40th Anniversary Article
Appleton Campbell Celebrated 40 Years in 2016
Appleton Campbell began in 1976 with one truck run by Jim Appleton. He had retired from a plumbing and heating company with just a tool bag in hand. His son worked full time for the telephone company while helping him with the bookkeeping. His grandson, Mike Appleton, current president of the company, worked as his helper in the field. Mike had a vision and a goal to grow the company in order to provide a retirement check for his grandfather, and for the last seven years of his grandfather’s life he was able to do so.
Scott Wayland, Vice President, joined the company in 1993 and became part owner in 1997. His experience, people skills with customers and employees alike, as well as his roots in the community have proven to be a tremendous asset to the organization.
The company now employs more than 50 people and has more than 30 trucks. The growth of Appleton Campbell’s service department in this challenging economy is due largely to exceptional customer service and community involvement.
Mike Appleton and Scott Wayland realize that happy employees equal happy customers. The teamwork and family atmosphere is unique and customers are thought of as family as well. Some customers have even provided keys to their homes. The honesty and trustworthiness of the Appleton Campbell family is one to be admired and respected.
Appleton Campbell’s employees are provided with good wages, trucks, tools, insurance, gas, cell phones, uniforms, training, holidays, personal leave, vacation time, medical benefits, and a retirement plan to ensure employee and customer satisfaction.
During the industry’s slower months, employees are not sent home without pay—instead that time is used for training and inventory. Customers seem surprised that Appleton Campbell’s technicians are paid the same hourly rate for driving to and from jobs as they are doing technical work in customers’ homes. Service technicians are not paid by how much they can sell, instead they are trained to listen and determine customers’ specific needs. Appleton Campbell’s technicians educate customers on the services and options available to them and leave the decisions to the customers. There is no hard sell with Appleton Campbell.
Appleton Campbell’s staff understands that most people call only when they have a problem and the work is not something they have budgeted for in advance. When customers call Appleton Campbell, customer service specialists are trained to let customers vent, listen to their problems, and create a solution.
Mike Appleton continues to work to improve the public image of the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical industry—not by just washing trucks or having a belt as part of the company’s uniform. He has traveled across the country to visit other companies and often talks with other business owners in the industry. The industry has many good companies but unfortunately the few bad ones, as well as the unlicensed non-professionals, have really hurt the public perception and the industry as a whole. Mike Appleton is highly regarded in the business community and was chosen as Business Person of the Year in 2011 by the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce.