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Back in 2012, Levi Torres and his wife, Cassi, were brainstorming names for their soon-to-launch plumbing business. After batting around some ideas, Cassi came up with a winner. “And I said, ‘That’s a good one. Gimme a high five,’ ” Levi told us. “And as we reached across the table and our hands connected, we completely forgot about that name and knew we had to create High 5 Plumbing where every service call ends with a high five.”
Which is exactly the tag line for the company that operates from its base in Denver with an additional location in Littleton.
Before opening High 5, Levi, like a lot of PHCPPros, “was born and raised” in the plumbing industry. His dad still owns a plumbing business a few hours south of the Mile High City.
“On my 16th birthday,” he adds, “I got an apprentice card and that put me way ahead by the time I graduated high school.”
He tried college for a semester, but that was “so danged expensive,” that he soon left it behind and spent the next decade working for his dad.
For High 5’s first four years, Levi and Cassi focused on new construction and remodeling. However, by 2016 High 5 pivoted to residential service and repair, “although some times that work also leads to remodeling,” Levi adds.
While a lot of plumbing companies started to rely on video chats during the pandemic to help with service calls, High 5 started High 5 Live in 2018 offering instant quotes over FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and Instagram.
“If one of our customers has a plumbing problem, even the ones just looking to get a price over the phone, one of our techs can now connect with them via video chat, visibly see the problem and know exactly what’s going on,” Levi explains. “Now we can confidently give the customer an accurate cost quickly and get them on the schedule.”
High 5 currently employs 35 people between its two locations, including 20 techs with 20 trucks on the road.
High 5 Cares
Sure, Levi and Cassi could have left it at that. And who knows? Maybe we would have written about them one way or another just on the merit of running a successful business together.
“But what’s crazy,” Levi says, “is that we started to see the positive effect our high fives were having with not just our team, but with our customers and our community. We never really imagined what kind of an impact a plumbing company could have. But as we kept giving more and more high fives every single day, we saw that the impact was real and it was powerful.”
With that in mind, Levi and Cassi wanted to give everyone a chance to be a part of the High 5 mission. So, in 2018, they started the High 5 Cares program, which has been helping local nonprofits ever since.
“A high five can make anyone’s day better,” Levi says. “Making an impact through high fives has taught us that we are so much more than just a plumbing company.”
How High 5 helps
High 5 Cares helps out charities in a number of ways. Each month, the company spotlights a different nonprofit. There’s a form on the company’s website that allows nominations from the community for the monthly choice.
“By now we hear about plenty of great nonprofits,” Levi says. “And in order to make our choice, we’ll go visit them and they can visit us. We just want to know their mission, and we want them to know ours, too.”
After High 5 makes its monthly pick, the company makes an initial donation of $500. From there, the nonprofit also receives $10 for every High 5 Club Membership service agreement that's sold that month. Also, the company has one service vehicle wrapped in Colorado’s state flag colors of blue, white, red and yellow. Whenever that vehicle makes a service call, 1 percent of the service and repair charge goes to the charity of the month.
High 5 further helps drum up awareness and community support for the charity with social media posts and blogs on its website.
For example, last November High 5 chose a local food bank. The High 5 website included links about the food bank, and how anyone could donate directly or volunteer time to help. High 5’s website even included a helpful interview with the food bank’s executive director conducted by Breann Bassler, High 5’s full-time outreach coordinator.
Also, the High 5 crew gets actively involved when they can to volunteer.
“Not every place has volunteer opportunities,” Levi adds, “but we try our best to help out when we can.”
What’s more, High 5 sells merch ranging from hoodies, caps, t-shirts and stickers and donates 100 percent of the profits to the monthly nonprofit.
“I’ve always had a problem with the standard plumbing tech uniform,” Levi says. “It’s not something you’d wear at any other time, and we want people to represent the company wherever they can.” (Check out the merch here: bit.ly/3xNH3Gd.)
In addition, last Dec. 7 was Colorado Gives Day, an annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy throughout the state. Since its inception in 2010, the event has raised more than $307 million for Colorado’s nonprofits. On that day, most proceeds are also matched by other charities, and High 5 gives its 11 monthly picks another $150.
Finally, every December, instead of picking one more nonprofit, High 5 holds a contest to give more dollars to three throwbacks in the new year.
Here’s a list of the nonprofits High 5 Cares helped last year:
Hope Kids provides events, activities and community support to families with a child who is dealing with cancer or a life-threatening illness. They create spaces for families who are going through a similar experience to connect and support each other as well as offering a space in which they can think of fun and the future rather than what they may be dealing with in the present.
Advancing Warriors seeks to reconnect veterans to a supportive community in order to combat isolation, suicide and post-traumatic stress. Groups meet monthly and offer free psychiatric care based on each individual’s needs.
Second Wind Fund exists to help youth at risk for suicide access professional counseling services by removing financial and social barriers. They help in a variety of ways—from paying for counseling services with licensed, specialized providers to negotiating the complexities of finding a qualified mental health professional.
A Precious Child provides children in need with opportunities and resources to empower them to achieve their full potential. The organization works with more than 540 partners throughout eight Denver Metro counties to identify children and families in the most need of their services. The nonprofit provides support to break the cycle of poverty by reducing socioeconomic inequalities, connecting children and families with needed resources, services, opportunities and educational support.
Clothes To Kids of Denver proudly provides new and quality used clothing in a boutique setting to Denver area students from low-income or in-crisis families, free of charge. Their vision is that all students will have the clothing they need to feel comfortable, confident and prepared to thrive.
The Morris Animal Foundation works every day to improve and protect the health of animals through scientific innovation, education and inspiration. They are committed to fighting animal diseases worldwide in species ranging from cats and dogs to horses and alpacas; amphibians and wildcats to anteaters and elephants.
CASA is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supervises community volunteers to represent the best interests of child victims of abuse and neglect who are currently in the judicial system. CASA volunteers spend time getting to know the children and families, and help to ensure each child’s physical, mental, educational, and social-emotional needs are being met. They provide invaluable information to the judge about the child’s life, and speak on behalf of the child in court, advocating for their best interests.
Wish for Wheels partners with corporations to give the gift of a brand new bike and helmet to second graders. By encouraging healthy habits at a young age, they have helped increase attendance and create a lifelong love of bikes for students in low-income communities.
Hope House Colorado serves teen moms in the Denver metro area. Whether it’s academic or personal development, they have classes and resources for the moms to continue their growth while raising a little one.
Maria Droste Counseling Center is a Denver-based counseling center providing high quality mental health services to the community regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. By partnering with mental health professionals, they are able to provide counseling for topics ranging from mental illness, to grief, to career counseling.
The Food Bank of the Rockies serves the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado as well as the state of Wyoming. They provide food to those in need through a multitude of programs. From providing lunch and weekend food for students to ensuring the elders in a community are receiving nutrition packed boxes, the Food Bank of the Rockies works to fight hunger wherever it rears its head.
“Community should be a focus for anyone in the home service industry, and we are always looking for an opportunity to serve our neighbors,” Levi says. “High 5 Cares shows that we genuinely care about our residents and want to make a lasting impact on the families we serve."
This feature is part of our Plumbers Giving Back series, sponsored by the the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).