The Work We Do: John Reichert, John W. Reichert Plumbing and Heating

My name is John Reichert and I work [at] and own John W. Reichert Plumbing and Heating.

Service work brings in renovation and alteration work. People get to know you, they’re going to change their homes, and they call the person they know.

If I’m doing a renovation or an alteration, we could spend a whole day there. If we’re just doing service work, we can handle, sometimes, five customers in a day.

This business is just me and my son. We move around because we cover from Orient to Riverhead.

Well, I’ve been in the business for over 30 years.

I did this as a young man and said I’d never do it for a living because I hated it. For many years, I didn’t do it — I did various jobs. I was the captain of a boat for 18 years. I went into plumbing because the boat business went belly up. Plumbing has helped me to support myself and my family all these years.

I was in business when I purchased another business from a gentleman who was retiring. That gave me a leg up. I had been in business for maybe a year, but it was difficult to get the ball rolling in the business because you’re not established. He retired, gave me his customer list and I took off from there.

Once in a blue moon, you get someone that says, “Oh, I found you in the phone book.”

But 99% of the time, their friend, their brother, their sister, or their mother, even their daughter recommends me to do it.

One time, I told my wife I had a call. I said I’d be back in 15 minutes. Three hours later, I get back. So, you never know what you’re going to run into.

I’ve made some very good friends in this business — people who have been a great help to me in their line of work or professions. You meet some very nice people, and I’ve made some lasting friendships.

I’m 80 now. People say, “Why are you still working, John?” And I tell them, I say, “Listen: if I retire, I become sedentary.”

By plumbing, I’m in a different place all the time. I’m never in the same spot for very long.

Without plumbing, you have no place to go. Don’t forget that.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes.