Thicker Than Water: Plumbing Business Adds Isuzu to the Family

Thicker Than Water: Plumbing Business Adds Isuzu to the Family

Plumbing is in the blood according to Grant Donald. 

Getting a start back in 1951 by parents, Neville and Vawyn Donald, Premier Plumbing Service is a well-known commercial plumbing business located in Sebastopol, Ballarat, servicing a list of clients throughout the southwest, west, and the central Victorian region. 

“Premier Plumbing Service has a team of 30 people and I always describe it as a bit like organising a football team every day.  

“You need to find out who's going to which job and where they are located, who's going to be in the ruck, who's in the wing and who's a fullback and who's a full-forward,” chuckled Director, Grant Donald. 

“Our typical days are flat out and we can’t afford any downtime, so we always need to be well organised.” 

From left to right: Premier Plumbing Service Directors; Jim Donald, Grant Donald, Michael Donald, and Tim Donald.
From left to right: Premier Plumbing Service Directors; Jim Donald, Grant Donald, Michael Donald, and Tim Donald.

That’s where Grant, and his brother and co-director Jim Donald, and Grant’s nephew’s and co-Directors, Michael Donald and Tim Donald come into the picture. 

It’s a full family affair at Premier Plumbing Service, with each director adopting a slightly different role and set of responsibilities to oversee the complex operation, which prides itself on doing a seamless job that’s often out of sight and out of mind. 

The company has a range of commercial and industrial clients they provide plumbing services for such as schools, day-cares, office complexes and the retail sector.  

From installing sewer drainage, water services, civil stormwater drainage, hot and cold water systems, gas reticulation, fire services including fire pump and tank systems, fire sprinkler systems, solar hot water, and backflow prevention devices, there is very little the Premier Plumbing Service team can’t handle. 

The Premier Plumbing Service NPR 45-155 TRADEPACK fleet standing strong
The Premier Plumbing Service NPR 45-155 TRADEPACK fleet standing strong

Four Generations of Plumbing Pride

The Donald’s have progressively entered the industry and become licensed plumbers over the years. 

“As we've reached the age of leaving school to do an apprenticeship, we began training as plumbers. For myself that was in 1976, and my brother Jim was about 1970.  

“We were brought up in the plumbing trade.  

“We started our apprenticeships when we were around 15 or 16 years of age.   

“Working together as a family with our father, we had a lot of good times, and some tricky ones too. Our father passed almost 20 years ago now, but when we were in our apprenticeships, we all thought our names were ‘Hurry Up,’ because that's what he would say to us all the time.  

“It's just the way it was, and he was a bit of a hard task master. 

“There are probably times we contemplated other trades, but it was just in the blood, and this is where we chose to land.”  

Fortunately for the good folk of Ballarat and surrounds, the Donald’s are nowhere near finished as a plumbing dynasty. Jim’s Grandson is starting his work experience with the family and eager to study for a plumber's licence like the other role models in his family. 

Getting down to business
Getting down to business

Family Focused

Outside of the family circle, Premier Plumbing Service has a focus on bringing apprentices through the industry, with many continuing their careers within the business. 

“Most of our employees are long-term employees. We've had people who have been here over 20 years now,” said Grant. 

“It is rewarding to see the plumbers grow from apprentice, right through to registered and licenced plumbers. You're watching them growing from kids to adults, getting married and having children of their own, buying houses and living their dreams.  

“We have team members who have been here that long that they've got grandchildren themselves now. We're very family-orientated for our workers as well.” 

After close to four decades in the industry Grant knows how to pick a great plumbing apprentice out from the applicants. 

“Apprentices who have true passion to be plumber's standout from the crowd and you can generally pick it as you talk with them in the interview. You can see once they've done some work experience, you can see whether they've got it, and know they're going to be a good plumber.   

The company is chock full of Donald family members who support the business and one another. The old saying says ‘don’t mix business with family,’ but Premier Plumbing Service has had nothing but success when doing so. 

“For one thing we're very lucky being surrounded by family in the workplace, and it's a good feeling that no matter what happens, there's always someone there that has your back. 

“They've always got the best of your interest and of the business at heart too. You've always got someone there that's looking after you.” 

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Trading Up

With a growing diversity of work now undertaken by the Premier team, the need to expand the transport capacity within the business is as crucial as it is constant.   

Premier Plumbing Services recently collected an NPR 45-155 AMT TRADEPACK back in December 2022 to ring in the new year with all the latest upgrades, including the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) – now standard across Isuzu’s light-duty range.   

Jason Homberg and Vince Harrison from Ballarat Isuzu made the process of organising the new NPR 45-155 AMT TRADEPACK a breeze for Premier Plumbing Service. 

“There is never an issue. We get our servicing done at Ballarat Isuzu and the new 6-year warranty is fantastic,” Grant said. 

Powered by the Isuzu 16 valve 4-cylinder 4HK1-TCN engine, the Premier Plumbing Service NPR 45-155 AMT TRADEPACK is a perfect fit for transporting all the equipment used in commercial plumbing in suburban and rural areas alike. 

With a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 4,500 kg – 5,500 kg and a Gross Combined Mass (GCM) of 9,000 kg, there is more than enough payload and importantly, space, for storing tools, parts and equipment for a hectic job schedule - with no fear of overloading or getting on the wrong side of compliance obligations. 

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Safety First

On the safety front, Isuzu’s ADAS technology makes the journey even safer for the busy crew at Premier, who are operating across a range of urban and rural environments.     

With features such as lane departure warning (LDW) to notify the driver if the truck is veering outside of lane markings, the traffic movement warning function (TMW), forward collision warning (FCW), and many more, Premier Plumbing Services’ new TRADEPACK is the safest work vehicle their team has driven yet. 

A popular model to say the least, the Premier fleet now comprises of no less than eight NPR 45-155 AMT TRADEPACKS, along with a larger FVD 950 Tipper, and three utes. 

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“Our fleet of Isuzu trucks is one of the most important aspects of the business. We take a lot of pride in our vehicles as they show who we are as a business, through being efficient, clean and always presentable. 

“We believe in regular servicing, repairing damage immediately, and keeping the fleet updated.  

“The Isuzu reliability keeps our workforce on the road.” 

The company likes keeping the fleet modern and the kilometres low, but the real push to upgrade is based partially in aesthetics. 

“When Isuzu change the shape of the bull bar, we update,” Grant mused. 

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Bright Future 

After seven decades in the industry, Premier Plumbing Service is looking to the future and their avenues of expansion. 

“We have been in business for 71 years this year. It’s a great achievement to have been a customer and part of the Isuzu Trucks legacy for at least 23 years of their 51-year footprint in Australia. 

“We are already planning for our next TRADEPACK purchases so it’s safe to say we will be continuing the Premier Plumbing Service’ relationship with Isuzu,” Grant concluded. 


IAL_Premier Plumbing Service_FINAL.docx 31 KB
Sam Gangemi Marketing and Advertising Manager, Isuzu Australia Limited
Arkajon Communications Public Relations Agency






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Isuzu Truck's promise to deliver a premium product to the Australian market has been proudly and consistently upheld. The measure of our commitment is reflected in the number of trucks on the road that bear our marque, and the number of successful companies relying on Isuzu trucks every day. When we talk about reliability, we're not just talking about trucks, but also about people and indeed our entire philosophy. In addition to our in-house Customer Care Centre, customers also have access to an extensive range of service and support programs designed to ensure that Isuzu truck ownership is a positive and rewarding experience for all concerned.

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