Communication is the Key: High 5 Plumbing Explains the Unique Nature of Working with a Spouse
Advice from the married co-owners of the Denver-based plumbing company, High 5 Plumbing.
Starting an independent business can be a difficult venture. Along with having the money to fund the project, one must develop a business plan, create working systems, hire employees, convince customers to purchase the product or service, and a multitude of other important business management issues. It is a long and sometimes daunting task.
For some, it becomes a family business that incorporates a husband-wife duo overseeing operations. That is the case when it comes to High 5 Plumbing. The home service company offers a multitude of plumbing solutions to residents in the Denver area, including repair and installation, drain cleaning, pump plumbing, piping, garbage disposal services, sewer line repair, gas plumbing, water heater installation and much more.
The company is led by Levi and Cassi Torres. When running a company with your spouse, keeping a work-life balance can be complicated at times. “Everyone talks about a work-life balance,” said Levi.
“In all reality, when we go home, we are in a different mindset. But we still discuss work. We talk about our plans and the future of the company. The only difference is we don’t go home, open a laptop and start working directly on the business. The balance is we are not working in the company, we are working on the company.”
When starting a business from the ground up, almost every aspect of the business is discussed daily, according to Cassi.
“It comes up naturally,” she said. “Our kids have been around the company ever since they were younger. They were always around the business, so it’s just natural for us to discuss it when we are at home. It comes up all the time.”
The couple, who started High 5 Plumbing in 2012, said there are plenty of advantages of running a business with your spouse. Being able to share a clear vision for the company helps develop a clear company culture.
“We are the leaders of the company, so our relationship with each other is reflected in the company,” said Cassi. “We have a common vision of where we want the company to go. I think having that vision has allowed us to constantly be understanding of each other. Like four years ago, having a common vision and direction helped us develop a plan to grow the business.”
Building a successful plumbing company with two locations and plenty of happy customers isn’t simple, even for a happy couple. Levi said the biggest obstacle to success is a lack of communication.
“It may be a cliché answer, but communication is the answer to a lot of problems,” he said. “If you can communicate how you’re feeling, then you can avoid hurting other people’s feelings. If you can communicate what you want to accomplish, then there won’t be any confusion. Communication is the key.”
While the couple has been together for 21 years, Cassi said they still use a coach to help them communicate better both inside and outside the office.
“Levi and I are completely opposite when it comes to our personalities and how we interact with people,” Cassi said. “We’ve had to learn how to respect how each other communicates. Even though we’ve been together more than two decades, we are actively working with a coach on how we can improve our communication skills, build a stronger relationship, and be aligned in the same direction.”
Both Cassi and Levi agree that getting a mentor is the best thing a couple can do to help run a successful business. Due to the unique nature of running a business together, a coach can help the owners “go through the weeds of it” and come out the other end successfully.