Despite the pandemic, a crew of Saanich-based plumbers is gearing up for its fourth-annual free service campaign to help south Island residents in need this holiday season.
The idea to have staff work free of charge for customers on a tight budget came to Rather Be Plumbing owner Jarod Hughes after helping out one such customer. They did the work for free and decided to keep spreading kindness.
This year, the campaign runs Dec. 21 to 23 and Hughes is reminding residents that the service is meant for those folks in need – not people who just don’t want to pay.
The first year was “just absolutely insane” as some people tried to take advantage of the gesture, he said. Hughes pays his staff’s wages for the free jobs so the only thing the customer needs to cover is the cost of the materials.
Business has been slow this year due to the pandemic and residents’ fears about inviting a plumber into their home, Hughes said. Since the safety protocols were strengthened earlier this month, he’s seen a 25 to 30 per cent drop in bookings.
Hughes emphasized his priority is to “ensure everybody’s safety” so staff wear masks at all times and stay distant from customers while completing their work.
Another change this year is that Rather Be Plumbing will also be accepting donations from those wanting to pay it forward and chip in for others’ plumbing bills.
Folks who believe they qualify for the campaign and require some plumbing work, or wish to recommend someone, can call 250-589-8555.
In 2019, the team received a nomination from someone who felt their friend in Central Saanich deserved some help as they’d been living without a hot water tank. As Hughes remembered, the family had been boiling water on the stove for their children’s baths. Rather Be Plumbing was able to donate a used hot water tank as well as providing the free service.