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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
a few plumbers have recommended to start with side work until you build up enough customers that you can leave your job. Have any of you guys just started without doing side work first? If so, how did you go about finding your first customers? Like always I appreciate any input.
 

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Reverend, R.S.E., Master Plumber
Nice Head, what’s in the bag?
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There is no easy answer here, it’s like asking “how long is a piece of string”?

I did side work for years, before I went out on my own, but even then it was tough to make the phone ring, I struggled to put food on the table and get by, Altho I was raising a daughter on my own. There was years of ketchup sandwiches, no dentist, and shopping at goodwill…
20 years in it was ALL worth it. Business is booming.
you have to go into it know you’re going to have to stick it out thru thick and thin.

Advertising is VERY hit and miss, you can spend a fortune and get nothing in return, or like me- after years of trying this and that on a tight budget, hit a niche and spend $250/month for a few small adds that bring a huge return.

An old timer once told me:
“The toughest thing in this business is to get your phone to ring, after that is easy plumbing.. as long as you can sell yourself and your services.”
(Howard Nichols)
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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Things were a lot worse back in the 80s and 90s... I can remember me and some
other employees just sweeping the floors and hoping that the phone would ring when
things got slow... My parents did not believe or understand the power of advertising so
things could get really slow on occasion...

You got it made today,, no one is going into the plumbing trade so all you got to do is
just post some free adds on Yelp and google. and see what happens... maybe facebook
and nextdoor too...

It will work out ok if you just be creative and beat the bushes ......
 

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Reverend, R.S.E., Master Plumber
Nice Head, what’s in the bag?
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1,596 Posts
1996-
I hated when I was called into the shop on a slow week, only to find out there was no work, then the a$$, I mean Boss said:
“hey, you’re here, so you can clean, organize and sweep the shop, after that wash and organize all (3) vans..!”
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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7,840 Posts
1996-
I hated when I was called into the shop on a slow week, only to find out there was no work, then the a$$, I mean Boss said:
“hey, you’re here, so you can clean, organize and sweep the shop, after that wash and organize all (3) vans..!”

Yes, I remember the same thing..... time seems to stand still or actually move backwards when you are attempting to make work
or find stuff to do to keep busy..... Used to take portland cement and powder down the oil spots in the garage from the oil leaks from
the trucks and then wait a while and sweep it out into the alley..... good times, good times
 

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How you go about it depends on personality and location. Location meaning in a small population area you likely need to be well known in the area in order to get enough work to live. In a big highly populated area you can likely open up shop next day and do a couple of advertisements and boom work comes. I know of people who had enough work in 1 year to have 3-4 trucks but where I'm at the population is not high enough so with time you can find enough work and also grow but no one here could grow to 3 trucks in 1 year.

I'm 6 months in and I went full in from day 1. I have enough to just barely get by and now I'm upping the game putting money in to professional help with online advertisement. You can't magically get plenty of work until you feel like you have money to spend on advertisement. You need to spend money on it first in order to then get enough work.

It doesn't matter what you do. You will always have ups and downs and worry when the phone doesn't ring for days. Most important tool needed to successfully start a business is "balls of steel" its a scary journey and not for everyone but if it's for you then it's a great journey.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks
How you go about it depends on personality and location. Location meaning in a small population area you likely need to be well known in the area in order to get enough work to live. In a big highly populated area you can likely open up shop next day and do a couple of advertisements and boom work comes. I know of people who had enough work in 1 year to have 3-4 trucks but where I'm at the population is not high enough so with time you can find enough work and also grow but no one here could grow to 3 trucks in 1 year.

I'm 6 months in and I went full in from day 1. I have enough to just barely get by and now I'm upping the game putting money in to professional help with online advertisement. You can't magically get plenty of work until you feel like you have money to spend on advertisement. You need to spend money on it first in order to then get enough work.

It doesn't matter what you do. You will always have ups and downs and worry when the phone doesn't ring for days. Most important tool needed to successfully start a business is "balls of steel" its a scary journey and not for everyone but if it's for you then it's a great journey.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
[/QUOTE
They are some wise words. Thanks
 

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Reverend, R.S.E., Master Plumber
Nice Head, what’s in the bag?
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You got it made today,, no one is going into the plumbing trade so all you got to do is
just post some free adds on Yelp and google. and see what happens... maybe facebook
and nextdoor too...
I’m starting to get consistent work from Nextdoor, it’s nice that it’s free, for now. All the work is close to home.
 

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Side work came to me, everybody needs a plumber. Never really thought about starting my own until I was surprised with a layoff notice one Friday. I immediately realized I could push my full weekend load of side work off until Monday. That was '97 and I've never had a day without work since. I've averaged 10 employees for a few years now, there's work out there for double that many but can't find the quality employees.

I would imagine smaller towns would make starting your own company a little more difficult. In bigger areas the demand is unending.
 

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............I would imagine smaller towns would make starting your own company a little more difficult. In bigger areas the demand is unending.
All we have is small towns around here and we have lots of small plumbing companies. Still more work all the time. People don't fix their own schit anymore like the real men that came back from war. Women outlive their husbands by 20 years. Lots of pansies from the city who've never seen a real days work in their lives.

You're right about not being able to find employees. For years we've been understaffed and we're the biggest around with over 20 guys right now.
 

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I know a good employee is hard to find. I am however some times tired of hearing this as my thoughts on the matter is that you just need to find a half decent guy and then put in the work to make him a good employee. Today's problem is that no one bothers to do the work so thats why there are so few good employees to find. It's just like plumbers. We start as a fool of an apprentice and then start getting better as we learn. If you learn on your own you get ok at it but if someone puts in the work of teaching you well then you get great at it.

Teach your apprentices the trade skills. Teach your new half decent employee the ways to become a good employee.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
 

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philosopher and statesmen
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7,840 Posts
I know a good employee is hard to find. I am however some times tired of hearing this as my thoughts on the matter is that you just need to find a half decent guy and then put in the work to make him a good employee. Today's problem is that no one bothers to do the work so thats why there are so few good employees to find. It's just like plumbers. We start as a fool of an apprentice and then start getting better as we learn. If you learn on your own you get ok at it but if someone puts in the work of teaching you well then you get great at it.

Teach your apprentices the trade skills. Teach your new half decent employee the ways to become a good employee.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
I have been down that rocky nasty road myself...many times.
I have Taken a bunch of apprentices and made something out of them
over time....but none of them appreciate it
I would rather just have a dumbass kid apprentice who just
wants cigarette money and has no desire to get his journeymens card and grow.

Once the apprentice gets his journeymens card normally I would give them a good raise but now
it seemed that they expected to be picked up in the morning and come into work in a limo,,.
have coffe brewing and doughnuts waiting on them too.... and they get pissed off it their are no danish.. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
Brand new truck for them to drive into work would be nice too....NO hand me down trucks...NO WAY
They are too good to do the tasks they did just last month.

Once they realize that they still have to shovel the same old crap it really seems to bother them
and they are never happy no matter what benefits you give them...its never enough..
You put the work into helping someone make something out of themselves and they hit the door
and head for greener pastures....

I guess its the circle of life..


..
 

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Reverend, R.S.E., Master Plumber
Nice Head, what’s in the bag?
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I found a lot of young guys don’t want to work more then 40 hours and they don’t want to get their hands dirty, or the have anxiety sliver spiders…..

I have a good new kid now, he works whenever day, night, weekend and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.
 

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philosopher and statesmen
Joined
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7,840 Posts
I found a lot of young guys don’t want to work more then 40 hours and they don’t want to get their hands dirty, or the have anxiety sliver spiders…..

I have a good new kid now, he works whenever day, night, weekend and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Treat him well....

when they can go to mcdonalds and get 15 per hour it makes it difficult
to throw 20 bucks an hour at a kid..
 

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I know a good employee is hard to find. I am however some times tired of hearing this as my thoughts on the matter is that you just need to find a half decent guy and then put in the work to make him a good employee. Today's problem is that no one bothers to do the work so thats why there are so few good employees to find. It's just like plumbers. We start as a fool of an apprentice and then start getting better as we learn. If you learn on your own you get ok at it but if someone puts in the work of teaching you well then you get great at it.

Teach your apprentices the trade skills. Teach your new half decent employee the ways to become a good employee.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
I have been down that rocky nasty road myself...many times.
I have Taken a bunch of apprentices and made something out of them
over time....but none of them appreciate it
I would rather just have a dumbass kid apprentice who just
wants cigarette money and has no desire to get his journeymens card and grow.

Once the apprentice gets his journeymens card normally I would give them a good raise but now
it seemed that they expected to be picked up in the morning and come into work in a limo,,.
have coffe brewing and doughnuts waiting on them too.... and they get pissed off it their are no danish.. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
Brand new truck for them to drive into work would be nice too....NO hand me down trucks...NO WAY
They are too good to do the tasks they did just last month.

Once they realize that they still have to shovel the same old crap it really seems to bother them
and they are never happy no matter what benefits you give them...its never enough..
You put the work into helping someone make something out of themselves and they hit the door
and head for greener pastures....

I guess its the circle of life..


..
I read an apprentice laying it out from that angle (bottom up) on a social media thread, basically asking to be competently led and in exchange he brings heart and a good attitude. He? set himself apart from anyone expecting free sh=t, and called a shortage of quote unquote leadership.
 
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