Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up. That’s a lesson that most of us have had to learn, in both our personal and professional lives. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we fall. But it’s not the fall that defines us- it’s whether we get back up or not.
For Kevin Maston, owner and president of CK Mechanical, the past year has been about picking himself up, dusting himself off and reminding the community why CK Mechanical is Casper’s number one nationally recognized, local choice for plumbing services and so much more.
When Maston started CK Mechanical in 2004, he wanted to change the perception of what plumbers actually do. He knew how much work, knowledge, intelligence and passion it takes to be a trusted, effective plumber and he wanted to be an example of that in his own community.
“There’s a misconception about what a plumber is, and even some of our competitors still have the logo of the butt crack,” Maston laughed. “But that’s not what we are. It takes a lot of knowledge to do what we do and there’s a science behind it. The trade, in general, is looked down upon and it’s been one of my goals to change that.”
Changing the perception of the industry was a goal of Maston’s when he first forayed into the field, and it is a goal of his still. When he first started, Maston worked for a number of different companies but he knew, almost from the beginning, that he wanted to start his own company. As soon as he felt like he gathered enough experience and knowledge, that’s exactly what he did.
“The day I was eligible to take my master plumbing test, I did,” he said. “I had like $1,500 in the bank when I started CK Mechanical and I literally went door-to-door, knocking on doors and saying ‘Hi, my name is Kevin.’ I didn’t have any business cards. I didn’t know anything about business. I was a good plumber, and that was it. But that’s how I got started.”
Since that time, CK Mechanical has grown into one of Casper’s premiere plumbing companies. It has been featured in US Builders Review and was the recipient of the 2019 Readers Choice Awards for Best Plumbing Company, according to the Casper Star Tribune. It’s received countless 5-star reviews on Google and Facebook but, according to Maston, those accolades still aren’t good enough. In fact, Maston believes, CK Mechanical has yet to reach its true potential.
Like any business, success ebbs and flows due to a variety of reasons. And while CK Mechanical has always been successful, Maston said that there have been a few instances where he’s “taken his eye off the ball,” which has led to some issues within the company. And, he said, those issues fell squarely on his shoulders.
“I purchased an HVAC company in 2013 that was almost exactly the same size as my plumbing company,” Maston stated. “So, I literally doubled overnight. Prior to that, I had purchased three other plumbing companies that I was successful at integrating. So, I thought I could do the same thing this time and be just as successful. But turns out, I couldn’t. And I had some managers in place that I couldn’t count on. I had some personal issues going on and I was just in a funk. I had so much going on, that it was easier to ignore it than to deal with it.”
That is a position that most of us have taken at some point in our lives. When things get hard or overwhelming, sometimes it seems like it’s easier to just ignore what’s happening. Maston said he did that but very quickly realized how many people were counting on him- his family first, his employees and, of course his community.
“I don’t want to come off as meek or ‘oh, woe is me,’” Maston said. “But I want people to know that when I make mistakes, I’m going to say so and I’m going to stand behind it and I’m going to fix it. I’m going to make things right. We’ve let some people down and I want to fix that because I grew up here and if I see somebody at the store, I want to be able to look them in the eye and know that they appreciate having us in their community and that they appreciate the work that we do. But I want to work for that. I do believe that we’re the best at what we do. I believe we’re better than the other guy, but it’s easy to say that. Let us prove it.”
Sometimes, we’re our own harshest critic. But in order to be successful, we need to push ourselves to be better than our best day. That’s what Maston and his team strive to do at every opportunity. For Maston, CK Mechanical is more than just a job, more than just a business, more than just a way to make a buck. It isn’t just his livelihood; it’s his life, period. He views his employees and his customers as family, which is what he believes sets CK Mechanical apart from any other plumbing company.
“Family is the most important thing in my mind. Our company culture, from an employee perspective is about family. We’re based on family values. We’re a team, we’re a family and we have each other’s backs. From an employee perspective, I want my folks to know that I’m here for them all the time, and that goes for our customers too. We want to provide exceptional service every time and we want to do more than what’s expected of us.”
Maston said that the goal of CK Mechanical is to go above and beyond in every single aspect of what they do. “If you call me to change out your water heater and I notice that your trash is full, I’ll take out your trash. If your walkway is snowy, I’ll shovel your walk for you. We want to do more than what’s expected, every single time. That’s how you build trust and that’s how you build value and that’s how you get customers for life.
Nobody likes to call the plumber. Usually when you have to call a plumber, it’s an emergency situation. Our goal is to turn that stressful situation into a positive one.”
The way to do that, Maston said, is to demonstrate integrity in all aspects of the job. “We’re going to be there when we say we’ll be there. We’re going to give you a price and stick to that price. We’re not going to surprise you with extra charges. We’re going to offer you options and we’re going to let you be in charge of what we’re doing for you. We’ll tell you what’s wrong and we’ll offer solutions, but we’ll give you options too. We want to give you options so that you can make the best decision for your budget, for your family and for your future.”
Kevin Maston always has his eyes on the future, but he recognizes the importance of the past as well. He said that he’s learned from past mistakes and is intent on not repeating them. He wants to be held accountable by the community he loves. More than anything, Maston knows that if and when he falls (and we all do), he is a part of a community that won’t hesitate to help pick him up.