Testimonial | Sewer Replacement in Magnolia

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After completing a sewer replacement in Magnolia, Seattle, for house built in the early 1940s, we received this wonderful testimonial from the homeowner. A very sincere thank you, Helen, from all of us at Bob Oates!

February 2, 2023

Patrick Gavino, Project Manager
Bob Oates Sewer, Rooter LLC
1817 Queen Anne Ave N, Suite 312
Seattle, WA  98019

Dear Patrick,

I do intend to leave an online review — after all, it’s a world of digital/social/online marketing these days! But I want to go a bit more in depth than what such reviews ask for.

Meet and Greet

First, it was wonderful meeting you in our initial sewer assessment and sewer scope. For a 1941 house that had the concrete sewer line breached by a gas line (city’s fault, their $18,000 repair in 2013), plus 82 years of use, I believe that’s a rather good life for a sewer, yes? I already had three other estimates and watched sewer scopes from these other businesses, so it was educational to see how you approached it — a sewer with cracks, bellies, and on its last legs — without the usual over-the-top scare tactics I had from other companies.

You were straightforward in your assessment, honest in what you saw, and offered no-pressure suggestions for taking action, or not. My hope was to nurse the sewer along until I sold the house in a few years. However, the new neighbors’ recent $89,000 massive sewer collapse crisis (they had waived the inspection, including of their 1944 sewer) that was the talk on our block jolted me out of complacency. I do not have a spare $89,000 for sewers. When my sister and brother-in-law (a real estate broker who’s seen tons of bad sewers) offered to loan me the money with a promissory note, I started calling plumbing companies.

Marketing and Sewers

I used to work in high-end travel marketing — specializing in Russia, Siberia, Ukraine, Iran, Balkans, and more — until we were all laid off in the COVID crisis, and then last year when Putin invaded Ukraine. (I’ll never work again in my field, that’s for sure; you are all employed for life.)

In my marketing work, there is the first stage — awareness — in your case, that I discovered and/or already knew Bob Oates existed. In the second stage — consideration — I assessed you against other similar businesses, with their visits to the house, estimates, how they treated me. I narrowed down my choices. The third stage — conversion — is where I jumped in and made a choice: Bob Oates. That’s where it’s real, where we shake hands, sign papers, and hand over credit cards. And finally, there’s that last stage — loyalty — that keeps a customer coming back and telling others how good you are.

Taking Action

My conversion in choosing Bob Oates was this: You say — front and center in your marketing and motto — “People Helping People” and “Integrity • Teamwork • Committed to Excellence.” That’s a great motto, and a wonderful value for marketing purposes. But I knew it was already true, not just words. Bob Oates had been to my house when I first purchased it to take care of some plumbing. Neighbors had used Bob Oates, raved about you, and recommended you. In this case — dealing with my 1941 sewer — what impressed me is that you, Patrick, followed up our estimate with a text and phone call; you wanted the business. None of the other three businesses did that.

You were not the cheapest, but you were fair — and I knew a ton of quality came along with the price tag. You called with a time frame if I wanted to schedule, then called again when there was a short-notice opening and you could slip me in this week. Perfect! I could procrastinate no longer — especially with the growing sewer mess across the street, a reminder of someone’s $89,000 decision to NOT pay attention to their sewer.

Bob Oates People

When I signed paperwork with you, Patrick, I sensed I was in the presence of someone of integrity; one who wouldn’t try to pull something on me or lie because I was female, single, and all that. You listened to my concerns about the cost, the warranty, and fear of procrastinating that could lead to financial ruin, and you addressed each issue. In marketing that’s referred to as the “barriers” or “pain points” in making a decision — ultimately signing on the dotted line — and you alleviated all of them.

When I met Michael Daniels, along with Alex, Kyler, and Nathan, they gave me the impression of competence, no-nonsense-get-‘er-done attitude. Michael answered so many questions, and so expertly oversaw the preparation and excavation for the sewer lines. The next day Liam and Andrew arrived — preparing, cutting, epoxying, and inserting the NuFlow liners. I was so curious because I had looked at information and videos on the Bob Oates and NuFlow websites, and really wanted to see the process. Liam was so calm, so professional and patient in explaining and showing me how they inserted the liner to the main sewer, from beginning to end. I was so impressed; such amazing technology! And finally, when Michael and crew returned for the inspection and cover, they returned things to “normal” so well — including putting back a paver patio — that you’d never know Bob Oates was here doing sewer work. I was thankful Michael created a sewer clean-out near the sidewalk that is hidden by rocks to avoid nefarious teenagers (just guessing!) from tossing rocks, concrete, and such down the drain. Thoughtfulness, 100% thoughtfulness by all of you.

Marketing to Me

What I can say for Bob Oates — from a marketing perspective — is that I’m a “customer persona” you dealt with that will only continue to grow in this region: I’m now in my 60s, alone — not by choice — and female, with money suddenly a big issue in decision-making, and hating to make such decisions that are often made being part of a couple, or with a spouse. It’s all so stressful in making such a massive decision like sewer repair and liners. From a marketing point of view, you interacted with me and convinced me to “convert” (in marketing terms) by simply being yourselves — all of you at Bob Oates, from beginning to end of the marketing “customer journey.” And when it comes to that final stage, “loyalty,” you have mine, absolutely have mine.

Thank you so much for your work, your business, your people — “People Helping People.”


Helen H
Seattle, WA

P.S.  For John Peterson

Back in 2016 — a terrible year for me — I discovered that the contractor working to convert my basement to a studio rental was off-the-charts fraudulent and deceptive. He did the work himself, but pretended to use a plumbing company to plumb downstairs, creating invoices to “fake it.” He did the same with the electrical. I discovered all this when I actually called the electrical business because nothing was working, and they said they didn’t do the work — although the contractor presented me with invoices on their letterhead. Thus became the lawsuit against Dario Medina of Medina Design & Build. I took him to court and ultimately, he — and his wife (she allowed him to use her social security number to set up new businesses when they were forbidden to do so) — were stripped of their licenses, ordered to close their businesses, and are forever banned from working in Washington State in any capacity that involves a contractor license. In the end, we settled but 80% of the settlement went to pay my lawyer. Sigh.

Where is the good in any of this, sharing this with you?

At that time, desperate after the plumbing inspection for the toilet and sink both failed (and the contractor already fired), I called trusty Bob Oates, and you came out. I was at work in downtown Seattle, at the end of my rope with all of this massive deception. You came out, checked and tested everything, fixed it, called me to assure everything was working. It passed.

You were furious, absolutely furious that a so-called “contractor” could pretend to be a plumber and do this work — and try to pull it off on me, a relatively street-smart woman, but living alone and I suppose vulnerable to predators. I’ll keep this short, but just know that the only way I could “pay you back” was by “paying it forward”: letting everyone I knew — especially in my Magnolia neighborhood — what had happened, what you did, and how honest and kind and generous you were. If they were looking for plumbing, I told everyone “go to Bob Oates.”

And I will continue to do so. You are integrity. You are teamwork. You are committed to excellence.

Take care,

Helen H
Seattle, WA

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Rated 5 Stars by Johanna G.
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"Nothing but great experiences with Bob Oates! Would highly recommend for all your sewer and plumbing needs! Honest, hard working company!"

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