Podcast #101

“101 - Richard Flournoy”

Featuring Richard Flournoy

Intro: Welcome to Profiles In Prosperity. The leading podcast for residential service contractors, sponsored by Service Roundtable and hosted by David Heimer.

David Heimer: Hi, this is David Heimer. Welcome to Profiles In Prosperity. Today I get to speak with Rich Flournoy. Rich is the founder, owner, and manager of A-Total Plumbing in Georgia. If you’ve ever had a chance to meet Rich and his lovely wife Felicia, you’ll be struck by how kind and modest they are despite building a large and very successful residential service plumbing business. In fact, I’d say that they’re overly modest. They’re always giving credit to everybody else, but in fact, they’re smart, hardworking people who implemented and grew their business and built something that was wildly successful. So Rich, welcome to Profiles In Prosperity.

Richard Flournoy: Hi David, how are you today?

David Heimer: I’m well, thank you. So Rich, tell me about the early days of your business. How did you get into our industry?

Richard Flournoy: So my grandfather was a plumber, my dad was a plumber, almost every male in my family’s a plumber. So it just came natural that I became a plumber.

David Heimer: Part of the formation of your company is the story about you meeting your beautiful wife, Felicia. So talk to us a little bit about that.

Richard Flournoy: If you back up way back to the beginning, I had worked for my dad doing plumbing for many years and then I was like, “Well, maybe this plumbing is not for me.” So I went and I got a job at Amazon and Felicia worked at Amazon with me. And we both worked the night shift so we spent a lot of time together. And one day I was like, “This is a lot of work and I could make a lot more money doing plumbing.” So I went and applied for a plumbing job. They told me, “Well Richard, your driving record is not good enough to come work here.” And I said, “Well, what if I got my girlfriend to drive me? Would that work?” And they were like, “Well, absolutely.” So I brought Felicia up there. Felicia drove me around for about a year until my driving record got better and that’s how she ended up in the plumbing industry. Fast forward a couple years, I started my company when I was 24 years old. And in the beginning, it was just me and Felicia was doing real estate. But the plumbing company really started taking off so Felicia pulled out of real estate and ended up coming and working in the office at A-Total.

David Heimer: There’s a story about the first van that you had. Tell us about that. I think I saw a picture of it at one point in time.

Richard Flournoy: So in May of 2001, I went to my grandfather and I said, “I’m going to open a plumbing company. I would like to buy this van. How much would you sell it to me for?” And at the time, I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was more than I could afford. And I said, “Well, Pa, why don’t you give me the van?” And he said, “Absolutely not.” He said, “I’ll rent it to you for $50 a week.” So I rented that van from my grandfather for $50 a week. It was a 1987 Dodge Van. It was Smurf Blue. Yeah, it wasn’t a great color for plumbing so I went home and I painted it with gray house paint with a roller.