Starting At The Family Plumbing Business
Metropolitan Bath & Tile’s story began long before its name was ever conceived. Richard McKenzie started working at his family’s plumbing and air conditioning company at age 13. He would frequently shadow technicians and go out on job sites to learn the trade.
Throughout college, McKenzie continued to work in HVAC as he obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. At age 20, he became the youngest person to get a Master Plumber License in the state of Maryland at that time, completing over 3,750 hours of training.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is the agency that governs the plumbing industry and handles licensing for plumbers. When McKenzie became the youngest master plumber ever in Maryland, the agency allowed him to use his grandfather’s master plumber license number 一 which was issued in back in the 1950s!
Nowadays, most plumbers’ license numbers are about six digits long. However, McKenzie’s master plumber license is 208 because it was issued so long ago. No matter how hard you search, you won’t find any company out there with a master plumbers license number lower than 208.
A Small Department Turned Small Business
At the family business, McKenzie fixed leaks and replaced faucets as a service plumber, but would commonly run into problems that he was unable to repair. Leaking tile was a frequent reason customers called his family’s company, which he was unable to handle. He would refer his clients to a tile company instead of being able to fix the problem himself. McKenzie hired a tile specialist after becoming frustrated with the lack of capacity to help customers.
Small tile jobs turned into larger bathroom renovations. McKenzie headed up the family’s bathroom renovation division but quickly saw the drawbacks of selling cabinets and other features from brochures. Customers picked out accents from a catalog that would look one way on paper and entirely different than the way they envisioned once it was installed.
McKenzie pitched the idea of building a showroom so people could see products before selecting them to his father. Unfortunately, it wasn’t cost effective for the family business to invest in growing the bathroom renovation division at that time
Undeterred, McKenzie saw the need for a bathroom showroom and in 1979 he split from his family’s HVAC business. He opened his own business, Bowie Custom Bath and Tile. The showroom was located in Bowie, Maryland and still stands to this day. At the time, McKenzie didn’t envision how quickly his business would grow.
Outgrowing Name and Location
Customers from the surrounding areas suggested McKenzie expand his company after a decade of business, so he did. In 1990, Bowie Custom Bath and Tile rebranded to Metropolitan Bath & Tile, added a showroom in Montgomery County, Maryland and built a headquarters in College Park, D.C.
Our custom bathroom company prides itself on specializing exclusively in bathroom remodels. Customer’s who have chosen McKenzie’s company for the past 40 years call him again when they need an update.
“When I was a plumber and would snake someone’s drain, I solved a problem that was an inconvenience, but there was nothing to stand back and be proud of after. When you build a bathroom, it’s a collaboration between customer and company. And you have something beautiful to look at when you’re done. You have something to use for the next 30 years,” says McKenzie proudly.
Metropolitan Bath and Tile expanded in 2002, this time into Towson, Maryland. Now with four showrooms, the company has grown tremendously in scope and experience since it’s humble beginnings four decades ago. But no matter how large MetroBath has grown, we won’t ever outgrow our family-centric values or commitment to craftsmanship.
The MetroBath Method
MetroBath is unique in that we are the only company that exclusively remodels bathrooms in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C.. Not only do we only specialize in bathroom remodeling, but we don’t use subcontractors, ensuring superior service and total commitment to our customers.
“We really improve the quality of people’s lives when we remodel their bathroom. Whether it’s cosmetic or to expand accessibility, our customers come back years later because they know we care,” says McKenzie.
Every person that works on a remodeling job is a full-time employee. The on-site team members, called mechanics, go through a five-year apprenticeship before being allowed to lead any renovations. This lengthy learning period ensures that every mechanic learns the MetroBath method.
Our company culture and strong commitment to both customers and our employees ensure that we have high retention among our 120 team members.
- The average mechanic has been at MetroBath for 19 years.
- More than 50 employees have over 25 years of employment with MetroBath.
- At least two families have three generations working together at the company.
- Every person in management came out of the field, where they were all mechanics at one point in time.
- The Metropolitan family has numerous father and son duos working as mechanics.
Most recently, MetroBath opened another showroom to make our services more accessible. Whether you need a new bathtub or a complete overhaul of your current bathroom, our team will continue to capture our customers’ personal visions and make dream bathrooms a reality. We promise to ensure the highest quality, functional bathroom for your home.
What differentiates MetroBath from the average remodeling company is that when customers contract with us, we give them a start date and end date in writing. Once we start a job, we’re on-site every weekday until it’s complete. Every crew is only assigned to one job at a time so there are no competing priorities.
MetroBath’s remodeling prices are generally 15 percent lower than the average rate for the area, according to the annual Cost vs. Value Report. We guarantee a fair price and quality work and can keep our prices low because we don’t have to spend on advertising. We operate on word-of-mouth and referrals from our loyal customers.
Our warranty guarantees that MetroBath will fix anything that goes wrong for 10 years after installation and are transferable to the new homeowner if ownership changes during that time. Even though our warranty is 10x longer than any other remodeling company, we rarely get any calls asking us to come back. A bathroom built right will easily last 30 years and our team consists of seasoned specialists who can handle anything thrown at them.