Managing director of multi-million-pound mechanical business discusses why being made redundant was a blessing in disguise

After being made redundant, Sean Felice teamed up with his current business partner Jordan Smith and established JBS Mechanical in 2012. Over a decade later and the business is seeing year-on-year growth and a multi-million-pound turnover — with SoGlos catching up with Sean to find out how customer trust and the company's team of staff have been key to its success.

By Kaleigh Pritchard  |  Published
Sean Felice (left) and Jordan Smith founded JBS Mechanical in 2012 and the company has seen tremendous growth in Gloucestershire as well as across the UK.
In partnership with JBS Mechanical LTD  |
JBS Mechanical LTD

Working on projects throughout Gloucestershire and beyond, JBS Mechanical LTD provides quality service to both residential and commercial clients. Specialising in plumbing, heating, mechanics and renewable energy installation and maintenance, the company prides itself on its local roots and its successful apprenticeship programme, helping young people get into the industry.

Sean Felice co-founded JBS Mechanical in 2012, after being made redundant from his previous company, with friend-turned-business partner Jordan Smith.

In SoGlos's latest interview with the JBS management team, Sean discusses the journey to success — post-redundancy — as well as what sets JBS apart in the plumbing, heating, gas and mechanical sector; the firm's growth; and his hopes for the future of the business.

Can you pinpoint why your customers choose JBS Mechanical over other competitors?

I believe that as a company we go above and beyond for our customers — right from the first meeting.

We discuss all the customers needs at the beginning and establish a plan to make sure we can match their expectations.

And our level of service is defined by how we can provide a very fast and reliable call out system — most of the time, we're on the job within an hour.

Even when working through a contractor, we still exchange numbers with the client and speak to them on a daily basis.

At the end of the day, the customer is parting with a large sum of money so we try to ensure that we’re offering that one-to-one service throughout the entire project — this could be taking calls at 9pm, we don’t just work 8am until 5pm and then ignore phone calls, just for one example.

How do you ensure that customer satisfaction remains a top priority in your business operations?

We take calls at any time of the day — it's crucial that we build that trust with customers that they can count on us and speak to someone about any issues or queries they have.

We also have contracts managers that conduct on-site visits to check everything is to the customer's satisfaction and remedy anything that isn't quite meeting our standards at that point.

All our staff are also highly trained, so we don't often get many issues, but if something does crop up then our excellent management team gets involved immediately to sort it — everyone in the team has the same mindset.

You say it's crucial for customers to trust their plumbing and heating installers and maintenance providers — what are some of the risks of getting it wrong?

There are many risks of getting things wrong in this trade; water can cause a lot of damage and if you get gas connections wrong then there can be major problems.

We have to make sure people trust us to keep them safe, while also ensuring that they have a warm house with hot water — this trust is built right from the first time we meet and we have to come across the right way.

We've had lots of staff come and go over the years, with all the combined years of experience in the team we're able to spot the good from the bad and the bad don't last long — it's taken us a while to get the right mix of staff, but we're in a really good position now.

The risks are also to JBS as a business, making money is the number one aim and if it isn't done right then we'll lose money.

But we'll still make sure we're being fair, so sometimes we'll price a job 10 times to suit both the needs and the budget of a client — it's all about getting that balance.

Can you give examples of measures that JBS takes to ensure reliability in its services?

All the lads get whatever training they need, we put a lot of emphasis on making sure we keep up with industry standards.

This goes from our most experienced plumbers to our apprentices, you can never stop learning!

We found that too many people were doing the old two-year plumbing course and thinking that they could do everything, it's great that colleges now offer a four-year course and apprentices graduate with their gas qualification — I'd definitely recommend this route if you're able to go down it.

There are new technologies, tools and methods coming out every day, but we need to be 100 per cent sure about them before we move to implement and install them — the last thing you want is to invest in something and it ends up going wrong.

You often attribute JBS's success to the dedication and hard work of the staff. How do you create and ensure a positive and supportive working environment?

This is simple — we wouldn't have the business we have without the staff.

From the team on the ground to the office staff, they all help with every aspect of the business and we've grown too much to be doing everything ourselves these days.

We've decided to take a step back from the day-to-day running of the company to concentrate on working on the business more. This hasn't been easy, it's hard to relinquish control but we're lucky to have such a good team to hand it to.

We're still heavily involved, but working in the business stops you from working on the business.

As far as creating a positive workplace, I like to think that we run it as a family. Yes, we are the bosses, but we involve everyone, whether its meeting for a drink after work or taking the team to sporting events. We get offered a lot of things over a year which we share out between the staff, too. Our staff help us to hit our goals, so they definitely deserve it!

You've seen incredible growth since getting started, do you have any long term goals for the company?

Long term goals... that's a good question.

Jordan and I started this from leaving our old employment — but not by choice. I got made redundant from Clancy Plumbing and Heating and to be honest if it never happened then I'd have never gone on to build what we have now, so it was a blessing that I didn't see at the time.

I learnt a lot there and even when I left, John Clancy was always willing and available to give advice and help.

We started working local, then got our first big opportunity with a job in Grimsby, but we both never thought we'd be in this position and we've seen growth every year we've been operating.

We've been meeting to discuss lots of plans with clients over the last few months — nothing set in stone that I can share details about yet, but 2025 looks very promising for JBS.

In partnership with JBS Mechanical LTD  |

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