Ellingson offers quality products and services, ‘same great rate 8 to 8,’ and 24/7 response
Eric Schuler, service plumber at Ellingson, replaces a power vent on a water heater for a customer. Contributed photo
“It started in 1980 as a residential plumbing business,” said Shane Johnston, owner/CEO of Ellingson Plumbing, Heating, A/C & Electrical. “Just two guys and a truck.”
It’s grown every year since. Today, Ellingson employs around 120 and has nearly 100 vehicles on the road. They have a showroom which is equipped with the latest variety of plumbing fixtures, HVAC (heating/cooling) and fireplace options as well as a new, state-of-the-art fabrication shop.
Ellingson has two locations (Alexandria, Minn., and Dickinson, N.D.) and has a huge service area that covers much of the state of Minnesota and North Dakota.
Ellingson specializes in residential, commercial, and industrial plumbing, heating, air-conditioning and electrical services, including design, installation and maintenance. It operates The Fireplace Store, which provides complete fireplace projects from start to finish, including fireplaces and inserts, venting, piping, electrical, and stonework. Ellingson also operates Automated Technologies to help customers gain full control over their facility’s heating, cooling and lighting system using commercial building automation (learn more at automatedtech.net).
Why has Ellingson experienced so much growth over the last 37 years? “It all starts with the employees and the customer service we provide,” said Johnston.
“The quality of our employees really separates us from others,” he said. “The level of training and overall attitude of our employees is consistently the best in the industry.”
“The quality of our employees really separates us from others.” – Shane Johnston, Owner/CEO
When hiring new technicians, Ellingson looks for individuals who fit into both their purpose and their values. Their purpose is as follows “We are a dedicated team of professionals enhancing the lives of customers and employees, while providing exceptional mechanical and electrical solutions to the communities we serve while maintaining a family-like environment.” Their values include integrity, dedication, family, service and excellence.
Ellingson is currently building an in-house training lab exclusively for its technicians and installers.
“We will be able to have lab situations where we have multiple pieces of equipment set up and we can make the equipment fail so employees can learn how to diagnose and fix products from all different manufacturers.”
The training will especially be useful when it comes to technology.
“In today’s world, keeping up with technology is important. It is just like your car. Not many people can work on their own car anymore. And that is really what our industry has transitioned to as well. With boilers and furnaces and just about everything, it has gotten a lot more complicated.”
Ellingson has established both an apprenticeship program and scholarship program to bring in quality employees for the future of their industry.
“We will bring in people that may not know anything about plumbing, HVAC or electrical. If they want to learn a trade, we will train them through our own apprenticeship program. They have to put in a certain number of hours each month and as long as they keep up on their requirements, they can work toward becoming licensed. This is available in each area (plumbing, HVAC, and electrical). This is a win-win situation, the employee gets to earn while they learn.” For the scholarship, Ellingson invites area high school seniors to apply for a scholarship up to $15,000 to be used toward one of the trades they offer. “We pay for their schooling, so it is a great opportunity,” said Johnston.
When it comes to construction or remodeling, Ellingson has become a one-stop shop.
Ellingson’s commercial team at a site installation. Contributed photo
“If you are building a house or commercial building or have a remodel project, you will often have to go hire your plumbing company, go hire your HVAC company, and then go hire an electrician to get the job done. So, from the home owners’ or general contractors’ perspective, they have three different companies to deal with. We provide everything in house and the customer just has one contact person. We coordinate everything so it goes smoothly.”
On the plumbing side, Ellingson can handle new construction and repairs. They install and repair boilers, water heaters and any type of fixture. They also offer their own line of water treatment systems called E-water by Ellingson.“We were so confident in our product that we put our name on it,” said Johnston.
Ellingson’s service department offers “the same great rate from 8 to 8” as well as 24-hour service every day of the year.
“When you call Ellingson, one of our employees will answer the phone, and they’ll dispatch the right person for the job.”
“Just like anything, if it is a mechanical piece of equipment, it is going to break eventually. It is a matter of how we take care of the customer and get their equipment back up and running so they are comfortable. That level of service is unmatched,” said Johnston.
And when technicians come by to fix one thing, they are available to offer recommendations on other issues in the house or commercial property.
“We look at the whole house and see how equipment in the house all works together. As long as we are there, we might as well look at everything,” said Johnston. “Sometimes there will be a bedroom that is too cool or too warm. We will let them know, if you want this room to be comfortable, this is what you should be doing. Here is what we suggest.”
Johnston said this whole-house consultation option is complimentary to all their customers.
“We are not trying to sell more when we are there,” he said. “We are trying to educate the customer on the system and possible solutions.”
On the heating and cooling side, Ellingson is a licensed Trane dealer. In fact, they are one of the top Trane dealers in the country, which has earned them the title of Trane Comfort Specialists. This designation, given based on sales and customer service, allows Ellingson to offer more to its customers.
“Ellingson offers an exclusive 12 year parts and labor warranty on all Trane products,” said Johnston. Standard equipment warranties have a 10 or 12-year parts only warranty. But that doesn’t cover labor. And it might have exclusions on parts that fail more often. Our 12-year parts and labor warranty covers everything. Really the only thing that it doesn’t cover is the filters. You still have to replace filters. If anything goes wrong in the first 12 years, you aren’t paying a nickel.”
Being a “Diamond Contractor” for Mitsubishi Electric ductless systems, Ellingsons has better buying power and extended warranties on Mitsubishi Electric products.
Ellingson is also one of only a few companies in the area who have someone trained in radon mitigation. “Our guys are recognized by the Minnesota Department of Health to measure and mitigate radon,” said Johnston.
Ellingson’s families participating at the 2017 Douglas County Relay For Life. Contributed photo
Over the years, Ellingson has made it a priority to give back to the communities it serves. They support community events, area athletic teams, participate in Relay For Life each year, donate to many worthy causes and nonprofit organizations and held their first annual golf tournament called “Golf for a Cure,” which raised over $8,000 for the American Cancer Society, this year.
“We just did a partnership with Trane last month on a program called ‘Give Back to a Vet,’ only available to top Trane dealers in the country,” he said. “We identified a veteran in the area who needed a new air conditioner or furnace. Trane provided most of the equipment and we provided the installation.”
To learn more about Ellingson Plumbing, Heating, A/C & Electrical visit their web page at ellingsons.com, or call 320-762-8645 or toll free 1-800-595-8645.
Ellingson’s Alexandria location and The Fireplace Store is located at 2510 South Broadway Street. They offer 24-hour service and have the “same great rate from 8 to 8.” Their showroom hours are 8 a.m-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Saturdays.