“If pipes are involved, it’s my specialty,” says Matt Benevides, owner of Benevides Plumbing & Mechanical Inc., New Bedford, Mass. A self-proclaimed workhorse, Matt’s journey didn’t quite start off working with pipes. Benevides went to a vocational school for welding and sheet metal, got a job hanging duct work in schools for about three years until he eventually got laid off. “My grandmother kept telling me to be a plumber like her father; that way I’d never get laid off. I took her word and jumped,” says Benevides.
Benevides started his apprenticeship for a large outfit just outside of Boston in 2006. “They hired me with no experience, no apprenticeship card—probably hired me because I broke out my funeral suit for the interview,” says Benevides.
When Benevides thinks back, he realizes that the opportunity doesn’t happen very often where a company takes a chance on someone and provides them with in-house schooling for three years—as long as you passed. “Once I received the ticket, my next goal was to work my way to foreman,” says Benevides.
Benevides worked his way to become the lead guy on projects until the company had the confidence in him to run small projects. They then gave him a van and he ran small commercial projects and commercial service. “Once I grew out of that spot, I knew I wanted to run larger projects so I switched companies to run larger projects like schools and a marine biology center, for example.”
Once Benevides figured out he could do the work, he was looking for something else and started doing residential side work at night and weekends. “After a year, I was able to take off on my own, and now I’m on year two.”
Leading the Way
Benevides owes a lot of his work ethic and drive from watching his dad his entire life. “My dad owned and operated his own landscaping business, and seeing that made me want more.” As far as the trades are concerned, Benevides had a foreman named Steve Lima who started with him as a 2nd year apprentice and followed him around. “He showed me the ins and outs of plumbing and running commercial jobs. I called him my ‘plumbing father,’” says Benevides.
Benevides says that he wants to pay it forward through his Instagram page (@boston_plumbing_monstahs_). “I would hope that I’m making the trade more enjoyable so visitors to my page can see the ins and outs of plumbing rather than a plumber equals a plunger,” says Benevides. “Social media is the way to kids these days so I’d say we are on the right road.”
Moreover, the Instagram page has recently led to some local jobs and the opportunities are endless, says Benevides. “You never know who will see something you post.”
Balancing work with leisure time is not always that easy. Beneivdes’ spare time is dedicated to his family, if I’m not working, I’m trying to be there for my wife and four kids. “I do my best to be there when my family needs me, and I take at least one day off a week. When the weather gets warm again, I make sure to bring the kids outside as much as possible. Other than that, I plumb.”