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1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

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  • 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

    I did my 1000th call today! Halloween was my 2 year anniversary. Just had my first boy born 10/4/10. I must say I could not be happier with the way the business and life is going. I work Mon-Fri with a Sat or Sun very rare. I usally work about 4-6 hours a day in the field sometimes more sometimes less. Then an hour of work when I get home. I am really thinking of expanding. Maybe hire a couple of guys and one in the office to answer phones and do all paperwork. I dont wanna use my money so now that I have 2 years in business and can show I'm making money I might take a loan to expand. Problem is I have it great now and make good money but in order to make great money I may want to expand but I know if I do it opens a new can of worms with employees and all the other stuff that comes with having a real business. Has any one else been in this position and what did you decide to do. Expand make the real dough and all the BS or stay a one man shop and live the easy life with less dough?
    You can lose with me, but you can't win without me!.... PPI

  • #2
    Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

    Originally posted by PlumbingParamedics View Post
    Just had my first boy born 10/4/10.

    Congratulations!!!

    Regarding expanding or not. The universe will let you know what you should do.
    Time flies like an arrow.

    Fruit flies like a banana.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

      Congrats on the birth of your boy! Mine just turned 1 on Nov 1st.

      I had employees this year, I average 80 calls a month, plus I turn down work and do not do free estimates.

      I listed all the negative things I had learned from my 3 experiences this year, which none are with me now and the wife made me delete it, said it was harsh and discouraging.

      You will have to make a run for it and learn your lessons. Everyones area is different and hopefully you find a good guy without trouble.

      On a more personal note, I wouldn't fund it with a loan, the employee cost will be high to start, but he better pay his own way. A loan shouldnt absorb a disfunctional employee. Besides, if things do not work out, there is that payment now that you have to make yourself, working by yourself.

      No one will ever be like you, or care like you, you will have to forgive a lot, I found that the best employees are owners.

      I wish you the best of luck, one thing is for sure, there are no right or wrong answers sadly, there is no proper sound sure process to the expanding process, I personally have over analized the situation, this is the reason I have an extra parked van and work 12 hours a day.
      sigpic

      Robert

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      • #4
        Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

        I'm not sure in this economy, is the right time to hire employees (plural). 1 employee? maybe.

        I never hired employees cause it's not my time to make that decision yet, but my father has done it in the past.

        Always keep in mind...any Plumber worth his salt, is an employee you're not going to keep for very long. I don't care how nice and honest he is, there is going to come a time in where he WILL want to branch out on his own.

        What are these reasons most of us went into business in the first place? We wanted to make more money being our own boss. If we are going to work that hard, why put that money in the bosses pocket, when I can put it in my own?

        Some guys want to be employees and not deal with the headaches of being a boss. These guys are tough to find.

        We all know about the honesty and drug issues with guys.

        I was always taught to keep my costs low.

        For me personally,I highly doubt I'll ever hire someone.

        Good luck with whatever you decide.

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        • #5
          Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

          Definitely a tough decision. You can either be comfortable doing it the way you do now or you can make more money, but be (most likely) a lot more stressed out about the business, employees, etc.

          One thing you have to remember, employees will never care about the job, equipment, customers, etc like you will.

          I wish you the best though with either route you choose.
          Ideal Plumbing

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          • #6
            Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

            Unless the work is beating you down....other than that I would:

            STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

              I have employees, lots of equipment and alot of customers. My best advice is think about how you will feel when your employee calls and says "I just ran over "X" at your best customers house" Then your next call is your best customer asking what you are going to do about it. Or when they call and say the van just dropped the tranny. Or I got the snake stuck. Or I've been in an accident.

              How well do you deal with those kinds of situations? I hate those phone calls. I would really like to be able to go back to a one man shop. Life was alot simpler then that's for sure.

              As far as making the "big bucks", I doubt it will happen like you envision. Start checking into workmans comp, health insurance and the like. In order to keep a good man you will need to think about vacation time, paid holidays, a retirement plan. There goes your big bucks!

              Do alot of research before you jump in. I also wouldn't take out a very big loan. Not with this economy. Maybe you could start buying extra tools as you go along until you have enough to set up a second van. It might make the prospect less risky and if you shop wisely you can get some good bargains off of Craigslist or E-Bay, instead of rushing out and paying list price.

              Good luck in your decision!
              www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                Paul,

                Some good advice in the preceding posts. I've more time today so I'll add my 2 cents.

                What the overall US macro economy is doing is probably not particularly relevent to whether or not you hire a plumber. A major employer in your town about to leave town should influence your decision. Since you're in Fort Lauderdale that's probably not an issue.

                I would advise against taking a loan out to cover the expenses of a new employee. If you're doing well and have a system whereby you are profitable then you can save your money untill you have enough cash on hand to carry the employee for what you consider to be a reasonable length of time.

                Some posts discussed customer skills, risk management, stress management. These points are spot on imho. I work alone for the most part. This way the work, the relation to the customer, the mess, the cleanup, the risks I take on the job are all done to a standard I can live with. When you have an employee the greater degree of freedom the less span of control you have over these aspects of business.

                You might consider hiring someone totally new to plumbing. Train them from the ground up. While they are being trained you can start setting up a truck for them so they can eventually start going out to clean drains and what not. The suggestion requires patience and a commitment from you to be willing to take the time to teach.

                Good luck!! Congratulations again on your new addition.
                Time flies like an arrow.

                Fruit flies like a banana.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                  Im not a plumber but am self employed.... If you are only working about 4hrs a day in the field, an hour at the house, and rarely work weekends you dont need to hire someone else. You need to get busy enough that you cant handle the work before you think about getting help.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                    "You might consider hiring someone totally new to plumbing. Train them from the ground up. While they are being trained you can start setting up a truck for them so they can eventually start going out to clean drains and what not. The suggestion requires patience and a commitment from you to be willing to take the time to teach."

                    Ya, this is a great idea, so you can set the new guy up wonderfully and prepare him very well for the day that he leaves you!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                      Originally posted by Chemeng View Post
                      "You might consider hiring someone totally new to plumbing. Train them from the ground up. While they are being trained you can start setting up a truck for them so they can eventually start going out to clean drains and what not. The suggestion requires patience and a commitment from you to be willing to take the time to teach."

                      Ya, this is a great idea, so you can set the new guy up wonderfully and prepare him very well for the day that he leaves you!
                      That can be true....but you never know. Some people are never destined to be their own boss. Nothing wrong with it, everyone is molded differently.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                        Originally posted by Chemeng View Post
                        "You might consider hiring someone totally new to plumbing. Train them from the ground up. While they are being trained you can start setting up a truck for them so they can eventually start going out to clean drains and what not. The suggestion requires patience and a commitment from you to be willing to take the time to teach."

                        Ya, this is a great idea, so you can set the new guy up wonderfully and prepare him very well for the day that he leaves you!
                        If you haven't considered what you are going to do with the business when you retire that may be the apple to dangle in front of your trainee. That's a great way to keep someone motivated and have genuine interest in your business.
                        www.ClinkscalesSeptic.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                          The Master Plumber I apprenticed under used to call me his designated driver (for good reason)


                          Really great advice in this thread... I have found that my time has been better served by developing working relationships with other plumbers in my area, A couple of years ago I decided to be the plumber that other plumbers call (thanks plumber Rick) As the relationships have been built I now have a pool of skilled labor I can call on when I need the help if I bite off a little more then I can chew...

                          win/win

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                          • #14
                            Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                            Originally posted by Chemeng View Post
                            "You might consider hiring someone totally new to plumbing. Train them from the ground up. While they are being trained you can start setting up a truck for them so they can eventually start going out to clean drains and what not. The suggestion requires patience and a commitment from you to be willing to take the time to teach."

                            Ya, this is a great idea, so you can set the new guy up wonderfully and prepare him very well for the day that he leaves you!
                            There's always a risk of that. Picking the right person to begin with is important. Since I work alone I haven't found the right person yet. I found a great candidate last year. Trainable, ethical, great sense of humor, smart, good with people, but when I asked him what his long term goal was he wants to be a minister. !!$%$#^%*!
                            Time flies like an arrow.

                            Fruit flies like a banana.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 1000 Calls in 2 Years!!!! Should I Expand?

                              Another thing to consider, if they can't stay the course, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. You might be training your next non licensed competition.
                              The Other Rick

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