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40 years ago, it took my father a good 5 years to get established. He took on all of the "slop" work he could, just to get his name out there, and didn't turn any work down. He also had help from another plumber and kitchen remodeler back then as well, so he was slam busy with all kinds of work. (this is from a Plumbing & Heating perspective)
i been in business for about 6 yrs now, and we do allmost all sewers and drains. Would say 70% of our work is sewers. I did lots and lots of side work plumbing and drain cleaing before i opened up my own shop. Do good work charge a fair price and treat people good and word of my spreads fast. i dont spend a penny on adversting, nothing. All referal work.
The first five years are the hardest and if your not prepared to starve for those years then forget about it you also have to be prepared to do other plumbing work and not to put all your eggs in one basket never never work for one real estate agent or one contractor gain as many clients as you can so if one falls over the other will still be there and if you are honest you will never look back.