Blame it on the weather

Jon Reed went from a dream of backpacking around Australia in 2007 to landing a job and a sponsorship in Melbourne that would see him start his own business nine years later. Katheryn Kernohan reveals what has kept Jon here for 17 years.

Reed Plumbing now employs more than 45 people and more than 30 per cent of our workforce is female

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Blame it on the weather

After arriving in Australia from his native UK in 2007, the first thing that struck Jon Reed was that the weather wasn’t exactly what he expected.

“I had watched Home and Away and Neighbours so I thought, it’s always nice over here.”

Initially planning a backpacker holiday to visit a friend, Jon’s visit turned into something much more when he landed a job at Rangedale, providing drainage work for major authorities.

It led to sponsorship from Interflow where he worked his way up the ranks to become a manager.

Another stint at Rangedale, this time as operations manager, followed and then in 2016 Jon decided to go it alone. He founded the business that would become Reed Plumbing and Drainage Solutions, now one of Melbourne’s leading plumbing maintenance businesses.

Initially working with just two others, Jon provided services such as new sewer connections, mains extensions and water tappings to several water authorities, before things expanded by chance.

“Someone asked us to complete a drain blockage, and then from there we started working for other plumbers and real estate firms, and they were really impressed about the level of detail we include in our reports back to them.

“They asked whether we did other plumbing services? And I said, not really. From there we saw an opportunity to get into the maintenance plumbing side of work, and we started growing. We’ve still got a sewer relining and civil side of the business that works for water authorities but now we do a range of general, residential, commercial and preventative plumbing too.”

Reed Plumbing and Drainage Solutions services have in place a lot of long-term contracts with major clients including councils around metropolitan Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospitals, Melbourne Polytechnic campuses, water authorities, insurance companies and more.

“Our long-term contracts are a large percentage of our business and the rest of the work includes work with real estates and body corporates.

We’ve always had extremely high standards in how we deliver the work, from our detailed reports to the fact our vehicles are always immaculate. We’re really customer-focused in everything we do, and we provide a good, honest service.”From its humble beginnings, Reed Plumbing now employs more than 45 people.

“At first, I employed a couple of lads because we needed three people on the water authorities work - one of them is still with us now. We’ve grown from there and I also have a talented team in the office including an Operations Manager and a Business Manager,” says Jon.

As Director of the business, Jon is involved across all aspects of the Reed Plumbing’s operations, but he still loves being on the tools as part of his day-to-day work.

“It’s what I enjoy doing, the clients enjoy seeing me and I really like seeing our plumbers flourish throughout the business. We’ve had apprentices who started and have worked their way to being supervisors, and that’s not an accident, it’s through guidance and supporting people, and providing them opportunities to grow.

“We have a fully set up training area at our head office that gets used a lot for training on hot water units, gas appliances and for training any office staff on what pipework looks like behind the walls. It gets used a lot by the apprentices too, for welding practice before their journeyman’s.”

Jon is passionate about innovation in the plumbing industry and it is something he explores both through Reed Plumbing and Pipe Core, a business he is involved with which sells, hires, trains and services all the latest drain cleaning, inspection and relining technologies to customers.

“I’ve travelled around the world looking at technology from plumbing and trenchless technologies in America and Europe to recently going to a water convention in New Zealand.

“Pipe Core has a training facility and a demo area where you can try things before you purchase them.

It’s great because I used to have to fly over to Europe to decide whether I wanted to buy something, and then you’d have to fly the equipment over here, which was really difficult.

“We’re a big client of Pipe Core and are frequent visitors to their masterclasses on drain cleaning, and their open days as well as seeing new technologies they have to offer.”

Jon is a Master Plumbers member and commercial supporter. He is a strong advocate for the training and development opportunities the plumbing member association provides.
“We send as many apprentices as we can to Master Plumbers’ training and all of our vehicles have the Master Plumbers logo on them because we’re a big believer in showing that we’re at a certain standard and can be trusted.”

“We are also a large supporter of Empowered Women in Trades and work with [founder] Hacia Atherton. We have female plumbers and female VCAL students, and more than 30 per cent of our workforce is female.”

While forging a hugely successful career was not one of Jon’s aims when he arrived in Australia for a holiday, does he see himself returning back to the UK?

“I met my wife, who I’ve been with for 17 years, only a couple of months after I arrived and now I’ve got two beautiful daughters. The kids are always at the factory with me on the weekend, I don’t think they particularly want to be plumbers but they love spending time with their Dad. I wouldn’t want to bring them up anywhere else.”

Simpro – 2 x 3 month – started may 24


Reed Plumbing now employs more than 45 people and more than 30 per cent of our workforce is female

Share this quote
Simpro – 2 x 3 month – started may 24


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