Longtime family plumbing business in Nevada County there for those middle-of-the-night emergencies
January 28, 2018
In 1998, Lindsay Marich's mom mentioned during a phone call that "a nice, handsome plumber" had just been over to her house. Not only that, the plumber had spotted a photo of Lindsay on the refrigerator. She was holding a fish she'd caught. "Who's that? She's cute," he said.
A full four years later and post-divorce, Lindsay was with her father one day when the two ran into a plumber he knew.
"I remember you," said the plumber. "I saw your photo on the refrigerator at your parents' house."
One year later, Lindsay and Jim Marich were married, and six months after that, together they bought Mr. Rooter of Nevada County, an independently owned and operated franchise.
Working side by side since 2003, the Mariches will be celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary in March, "and we still talk," joked Lindsay.
Already an established master plumber with his own independent business, the couple decided to buy the franchise because it offered a host of benefits, including consistent pricing, a full streamlined administrative system and international recognition.
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Established in 1970, Mr. Rooter is the second largest full-service plumbing and drain cleaning company in the United States. Recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine among its "Franchise 500" and by Franchise Times Magazine as one of its "Top 200," Mr. Rooter franchisees provide services to both residential and commercial customers at more than 200 locations in the United States and Canada and more than 100 locations internationally. Mr. Rooter began franchising in 1974 and is a subsidiary of the Dwyer Group.
Residential and commercial services include addressing issues having to do with clogged drains, sewer system back ups, frozen pipes, leaking pipes, water heater repair and replacement, sewer line repairs and replacements and plumbing diagnoses — including camera inspection — and repair.
One of the "best investments we ever made," said Lindsay, was a hydro jetter, which is a powerful drain cleaning machine that uses high-pressure water jets to clear obstructions in residential and commercial drain pipes as well as larger municipal sewer systems.
"We clear a lot of culverts, leach lines to septic tanks and NID lines," said Lindsay. "The jetter is always in demand."
Another favorite toy, which was just purchased in August, is the TRIC trenchless pipe bursting machine, which can burst through old pipes in the ground and replace them with new pipes without having to dig a single trench.
"We're all about safety here," said Lindsay. "I guess you could say we're a little neurotic and meticulous when it comes to that."
Based out of their Grass Valley office on Loma Rica Drive, Mr. Rooter of Nevada County employs four technicians as well as Stephanie Williams — who works as a weekend dispatcher — and full-time dispatcher Ashley Carson, whom Lindsay refers to as "my right arm."
"The most rewarding part of running this business is being able to furnish the people who work here an opportunity to learn a trade and make a good living in Nevada County," said Jim. "Also being able to troubleshoot and fix our customers plumbing issues at affordable prices and promptly. The most challenging is being a business that is open 24/7 for 365 days a year — that can be quite overwhelming at times."
Nonetheless the Mariches say it's crucial to be available during off hours for emergencies, as there aren't many options in Nevada County.
While they are grateful to have run a successful business since 2003, the couple now says they are hoping to sell their business within the next five years. They are now about half way through their second 10-year contract and hope to sell before that ends.
"We're not in a rush — we want the right person to buy the business," said Lindsay. "But we're in our 60s now and we've always wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest. Jim wants to see if he can beat my biggest salmon catch of 33 pounds.
Over the years, Lindsay said the best part of her job has been the loyal customers, many of whom have become friends.
"It's been rewarding to watch the business grow and I've loved getting to know this county," she said. "But with our extended hours, my work has become my social life. Without a doubt, the best part of this job has been the people."
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email Cory@theunion.com.