Customer service, family are at heart of plumbing, HVAC business

Milani expands to Kelowna

When Dimitrio Milani arrived in Vancouver alone at age 13 in 1928, it was with the purpose of helping support his family back in Italy. The hardworking, ambitious, enterprising teen successfully fulfilled his duty and went on to create a legacy for future Milani generations with the drainage business he founded in 1956.

Thirty years on, in 1986, his son Vern Milani stepped in to buy the business from his father having worked with him since childhood and went on to expand Milani Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning to more than 100 trucks that provide retrofit installations and repair services all over the Lower Mainland.

“I started working with him at the age of eight every day after school and summer holidays,” Milani says. “I started working full time as soon as I got out of high school. I think from an early age I saw how fulfilling it was for him. My dad was a very good man, and it was fulfilling for him to work with the public, help people out, to work with his hands and just give good service.”

Over the last five years, the third generation, sons Alexander and Christopher, has joined the company after completing their business degrees.

Family and service are at the heart of the Milani approach to business. The commitment to great customer service is steeped in the core values that Milani believes has allowed their company to flourish.

“Our mission statement is to exceed customers’ expectations,” he says. “We have our core values which are PIPE: passion, integrity, professionalism and empathy. We say what we do, and we do what we say. We follow through and do things with integrity.”

Just as important, Milani says, is for people to know that the company has deep roots in B.C. that ensure that it is going be around not just for the now but in the future. He believes there is comfort for customers knowing that they can depend on Milani to not just show up but to do stellar work, be it installing new air conditioning systems or resolving a plumbing issue.

“Plumbing, gas, heating and air conditioning can be disastrous if it’s not done properly,” he says. “So, you want a good, honest company that’s going to do your work for you that you can rely on. And that’s us. We do that, and that’s what we bring to the table.”

With expanding into the Kelowna area this May, Milani hopes that homeowners will come to recognize what the Milani brand represents. Some advance research did reveal that the welcome mat would be rolled out as their reputation had preceded them.

“I had driven up in the past into Kelowna [in a Milani truck] and parked. Within a couple of days, I had a number of people coming up to me saying ‘I didn’t realize Milani was up here. Can you come and take a look at my furnace,’’’ he says.

The expansion seemed like a natural progression for the company. For any planned work, a Milani representative will meet with the homeowner, provide an assessment, a price and make arrangements from there. Milani says their prices are competitive, describing them as mid-range.

“We’re not going to be expensive, but we are going to be great at what we do. This is a substantial investment. People need to realize they don’t want cheap. They want good,” Milani says.

Good means that the technicians, AC or heating units, and materials are dependable, and that the company stands behind its work. No one wants to lose their air conditioning at the height of summer with temperatures in the 40 C range.

Though the Milani Kelowna team is in place, the company is still looking to expand its staff there hiring more heating, AC and plumbing technicians.

“We’re hoping to find people who care, are knowledgeable and have the skills to do the job right,” Milani says. “People who fit the values of the company.”

For more information about Milani’s services, to book a consultation for an installation or to enquire about positions available in Kelowna, visit www.milani.ca.

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