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Just starting out. any advice?

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  • Just starting out. any advice?

    I am three months away from getting my c-36 and got laid off. No one around me is hiring so I decided to start my own business but am not sure of the whole paper work side of things(ie taxes, sales tax, etc). Also looking for Ideas on free/low cost advertising due to lack of funds(wasn't full prepaired to start up). For advertising now I have my cards on the counter at the local supply house(Bring the guy behind the counter a 12 pack of his favorite beer every time i get a job that way), craigslist and google. Any ideas, suggestions, advise would be apreciated.

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  • #2
    Re: Just starting out. any advice?

    Sell body fluids to get some inventory on the truck.



    When you buy groceries, drop cards in the most commonly found items without breaking the package to do so....like a 12 pack of softdrinks or just drop some cards in the plastic bags at the end of the pay counter.




    OR



    Run a tv/radio/newspaper blitz stating you'll honor any or all of your competition's coupons.


    That'll get them to call.
    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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    • #3
      Re: Just starting out. any advice?

      If I honored the competition's coupons I'd be paying the customer to come out. Everyone else charges 100+/ hr I'm at 50/hr 24/7 never an overtime charge I can't discount anything!

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      • #4
        Re: Just starting out. any advice?

        You need to be $100/hour so you "can" honor those.



        Being half price will keep the normals from calling ya, knowing something is really underfigured at that price.


        I'm in a dilemma where the majority of my customers are getting too good of pricing from me and I've slowly raised them $10 over the past year.


        I just added a $10 trip charge hidden in different language on the bill to up the anti because even at $85/hour.....it's not adding up correctly in the big picture.
        Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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        • #5
          Re: Just starting out. any advice?

          I'm not telling you not to go into business but this is a difficult time to undertake such a venture. I remember hearing that there is a percentage of of businesses that fail in the first two years and I did not want to be in that group, so there were several things I did to give me a better chance of success.
          1 I had six months of rent saved up
          2 I had six months of dog and cat food saved up
          3 I had purchased almost every tool I thought I would need
          4 I made sure I had no debt, the tools and truck were paid for
          5 I had a very small inventory of material
          6 I did not go out for any meals or go to the movies or buy any new clothes
          7 I ate peanut butter and jelly for lunch and macaroni and cheese every
          night except when I got lucky at my parent's house
          8 I had an emergency fund that I could not touch unless I absolutely had to

          Now some of you are reading this and saying, "what an idiot" and some of you are reading this saying "wow I should have done that". There is no formal recipe for success, you just have to want to succeed the first time because there might not be that second opportunity. In these turbulent times you need a game plan, ambition and a little luck. I still love macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwich's Oh yea, I was single at the time which made this whole plan work for me. You have to ask yourself, are you willing to give up something to get something

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          • #6
            Re: Just starting out. any advice?

            You are used to thinking of your pay in terms of the 20-30/hr you've been paid, not the $100+ you've been billed out at. You did good work and no one complained when you were billed out at that. The spread went into paying for your truck and insurance and shop overhead and every other expense that you are slowly findng out about now. Don't short yourself; those hidden costs are very real and will show themselves, and you'll get bit by charging too little.
            This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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            • #7
              Re: Just starting out. any advice?

              Originally posted by nomoreleak View Post
              If I honored the competition's coupons I'd be paying the customer to come out. Everyone else charges 100+/ hr I'm at 50/hr 24/7 never an overtime charge I can't discount anything!
              At that price I would barely be covering the business expenses. My 'take-home-pay' would be ...zero. Minimum wage at mcburger's would be better than making nothing. Good luck with that.
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              • #8
                Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                become a porn star you can still lay pipe but you can actually make money doin that
                Mike
                Clark County Plumbing And Drain
                www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

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                • #9
                  Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                  honestly, you cant get un-employment if you start your own business so if things dont work out you just wasted your money for license and tools and insurance for nothing, oh and insurance companies follow credit, they can charge you anything they want and most want the full first year paid up-front. there is a reason no-one is hiring now! if you havent been planning this for a while collect unemployment do some sidejobs for family and friends and go kiss butt at some local shops to get hired back on. this is a tough time to start up a business, sorry im not rying to rain on your parade. oh and pray!
                  Mike
                  Clark County Plumbing And Drain
                  www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

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                  • #10
                    Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                    Originally posted by Ace Sewer View Post
                    You are used to thinking of your pay in terms of the 20-30/hr you've been paid, not the $100+ you've been billed out at. You did good work and no one complained when you were billed out at that. The spread went into paying for your truck and insurance and shop overhead and every other expense that you are slowly findng out about now. Don't short yourself; those hidden costs are very real and will show themselves, and you'll get bit by charging too little.
                    The way I look at it right now is it gets me in the door. I am only getting 1-2 jobs per week. working out of my chevy tahoe that I already own, liability Insurance is $100/ moth and I have no additional cost or overhead. Being that I am not yet licensed I have to get some kind of advantage of the competition with license other than quality of work which realy isn't hard in my area(surrounded by licensed hacks and theives). Do you really think that a low price will scare customers? The other thing i am doing is if i get a refferal i give the referer and the referee 1/2 hr off. The big comapies around here have dropped to $65/ hr but then throw hidden fees at the end truck charge, surcharge, ect

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                    • #11
                      Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                      you can be the best plumber in town. problem is nobody knows you yet.

                      you need to establish yourself, mark your territory. it would be the same for me if i was to move from my community.

                      i would suggest you get back in with a service co, and in the mean time get your license. you need income and you need to establish yourself in your community. hard to do when you're workig for a local service co.

                      i was lucky as the company i worked for did just large scale new construction. therefore there was not a conflict with me doing service on the side. can you work for a general contractor on the side?

                      can you hook up with a 1 man shop and shae some work?

                      not an easy position to be in

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

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                      • #12
                        Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                        I am think about going door to door with business cards and putting fliers on windshields. do you think this would seem overly desperate and turn off customers?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                          Originally posted by nomoreleak View Post
                          I am think about going door to door with business cards and putting fliers on windshields. do you think this would seem overly desperate and turn off customers?
                          door to door would be a much better experience for you and the potential customer.
                          this gives you a feel for the person and a real look at potential problems. you can weed out the good from the bad.

                          all you need to do is hook up with a handful of good locals and the word will spread. nothing like being able to walk to the job while your truck is still in your driveway

                          be honest with them. let them know you are getting your license. don't tackle jobs that are beyond your expertise. treat them right and they will be your best source of advertising.

                          rick.
                          phoebe it is

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                          • #14
                            Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                            Here's the best advice I can give. Keep a tight hold on your wallet and don't do anything stupid. Drinking helps you through the tough times.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Re: Just starting out. any advice?

                              Your 3 months away from getting your license, start your business off on the right foot. Advertising without a license will make you constantly look over your shoulder to see who is coming. During these tough times your future competition may eliminate you by contacting the contractors state license board and that's a blemish that you don't want. Go find a job, walk into some plumbing shops, be there early. If your good and you know what your doing (you must be if your considering going out on your own) then spend the next 3 months (or more) preparing yourself the right way and that includes your C-36 exam. Have a game plan just like you do when your preparing for a big job.

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