If you’re an Atlanta resident—or even if you’ve just traveled through or visited the area—you’re probably familiar with Superior Plumbing Services, Inc. Superior’s fleet of clean white vans emblazoned with the company’s blue-and-yellow logo and their billboards placed alongside the city’s major highways are hard to ignore.

But is Superior Plumbing’s work really worth all the hype? (Spoiler alert: It is!) And who’s behind the shiny vehicles and billboard slogans? How does Superior Plumbing differ from other Atlanta plumbers?

To find out, I talked with David Cunningham, Superior’s operations manager and son of Jay Cunningham, the company’s founder. David has been involved in the business since childhood, and he and I talked about how Superior got its start, the company’s approach to providing customers with the best service possible, and what makes Superior a leader in the Atlanta plumbing community.

Keep reading to find out more—and don’t miss David’s two essential plumbing tips at the end!

Superior Plumbing’s Values

Plumber crouching under kitchen sink for repair

Jay Cunningham started Superior Plumbing out of his garage in 1988. In the 30 years that followed, the company grew at a healthy rate—so healthy, in fact, that Superior now operates out of a large building in Kennesaw, one of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, and employs over 70 staff members who assist customers via a fleet of approximately 25 vehicles.

A far cry from one man, one truck, and one garage!

With such success and steady growth, what is perhaps most impressive about Superior Plumbing is the company’s commitment to consistent, quality service and friendly staff members.

Integrity above all

Superior Plumbing is recognizable not only for its distinctive logo but also for its slogan: “The Honest Plumber.” And to ensure that everyone at Superior upholds that motto, David says he looks for a few key qualities in all new team members.

“You have to start with a good person,” David says. “Character and integrity are primary. A [plumbing] license is a big piece, but you can train people to do plumbing. But if you don’t have that [integrity] piece, then we are not going to put those people in your house.”

The desire and drive to help people and to do good plumbing work is also essential, David notes, but ultimately, a prospective hire will only be a good fit if they have character and integrity.

Focus on training and education

Unless you’re personally involved in the trades—plumbing, masonry, roofing, etc.—you may not be aware of the labor shortage facing these industries. Older tradesmen and women are beginning to retire, and because of the emphasis on earning a college degree immediately after graduating from high school, the trades aren’t seeing many new faces apply for jobs.

To ensure that they’re getting the best and the brightest, David and the Superior team place heavy emphasis on training new employees and maintaining an active continuing education program for all employees.

“This year [so far], we’ve trained more than half of the Fridays,” says David. “We took a room that wasn’t being used a lot and changed it into a training room. [We] want to continuously improve because there is new stuff out there.”

To get the word out about the importance of trades—our lives would be measurably more uncomfortable without plumbers, after all—David and the Superior team got involved in area schools. One of Superior’s plumbers, in fact, played a vital role in developing and implementing a construction curriculum at a local high school.

Getting teenagers interested in plumbing isn’t an easy feat, but for David, it’s worth the work. “You may not be making a lot off the bat [in the trades], but you’re also not incurring that school debt. You can make a very good living for a family doing any of the trades.”

Superior’s community and local school involvement keeps area teens aware of all their options when it comes to choosing employment paths, and an emphasis on recruiting enthusiastic new blood ensures that the whole staff is continuously learning and staying up-to-date on new technology.

The Honest Plumber

Plumber using a wrench to tighten part of a pipe fixture

Owning a home is expensive—there’s just no way around it—but the cost is almost always worth it. And when something needs repair, it’s tempting to go with the lowest quote you can find. There’s a chance that this will work out just fine, but the likelihood is even greater that you’ll be less than satisfied with the job.

When it comes to home services, honesty, quality of work, and cost don’t necessarily have anything to do with one another. “The basic idea [behind our slogan] is that we’ll come to your house, assess what the problem is, and we will give you the price to fix it.”

“We are not the cheapest plumber in town,” David acknowledges. “We base our pricing on what it is for us to stay in business and to deliver a clean, licensed, drug-screened plumber. Our guys are the cream of the crop. We have guys that are Master Plumbers in multiple states. We do all the continuous training; we send a nice, fully stocked truck; and a lot of times, we are able to pull up to the house and perform the work at that time.”

All of these elements come together to provide a truly superior customer experience. “At the end of the day, plumbing is not super difficult,” says David. “We want to provide a superior, very good experience for the customer. All of those [detailed] pieces play a part in separating us from other companies.”

Plumbing Advice from the Pros

Water heater installed in a corner of an empty room

Similar to the other major systems in your house, your plumbing mostly remains hidden and out of mind until something goes wrong. But did you know that there are a couple easy ways to catch problems before they result in catastrophic, costly emergency calls?

Take a look at David’s essential plumbing tips for homeowners:

1. Keep an eye on your home’s water pressure.

“Your home’s water pressure is like your blood pressure,” says David. “And what high pressure in a house does is it pushes everything a little bit harder and sometimes a lot harder.”

The typical pressure in a municipal water main ranges from 120 or 130 pounds per square inch (psi) to as high as 180 psi. Building code stipulates that residential water pressure be between 60 and 80 psi, so every home has a pressure regulating valve that drops the pressure of the water coming into the house from the water main.

If the pressure regulating valve fails, the pressure levels can quickly double, says David. “That’s when you end up with leaky toilets or leaky faucets, sometimes burst pipes. [High water pressure] will shorten the life of all the fixtures in the house.”

If you notice leaking fixtures or a sudden increase in the pressure of the water coming from faucets in your house, don’t ignore it. Call Superior (or a Best Pick plumber in your area) to determine whether your pressure regulating valve needs to be replaced. It’s a quick, easy fix with significant long-term benefits.

2. Know the age of your water heater.

The average life expectancy of a water heater is 8 to 12 years, David says. Some do last longer; in fact, David adds that he’s seen water heaters that are anywhere from 15 to 25 years old, but that’s certainly not typical.

“I wouldn’t say go replace your water heater when it’s ten years old, but just have that in your head. The standard, plain Jane water heater has a six-year warranty. We’ve installed ten-year warranty water heaters for many, many years. It’s just something a little better.”

Know the age of your water heater as well as its warranty terms. Once the water heater approaches the end of its warranty term, have a plumber assess its condition. This is especially important, David notes, if your water heater is located in the attic or storage space above the home’s living space.

The Bottom Line

Male plumber fixing sink plumbing

Superior Plumbing sets a high bar for plumbers in the Atlanta area, not only for the quality of their work, but also for their impeccable service. Home services are very rarely inexpensive, but in almost every case, choosing a contractor with the lowest bid is a mistake.

Look for honesty and transparency as you communicate with any home services company, and know that when you choose Superior Plumbing, you’ll be working with the best of the best!

Superior Plumbing Services, Inc., a Plumbers Best Pick in Atlanta. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.