Royce Murphy, 19, had no idea he wanted to work in the trades. But when he was in high school in Grimes, Iowa, his mother told him, “If you find a full-time job, you can graduate early.”
That did it. “For me, personally, going through high school, grades were not a high priority for me,” Royce says. “I didn’t see myself in two years [in college], sitting down every night studying and overextending myself to get somewhere in life, all while putting myself into an endless pit of debt for years to come.”
During his senior year, he took a plumbing class through Central Campus, a career- and technology-focused school in Des Moines. “That was a great door for me to start actually thinking about the trades,” he says.
Royce still didn’t really have any solid plans, however, until a friend from high school’s father mentioned Royce to the owner – Mark Paup – of Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, also in Grimes, IA, and put in a good word for him.
“I didn’t know much about Golden Rule before I started, other than I saw their vans all the time and that it was a local, well-run company,” Royce says.
Golden Rule Plumbing Service Manager Beau Stormer hired Royce. “We decided to give him a shot,” Beau says. “Royce was, and is, a pretty quiet, modest guy, and I was struggling to find out if he was retaining and learning much because he wasn’t asking me many questions. We were happy to find out that he was soaking up everything that we had been training on like a sponge.”
Royce hit the ground running, and has continued to impress.
“In the fall of 2019,” Beau says “we had just gotten rolling with tankless installations. Royce does a lot of studying outside of work and eagerly wants to grow his knowledge of plumbing. He frequently asks me for things that I normally don’t hear. For example: Most recently, he wanted to install a tankless unit, take before-and-after pictures, and have them laminated, so he could show his customers what the difference is. I thought to myself, “What a great idea!” Actions like this show how extraordinary he is.”
When asked how he thinks Royce is achieving great results at such a young age, Beau is ready with an answer.
“I think a lot of his success comes from how approachable he is. He is far from aggressive. I think customers immediately trust him from the tone in his voice; he can also deliver a good, confident message because he backs it up with his knowledge. The success he has created has now allowed him to purchase his first home, at the age of 19. He’s averaging about $60k a month in revenue and hasn’t reached a year in a service truck yet. This current month, he will potentially set a personal record and hit $80k or more. These numbers come from following the Nexstar process. You can’t put a value on someone that simply gives the options, delivers with confidence, and knows how the homeowner will benefit from the product.”
Royce credits Golden Rule and the connections he has made. “The environment I work in has made me happy and excited to stay here and not go home every day wishing I did something else,” he says. “Another thing that’s a huge bonus is the connections you build while working in the trades. To me, those connections are some of the most important things in life.”
Beau is extremely enthusiastic about hiring a young person. “As a manager, I think that hiring someone with no experience is a great way to start with a clean slate. The individual hasn’t had the opportunity to develop bad habits. We at Golden Rule do training from the ground up and love to see what new minds brings to the table. Younger individuals are very adaptable, and you can mold them to fit your company culture and values. I think the sooner you start hiring them, the sooner you adapt as a manager, working with new styles of personality and learning. Young people are the future of plumbing, and if we don’t hire them, we’re showing we’re not willing to accept the challenge of staffing for the future. I love the challenge and want to continue to pursue finding people like Royce.”
Royce thinks other people in high school and beyond should investigate the trades. “If I met someone who was serious about joining plumbing, I would tell them to put in an application with our company and give it a shot.”
Beau agrees. “You have nothing to lose. We start you out with no knowledge in the trade and make you an expert. My goal as a manager is to make you the best version of yourself personally and professionally. In the trades, you get the opportunity to help people on a daily basis. You get the opportunity to make a great living. You gain the knowledge in a skill that, in my opinion, is never going to end. Wireless plumbing is not a thing of the future! Your investment of time is going to pay off long-term. College isn’t something for everyone; I myself have a strong testimonial for that. Fill out an application or come ride in a truck for a day and see what your future could hold.”