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Meet Buck

Buck — plumber in Patchogue, NY
After graduation from Amityville High School Class of 1978 I went to work for my brother Pete. Assured was predominantly a sewer company at the time with less than 25% of its business dedicated to service. I was a laborer installing sewers in Nassau County. I learned a lot about this portion of the business. I didn't know if I was any good at it but I was making money. When Suffolk Sewer District opened the need for sewer hook ups sky rocketed and I started running crews to help me install all the sewers that were in demand. We would connect three houses a day and at that point I knew I was good at the mechanics of what we were doing. It was also back then that I realized that homeowners didn't just need a job done, but everything that went with the job. Communication was key. They wanted to know what was going on at there home and with their property. They wanted to know that we would take care of everything. I became really good at understanding and anticipating a homeowner's needs.
In the early 80's sewers were going strong, along with new construction and I began doing both. We could deliver a fully plumbed house with heating and install a new sewer and water service, start to finish. We did it fast and neat and never held up other trades coming in after us.
In 1985, I constructed my own first house on North Summit Avenue in Patchogue. The land was cleared on June 6, 1985 and I moved in on October 15, 1985. It would have been sooner but hurricane Gloria stopped Long Island Lighting from hooking up my electric. After the endeavor of building my own house I knew I was good at something. My work was neat, fast, cost effective and done in a timely manner. People would talk to me and felt confident I knew
my stuff.
Now I was a new homeowner, I was 25 years old and when I had problems with my home I would relent to calling in outside help. It amazed me that these trades' people could not give me what I wanted. First thing out of the gate….talk to me, return my call – show up for crying out loud!! My brother Pete kept telling me that they weren't coming because they couldn't. What he meant was that they, the trades' people, were stretched so thin trying to run their business, be their business and work in their business that they couldn't keep up. My work was only important to someone who had no work. Sad but true.
Assured was still 25% service and the remaining work was sewers, water services, new houses and alterations. Our service customers were wonderful and still are. But ask me who our contract customers were that we still have. The answer is easy, none. The reason was that the contract customers used us for the initial big contract job and then they either didn't need our services or were looking for the cheapest guys in town to service them. Week after week Assured was always looking for new construction work and it wasn't always there. But our service customers were. Why? They wanted us for other than our mechanical skills. They wanted us for our commitment to their needs.
In the early 1990's we new our service customers were where we wanted to focus our attention. Our customers wanted service and they wanted it now. They wanted it neat. Our customers wanted to communicate and be spoken to in a way that made sense. They wanted respect, not only personally but for their property.
Boiler - Water Pipe in Patchogue, NY
In 1995, Assured joined an organization known as Contractors 2000 (now known as Nexstar Network). It was and is a member owned organization with a code of ethics that matched ours. Lines from the Code that stand out are:
  1. We will serve our customers with integrity, competence and objectivity.
  2. We will deliver to our customers all that we promised through value-added services.
  3. We will perform our work to meet technical codes or better.
  4. We will explore each customer's situation to sufficient detail and gather sufficient facts to gain understanding of the problems, the scope of assistance needed, and the possible benefits our service and technical recommendations may provide our customers.
  5. We will respect each customer's home and property and leave them as clean as we found them.
Well, well, that's exactly what we wanted and were doing and are still doing to this day. I've had many opportunities to pick up lots of great information from members of Nexstar since 1995 and I have learned something new every time that we have been together. My thoughts on what customer's needs were and are and their satisfaction have been validated many times over by Nexstar members – 400 members can't be wrong! Customer satisfaction had to be and has been my number one priority.
Our goal in 1997 was to flip the percentages so we had 25% new construction customers and 75% service customers. In 1999 we had reached our goal and our customer base was growing in multiple numbers. Our employees were happy because we had steady work. But were we done yet? No. There is always room for improvement.
I now run the service portion of Assured. Everyday I am challenged with new tasks and my first objective is to open up the lines of communication. Listen to my customers. What are their wants? Are our customer's wants changing? New technology creates changes. It's my job to keep in time.
In 2001, September 11th made me realize how grateful I am for what we have been able to create and grateful to our customers because our customers helped us build our business. Our customers needed something special and we were able to provide it. Thank you for your support and loyalty.
Today my division of the business is 100% service. This is what I do best. We still work in new construction, that's my brother Pete's gig. It's another part of the business and he is really good at it. I am always listening and looking to meet the needs of our customers. This past year I added air conditioning service and water filtration to the list of things that we do best. There is always room for more because sometimes our customers need more. My mind is
always open.
It's been my pleasure to be a major part of the growth of such a great service company working with people who share the same goals and servicing those that value what we have to offer.
Call me if you ever have a need.
Buck Barba