Businesses of Banyule presents Raldex Plumbing, Bundoora
Keeping the plumbing running 24/7
Hoiking yourself out of bed to deal with someone’s blocked sewerage while the rest of the world is asleep isn’t most people’s cup of tea, but for Luke Smyth, who operates the 24-7 Raldex Plumbing, it’s all in a day/night’s work.
While the family-run Banyule business has a team of five, Luke is the one you get if you call at 2am with a backed-up pipe or a burst water main.
“Burst pipes and blocked sewers are definitely the most common after hours calls we get,” says Luke.
The good news is that it’s very rare for his phone to buzz at 2am. “Most people generally only call when they’re awake or they wouldn’t notice the problem! Sometimes I can just give them advice without going out there, talk them through turning the water off, for example, and then head there first thing in the morning. But for a blocked sewer it’s a different story…”
As one of the only 24 hour plumbing services in the Banyule area, Raldex Plumbing has been in operation for three years. But plumbing has been in the family for Luke since he was a kid – his dad Brian originally owned and ran Raldex Plumbing from Diamond Creek in the early 1990s, but since his retirement, Luke and wife Rhiannon now run the business.
“We love the community spirit in Banyule” says Luke, adding “the people are very friendly and it’s a beautiful area to live in, with so many great parks. Everyone rolls up their sleeves and helps out whether it be at the primary school, basketball or football clubs.”
Raldex Plumbing sponsors the local footy and tennis clubs, and Luke volunteers at St Mary’s Basketball Club as a coach.
“I just think getting young people into sports is a good thing.”
Raldex Plumbing also employs two apprentices right now and both are locals.
“We love training young people,” Luke adds.
“Some of our customers I’ve known for over 20 years – most of our customers do become repeat customers. So they’re more comfortable calling when there’s a problem, for example.”
While we’re coming into the depths of winter, the majority of Raldex Plumbing callouts are roof leaks or blocked storm-water drains, as well as heater repairs and services. But come summer, Luke and his team will be servicing the evaporative coolers in Banyule.
“Unfortunately emergency work happens all year round,” says Luke. Understandably, it can be hard to switch off mentally when your phone is constantly switched on, and Luke says the tough ones are when he has to be up for a job at 7 and he may not have knocked off until 2am.
“But we just push through, have a coffee and try and knock off a bit earlier.”
As for the best advice he could give anyone trying to run a small business in the Banyule area, Luke is straightforward:
“The biggest thing is to be honest and reliable. I find that we haven’t had to spend too much on advertising because if you’re honest with people that goes a long way.”
0417 192 021