In 1978 Chris Burgess started his plumbing business at the back of his father’s house in Dunvegan after having spent a year in Europe and USA. He went on to employ someone he had worked with before who had a truck and began trading. In 1981 the business had begun to flourish, and they then moved their business premises to Bedfordview where they then traded until 2000.
The business moved to 30 St Anne Rd, Hurlyvale, Edenvale where we bought our 1st property , in 2010 they were then able to purchase a 2nd property next door which is now used as their training centre and thereafter purchased their 3rd adjoining property in 2015 which has since become their control centre. Together all 3 properties have created a campus of sorts says Chris.
“Initially in 1978 our goal was to undertake any type of plumbing that came along, specialising in construction & civils plumbing i.e., shopping centres, stadiums, office blocks, factories, housing developments and corporate / industrial / domestic maintenance plumbing” says Chris.
After 1990, they toned down the contract plumbing and decided to focus on the service arena which is a completely different ball game.
To achieve that goal, Chris had understood the need to retain the services of their gifted plumbers, by way of offering mini partnerships in various areas rather than them going on their own and starting their own business as was the norm for anyone when they qualified. “If I look back, a large percentage of current business owners in greater Johannesburg metropolitan areas came through our ranks.” Says Chris.
At that time the operating name of the business changed from Chris Burgess & Co to Burgess & Partners due to the Mini Partnerships they created.
“In light of the above, we were able to grow the business collectively through great people, we had our people failures and challenges like anyone else but continued to develop and build on each other.”
“The difference between a service type plumber and construction type plumber is vast, a service type plumber has a driver’s licence, is presentable, customer centric, communicates well, quotes, problem solves, invoices, collects money, organised, computer literate, timeous, professional, and over and above all that, still be a competent / qualified plumber” say Chris.
The company is based on a philosophy of believing in the value of all their stakeholders, besides their Customers, employees, associates, suppliers, and manufacturers, but most importantly, subcontractors, continuously working on enhancing the relationships, it has served them well for many years in many ways. “People go out of their way for you if you treat them all with honour and respect, we all need to strive for world class service, that is not negotiable.” Explains Chris
"In working with my co directors and shareholders, Craig Preston, Darryl Brainin and Jason Beyers who have all been instrumental in achieving the goals we have set for ourselves and where we are today.”
Burgess and his team have set out to enable incentive packages for staff that create their entrepreneurship juices as well as creating the environment for people to want to be part of the business for many years such as Steve Tobias 34 years, Robbie Letshola 30 years and many others.
Their luckiest moment says Burgess, was the moment they attracted Zweli Mntambo, (a successful Entrepreneur, Senior lecturer at Natal University and who completed his law degree at Yale amongst many other accolades) into their lives, he was so impressed with their story of uplifting people and how the business treats people and wanting to make a little-big difference to South Africa.
Zweli decided he would buy into the business, since then, they have never looked back, Zweli supports the business unconditionally, allowing them freedom to operate and express themselves at the same time holds them to set outcomes and targets which benefits all, Zweli is a strategic thinker and unlocks their thinking on an ongoing basis to unlimited possibilities
One of Zweli’s phrases he gave Chris when they first met was: “Black and White united in Action for Generations to Come” that really stuck with the business.
“Our Attitude is our Altitude, there is no time for us to get into a negative space, when we do, in the face of continuous adversity, we need to get straight back into a positive, unlimited, abundant mentality, full of possibilities, otherwise we dig ourselves into a hole that is difficult to get out of.”
Burgess and Partners Plumbing Services continues to grow day by day and is adapting to it’s forever changing industry. Chris would like to thank all their partners, staff, and customers who have supported them over the past 40 years and looks forward to growing together for the next 40 and more.