Although there is a good deal of plumbing firms that begin their life adhering to business model where the heads are not peregrine plumbing masters, we’d see more frequently a business that started out as a solo project. This journey goes something like this: a man makes a decision to commence with some business on his own, often after one successful job or a stream of service requests and referrals from neighbours and friends. He gets to his newly purchased truck, packs it with necessary equipment, tools and materials. Lastly, he puts out a signboard. Boom, he’s doing business!
Let’s imagine our protagonist is doing well with his one-man establishment. He adheres to fair business practices, studies all about his line of business, and does well in general. The problem is, he gets awfully busy and consequently increases his weekly working hours. Finally, he finds himself working every day. Time to expand?
The Hamletian dilemma of to grow or not to grow comes to mind of the most small-scale operators at some point. The catalyst in the form of numerous clients’ recommendations of a solid work can single-handedly make it a pressing issue. Other nudges towards the decision to enlarge the workforce body are:
- a massive project that surpasses his possibilities of a one-man plumbing team
- a client contract that requires service delivery in several places at the same time
- an unfortunate occurrence of injury that undoubtedly calls for hiring some assistance so that the job could survive until our hero recovers completely.
These are indubitably more than valid indications that justify the business growth. Except for the injury part, all the other reasons seem celebration-worthy, but the reality is somewhat different. The overwhelming stress at this level of client traffic is unbearable and dare I say, unhealthy for many solo workers out there.
The Quicksand of growing Workload
Why some of the sworn freelance plumbers frown upon the idea of expanding? The commonly received answer is the matter of all-around business control. This involves billing and collecting, scheduling, keeping track of the stock and most importantly, efficient monitoring of the quality of the performed work.
Relations with the customers are just as major part as the rest of it. The full control many workers in the plumbing companies covet is to be distributed to someone else now, of course it’s a big deal. The headaches related to letting someone new communicate with your loyal clientele are nothing to sneeze at. So, what topics worry an average solitary entrepreneur?
- New staff communication aptitude
- Special skills and competence
- Similarity to owner’s modus operandi (better, worse?)
- Reliability and readiness to follow in owner’s footsteps
- Customer appropriation and fraudulence
- Adequate company representation
The last one is a crucial point that could make or break your business, claim seasoned Sydney-based plumbers, so testing their technical and people skills is warmly advised.
Another more practical and basic aspect to think about is the bread and butter the job provides. The whole idea of business boils down to the dollars we earn. Let’s commence by mentioning how fresh hire would demand workman’s insurance, and it can be quite pricy for a novel company. Next ensues the series of taxes for unemployment, disability and various onerous tax troubles.
Other possible expenditures entail the investment in new trucks and their furnishing, along with the related insurance, fuel and maintenance. It takes long and serious forethought to make the move and plunge into the deep waters of expansion.
Why Fix it if it ain’t Broke?
The sooner you realise that avoiding change is holding you back, the bigger the chances you will grow successfully. There is, of course, another side of this story, and it tells about the businesses that are persistent in their refusal of expanding solution. They tend to their regular customers and let go of the extra work or recommend their affiliates. Who can guarantee what this means in long term?
The expansion of one-man plumbing business is a risky endeavour in a manner, but it may yield great benefits if you handle it well. You’d be best advised to analyse your routine for the tell-tale signs before making any decision.