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Wives & Plumbers

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  • Wives & Plumbers many of you know, I'm takin' "the dive".
    This weekend we're official...or, as I say:
    "No man is complete until he's married, then, he's finished."

    There are at least two couples that are regulars here, so I'm asking advice.
    We've talked about maybe having her stay at home and help out while I "bring home the bacon".
    What I'm hoping for is experience...not conjecture or idea's.
    I want to hear from those of you who do this, or have done this.

    I'm concerned about a few issues, for starters:
    - She is very unfamiliar with pricing...she might see me pay off a credit card bill for $5-$10K in the course of a given month, but not realize that isn't "play" money. It's an absolute necessity to have a cash reserve in order to stay in business and whenever she see's what I might have for business savings..I worry she might not be able to understand thats not money for frugal things.

    - Space!...HOW, oh HOW do you guys manage to be around eachother so much and still have "me" time? Joey, Zeljka...please speak up...I'm all ears here.

    - Decision making, I CANNOT deny the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" statement...I worry that in a split second, time sensitive decision making moment she might decide to disagree with me while I'm on the road (like deciding to reschedule a 10K remodel contract thats already signed but not time sensitive, to do a water heater before another plumber grabs it)...1 need her to understand there is ONE area I know what I'm doing in! (Yes, that was humor)
    (Yes...we bicker about the "right and wrong" way to do things at times...I tend to close up when it's a pointless waste of time...I know thats a common thing with couples, I'd like to change it.)

    Guys...I am NOT seeking marital advice, that would confuse the topic (and this is NOT the forum...LOL)...I'm only asking how those of you who have a spouse that helps with your business how you do it...tidbits of advice, things to be leary of.
    I DO plan on having her view this thread...right now she's unaware I'm posting this, but I think it would be VERY helpful to hear actual experiences, for both of us.

  • #2
    Re: Wives & Plumbers


    What a post duck?

    I don't hink i can answer you this one since i'm not really into plumbing business. I 'm only a stand by helper I pay all the bills, but he is the one that is managing his business filing everything when he comes home from work..i just pay the bills and help him if he needs extr materials i go get it and bring it to his job site..

    I don't treat the income as a play income,i treat it as a back up income for when he is slow...

    ????? I'm not completly a housewife or homemaker since i was in the school for esthetics and real estate school so i had my own thing. But now I'm trying to pass my damn real estate exam so i can work too..Until then i'm a pathetic housewife..

    Maybe Mark will be much help better then me,since he has so many years of experience with his wife since she was running his business very good.I think he is your go to man.

    Good luck ducks


    • #3
      Re: Wives & Plumbers

      Never let them see anything from the bank because most of em just don't understand the cash flow thing we have going on. Money comes out and money goes in, then we get our little cut of the pie. Just had this problem today myself and it`s really hard to explain it to em. I have $1000.00 of my master plumbers money in my account and all she see`s is $$$$$ and say`s lets go to Wal-Mart She dosent understand all the money has a place to go one day or another.
      Last edited by All Clear Sewer; 08-15-2007, 03:17 PM.


      • #4
        Re: Wives & Plumbers

        Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post
        Never let them see anything from the back because most of em just don't understand the cash flow thing we have going on. Money comes out and money goes in, then we get our little cut of the pie. Just had this problem today myself and it`s really hard to explain it to em. I have $1000.00 of my master plumbers money in my account and all she see`s is $$$$$ and say`s lets go to Wal-Mart She dosent understand all the money has a place to go one day or another.




        • #5
          Re: Wives & Plumbers

          My business is my business, plain and simple. I'll let the wife see what I make at the end of the year and thats all. If the wife needs money, I'll tell her the truth, I either have it for her or I don't. Yes, the way we spend money is incredible, I can spend up to $00,000 per month (nobody needs to know) and she does not need to get involved. Thats the way I run my business, stay out and I'll handle things.

          All Clear Sewer, at least its Wal Mart and not Guocci (sp?)
          Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

          A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!


          • #6
            Re: Wives & Plumbers

            So far, the vibe I'm getting is keep her away...
            my prob is I get back logged with estimates to write, calls to make for stock prices - inspectors - and customers, also there's the paperwork.
            Then there's the truck, maintenence, stocking it, organizing.
            We have tentatively talked about it in the past, but as much as I might need the help, I'm starting to think it a bad idea.


            • #7
              Re: Wives & Plumbers

              Hey Duck Good Luck For This Weekend;
              I Have Had Two Differnt Wives Work With Me, The First Was Good At The Practical Side Of Doing Work As A Helper In The Field,
              The Second One Worked Her Own Full Time Job, But Was A Wizz, At The Phones, And Doing The Paperwork, When She Learned How I Needed It Done She Could Talk With Customers And Wholesalers
              Once She Learned The Parts And Lingo.:d

              Jerrymac Masterplumber
              SINCE JAN. 1989


              • #8
                Re: Wives & Plumbers

                Being a bachelor i cant help ya, but I'd like to point out its yet another good man down....aha
                West Trail Mechanical Ltd
                Service. Commitment. Expertise.



                • #9
                  Re: Wives & Plumbers

                  Ok Duck you got me back. I didn't want to be rude

                  I personally do not want to get involved the "business" end of Rick's business. I work for a non-profit and do not make a lot of money. At one point Rick wanted to pay me to stay home, but I love my job.

                  I do not do our home finances either though and I like it that way. Rick woke me up one night to make sure I knew his passwords for on-line financial stuff and I thought he was having a heart attack or something was seriously wrong. Thankfully it was only to take advantage of my memory so I can tell him the passwords when he forgets.

                  That being said, I do little stuff I will pick up parts when he is in a pinch. I remember how long it has been since he went and did a particular job at someones house. So if they claim it was just last month I can give him the approx. date for him to look it up.

                  Rick takes a laptop with him as well as a small portable printer and prints invoices on the spot. When I went with him on jobs I would typr for him, since I can type faster, but he would translate even though am quite familiar with most parts and lingo.

                  I occassionally type up stuff he translates at home as well, but it is rare.

                  Keep in mind, Rick is a one man show (and I do mean show). I think it would be different if he had several guys working for him.

                  (Rick will post when he gets home later)

                  Congratulations again,
                  I love my plumber

                  "My Hero"

                  Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!


                  • #10
                    Re: Wives & Plumbers

                    joey knows enough of my invoicing to be a help there. there are times that she will read off my supply house bills and i will enter them, my way.

                    she does help me when i have a pipe bursting job, pipe pull.

                    i trust here on that more than i could trust anyone else. she has helped me on almost everyone i've done.

                    as far as running the business and the calls, sch, materials, i'm pretty much on my own.

                    she does know i have a shop, but she very seldom comes to it.

                    i did show her the banking part of the business so she can manage if i don't come home from vacation

                    she has here full time job and i have mine. she helps me when i ask for it and leaves me do my thing otherwise.

                    shopping on ebay she knows almost 100% as i do that from home.

                    what she doesn't know, she finds out sooner or later from this forum

                    i think she knows i'm on now as she just called me to tell me she responded.

                    so, to sum it up, continue to run the business the way you've done it before. if she shows interest in helping you in the field or the office, invite her in to help. it will either work or she will do her thing.

                    phoebe it is


                    • #11
                      Re: Wives & Plumbers

                      Congratulations. It ain't as bad as they say. A marriage is as good as what you put into it.
                      That being said, my little business is still in its infancy, but I run the business. The wife runs the money. She wants no part in the decision making or scheduling. I make the money, bring it to her and she puts it to it's best use. If I need something, I tell her what I need and how much I need it (mostly to hear myself say it out loud to be sure it's REALLY needed). She isn't a shopaholic and feels very uncomfortable if there isn't a sizeable reserve. I trust her 100% in this. Unlike my 1st wife who could spend it much faster than I could make it.
                      Which brings me to my point;
                      The situation is different for everybody. The two of you are the only people who should have a say in how you handle this. Did this help? Probably not, but I was able to congratulate you without going completely off topic
                      Last edited by res057; 08-15-2007, 09:57 PM.


                      • #12
                        Re: Wives & Plumbers

                        It really depends on how much you want her to be involved in. She could probably do a great job in phone service for you. just taking the call's of customers, and you set up the time. Keeps you from talking to saleman. I am the only one who pays the bill and day in day out operation. But she knows what's in the account. My wife dose not work for me becauce of her ability to handle money, is not good. She would be good at phone answering but dose not show a intrest for that. Don't forget you got to pay her. ever week weather you work or not: It can work out just need the right person. freddy


                        • #13
                          Re: Wives & Plumbers


                          First let me congratulate you and your lovely fiancée on your up coming nuptials. You will only get out of a marriage what you put into it but my wife and family are my proudest achievements. Everything I am today I owe to the continuing, unquestionable support of my wife and kids.

                          As many know Brenda has worked with me from the beginning. I’m not sure it would work with everyone but it has worked for us. When Brenda and I were in High School, Brenda worked the school switchboard as one of her classes. Because she did a really good job they had her fill in when others called in sick. After High School she went to work for a Defense Contractor where she again handled the switchboard. Soon her name was out there so she was making more money training operators and covering vacation time elsewhere.

                          After our first daughter was born we decided it was more important for Brenda to stay home with the baby. On occasion she would work at the submarine division of ITT and at Sunkist training new operators because she made a lot of money for doing it and it only took a few days. When I went from HVAC to the foreman of a large construction company she would cover their switchboards when needed as well.

                          By the time I started my business (1981) we had 6-kids between the ages of one and nine. Rather than hiring a secretary I would put call forwarding on to the house phone when I left the shop and Brenda ran the office from home. Once the kids were all in school Brenda would go in and run the office from the shop and do all of the purchasing, scheduling, hiring and accounting. Because we were self-employed she was always at home when the kids got out of school.

                          At some point I left Brenda with the Plumbing business (not left our marriage) and I went out and started 5 or 6 other construction related businesses. I soon figured out I needed Brenda to help with the new businesses as well so she came down to LA and ran the Plumbing business out of my LA office. Next thing I knew I needed a new field supervisor for some State work which came in through Cal Trans. Brenda stepped up and took over the project and never looked back. We kept this up for a while until I saw it taking a toll on Brenda (400 employees at the time). I sent Brenda back to the Plumbing shop which she ran while I worked myself out of the other businesses.

                          Some how while settling my responsibilities with the other businesses I ended up doing Expert Witness work. The fact that Brenda was running the plumbing business gave me the opportunity to spend some time building my new consulting business. When I started the consulting business it was only part-time but having Brenda there made it possible to do. By 1989 our kids started having kids of their own so Brenda was ready to retire. We sold our plumbing business to one of our employees and Brenda spent more time being a grandma.

                          About 2001 I went into end-stage kidney failure so Brenda ran my consulting office so I could save my energy for the work I need to do in the field. I was fortunate to receive a donor kidney in 2003 so I took 8-days off from work to recuperate. Just as I was getting better I had my ladder accident and spent 6-months in a wheelchair. My sons and son-in-laws covered my field work for 6-weeks after which I went back to work with Brenda pushing my wheelchair and driving me around.

                          Because of what Brenda had learned working with me over the years she was able to help me from losing too much business. Pretty soon we were busier than what I could handle on my own so Brenda started doing inspections on her own. We are still working together today but we are often on different projects. Because Brenda use to teach the guys camera work and how to locate I will sometimes have her do that while I am off doing other things.

                          Over the last 36+ years we have traded the financial responsibilities back and forth several times. It really had more to do with who had the time to do it. We both know there is no “mine” in a marriage and we respect each others choices.

                          Last edited by ToUtahNow; 08-15-2007, 09:08 PM.
                          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

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


                          • #14
                            Re: Wives & Plumbers

                            Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                            Over the last 36+ years we have traded the financial responsibilities back and forth several times. It really had more to do with who had the time to do it. We both know there is no “mine” in a marriage and we respect each others choices.

                            That right there is amazing.


                            • #15
                              Re: Wives & Plumbers

                              Congratulations Duck - where are you honeymooning ? If my wife didn't work full-time I would have her play a more active role in the business . LIke some of the others said , even in a helper capacity chasing parts , or looking up past invoices , dropping off dinner , making deposits , she is a lot of help. She believes in me , she believes in us , she believes in the business . I think only one person can do the book-keeping though ,. and that would be me . You're a good guy , lots of luck .