been involved with 1-800-PLUMBING?
Alan Cline: “I am President/CEO of 1-800-PLUMBING INC that provides brand awareness and co-marketing benefits through our marketing systems and use of this memorable number, and I’ve been doing this since 2002.
I launched the business in memory of my plumbing sister, Beth Cline, whose vision was different, as she saw a way to bring real benefits to plumbing businesses, even if they choose to be independent.
It was really my sister, Beth’s idea. It was Beth’s dream to build a nationwide network of 1-800-PLUMBING contractors, as she secured the number and registered the trademark over 15 years ago.
Unfortunately, she passed away at the age of 45 from breast cancer on April 9, 2002. I knew the value she saw in this dream and I decided to make Beth’s dream a reality. I’ll never take credit for this idea, as credit for the creation of 1-800-PLUMBING will always be credited to her.
But it’s my honor to continue to build 1-800-PLUMBING into a nationwide brand that would make my sister proud and strive every day to make Beth’s dream come true.”
CareCap: That’s an amazing story and I’m sure Beth would be extremely proud of what you’ve accomplished with 1-800-PLUMBING and how it helps plumbing businesses today. Thank you for sharing your story and how your business began, Alan.
Now to segue to what your plumbing business customers are dealing with; based upon your experience with customers and as a consumer yourself, what are your thoughts on credit and payment options available to users and the paradigm of businesses offering payment options to help consumers afford services/goods?
Cline: “I have had some terrible experiences with collections agencies and will not use them ever again.
I think there are times when credit and payment options are good. With proper discipline and planning, they can work well!”
CareCap: We’re always curious on how businesses come to use CareCap and so we’d like to know in your case, why did you start using the CareCap payment platform? Was there a specific business need or problem you were looking to solve?
Cline: “I was looking for a solution that would help me get back on an even keel with one of my own customers. I knew that a collections agency would not work, but the CareCap solution looked quite intriguing.
It provided an opportunity to my customer so they can pay off a past due invoice and I no longer need to call them up and ask for money all the time.”
CareCap: That’s good to hear; it’s often a challenge to find the best, proactive solution to collecting on an aging invoice or overdue bill and oftentimes a business doesn’t want to send a good customer to collections, but at the same time may not have an easy way to offer them a way to pay over time. I’m glad to hear CareCap provided the solution to keeping a customer and helping them in paying off an aging invoice.
Based on this recent payment plan transaction, how likely is it that you’ll offer this payment option to more plumbing businesses in the future.
Cline: “CareCap is something that I don’t have a huge need for as my business is primarily business-to-business.
However, I looked at the CareCap model and think it could be an excellent opportunity for all of my customers (plumbing business owners) who deal with consumers direcly. I’m happy to promote this to all of them, as I see it as a great solution and a very cost effective tool.”
CareCap: Thanks Alan, we appreciate any chance to have someone with your influence, share the CareCap Payment Platform with others.
Aside from plumbing businesses, how can you see other industries/businesses benefitting from offering payment plans?
Cline: “Being able to offer a payment plan can be a great tool, especially in the plumbing business where there could be an emergency which causes an unexpected huge expense that a home owner wasn’t expecting.
But it definitely can be helpful to other business industries that deal with unexpected life events or with services/products that may seem out of reach, but could be affordable through pay-over-time payment options.”
CareCap: Based upon your experience and how you feel about offering payment solutions to your business customers, what would you recommend a business owner do, in order to understand the value of a simple payment plan platform before they choose one for their business?
Cline: “I’d recommend a few things a business should do before deciding on which payment solution to use in their business:
- Research – Read what people are saying online about payment platforms on the market before selecting one for your business.
- Ensure you find a tool that offers the ability to create customized payment plans, modify payment plans and that takes deposits.
- Verify that the payment platform you choose allows you to receive deposited payments quickly.
- Don’t fall for a solution that charges unusually high/unnecessary start up or subscription fees.
- You should request a full demo of the payment system before you sign up, so that you can test out the system fully before deciding on implementing the payment platform in your business.”
CareCap: Those are some great tips that a business should do before choosing a payment platform, we appreciate you sharing your advice to other businesses.
We want to thank Alan for taking time out of his busy schedule, to share a little about his business and also about his experience in using the CareCap payment platform in helping one of his business customers pay for services.
If you’d like to read more about 1-800-PLUMBING and their article on payment plans for plumbing businesses, please visit Alan’s website to read A Payment Plan Approach for Plumbers.