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Once I have a name, I understand I will need to register it with the secretary of state. I inquired about bonds today and I was told it is based on wither the area I'm in requires them, but it wasn't clear how I would find that info? How does that work? I plan on moving to the Denver area. I plan on buying a newish Ram promaster and living in a suburb of Denver most likely in an apartment. Is it a problem parking plumbing vans in apartment parking lots, or single family home neighborhoods?

It seems to me the free invoice apps on my phone do everything I would need. It would be nice to have one customized with my business name and logo, but as I was looking into Quickbooks it seemed like a lot of unnecessary stuff, maybe its meant for bigger businesses, but I'm just starting out as a one man shop. I plan on getting some sort of credit card reader for my phone. It would make sense that would incorporate an invoice with it?
Regarding a website I had heard it's good to invest in a quality website as opposed to one of those inexpensive sites. I was learning a lot about SEO's but this seems like it would be a better idea for larger companies to employ an actual company because it would seem the cost would be the same if it's a one man shop or a 50 man shop.

I will have to buy a few expensive tools like a cast iron cutter and I will need to stock my truck. Is it better to stock your truck with products from a supply house? I get the impression Big Box stores don't have equivalent products. Or are there a lot of items I can buy from a big box store that are just as good and less expensive? Any discounts I should be aware of?

As for advertising, I plan on having at least a basic website. I professional lettered or wrapped van. Should I get business cards? I'm moving to a state where I know absolutely no body.

Anything else I'm forgetting for starters?
 

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Absolutely and stickers also, pm Master Plumber Mark, about the stickers you want people to Remember
who you are after you are out of sight, I was known as the person that give out the most cards,
for ever 10 you give out one person will call, for ever 10 people that call you will get a job,
 

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There's no reason to Overstock your truck if you're going to be in the service industry. I've seen guys go out and purchase thousands and tools and thousands of dollars of material. And never use any of it. Start off small and easy. When you need the tool purchase the tool. In the beginning when you're going out giving estimates if you have to run to the supply house purchase double the amount of parts. Let the job pay for it in the beginning. That material that's on your truck lives rent-free and the more of that material you have the more gas you spend to drive it around. I keep a very small selection of fittings. Two of each size fernco. Two garbage disposals and two sump pumps. A 10 ft length of each size pipe.

When I go to Home Depot I purchase more material than I need. I have a Home Depot bucket that I put all the extra material in in once a month I go back to Home Depot and return the material and have them put the money on a Home Depot card so I can buy tools or anything else that I desire. That material of course was attached to the job so I'm not taxed on it and of course tools are right off
 

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There's no reason to Overstock your truck if you're going to be in the service industry. I've seen guys go out and purchase thousands and tools and thousands of dollars of material. And never use any of it. .............. more of that material you have the more gas you spend to drive it around. ................
There's no reason to overstock a newcon van either. Our newcon/reno vans have half the stuff our service vans do. When we do a job the supply house delivers it all to the site. The van only needs to carry those items that pop up on you and you'd rather not wait until tomorrow for.

I agree about being careful at first, you'll be surprised at the stuff you go through the most. And you might sell 3 sump pumps in one month and then not sell another for 6 months. You have the benefit of speaking directly with the customer before you show up. Find out what their issue is, get the parts for the job, and then think long and hard about whether you'll need those parts for another job some time soon.

The stuff I use most are toilet parts. I always sell fill valves and flappers together because if one goes it will take the other far along with it. Makes it easier for restock too. New fill valve means new supply line. Chrome supply lines don't get brittle and go bad like a flex supply. And a chrome supply is always the correct length if you only stock 20". I use mostly 12" ones but since you're just starting out stocking only 20" supplies would be simpler.

Wax rings. The number one suspect for a leak from an upstairs bathroom is the flange seal. If I re-set a toilet I am almost always using new joni bolts.

Tubular drain parts are another very common item. Some of the tubular parts are hard to find at hardware stores.
 

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There's no reason to overstock a newcon van either. Our newcon/reno vans have half the stuff our service vans do. When we do a job the supply house delivers it all to the site. The van only needs to carry those items that pop up on you and you'd rather not wait until tomorrow for.

I agree about being careful at first, you'll be surprised at the stuff you go through the most. And you might sell 3 sump pumps in one month and then not sell another for 6 months. You have the benefit of speaking directly with the customer before you show up. Find out what their issue is, get the parts for the job, and then think long and hard about whether you'll need those parts for another job some time soon.

The stuff I use most are toilet parts. I always sell fill valves and flappers together because if one goes it will take the other far along with it. Makes it easier for restock too. New fill valve means new supply line. Chrome supply lines don't get brittle and go bad like a flex supply. And a chrome supply is always the correct length if you only stock 20". I use mostly 12" ones but since you're just starting out stocking only 20" supplies would be simpler.

Wax rings. The number one suspect for a leak from an upstairs bathroom is the flange seal. If I re-set a toilet I am almost always using new joni bolts.

Tubular drain parts are another very common item. Some of the tubular parts are hard to find at hardware stores.
Yes I agree with everything you said I didn't mention I do stalk fill valve flapper wax seals I take the braided Supply hoses though. Also angle stop straight stops. I even keep some SharkBite fittings in case of emergencies.


When trucks are overstocked it's too damn hard to find anything to still end up going to the supply house and then eventually when you clean your truck off you realize you have a 100 of one certain item.

If something doesn't cost much get it. Overflow gaskets track kids you'll figure it out just start slow
 

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........When trucks are overstocked it's too damn hard to find anything to still end up going to the supply house and then eventually when you clean your truck off you realize you have a 100 of one certain item.
.............
I have a small box I put overstock items in. When I use an item out of that box I don't add it to the restock list.
 
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When you buy an item, figure out your markup based on the purchase cost and add your markup. Then write that directly on the items packaging. Obviously you need a parts price book too but having that info at hand is good.

Part numbers. Make a spreadsheet with the item name/description in the left column and substitutable part numbers in the subsequent columns. This is actually something I am working on to make billing easier for our office. They wanted to test out hand scanners and barcode printers but covid put that on hold.
 
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Yes I agree with everything you said I didn't mention I do stalk fill valve flapper wax seals I take the braided Supply hoses though. Also angle stop straight stops. I even keep some SharkBite fittings in case of emergencies.


When trucks are overstocked it's too damn hard to find anything to still end up going to the supply house and then eventually when you clean your truck off you realize you have a 100 of one certain item.

If something doesn't cost much get it. Overflow gaskets track kids you'll figure it out just start slow
My box truck is waaaaaaay overstocked..... and I dont care....
its just money, small change really, I would never waste my day taking back a bucket of
fittings to HD....
You realize that you are spitting in Murpheys laws face when
you do something like this because that fitting you took back to HD will be the exact one you desperately need
on some dark and rainey afternoon a few months from now........
That is when fear and loathing begin with a desperate hunt for that stupid part you need....🥶🥶

Picture the scene....
Its one nasty rainey friday afternoon 25 miles out in the middle of no-where
and time is running out....
You are supposed to be going out that night with the
wife to some important affair in 2 hours.---like your daughters recital 😨😱......
and thank god in heaven you have that extra special part squirreled away in your truck
and that one part gets their water back on and you are on your way home
and the day, the evening and the marriage is saved.... Victory is yours....

that is actually how murpheys law works....
I always obey murphy .
 

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I look at the home depot bucket as a tip. When I scrap my copper I return the bucket.

Parts not wasted.

As for your other scenario. Family always comes first. Even if someone doesn't have water. They can wait. 99% percent of them waited till the last possible moment to call a plumber anyways.

I dont work overnight and I dont work sundays. The customer is hardly ever right and there are no bees in China. I learned that one night asking for honey for my tea at a late night Chinese restaurant. Dont know if it's TRUE but that night I got no honey. Do you get it?
 

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Once I have a name, I understand I will need to register it with the secretary of state. I inquired about bonds today and I was told it is based on wither the area I'm in requires them, but it wasn't clear how I would find that info? How does that work? I plan on moving to the Denver area. I plan on buying a newish Ram promaster and living in a suburb of Denver most likely in an apartment. Is it a problem parking plumbing vans in apartment parking lots, or single family home neighborhoods?

It seems to me the free invoice apps on my phone do everything I would need. It would be nice to have one customized with my business name and logo, but as I was looking into Quickbooks it seemed like a lot of unnecessary stuff, maybe its meant for bigger businesses, but I'm just starting out as a one man shop. I plan on getting some sort of credit card reader for my phone. It would make sense that would incorporate an invoice with it?
Regarding a website I had heard it's good to invest in a quality website as opposed to one of those inexpensive sites. I was learning a lot about SEO's but this seems like it would be a better idea for larger companies to employ an actual company because it would seem the cost would be the same if it's a one man shop or a 50 man shop.

I will have to buy a few expensive tools like a cast iron cutter and I will need to stock my truck. Is it better to stock your truck with products from a supply house? I get the impression Big Box stores don't have equivalent products. Or are there a lot of items I can buy from a big box store that are just as good and less expensive? Any discounts I should be aware of?

As for advertising, I plan on having at least a basic website. I professional lettered or wrapped van. Should I get business cards? I'm moving to a state where I know absolutely no body.

Anything else I'm forgetting for starters?
I use skyboss for billing and customer database plus pricebook, you can get set up with a third party to take credit cards on skyboss but you have to punch in the numbers manually. If you want I can tell you more about it in private messages and get you set up with a demo of it.

Quick books you don't need it but it's going to make your future bookkeeper happy and will be easier to see your profit loss statement and also will make it easier for you if IRS wants to audit you.

Businesscards, yes get them. I rarely was asked about it as an employee but going out on my own alot of people are asking for it so I finally just had 500 made.

Website yes get it but for now you don't need to spend much money on it. Online presence as in Google my business, Facebook, YouTube or what else is absolutely important and online reviews more important than you think. So ask and ask every single time you think a customer is happy.

As for expensive tools just get the most essential ones for now and when the need arises get the rest.

I can't say what is needed in your area for business papers like bonds and such and if you have a wrapped van you might want to ask your apartment building management about that as such things can vary by area.

Material stock. The way my old boss did it and how I'm trying to do it as far as I have room for. Pvc fittings from box store in bulk, assorted stock from online stores and only what you know you use regularly.

Oh and if you don't get an accountant right away just remember to at least set aside like 25-30% of your net profit for taxes and pay them quarterly.

I'm new too with 4.5 months in but I got a decent grasp on what needs to be done.

Send me a private message if you have any questions.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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Absolutely and stickers also, pm Master Plumber Mark, about the stickers you want people to Remember
who you are after you are out of sight, I was known as the person that give out the most cards,
for ever 10 you give out one person will call, for ever 10 people that call you will get a job,
Thanks Mcplumb, we have beat the stickers to death over the past 10 years.....


If you are wise you will do these things to make your life easy peasy......

1. you get a quick books pro program and just post all debits and credits to that system
find a bookkeeper you want to use set it up the way he likes best.....

2. pay a bookkeeper to do your bi-annual books and your year end statements and taxes

3. Use a payroll service to do your payroll, even if it is only for yourself.... will cost you
about 25 per week for them to make out your check, do your fica and tax payments.... Its
wise to do this because they will not fool around delaying payments to the government which gets
you in trouble...

4. shop around your insurance to different companies and GET AN UMBRELLA policy for your business..
JUST DO IT....

5. Make up a permanent laminated STICKER that will not come off easily and use it for your business card and plaster that sticker
on every heater and home you walk into...... Normally they cost about 3 cents each when you have 5 or 10 thousand made
hand them out like candy........In less than a year it will take on a life of its own and calls will start really rolling in.....

6. Get on google with the free business placement of your new company

7 get a free web site on yelp and load a bunch of pictures to their free photo album

Things not to do.....

1. do not hire a hot looking chick to be your bookkeeper.... do not hire a ugly dog neither... they will both bite you
if you have quickbooks you can post everything yourself.... you really dont need the headaches....

2. no one but you gets their hands on the check book --- Only your signature allowed on all outgoing checks
I have seen the horror that happens when you TRUST someone with your money and company....
and it all goes down the drain slowly or quickly
 

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Every state is different so I am not much help on the opening procedures of a business in Colorado.

We use two Promasters in our fleet and work well for us. Parking them in a non-private lot you will have to check with the office/owner of that lot because each place will vary of course.
Apartments have special parking lot rules so I would triple check on that before doing anything with an apartment. In a neighborhood, if it is in your driveway it should be no harm but you could always have that one neighbor that's a pain.

I would not suggest free apps for your professional business use for your professional accounting purposes for sure. Quickbooks Online has so many abilities (free and not free of course) to help with bookkeeping, taxes, and more. One of my small businesses only pays 20 a month. If set up correctly is can automatically file your taxes and more for you so you stay in compliance. On top of being able to email customers an invoice to pay via email on the spot or away and schedule "projects" etc. There is also now a "live bookkeeper" popup to help you when you are in a jam and don't know how to do something or have a question. For social media and things like that apps like Canva are great. I would hire someone to create your logo professionally because it's typically the first thing someone will judge you on before meeting you because it sets the standard for the business right away. Websites say a lot about business nowadays too. LIKE A LOT. You can do good work but have a bad website and it will turn people away. There are companies out there that build sites for you at good rates. However, just like in the plumbing field remember "You get what you pay for". Business cards are still used and great for start-up companies so that you can leave them with people to refer back to when they might be referring you out since you will not have any contacts/friends/family around to remember your information upon giving it out. Vistaprint runs specials and you can always use I think its code "THANKS20" for 20% off.

Stocking up on some of the most needed things is ideal like others have mentioned but I take it you will just be operating out of wherever you live and not an actual business location? If you do not have a business location remember things like your address will be public for anyone to see on your legal paperwork. Like I own a 501c3 and operate it out of my house but it makes me easy to find in some cases. Get good insurance if you are buying expensive things to keep in a vehicle and not a secure location.

My best advice is to find small businesses like yourself to support while they support your start-up needs, it's a win-win!
Now take what I have to say and throw it away if you want but just thought I would throw my two cents out there. :) Wish you the best of luck!
 
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