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  • #61
    Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

    Mark,

    I understand you are going through tough times and if you were closer I’d be sitting at your kitchen table at night trying to help you figure it out. I did a lot of researching when I first started to want my own shop. The big thing that discouraged me is I kept reading it takes 5-years to start running in the black and you need a minimum of one year worth of income sitting in the bank.

    That was a deal breaker for me because there was no way I could do it. What I ended up doing was with my boss’s permission I started doing side jobs and within a couple of years I owned two fully stocked trucks. One truck was a rough-in truck and the other was a service truck. Then I obtained my contractors license and at my bosses suggestion went out on my own. After the first job I did for my old boss he decided I was too expensive because I added $10 per man over their old payroll to cover overhead.

    At that point I decided it was time to bite the bullet and head out on my own. I was under capitalized but I owned two trucks and I had a bunch of accounts. Even back then I figured I needed to bring in a minimum of $5,000 per truck per month or $60,000 per truck per year just to break even. My first month was the only month which was close all of the other months went up from there. Still ever time we had a drop in business I had to find a new way to keep things going.

    On another note Plumbcrazy used a figure of $100,000 per year for a plumbing company. To me that seems like working for just above wages. What do you say to a big business that uses the argument that all of the small under-capitalized businesses are hurting him and his family by under-cutting work? I think a legitimate argument could be made by big businesses that they lose a lot of work to small shops. However, just like the DIY argument if that is all that they believe is causing them heartache they need to look closer at their business.

    Mark
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #62
      Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

      I have boycotted that section entirely. Its just easier for me, as I can't hold my tongue with some of the people in there. That 'gas regulator' thread was the last one I read and a perfect example. I wanted to strangle that @$$&*)! when I read it. I just stay out of there now and my blood pressure has gone down already.

      Duckbutter, you are fighting a losing battle, imo. I respect what you are saying about DIYers destroying the trade, but I like what Utah said even better:
      At the same time though I would suggest those who are having a hard time evaluate what they can change to increase their sales. The reason my shop was busy was because I had a bob-&-weave business model. Every time I saw a change coming I found another niche to head to. At the end of the day we ended up with more niches than regular work but we were also less affect by changes in business trends.


      Finding business niches is super imporantant. I have put all my focus on emergency service plumbing repairs for this reason of 'niching'. I do stuff that is dirty, hard, and takes skill, and at inconvenient hours because most people can't or won't do-it-themselves. My plan is too get more and more focused on drain-cleaning as imo, the DIYers can't handle it because of the equipment being expensive and dangerous. I plan on getting a jetter, camera, locator, etc. soon. People can buy a pipe wrench, pex tools and pvc glue, but they have a hard time buying a $2500 k-60 setup. Not to mention a $6000 inspection camera, or $50,000 trailer-jetter, etc..

      Anyway, I think its important to find a niche that you can focus all your marketing on and develop your entire business plan around.

      My 2 cents.
      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

      Comment


      • #63
        Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section





        Whoops! Sorry folks,


        I don't get a bath till wednesday!




        It's hard... not my stool, this topic to follow because I understand the condition but in no way figure out how it would ever stop the onslaught of information trading.
        Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

        Comment


        • #64
          Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

          Carl,

          You are a quick study. My first niche was emergency work which nobody else wanted to do. My second was electronic leak detection and from there I just kept adding on. I would then refer my extra work to my competition and they in turn would refer all of the niche work to me.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

          Comment


          • #65
            Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

            Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
            Is this the thread you are reffering to?
            http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19278

            I didn't see any false pretenses but maybe you did. He seemed pretty up front about the work needed. I was willing to help him but he was on a strict time table as his MIT was moving in soon.

            He needed other work and had already hired a referal from a neighbor

            I've had several PM's from him thanking me and will keep me in mind for other work.

            After seeing some of your posts DB about DIYers I see why you don't direct customers here

            I still love you though
            Bill, what you need to know is the tone to which I address this..
            I'm not lashing out angrily...passionately, yes...but not angrily or personally.

            I'd made a statement with a question to you on this forum, I asked how much your ad budget was last quarter.

            If memory serves, you're the foreman for a well established shop in your area, they have no ad budget because they've been around that long.

            That makes my argument, you can easily afford to toss a customer DIY advice, in fact it's a brilliant idea of you're too busy to ensure they don't call the competition.

            The same level of thinking just doesn't work over the internet.

            As the yellow pages shrivel in effectiveness, we are more and more dependant on the internet for advertising, do a web search for a plumber and the page has more DIY forums than plumbers, OR the PPC ads are predominantly box stores that manipulate subs into working for peanuts, forcing them to push add-ons to customers to survive.

            As for my customers coming here, no, that won't happen.

            Pass me a link to a thread where one off your customers has come here, I'm curious to see this.

            Comment


            • #66
              Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

              My new job has helped me realize niches out there that If i ever go back out on my own that i will target. For example, my company would offer construction services for sitework contractors and engineering firms alike, mostly testing watermains, vacuum testing manholes, deflection testing, chlorination/disinfection, as-builts for contractors and engineers, backflow testing and repair, all those niches that contractors dont want to bother with!

              Comment


              • #67
                Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                Mark,

                I understand you are going through tough times and if you were closer I’d be sitting at your kitchen table at night trying to help you figure it out. I did a lot of researching when I first started to want my own shop. The big thing that discouraged me is I kept reading it takes 5-years to start running in the black and you need a minimum of one year worth of income sitting in the bank.

                That was a deal breaker for me because there was no way I could do it. What I ended up doing was with my boss’s permission I started doing side jobs and within a couple of years I owned two fully stocked trucks. One truck was a rough-in truck and the other was a service truck. Then I obtained my contractors license and at my bosses suggestion went out on my own. After the first job I did for my old boss he decided I was too expensive because I added $10 per man over their old payroll to cover overhead.

                At that point I decided it was time to bite the bullet and head out on my own. I was under capitalized but I owned two trucks and I had a bunch of accounts. Even back then I figured I needed to bring in a minimum of $5,000 per truck per month or $60,000 per truck per year just to break even. My first month was the only month which was close all of the other months went up from there. Still ever time we had a drop in business I had to find a new way to keep things going.

                On another note Plumbcrazy used a figure of $100,000 per year for a plumbing company. To me that seems like working for just above wages. What do you say to a big business that uses the argument that all of the small under-capitalized businesses are hurting him and his family by under-cutting work? I think a legitimate argument could be made by big businesses that they lose a lot of work to small shops. However, just like the DIY argument if that is all that they believe is causing them heartache they need to look closer at their business.

                Mark
                I have repeatedly stated that the only thing getting me by right now are repeat customers and referrals.

                Tonight I just sealed a $6k drain repipe that was referred to me by an existing customer.

                I also had to run out for a boiler call earlier for a panicking homeowner that has a home inspection for a home sale coming tomorrow and a boiler that wouldn't start. (you might have noticed I wasn't online for a couple of hours) This one was referred by one of my favorite customers.

                Service like this (on a sunday) has kept my head above water, you might also notice I'm often not online earlier many evenings, I shift my schedule to accomodate customers work schedules.

                Which is why you'll often see me here at the wee hours, paperwork & research is much easier to do when er'yones asleep, suppliers are much less busy at 9:am than 7:am, traffic is much lighter as well.

                What has me concerned is a marked decrease in jobs per call over the last six months, people are calling with an increasingly greater percentage of unrealistic expectations, many even blatently telling me they are considering doing the work themselves.

                I seldom mention the fact that it's illegal to do that here as it comes off as bullying and seals off any chance to get the work altogether, but it has occured to me to start making some calls to local inspectors...the whole DIY thing has gotten out of hand.

                I eat breath and sleep my career, I knew when I started I'd have to make sacrifices, it literally became a lifestyle.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                  I am surprised there has been so much debating in this suggestion thread.

                  Many have expressed dissatisfaction with the Ask the Experts Section.

                  Some of the experts did not decide it was ok to give away the knoweledge that makes them money, and they feel that takes money off the table.

                  Thinking of that, it could be true, with no knoweledge, one would have to hire one with knoweledge.

                  Some experts enjoy giving advice, and feel it poses little loss if any, and that if business is suffering there is another problem.

                  Homeowners come to this website to see products and demonstrations offered by Rigdid and find this wonderful forum where there is a section that reads; Ask the Plumbing Experts. Have a question for the professionals? Want some advice about a situation? This is the place for you.

                  The homeowners ask, the willing answer, the unwilling get frustrated with the willing, and get mad at the homeowner for asking.

                  There has got to be a solution. It is unfair for all involved.

                  I proposed a thread that would have Frequently Asked Questions. The thread could answer questions with basic 1 sentence answers.
                  ie: Q: My toilet is leaking what should I do?
                  A: Turn the valve off in the back and call a local plumber
                  Q: How do I find a reputable plumber?
                  A: Use someone local, ask friends and neighbors, & check the BBB
                  Q: How do I fix my hot water heater?
                  A: This one can be difficult and dangerous so call a local plumber

                  There could be a greeting underneath the thread saying check here to see if your question has already been answered first.

                  Inside the thread it could suggest problems or dangers that could arise making it necessary to call a local plumber.

                  This thread could dissolve some of the homeowners bad questions that should not be asked. It could prevent the willing from answering questions they shouldn't, and the unwilling from getting frustrated with the willing, and mad at the homeowners.

                  Do you want a debate, do you like it the way it is, or do you want a solution?

                  Caryn
                  Last edited by fixitmom5x; 09-08-2008, 01:54 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                    Originally posted by fixitmom5x View Post
                    .

                    Do you want a debate, do you like it the way it is, or do you want a solution?

                    Caryn
                    didn't we just spend the last 67 post going over this?

                    sure if people used the search section, they probably will be able to look up their question and get an answer. i'm sure some do, but most don't spend the time to research the question and find the answers already posted.

                    rick.
                    phoebe it is

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                      Crap!

                      I go out to a BBQ and missed all the fun. I really need a laptop to keep up with hot topics like this when I'm out.

                      Anything I post now will just be cold leftover spaghetti

                      Great discussion peeps

                      You can really feel the passion

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                        Hi PlumbersCrack, why wasn't invited to the BBQ. Man, stuck with the kids again.

                        Hi Rick, Well most of the posts were really about whether advice shoud be given out for free or not, and people seem to be really torn on this issue. I know where you stand because you were very clear in your response. There were a few others that responded as well. Most though, ignored the question debating ove whether to give info out period.

                        I think it is time for a solution.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                          just a thought.

                          seems from my vantage point that some things have to change on both sides of the border.

                          i too have felt the effects if internet advise regarding DIY's. up here, everybod's a plumber/electrician/painter/mechanic (father of many children).

                          lets take an explosive expert for example. that person must show proper licensing and certification before they purchase the big kaboom sticks. the explosive expert can give all the advice they want till they're blue in the face. but when it comes right down to it, only they can buy the parts. do you see where i'm going with this?

                          we are trained to practice a trade because somebody figured out that people were dieing needlessly. why? there was nothing in place to protect the owner against wannabe's. and people paid the ultimate price. hence the code books. every article means somebody, somewhere got hurt, or worse.

                          it would be asking alot but i think the government(s) are going to have to change the system to keep up with the times. up

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                            just some thoughts.

                            seems from my vantage point that some things have to change on both sides of the border.

                            i too have felt the effects if internet advise regarding DIY's. up here, everybod's a plumber/electrician/painter/mechanic (father of many children).

                            lets take an explosive expert for example. that person must show proper licensing and certification before they purchase the big kaboom sticks. the explosive expert can give all the advice they want till they're blue in the face. but when it comes right down to it, only they can buy the parts. do you see where i'm going with this?

                            we are trained to practice a trade because somebody figured out that people were dieing needlessly. why? there was nothing in place to protect the owner against wannabe's. and people paid the ultimate price. hence the code books. every article means somebody, somewhere got hurt, or worse.

                            it would be asking alot but i think the government(s) are going to have to change the system to keep up with the times. updating the current laws regarding installation and repairs has to be more controlled. in other words, only certified tradesman may purchase materials for that trade.

                            one wrong sewer connection, installing a relief valve in the wrong place are potentially leathal acts.

                            i know i sound a little extreme. life up here is a little extreme. but i like it like that.

                            i used to have a sign in my office when i was the fire chief up here. goes like this;

                            when something isn't working, change your tactics.

                            i don't mind giving advice. i think i know when to draw the line regarding advice. i'm the first one to say, "call a pro". "i don't run electrical lines from the panel" i tell the customer. that's the electricians job. here's a number of a electrician i know. he does good work.

                            i feel it's my duty as a professional to inform people when something is dangerous. doesn't matter what language you speak, everybody understands "kaboom!!".

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Re: A Suggestion for The Ask the Experts Section

                              its obvious some here will walk a 6 year old through installation of a steam boiler and gas lines etc-------those people need to rethink what they are saying-----i dont care what u say or what waiver there is

                              if superplumber walks joe schmoe through a steam boiler and the house explodes because he didnt remember to give extra safety advice, you think the damn waiver means crap in court????????????get real---

                              superplumber walks someone through a gas repair and they leave when done , then find out the home exploded because they did it wrong, or superplumber forgot to tell him to do something-----do you think the waiver means crap?????????????get real

                              if you give someone advice and there is serious injury of fatality, u think that waiver is saving you and your life???? if you think so, you need to layoff the drugs----

                              people are sue happy---i hope that type of person never visits this site and i pray some people arent such morons by giving potential dangerous advice out-----

                              i think caryn is on to something and im sure josh will do what is right---and hopefully some people re think what they will "walk " someone through----it may be the worst decision of ur life

                              that waiver is to protect ridgid, not to protect some moron that gives out bad advice

                              thanks caryn---
                              some of u -0---WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

                              Comment

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