People take water for granted: You turn on the tap, it flows out. But that thinking is starting to change, especially in drought-plagued areas like Southern California. KC Montgomery has always thought about water differently, recognizing it as the precious commodity it really is. He decided years ago that he wanted to do something important in the area of water conservation, and leveraging his skills as a plumber seemed the logical path to follow.
He still had to pay the bills doing the normal work plumbers do, and while his business was successful, his cramped pickup truck hampered productivity. That changed radically when San Diego-based Monty’s Plumbing and Sustainable Systems got a new Ford Transit Van. Both KC and his employees are working more efficiently now, and KC has extra time to devote to his true passion.
KC’s specific area of focus is the capture and repurposing of “gray” water, such as the outflow from washing machines, and rainfall. He credits his mother—and his penchant for watching documentaries—for that focus.
“My mother was the first person I ever saw do anything with gray water,” he says. “She and my grandmother owned a nursery in Isla Vista in the 1980s, and there was a severe drought. I can vividly remember her having a conversation with some official and asking why she couldn’t run the wastewater from her washing machine out to the flower beds. She rigged a trash can with a port in the bottom, ran a line from the washing machine and used the water to keep the flower beds green.”
From Sideline to Full-Time Business
Starting out as a union plumber in Southern California, KC learned his trade from the ground up. “Early in my career, I was doing a lot of high-tech and industrial work, and later on I got into the service and repair field,” he says. “I have a very diversified education and background in this field, which comes in handy.” KC’s full-blown entrepreneurial career started when he got fired from a job—because his employer found out that KC, in true entrepreneurial fashion, was already running a small business designing and installing water reclamation systems on the side.
He got off to a rocky start but used the downtime to gorge on documentaries about water issues, stoking his passion for conservation. KC quickly realized conventional plumbing work would have to support his avocation for sustainability. “More people are interested in water reclamation systems than are interested in spending what it costs to install one,” he laments. “I spend almost as much time bidding these jobs as I do installing them. It’s such a new thing that people just don’t know what to expect.”
Transit Supercharges Productivity
Given that disconnect, boosting productivity and efficiency is a top priority for Monty’s Plumbing and Sustainable Systems, which employs three plumbers and an apprentice. “We are one of the more diversified plumbing companies in the state, and service and repair are the mainstays of our business,” KC says. “The more jobs we can complete and the faster we can get in and out, the better it is for our top and bottom lines. When things are humming, that’s when I can take a little more time to focus on sustainability initiatives.”
The company’s new Ford Transit 250 long wheelbase Van, with its 148-inch wheelbase and medium roof, has been a boon in that regard. “It’s the right combination of everything—big enough to carry all our equipment, but small enough to be easily maneuverable,” he says. “It has a tight-turning radius, and it’s easy to park. Those are important considerations in San Diego, where we do a lot of our work.”
With customized system of shelves and bins, KC’s Transit is a true mobile shop. “Because we are so diversified, it’s important that we have all the right parts for a lot of different jobs, and this is the perfect solution. Plus, we can stand up in the van and find things easily, which we couldn’t do before. It’s a huge time-saver and productivity boost.”
The 3.2L Power Stroke® I-5 Turbo Diesel delivers more advantages for Monty, saving time and money for his business. “And the marketing impact is fantastic,” KC adds. “With the graphics wrap and the Transit’s eye-catching design, this van is a real head-turner. I get comments all the time, from potential customers and from other tradesmen who want to know all about it.”
For useful tips on how you can put a Ford Transit to work for your own business, and to learn how other small businesses are putting Ford Transit and Transit Connect Vans to work for them, go to http://www.ford.com/commercial-trucks/transitcommercial/. Plus, find other articles and infographics in this series to help you enhance your business—brought to you by Ford Transit.