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First off let me state that I am not a business owner, but merely a Young (as far as experience goes) Journeyman Plumber who potentially aspires to perhaps down the road start my own Hydronic Heating company (this interests me the most out of all the things I do at my current company).

I would appreciate it if you could tolerate my wind to help see the question I am asking because it's not a yes or no or a simple question to ask.

Here goes:

Many of you have started your own business as a one man show. You do everything - paperwork, books, invoicing, payroll, (probably pretty quick there), the actual field work/installations, the purchasing, advertising, the estimating, paying bills, sales work, etc, etc. etc. Everyone of these individual tasks requires time, some more time than others. The nice thing about this for the customer or a general contractor, you know everything about every job, and know all the details. You can make or break your success in effect, and because you know if things slack you could lose future business so I'd imagine most of you guys who do a one man show operation have a hell of a job on your hands and I have great respect for you. If you can do all of those aforementioned things to keep your company running, and get them done well, you'll probably succeed.

At some time down the line after you succeed doing the one man show, you may decide it's time to hire some staff. Depending on what avenue of the trade you take on and your preferences or abilities, this might mean another van and another plumber, or hiring a paperwork/office type person to let you take more of the field on. Either way every one of the facets that you must perform to successfully run a company becomes larger. You can get more done, and potentially make more money but there now exists something that you must do in order to run things properly: communicate. If you and your staff don't have effective communication, and policies, as well as fill out paper work properly, your efficiency and effectiveness go down. Things get ordered twice, customers and contractors don't get their issues dealt with efficiently which wears on your reputation with them and potential future word of mouth or future work. You no longer know everything about every job or what has been done in the field, or what has or hasn't been said to the customer. You have to in effect trust the people you hire to follow through with your will because in this trade they can also make or break you.

Now perhaps the time comes when the you and a few people is working out and larger and more lucrative risky type jobs come up. Or perhaps more service vans, whatever. Now every facet of running a company properly has just expanded and you need more help for paperwork, estimating, perhaps to the point where you are not even in the field picking up tools, or to where you have a large office staff and full time book keeper working for you.

So now you have some serious contrasts between the one man show, and the company where you can't micromanage things anymore.

So I want you to consider the above scenarios. Remember the advantages you had as the one show - you know everything about every job, you know all the details, there are no real logistics or communication lines you need to deal with, there is no discrepencies, other then what happens between you and the customer or contractor. And then you have the point where you have a decent sized staff, and you need to offer the same sort of presentation to the customer or contractor as if you were a one man show. You have to have a system set up to deal with the customer and you also have to have intricate job details and paper work so you can effectively answer their questions and get things going.

So I guess the question I have for you, is how do you effectively offer one man show service with a large company? How do you handle the important, pertenant details?

I ask you because the company I work for is one that has grown extremely fast. So fast that there are A LOT of things that irk me. I have tried to offer up some help but I've gotten to the point now where I figure I should make a 1-2 year plan to just get my own thing going and just live with the crap we deal with. I could go on about my gripes but suffice to say it's probably better just to suck it up and live with what I know could be done much better, and do it better myself when I can get a business of my own going.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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My previous company grew too fast. The quality of service went downhill quite fast as well. I hated it. I left and started my own company. One-man-show, just me. And I like it. I know for absolute sure that my customers get the best serviceguy in town. They get me! I plan on keeping it small. I never want to make the same mistakes my former boss did and grow the company to the point that quality sucks.
In my experience, the larger companies tend to have the worst service. If you have 20 plumbers, it is almost impossible for all of them to be good. Most likely a lot of them are just "warm bodies" filling the van, they aren't necessarily good plumbers, and usually not even good salespeople. I don't want to go that route personally.
I've always been a "QUALITY OVER QUANTITY" believer.
 

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My previous company grew too fast. The quality of service went downhill quite fast as well. I hated it. I left and started my own company. One-man-show, just me. And I like it. I know for absolute sure that my customers get the best serviceguy in town. They get me! I plan on keeping it small. I never want to make the same mistakes my former boss did and grow the company to the point that quality sucks.
In my experience, the larger companies tend to have the worst service. If you have 20 plumbers, it is almost impossible for all of them to be good. Most likely a lot of them are just "warm bodies" filling the van, they aren't necessarily good plumbers, and usually not even good salespeople. I don't want to go that route personally.
I've always been a "QUALITY OVER QUANTITY" believer.



ditto!
 

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Ive Worded For Good Shops And Bad. The Good One Was The Best The Bad Ones Were So Sh#&%y It Drove Me Nuts. One Example One Of The Bosses Tells Me He Is Using The Profit Of Of My Project To Offset The Overages Of A Couple Of The Shop Idiots. Great Part Is We Made The Same Money. I Had Enough Of That Mentality. Some Times It Takes The Hi-way To Get It My Way. Starting My Own Business Was The Best Move I Made. And Your Right The Management Of The Growth Process Needs To Be Attended With Care. Your Thinking The Right Way Get A 2 Year Plan, Then A 5 Year Plan, And So On. Set Goals Stick To Them And Find Business People That Are Real And Care About The Finished Product To Emulate, And Take Advice From. Never Let The Product Suffer.
 
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