Member of the Nipissing First Nation and co-owner of Poly-B Plumbing, expands Orillia’s business into the North Bay region
When Jody Bosse’s husband Paul asked her to work with him in a plumbing business, she didn’t hesitate.
They founded Poly-B Plumbing in Orillia in 2017, providing plumbing and water filtration services for residential and commercial use. They hired five people covering both Orillia and North Bay and reported nearly $700,000 in sales last year. The goal for 2023-24 is $1 million in sales. You are on the right track.
Bosse, a member of the Nipissing First Nation, recently moved his family from Orillia to North Bay and completed construction of their home last spring.
The couple continue to serve both markets with two divisions, allowing them to cover a large area of Northeastern Ontario.
Paul is a second generation fully licensed plumber who worked with his father to learn the trade.
Jody had a career in corrections before taking a leave of absence to raise her children. As business with Poly-B grew, she took on additional responsibilities in the company.
“My strength is dealing with people,” she explains. “I didn’t know much about plumbing but my husband shared stories about his experiences and I wanted to learn more.”
With a keen sense of problem solving, she naturally turned to retail.
“I became a mini-expert and was able to solve problems with clients before I had to call in a plumber,” she said. “There are a number of steps that can be taken before anyone shows up,” such as shutting off the main water valve to help contain more serious problems.
From learning the steps to solving plumbing issues, she was able to troubleshoot with clients when the call first came.
“I can track down parts that could come in quickly, or sometimes a few months,” she shared.
Otherwise, she helps customers prepare for a plumber to arrive when they need help roughly cleaning a washroom or laundry room to identify a potential tree root problem or mysterious leak.
As a woman in a predominantly male-dominated industry, she has developed tough skin.
Bosse took the time to learn more about the plumbing trade and gain confidence in her knowledge. Your approach worked.
When negotiating with customers, she does her best to explain in lay language how her business works, which increases customer comfort.
“We are transparent and people appreciate that.”
Jody also manages her marketing, including social media, and answered phones until recently. Two additional employees now take care of customer calls and scheduling.
With three children at home aged 9-4 and her husband who travels often, it can also make for a very busy home life. Working from home and hiring employees who can work remotely certainly helps.
“Our assistants work from home and we communicate via text and phone,” she said.
A shop window is not necessary. A garage for storing equipment eliminates the need to regularly buy supplies.
Bosse recently participated in the national Pow Wow Pitch, an entrepreneurship program for aspiring indigenous entrepreneurs.
Choosing to submit her name along with 2,400 other applicants, she made it as one of the 25 finalists and won a $1,000 prize. Each finalist was also assigned two mentors to help with their pitch.
Bosse recognizes the need for skilled artisans in the industry and is excited to hire an Indigenous apprentice who will eventually be able to write his Red Seal ticket and join his growing team.
Though they need to grow the business to keep up with demand, she said, “A team of five or six people is perfect. Growing to 30 trucks brings with it a whole range of other challenges.”