Springfield, MO

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2019 40 Under 40: Ryan Willbanks, 37

Franchisee, Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service

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Ryan Willbanks is owner of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service locations in Springfield, Joplin, as well as one in Wisconsin and two in Virginia, but he views himself more as a coach for his employees.

Willbanks always looks for the good in people and helps them develop professionally and personally to achieve success – mentoring and encouraging underperforming and undereducated employees and training them to be productive contributors. Since moving to the Springfield market in 2015, Willbanks has grown his locations’ revenue to $2.5 million from $500,000.

What was your first job? Picking up cans at the age of 7 or 8 for extra cash.

What about your job would shock people? I’m not really in the plumbing business. I’m in the people business.

What is your best productivity hack? The 80/20 rule. We focus 80 percent on our customers. We want our clients to know we are here to help and make a stressful situation better. The 20 percent is on the sales.

What was your professional aha moment? When I realized that if I was willing to pay whatever price in life was required, I could do about anything.

What did you learn the hard way? You can’t want more from people than they want for themselves.

How many times do you hit the snooze button? One time. Then it’s boots to the ground.


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