A local plumber with a heart of gold couldn’t resist the call to come back to his hometown, and his year-old business is thriving.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we sat down with Clayton Wadleigh, owner of Anytime Plumbing in Collingwood.
Q: What is your background?
A: I was born and raised in Collingwood.
Q: You started your business Anytime Plumbing last year. What made you want to start this business?
A: I was with a union and I was working out west and I was kind of getting sick of travelling so much.
I would be out west and people would call me, because my dad is a plumber in town too. They would call me to come help and I’d have to say, “I’m sorry, I’m in Saskatchewan.”
When I would come home (to Collingwood), I would start to get lots of calls. So I thought maybe it was time to start a company. And it’s just blossomed from there.
There are no on-call plumbers in Collingwood. I’m the only one who answers the phone.
Q: What made you want to get into the plumbing business?
A: Well, my dad was a plumber. I just had a knack for it, for fixing things.
When I was 15 years old, my dad would put me in the garage and make me tear apart pumps and put them back together. I was good at it.
There’s the odd time when I deal with a crawlspace full of sewage I’m not exactly a fan of. (laughs)
Q: What made you choose to start your business here and now?
A: I love Collingwood. It’s my hometown. I have the grain terminals tattooed on my arm.
I’ve worked all over Canada. It’s nothing compared to Collingwood.
Q: Do you have a business philosophy?
A: It’s help people first, make money second.
I have a skill that some people don’t possess, so if I can go help people, I'm making money either way. But at the end of the day, I’d rather someone say, “He’s a solid guy, he really helped us out,” than “He just came over here and juiced us for as much money as possible.”
I will give up a few dollars if, at the end of the day, (I know) that people know they can rely on me, and that I care about the community.
To me, that’s what it is.
I could easily go back out west and make more money than I’m making now, but I love Collingwood.
I remember being a little kid and walking to school and watching the boat launches (on the way). To me, that’s Collingwood.
Q: The person who nominated you mentioned that there have been a few instances where people haven’t been able to pay for your services, and you’ve taken it on yourself. Can you talk about that a bit?
A: I take on maybe two to three free calls a week, where I go to a job and it’s bigger than maybe the person expects.
I’m a sucker for little old ladies.
You go to someone’s house and they’re on a fixed pension and they have to put in two new toilets... that can be up to $1,000, depending on what toilet they choose.
A lot of the times if I go into a new subdivision and people want a new toilet because they don’t like the one put in, we’ll keep that perfectly good toilet in stock and just donate it.
We also do Habitat for Humanity.
I find if you give a little, you get a lot back.
Q: Why do you choose to do this now, during your first year in business, which can be a notoriously difficult time for a new business?
A: For me, because there’s such a demand for plumbers, it wasn’t hard to start a business. I have my clientele from older companies I’ve worked for, and my dad is retired now so I’ve kind of poached a lot of his customers.
It was just a seamless transition for me.
Q: Do you see yourself sticking with this business long term?
Absolutely. I’m not good at anything else. (laughs)
Q: Is there anything else you want people in Collingwood to know about you?
A: I’m the best-looking plumber in town. (laughs)
For more information on Anytime Plumbing, visit anytimeplumbing.ca.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every Saturday. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email firstname.lastname@example.org.