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  • Question for contractors

    I recently became self-employed and business is fairly well. My problem is I live in PA and the state does not require any sort of license. So I am unable to prove to my customers that I'm well qualified to do the work. Has anyone else came across this problem.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Mike Sparks
    I recently became self-employed and business is fairly well. My problem is I live in PA and the state does not require any sort of license. So I am unable to prove to my customers that I'm well qualified to do the work. Has anyone else came across this problem.
    I did a quick check on Google, and found that you were right (I only did this because I couldn't believe they had no requirements).

    The best advice I would have, and I don't work for myself, would be to join a local contractor's organization, one that you can show a logo and has a reputation for quality.

    If it doesn't exist, start on...be a leader.
    the dog

    Comment


    • #3
      Same situation in Norway, so it takes longer to be "established". I just had to go the long slow way, where satisfied customers talk to friends & family. It takes a while, but when the system starts working, it accelerates, and you get a real solid customer base. It's also real nice when old customers come and talk to you in the mall, and regard you as a friend. (OK! with the discounts some of them got in the beginning, I guess I deserve it!)

      Comment


      • #4
        mike, all of my work comes from referrals. both from other customers and from other plumbers and contractors. this didn't happen overnight. the nice thing is that you basically already know the new person calling is not a flake.

        i work by myself and since i've switched over to computer billing in 2001, i see that i have over 1100 customers. not bad for 1 person. keep in mind that not everyone is going to call you on a regular basis. some are just a 1 shot camera inspection for another contractor. others are calling every couple of weeks. this being a large homeowners association.

        i would think that an electrician would not have as many service calls as a plumber on a house to house basis. plumbing breaks and wears much faster than electrical

        it might take some time, but your name will get around to the customers that you want to work for. i drive less than 6,000 miles a year. you have to take on some jobs that are not the best location, then you can narrow down the playing field to what is best for yourself

        give it some time and do the best job at the trade that you do.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK
          mike, all of my work comes from referrals. both from other customers and from other plumbers and contractors. this didn't happen overnight. the nice thing is that you basically already know the new person calling is not a flake.

          i work by myself and since i've switched over to computer billing in 2001, i see that i have over 1100 customers. not bad for 1 person. keep in mind that not everyone is going to call you on a regular basis. some are just a 1 shot camera inspection for another contractor. others are calling every couple of weeks. this being a large homeowners association.

          i would think that an electrician would not have as many service calls as a plumber on a house to house basis. plumbing breaks and wears much faster than electrical

          it might take some time, but your name will get around to the customers that you want to work for. i drive less than 6,000 miles a year. you have to take on some jobs that are not the best location, then you can narrow down the playing field to what is best for yourself

          give it some time and do the best job at the trade that you do.

          rick.
          Rick,

          The difference here is that you are in competition with other licensed contractors. This guy is in competition with any ***-bite who calls himself a plumber. They will beat his price and gain customers. If you don't think so, look at wallmart. They sell inferior products, but at low prices, and out-do anyone with quality product.

          My advice stands, Mike Sparks. You are competing unfairly. I would start or join an organization that stresses quality, lobby your representitives for better state legislation. Until then do the best job you can.

          And: yea, yea...... Rick, like Wilt Chamberlain, has 10,000 customers. Well most of us are not Rick. So build your business, do a good job, have integrety, and your business will grow.
          the dog

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by plumbdog10
            Rick,


            And: yea, yea...... Rick, like Wilt Chamberlain, has 10,000 customers. Well most of us are not Rick. So build your business, do a good job, have integrety, and your business will grow.
            dog, the difference is i can document the 1,100 plus customers. in fact i can even look up every job and every part that was used at any time from my lap top, and print it right from the customers home with my portable printer.

            dog, as you probably already know, i've been at this full time since 1981. so this didn't happen overnight.

            mike, don't you have any contacts from the years that you were in the trade just as i moonlighted while i was doing new construction plumbing. i just let the customers know that i was avaliable during regular hours. now i have to be more picky and let new callers know that i don't travel that direction or distance.

            mike you also knew that you were in a state that has no licensing requirements. you worked for others that had to compete in this environment. i'm not the least expensive, but my customers are not looking for the least expensive or least experienced either.

            i live in a state that has the highest insurance cost. business, liability, auto, home, and workers comp. fortunatly i don't have any employees, so workers comp doesn't apply to me. not to mention the highest gas prices and property cost.

            here is a suggestion. why don't you try a referral program with your established customers. give them a free 1 hour service call for every new customer they refer to you and land

            work with the customers you have and expand from there. a happy customer will always refer you to their family, friends and neighbors. it's worked for me and 2 others that i refer to when i'm not avaliable.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

            Comment


            • #7
              Mike, do you have friends in the trade in your area? Do you know some older tradesman in your area?

              Talk to the guys at the supply house , they might help you more then this forum. They know what you are up against more then these guys.( nothing against them)

              Competition is needed , but so is alliances. When I started 16 yrs ago I made friends with other like myself. We all helped each other.

              Questions for you, Are you strickly a plumber? What kind? ( ballcock jockey, house rat, etc.) Do you deal with heating? If so you can try for your NATE cert.

              No matter what , I wish you only the best. Starting out is rough, success is a long and bumpy road.

              Comment


              • #8
                Plumbdog:
                you make the statement that Mike is "competeing against any ***-bite who calls himself a plumber. He will beat his price and gain customers."
                While this is true, I as a licensed contractor also compete against those same people out here in CA. AND from what I have found is.......
                1) The majority of those people don't know what their doing and I end up getting called in to fix their mistakes.
                2) If your quality of work is high, once people realize it they will spread your name like crazy.
                3) Once your name is out, you'll have more work than you'll know what to do with and won't have to worry about the ***-bites.

                Mike:
                Just keep your work ethics and quality high and you'll have no problem getting jobs. Don't worry so much about proving your qualifications to people, your work will show that. The refferals will then fly. My business is completely referals and regular clients. I don't even advertise. Best of luck to you.
                Mike.

                Comment


                • #9
                  mike i live in south east pa and there is the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) . this may help ,they have a web sight.
                  Charlie

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by House-Medic
                    Plumbdog:
                    you make the statement that Mike is "competeing against any ***-bite who calls himself a plumber. He will beat his price and gain customers."
                    While this is true, I as a licensed contractor also compete against those same people out here in CA. AND from what I have found is.......
                    1) The majority of those people don't know what their doing and I end up getting called in to fix their mistakes.
                    2) If your quality of work is high, once people realize it they will spread your name like crazy.
                    3) Once your name is out, you'll have more work than you'll know what to do with and won't have to worry about the ***-bites.

                    Mike:
                    Just keep your work ethics and quality high and you'll have no problem getting jobs. Don't worry so much about proving your qualifications to people, your work will show that. The refferals will then fly. My business is completely referals and regular clients. I don't even advertise. Best of luck to you.
                    Mike.
                    mike, my same words exactly.

                    p.s. he's actually an electrician. so he's a little slow to take us plumbers advise

                    rick.
                    phoebe it is

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