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Speeding in the slowlane... time to hit turbo

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Carny

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Mar 20, 2013
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I'm working on hitting the fastlane but I'm not there yet. I'd like to amp up my slowlane business as well and turn it into something that I could eventually sell.

I own a plumbing company which consists solely of me right now. I do everything. It's hard nasty work. I work long hours and then come home and still have to do paperwork, figures estimates, etc, etc. I don't make that much and the "freedom" of owning your own business doesn't apply when you're self employed. I have a job with no benefits. If I'm not working I'm not getting paid. I want to change that.

I don't know if owning a plumbing company could ever be fastlane unless I franchise or something, but I'd like to make the most of it and there can be pretty good money in it.

I'm about to change my pricing structure to a flat rate rather than time and material which will make me more profitable and I'm also about to start selling maintenance agreements to get a more consistent income. Once I get a system in place and have some cash reserves I plan to start hiring plumbers, then office staff as needed. My goal is to transition from plumber to business owner and then probably eventually sell out.

One thought I had though is that if I spent the time and energy that it would take to grow this on a fastlane business I may end up way ahead. On the other hand I do have something with this and hate to just give it up. As far as CENTS it meets or can meet every requirement. Scale will be the hardest. Adding plumbers will do it somewhat but franchising is the only true way I see to get scale.

As usual I have a list of questions:
  1. Do you have any suggestions/ideas that you'd like to see your plumber do?
  2. What should I focus on now to grow the business and make it worth something?
  3. Is it worth spending the time and energy on?
Please let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks!
 

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niftyg

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jun 22, 2013
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Vancouver Island
I don't have any specific answers of questions.... but I do know a company you may be interested in.

A local company in my area "The Super Plumber".

Ads EVERYWHERE, Branded vans EVERYWHERE. These guys are totally hopping. I don't know much about them or what their model is but you can be very sure there is a main owner collecting a percentage on everything.

http://www.thesuperplumber.com

So you definitely can be on to something.

Good luck.
 

CommonCents

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 14, 2009
1,171
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MN
how are you not making money? I've had to do some serious negotiation and RFQ to get deals on plumbing. Here are some of the quotes I'm getting: $1,000 for a replacement water softener installed? sheesh. $900-1000 for a replacement 50 gal water heater installed? thousands for a kinetico whole home filtration, $1k-$2k for other 3stage filtration. $375 for new food disposal installed.

I'd also look at specializing in emergencies, those people have an immediate need and aren't calling several for quotes, they are hoping one just answers their damn phone. RotoRooter has to make a freakin fortune.
 

Carny

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Mar 20, 2013
165
163
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I've had to do some serious negotiation and RFQ to get deals on plumbing.

I hope I don't derail this thread, but I don't understand why everyone thinks it's ok or a good idea to negotiate a price on plumbing work. First, shopping strictly by price is the best way to get the worst plumber and quality of work possible. Second, it's not a commodity. You are paying someone to do something that you can't or wont. If you get to work tomorrow and your boss says "you know, times are tough yada yada yada I need you to work for less today", how would you take it?

If customer starts trying to negotiate or gives me some sob story I very rarely adjust the price. I give people breaks all the time, more than I probably should, but not if they think they deserve it. I shouldn't have to accept less because someone has made a mess of their life. If you can't afford a plumber hire a handy man with no insurance and hope for the best or get on youtube and figure it out. I'm not a charity. If I fix everyone's problems for half price next month I can't get my mortgage company to accept less.

Sorry for the rant. By 'you' I meant customers in general.
 

Robbypz

Contributor
Speedway Pass
May 25, 2013
44
74
114
51
Kansas City
I hope I don't derail this thread, but I don't understand why everyone thinks it's ok or a good idea to negotiate a price on plumbing work. First, shopping strictly by price is the best way to get the worst plumber and quality of work possible. Second, it's not a commodity. You are paying someone to do something that you can't or wont. If you get to work tomorrow and your boss says "you know, times are tough yada yada yada I need you to work for less today", how would you take it?


I think your on to something to start with right there, start a local blog or social media page and educate people on your craft and show why your company can offer them something better. Create a following and a brand based on this education from some of the the examples that you just laid out here, show examples of bad plumbing mistakes made by cut rate services. I live in a small town and see many people on our local FB page constantly asking for a recommendation on a plumber, but not once have I seen a plumbing company taking the time to capitalize on the opportunity to tap into it.
 
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