Name: Matthew Fleming
Company: All-Star Plumbing & Heating
Location: Manasquan, New Jersey
Specialty: New Construction Large Custom Homes
Although a self-described “rough around the edges” kind of guy, Matthew Fleming (@allstarplumbinginc), owner of All-Star Plumbing & Heating, Manasquan, N.J., admits he’s a girl dad, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I have no problems laying on the floor and playing dolls with my daughters,” says Fleming. He says that at some point you have to be able to shut OFF work and turn ON home.
And while spare time doesn’t happen as often as Fleming would like, when it does, he loves hanging at the beach with his wife and kids. He also tries to make time to work out at the gym every morning to clear his head and start the day right. “Work will always be there tomorrow so you need to make sure that you’re not missing those important life/leisure moments that you can’t get back.”
It’s a Generational Thing
With Fleming’s father owning a family plumbing business, it was a simple decision to get into the plumbing industry. Fleming went to college for business administration and construction management to at least give himself a solid base of business knowledge if he was to ever take over the company. A solid decision as it turns out. “I started plumbing when I was about 16 years old but would always help out my dad as a kid. I worked part time through school and college. Once I graduated college, I jumped in full time and I’ve never looked back,” says Fleming.
The Ultimate Influence
Fleming has recently officially taken over the company that his father started 30+ years ago. And it was his father that molded Fleming into the craftsman that he is today. “He instilled in me the values of hard work and determination,” says Fleming. “He was always pushing the envelope and would take on jobs that other plumbers and companies would shy away from. My father always embraced challenges, and after years of doing that, it became clear the you can attack difficult situations with the confidence and mindset that you have what it takes to handle it.”
Like most modest tradespeople, Fleming doesn’t consider himself a “role model” but he does feel like he has some valuable bits of advice he could pass on to the younger generation looking to get into this trade or take into whatever field they choose. “A lot of plumbing is having the ability to problem solve, and that applies to any field. I encourage people to never be content with their current knowledge and skill set, you can always find ways to improve,” says Fleming.
These days a lot of teaching and connecting with others happens through social influencing. “Social media has absolutely made a big impact on my business for multiple reasons. I’ve learned so much from so many of the incredible plumbers across the country and have made some good friends, too. I’ve gotten jobs from the work people have seen on my Instagram, but above that, seeing the amazing work that others put out makes me improve your own work. I always remind the guys that I might take a picture of their work and post it to Instagram for public ridicule by the “super plumbers,” so make sure it’s right, haha,” says Fleming. “Social media can be very valuable if you use it right and the plumbing community is second to none on there.”
State of the Industry
“I feel like most people believe that being in the trades means that you’re a second-rate citizen and couldn’t get a “real” job,” says Flaming. When in reality, continues Fleming, it’s a respectable occupation that requires highly educated, hard-working people. And with that comes training. “There should be more educational and training options available so that people entering the trades can be trained properly, which will help raise industry standards. Increasing trade school funding to ensure that the programs available are legit programs would absolutely attract more people. They need to be proactive in recruiting instead of just waiting for kids to show up,” says Fleming.
A Hard Day’s Work
One of the most rewarding things about his work is the problem-solving aspect. “I really enjoy when the customer tells me that they had four other companies there prior and nobody could figure out the problem but we did,” says Fleming. I’d say that’s a win.
But nothing compares to when you are down and come home to see those smiling faces. “I was having a pretty rough week, put through the ringer. I came home that day feeling pretty defeated only to be greeted by my two daughters—ages 6 and 8—barreling towards me to give me a huge hug as my wife kissed me on the cheek. Instantly, I was reminded of what is really important, and even though I was having a rough patch, I was still doing a good job. It was just what I needed and I thought to myself, ‘I’m extremely lucky to have this life that plumbing has provided me.’”