I Want To Be A Plumber.

 
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:50 AM   #1
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I Want To Be A Plumber.


I'm at a point in my career in which I have recognized that I need to make some type of change. I would like to start working on a long term plan to improve the profitability of my business. I'm hoping to get some advice from a few guys that may have made a similar transition.

I have been in Remodeling for almost 10 years now. I have been finishing basements on my own for the last 4 years. Last year I became a licensed Master plumber due to the increased amount of plumbing I was involved in.

After 4 years I still enjoy what I do. However, I do not feel that my profit margins are where they should be. Over the last year the demand has grown to the point that I started to sub out more of the work which has allowed me to take on multiple basements. Looking back on the numbers they are just not where they need to be. For me, the best way to make a profit on basements has been to stay small and do as much of the work as possible. I am ok with this approach for now. I am still able to handle the physical demands of running a jack hammer or hanging drywall. I just don't know how much longer I want to keep up this pace.

I am curious to see if there are other general contractors that have shifted their focus from general remodeling projects to specifically dealing with plumbing.
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:30 AM   #2
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


You are in that transition period where you are bigger now but making less, you need to get a little bigger and you will get back to where you were before - financially.

I quit being the GC many years ago and became solely an ICF contractor, in my opinion I think it was a smart move, Financially, I find it better and less headaches.

But at the same time I do not regret it either, if the snow is flying I have the knowledge and tools to move inside and complete a project as a GC and when working on an ICF project my GC knowledge and skills makes me think of the other trades coming in and the process in which it is all done on the job.

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Old 04-29-2011, 08:12 AM   #3
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


To do plumbing full time is tough if you didn't serve an apprenticeship or have solid experience doing all phases of plumbing. Doing basement remodeling doesn't give you but only but 5% of What plumbing is. The masters test doesn't mean anything either, it just allows you certain privileges. It has nothing to do with being a plumber.

When you say "I am a plumber" that should mean you can do ALL phases of plumbing 100%. That means if you get a call for servicing a bradly fountain not only do you have the parts on your truck but you fully understand how to deal with it.

Residential plumbing doesn't really scratch the surface of plumbing knowledge to be honest. If you are to compete in the world of plumbing you also have to compete With plumbers that have served an apprenticeship and actually know what they are doing 100% of the time. And these folks are very good at what they do.

It may appear that there is all sorts of money I'm plumbing and you don't have to work as hard like you do remodeling but don't kid yourself, it's all hard work.

If you are good at what you do in remodeling and you are a good marketer you should be very successful. Moving into another trade can be beneficial but it should be one that you have more knowledge in. Plumbing is very competitive even for us that have years of real plumbing experience.

Mike
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:17 AM   #4
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


Thanks Mike. I completely understand where you are coming from. If I were to make the transition to plumbing contractor, I would be spending more time running the business and less time in the field. In order to make this work I would need to have some experienced people around me. I also feel that I could target residential projects which would be closer to my comfort zone. I understand that even if I am not in the field executing the trade, I need to have a thorough understanding of the materials and methods required to complete projects. It's not going to be a fast or easy transition.
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


That's a good way to look at it. If you decide to go this route I would be willing to share my systems and documents that would make this go a little easier for you.....like bidding systems etc. It would help take some of he growing pains away. I can also share my materials lists and inventory control methods for maximum efficiency in the field.

Keep in mind that if you go this route you should have a service truck to piggy back off the referrals from the remodeling projects, again, I could share my systems and truck data you need. An example would be something like toilet flappers. At any given time I have in my truck at all times flappers for 27 different toilets. That said, there is a frequency to which these calls per toilet type happen. A flapper for a kohler cimarron has a frequency rate different than a tank ball for an American Standard or a Kohler Palarre. Both need to be stocked but the Palarre is a rare bird compared to the cimarron. I have well over 100 flappers in my truck but the inventory itself is relevant to the frequency I mentioned.

That's just one example but to have this in place when you get more serious would be a large asset for you.

Let me know when you get to his point.

Mike
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:43 PM   #6
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


You may make more on the basment finishes than you think. Remember, when you're subbing out certain parts of the project they are paying the labor/insurance burden and taxes on the income as well. You're holding less money at the end but the expenses are less also. If you've doubled the amt of production then you must increase your profit. If not then it may be a comunication problen during a lineout or something left off the plan to be determined later.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:06 PM   #7
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


amazing how this site deletes your replies!

Anyway, deciding to be a plumber was one of the best decisions I made. It was hard work, but the benefits have been very rewarding. And yes, I still set water closets and install boilers!
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:27 PM   #8
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


I wanna be a cowboy.
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:43 PM   #9
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerToiletSpider
I wanna be a cowboy.
I should've been a cowboy. I can barely make it through my list. Oh, but I love this bar!
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:40 PM   #10
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


are you signed up for the Michael Stone seminar friday? If not.. why? You need to man, going to be raining.. at least you will get some good info and it is catered so you get your belly and brain full. Plus you get to meet some of the guys from the forum.

give me a call if you want. 980-3823

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Old 05-19-2011, 12:25 AM   #11
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike's Plumbing View Post
That's a good way to look at it. If you decide to go this route I would be willing to share my systems and documents that would make this go a little easier for you.....like bidding systems etc. It would help take some of he growing pains away. I can also share my materials lists and inventory control methods for maximum efficiency in the field.

Keep in mind that if you go this route you should have a service truck to piggy back off the referrals from the remodeling projects, again, I could share my systems and truck data you need. An example would be something like toilet flappers. At any given time I have in my truck at all times flappers for 27 different toilets. That said, there is a frequency to which these calls per toilet type happen. A flapper for a kohler cimarron has a frequency rate different than a tank ball for an American Standard or a Kohler Palarre. Both need to be stocked but the Palarre is a rare bird compared to the cimarron. I have well over 100 flappers in my truck but the inventory itself is relevant to the frequency I mentioned.

That's just one example but to have this in place when you get more serious would be a large asset for you.

Let me know when you get to his point.

Mike
Uh, Mike you gotta work on your math. You have a hundred and one flappers. You forgot the big one in the drivers seat.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:00 PM   #12
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Re: I Want To Be A Plumber.


Quote:
Anyway, deciding to be a plumber was one of the best decisions I made. It was hard work, but the benefits have been very rewarding. And yes, I still set water closets and install boilers!
Like he touched on. Starting up on your own, it's a long hard road ahead. If you can get past all the bumps and turns, however, it'll be one of the best decisions you ever made.

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