Someday, you will need a plumber. It’s a given.
When the occasion arises, you want someone who will show up on time, whom you can count on, and who is reliable, experienced, and totally qualified.
Martin Yonkowski, owner of Yonkowski Plumbing & Heating, fills all of these requirements. With headquarters in Hamilton, he has owned his business since 1996. Prior to that, he worked with other plumbers in the area.
Growing up in Trenton, Marty was interested in working in the plumbing industry — even from an early age. “I started vocational school to learn plumbing my junior year in high school, and started working in the field with a plumbing contractor the summer before my senior year,” he explains. “During my senior year, I attended high school until 11:30 in the morning, and then was involved in the work program from the vocational school, working from noon to 4:30. This was a good program, which gave me credit for school, and I was also getting a pay check.”
Quite a Record
“After graduation from high school, I continued working with the same contractor for four years as a plumber’s apprentice while I attended an apprenticeship program two nights a week for four years at Mercer County Vocational School in the adult program.
“At the end of my apprenticeship, I switched jobs to another plumbing contractor, and worked with the company for two years. At this time, I was 24, and I applied to take the state master plumbers exam, which I passed, and received my license in 1994. In 1996, when I was 26, I opened my own company.”
Quite a record — indicative of a young man with a definite plan and purpose.
Today, Mr. Yonkowski focuses primarily on residential work in Mercer County, although he also does some projects for restaurants and stores. He covers the full range of plumbing, from leaks and broken pipes to installation of new water heaters and oil to gas conversions.
Another important focus is handling installation systems for new construction.
“In 2005, I got very busy working in Princeton with Ugur Kaytmaz of BlueCrest Builders,” says Mr. Yonkowski. “We do a lot of work with new houses and new construction. This is a specialty for me now. I’m geared for newer work, including custom houses.”
He also works on kitchen and bathroom remodels and renovations as well as additions, which often include a bathroom.
Mr. Yonkowski continues to remain busy, too, helping homeowners who experience the full spectrum of common plumbing problems. “I work on everything,” he points out. “Leaking faucets, dishwashers, kitchen sinks, washing machines, clogged toilets — you name it!
“I also work on sump pumps, and install back-up sump pumps. I do high efficiency water heater replacement, and underground sewers and water services can also be repaired or replaced.”
Other aspects of his work include conversion of wood-burning fireplaces to gas log systems, and oil to gas conversions for hot water boilers.
Over the years, as many plumbers have, Mr. Yonkowski has come upon a fascinating array of items during his work. “I have found all kinds of stuff in toilets, including multiple sets of car keys, lots of toys, and once, a diamond engagement ring! This was really a ‘feel good’ story,” he explains. “The ring belonged to a woman whose husband had recently died, and she was so upset to have lost it. I was very glad to be able to return it to her.”
Frozen pipes in the winter are a common problem, he adds, and depending on the type of system, water to outdoor hoses should always be turned off in the winter. He also recommends that homeowners turn off the entire water system if they plan to be away for a while. “If people go away, it’s a good idea to shut off the water as a safety precaution. This can be done manually or automatically.”
Mr. Yonkowski notes that the advent of the internet and Big Box stores, such as Home Depot, have made a difference in his work. “Years ago, the plumber supplied everything. Now, customers often buy the items themselves, but then there is no warranty from the plumber. People also get a lot of information on the internet, and sometimes, they think they can solve plumbing problems themselves.”
This doesn’t always work out, he adds.
“Another change I see is that the number of plumbers is dwindling, especially with younger people getting into the trade. The business has become more computerized.”
Nevertheless, there will always be a need for that hands-on plumber to arrive to save the day!
“If it’s an emergency, I will do my best to come immediately, as soon as I possibly can,” notes Mr. Yonkowski. “For regular work, two or three days notice is helpful. I will always call back the next business day, and I have two other plumbers working for me. Payment is by the job, and I come out to assess the situation, and then establish the price. I am very competitively-priced. I offer a year’s warranty on my work.
“The most challenging part of the business is getting the work done on time,” he continues, “and of course, making the customer happy, and that is what I strive to do.
“This has been a very good trade for me. I really enjoy the work. There is something different every day, and it’s always challenging. I meet so many people, and I have many repeat customers. I look forward to the work continuing to be steady. And I want people to know they can always count on my work.”
Yonkowski Plumbing & Heating can be reached at (609) 371-0200; or via e-mail: email@example.com.