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Thread: Business Advice

  1. #1
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    Business Advice

    Last year, my business partner and I took over a turn key commercial kitchen equipment repair business. He's a CEFESA guy, I'm a NATE guy and we are both well versed in all the disciplines, but running a company is all new to me. Whole different ball game! Looking for pointers on billing, pricing, parts mark ups, hiring, employee moral, all that good stuff! I could use some pearls of wisdom from those of you running your own companies. Thanks.


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  2. #2
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    Well we could talk for a week on this subject.

    I started my own business almost 10 years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. You'll be able to charge people a more reasonable price than your large competitors and that will always give you an edge. Even if the economy tanks again you'll be able to keep food on the table Here's some general advice.

    1) Always pay your taxes. A big mistake other guys make is they don't save to pay their federal taxes. Sometimes they lie on a return by over representing their work miles driven, or other things to lower their tax rate. Trust me the IRS WILL always find out, but they won't tell you for 3 years. That way it will rack up a few years in fines and fees. Always be honest and pay your taxes on time.
    2) Always make sure your client's are consistently happy. If your reliable, charge a fair price, than you shouldn't need to waste tons of money on advertising. In fact I don't spend a penny on advertising. All my work is word of mouth and free internet place listings.
    3) DON"T WASTE YOUR MONEY on search engine optimization companies. An overwhelming majority of these companies are a fraud and they just take your money and disappear. Just do good work, which leads to good online reviews and as long as your close to the client doing the search you should come up on a local search.
    4) You must be willing to stand up for yourself if a client is unreasonable. I've dealt with my share of clients who don't want to pay and you must be willing to stand up and collect what you are owed. Make sure to have a strong contract with and Attorneys fees provision and an interest rate provision. That way if you have to flex your muscles you have get a judgement for a lot more than the original invoice.
    5) Don't ever borrow money to run your business. Use your own money and if you don't have any than it's time to start practicing saving.

    That's what I can offer for now.

  3. Likes joemach, ga-hvac-tech liked this post
  4. #3
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    Roncool might be the one to consult on this. he's been through it all, a few times.

  5. Likes hydra liked this post
  6. #4
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    Make friends, not customers with good friendly service at a reasonable price.

    Stay in touch with your "friends" on a regular basis.

    Have fun!
    Can someone please explain to me -
    Why is there never enough time to do it right the first time, but plenty of time to do it twice?


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  7. Likes ga-hvac-tech liked this post
  8. #5
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by James Colver View Post
    Well we could talk for a week on this subject.

    I started my own business almost 10 years ago and it was the best decision I ever made. You'll be able to charge people a more reasonable price than your large competitors and that will always give you an edge. Even if the economy tanks again you'll be able to keep food on the table Here's some general advice.

    1) Always pay your taxes. A big mistake other guys make is they don't save to pay their federal taxes. Sometimes they lie on a return by over representing their work miles driven, or other things to lower their tax rate. Trust me the IRS WILL always find out, but they won't tell you for 3 years. That way it will rack up a few years in fines and fees. Always be honest and pay your taxes on time.
    2) Always make sure your client's are consistently happy. If your reliable, charge a fair price, than you shouldn't need to waste tons of money on advertising. In fact I don't spend a penny on advertising. All my work is word of mouth and free internet place listings.
    3) DON"T WASTE YOUR MONEY on search engine optimization companies. An overwhelming majority of these companies are a fraud and they just take your money and disappear. Just do good work, which leads to good online reviews and as long as your close to the client doing the search you should come up on a local search.
    4) You must be willing to stand up for yourself if a client is unreasonable. I've dealt with my share of clients who don't want to pay and you must be willing to stand up and collect what you are owed. Make sure to have a strong contract with and Attorneys fees provision and an interest rate provision. That way if you have to flex your muscles you have get a judgement for a lot more than the original invoice.
    5) Don't ever borrow money to run your business. Use your own money and if you don't have any than it's time to start practicing saving.

    That's what I can offer for now.
    Excellent tips! So far, I’m following all of them with the exception of the contracts. Do you use a standard contract for all of your commercial accounts? I’d be curious to know more about that. Is it verbiage that is included on your work orders or invoices?


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  9. #6
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by joemach View Post
    Make friends, not customers with good friendly service at a reasonable price.

    Stay in touch with your "friends" on a regular basis.

    Have fun!
    Great advice! We make a point to be on a first name basis with all the chefs, Maintenence and kitchen managers.


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  10. #7
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    Build long-term relationships with your customers. Pay attention to quality, not quantity.

  11. #8
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    Have done commercial kitchen equipment for the past 40+ years. Yes, I'm a shop owner.

    First rule. Fix it right or walk away

    Second rule. Drop your bottom 10% of slow paying customers each year.

    Third rule. Don't go crazy with the money, it goes really fast.

    Last rule... Be honest with your taxes and hire a good CPA or Bookkeeper to handle the business so you can do what you love and not turn into your office manager.


    Best of luck in all things!

  12. Likes ECtofix, hydra, ga-hvac-tech liked this post
  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad View Post
    Have done commercial kitchen equipment for the past 40+ years. Yes, I'm a shop owner.

    First rule. Fix it right or walk away

    Second rule. Drop your bottom 10% of slow paying customers each year.

    Third rule. Don't go crazy with the money, it goes really fast.

    Last rule... Be honest with your taxes and hire a good CPA or Bookkeeper to handle the business so you can do what you love and not turn into your office manager.


    Best of luck in all things!
    I really like your first rule. How do you handle your second rule?

  14. #10
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  16. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dad View Post
    Never band-aid a job when you know in your heart it won't last. Your cheap arse customer will bad mouth you.
    Gotchya. But how exactly do you drop a customer? I have a few that I’d like to never deal with again. Do you refer them to someone else? Do you tell them the truth? Do you just tell them your too busy and won’t be able to schedule them for a month?


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  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanMan812 View Post
    Gotchya. But how exactly do you drop a customer? I have a few that I’d like to never deal with again. Do you refer them to someone else? Do you tell them the truth? Do you just tell them your too busy and won’t be able to schedule them for a month?


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    Yes sir.... I just tell them I'm booked up and they may want to move to another servicer. I do not take please for a reply.

    If you don't pay your bills or argue with my professional opinion then I need to move forward.

  19. Likes VanMan812, hydra liked this post
  20. #13
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Dad View Post
    Never band-aid a job when you know in your heart it won't last. Your cheap arse customer will bad mouth you.
    No good deed goes unpunished!


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