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Going out on my own

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  • #16
    Re: Going out on my own

    Originally posted by geno gardner View Post
    Amazing. I've gone completely the other way. My wife has always taken care of the kids and now our three grandkids so doesn't work outside the home. Our income comes from me plumbing.

    I don't have business cards, letterhead or even a business phone other than my cell phone. When yellow pages people call (have no idea how they get my number) I tell them I'm not interested. All my work comes from referrals and repeat (hopefully) business. I keep the overhead expenses as low as I can manage and pay cash as I go for new tools and equipment. I have no credit line at a bank.

    I am trying a journeyman since I've been too busy for me to satisfy all my customers' needs and wants. He's not perfect, but he's getting better and he tries which is the main thing. I question whether or not I will have enough work for the both of us for the duration but I've been honest with him and we're both willing to be flexible.
    I dont see how you operate without a proper letterhead or a business card. Do you do any commercial work at all?

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    • #17
      Re: Going out on my own

      That's what I was thinking ,5000 cards $50..I made a letterhead up in 5 min.But you have a journeyman plumber working for you ..Theres something to be said for that..
      ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin

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      • #18
        Re: Going out on my own

        Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
        I dont see how you operate without a proper letterhead or a business card. Do you do any commercial work at all?
        I really don't do all that much commercial work these days. But here's one I'm just finishing up now. It's a 250 ton chiller. This isn't a project I would normally pursue or bid on, but it fell in my lap. Honestly it's been an entertaining diversion. It scheduled to be fired up tomorrow for the first time. Let's hope it runs. (Glad I didn't buy it.)

        Next month I'm moving the plumbing for a specialized dental office. That job should take roughly a month I'm guessing.

        In the spring I'm going to be doing the plumbing for an addition to a corporate headquarters addition. (It's considered commercial, but really it's just a few bathrooms and a kitchen sink.) So what's the diff?

        As far as business cards or letterhead is concerned, it's not that I'm opposed to them on principal, I've just never got around to designing a logo, or anything like that. I'll get around to it one of these days when I have nothing better to do. In the meantime, if someone wants my number they can write my phone number down. It only takes a moment.

        I live in Minnesota. I just got a call from a repeat customer who lives in Seattle, whom I've never even met. But they pay their bills and are a pleasure to deal with!
        Attached Files
        Time flies like an arrow.

        Fruit flies like a banana.

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        • #19
          Re: Going out on my own

          I have been apart of a few companies, and have opened two myself. The first one I did all wrong. I had no clue. I knew plumbing, but not business. I would study the business side. Sign up for all the free trade magazines you can, and read every article on business in them. Some of them are crap, but I glean from them. The first time, my wife worked until we got it up and running, the second we had over $40,000.00 saved up (all gone now). I am in my 8th year of the second business, and times are tough. I had some bad timing with the growth of my business and the recession. I need to secure some more money to move it into the next phase, but the banks are tougher than ever. I have been trying for two years. If you don't already know, they usually don't like small businesses. Even though, it is just me and one other guy. It has been tough. Just because you send out 1,000 advertising items, doesn't mean you get work. I know plumbing, better than anyone in this area. Even other companies are now asking my advice, but I still struggle with the business side. As for getting work, If you see me in the Home depot or Lowe's, it is not always to buy parts. I will help people on the plumbing aisle. Sometimes, I get a job or two from it. I don't expect it. It just happens naturally. Besides, I am tired of those idiots giving the wrong advice. I can't handle it when I'm standing there and they tell someone that installing a bathtub is easy. If you like your boss that you work for, he could be a good person to throw you work. I network with two or three companies right now. When I am busy, they love me. Be prepared though, if you let the cat out of the bag early, he may fire you.
          "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

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          • #20
            Re: Going out on my own

            Originally posted by geno gardner View Post
            Amazing. I've gone completely the other way. My wife has always taken care of the kids and now our three grandkids so doesn't work outside the home. Our income comes from me plumbing.

            I don't have business cards, letterhead or even a business phone other than my cell phone. When yellow pages people call (have no idea how they get my number) I tell them I'm not interested. All my work comes from referrals and repeat (hopefully) business. I keep the overhead expenses as low as I can manage and pay cash as I go for new tools and equipment. I have no credit line at a bank.

            I am trying a journeyman since I've been too busy for me to satisfy all my customers' needs and wants. He's not perfect, but he's getting better and he tries which is the main thing. I question whether or not I will have enough work for the both of us for the duration but I've been honest with him and we're both willing to be flexible.
            I have almost the exact same story, without grandkids. You can make it if you carry no debt and low overhead.

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            • #21
              Re: Going out on my own

              Geno Gardener-you're exactly where I want to be one day. How long did it take for you to reach that point?

              I think Mark's advice about not losing a cent on a job he didn't get speaks volumes. Every time I'm about to rush a decision, that saying plays back in head. I also firmly believe that it's not what you make but what you spend.
              Buy cheap, buy twice.

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              • #22
                Re: Going out on my own

                Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                Geno Gardener-you're exactly where I want to be one day. How long did it take for you to reach that point?

                I think Mark's advice about not losing a cent on a job he didn't get speaks volumes. Every time I'm about to rush a decision, that saying plays back in head. I also firmly believe that it's not what you make but what you spend.
                Gear, Yep. I hope you have at LEAST three grandkids too someday!! It takes a while. After all the kids have to grow up and get married before they can start having kids themselves.

                Ok I'm a wiseacre.

                All I can say is it's an ongoing process for me and I'm certainly not the best or brightest businessman out there. Getting business cards and finding inexpensive ways to get your name out there is almost certainly the wise thing to do. I would RUN from the yellow page people. A business phone with a single line in the phone book would give some legitimacy when you're starting up.
                Time flies like an arrow.

                Fruit flies like a banana.

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