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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Looking for advice on business

    Good afternoon,

    I am new here, My name is Zach. I and my partner run a commercial restaurant equipment and repair business. We are at a point now that we have grown and are kind of stuck.

    I think our main problem is finding good help. No one knows how to work on this equipment, yet everyone expects top rates on pay, so we find it hard to train people. The problem is we need people to get out there and start to work so we can expand the business. Any tips on finding good help? We are not adverse to training people, but the people we've trained so far won't stick to it. They get frustrated with all the different types of equipment etc..

    Another thing, I see these websites for government bids, are those worth looking into? How do you get new customers? Most of ours are by word of mouth.

    Also looking for tips on what I could do to expand. We can work on any equipment, have EPA certs as well as my partner graduated with a degree in HVAC, but we are not licensed to work on HVAC units, other than refrigeration.

    Located in South GA.

    Thank you guys, I look forward to learning from your experience.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    335
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    > No one knows how to work on this equipment

    There are thousands of knowlegable factory-trained techs working on commercial kitchen equipment every single day. A small percentage might be enticed into moving to south GA, but you will probably need to pay more than the "top rates" you might be willing to pay.

    Where in south GA are you trying to pull in future trainees? Are we talking Valdosta type city or Folkston?

    > The problem is we need people to get out there and start to work so we can expand the business.

    Make certain you want or need to expand your buisiness. In your area, there are several powerful companies that are well entrenched and more than likely can offer a better work environment for a knowledgable service tech, and can afford to buy them a shiny new van, stocked with parts, and a service manager to help them a phone call away.

    Most people want to do their work for 8 hours relatively stress free, and have the support of a larger company. If you present yourself as a scrappy crazy hard working 14 hours per day get the job done whatever, couple of guys with dreams of killing your market, you will scare away better qualified tech applicants.

    I've worked in both. The small 1-man shop I worked at, had his mother die, sadly, and all. For 3 days I was on my own, answering the phones and running jobs for 16 hours, plus on-call. We were a busy shop. Never again. I had been there a little over a year.

    > We are not adverse to training people

    Can you send techs to factory training? Does your training involve merely following you rush to get out of the kitchen before the lunch rush comes?

    > They get frustrated with all the different types of equipment etc..

    Then clearly, they were never meant to do what we do. I've always said, the first job you take a future tech to is 11:45 at a McDonalds left fryer at the fry station. If they make it to 12:15 without running away screaming, then you start training them.

    > I see these websites for government bids

    Never in a thousand years. Don't think of Walmart either. Don't care how much they promise.

    Ehh, I've rambled enough for now...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks so much for the reply. We work in and around Valdosta GA, about a 100 mile radius. We have some for very good clients we picked up because these 'entrenched' companies have trouble finding good help. We get a lot of calls to go and fix equipment that another company couldn't fix or kept messing up, not to mention all of the equipment that is literally rigged up after they work on it.

    We are a pretty much work and get the job done working 6-7 days a week sometimes. You don't have a choice if they call that a freezer is down on Sunday, you have to go. This is why we want to expand and hire more people, because we don't won't to run our workers crazy, we want to alternate weekend call etc. But the hard part is actually getting to that point, we lost our best worker as he goes through chemo, but he should be re-joining us soon.

    May I ask what was the best way you found to get new clients? We have high recommendations from our current clients, they love us. We have had clients stop using it and come back pretty quick after dealing with other people that take 2 weeks to show up. I definitely want to get this built up and be an excellent place to work for.

    Thanks again, very much appreciated sir!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bay Area California
    Posts
    24,506
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    When you figure out the secret to finding good help, please let me know !!
    If you were a real tech, you'd solder a relay on that board and call it good to go.

    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

    I use 56% silver on everything except steel.

    Did you really need the " If you were a real tech " ??

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    > May I ask what was the best way you found to get new clients?

    Just to be frank, I've always been a humble employee for several places over the years. I retired a little over a year ago after almost 30 years of restaurant service tech-ing.

    The place I last worked at is a warentee agent, for service and installing new equipment. Worked there for like 15 years. You'd know their name. You can go to their website and see they need to hire dozens of techs, and pointedly in Valdosta, Jesup, Savannah, Brunswick, etc.

    They get the call to install, say, a new set of Rational combis, at $35k each. This customer has money! After the install, we were instructed to see what other equipment was there so that we could offer a deal on it's service.

    They do a *lot* of installs. And they get to go back during the warentee period (Rational=3 years) to work on something, getting their company name in front of them, stickers on the units, etc. And most of their senior techs are personable and the office staff are good folks and will do just about anything to get return business. And back up the techs.

    Getting clients is never hard if you show up in a clean uniform, have a friendly attitude, have a tablet or computer to get factory info right away, and fix the equipment with parts you can get quick.

    > get the job done working 6-7 days a week sometimes.
    > freezer is down on Sunday, you have to go.

    I understand, really I do. You (young? Single?) folks working like that deserve every penny and success you get. Have you worked at a foodservice company before you started on your own?

    I'm curious, more than anything- what do you consider a good rate? What healthcare benefits, what deductable, profit sharing, paid time off, etc?

    Searching the Googleplex, I can find nothing about ProdigyCPS. In this age, you *need* to be online, with happy smiling faces.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Thread Starter
    I am currently working on building a website with social media to get that online presence. I am more a silent partner at the moment, do some calls but mostly have to work another job until we can get better established. So I am currently working at the hospital as an RN, I train physicians on our electronic health record system as well as build and maintain it. 3 kids and married, same for my partner.

    We aren't currently able to offer the benefits we want to. I know that sucks, but I mean we can't afford it. If we could find someone that was trainable and had some common sense I wouldn't mind paying them 18-22 $'s an hour. That is good from around here, as most people won't make that with degrees. But that means they would have to be able to get out there and start generating income. after a 2 month period. If we have to train someone from scratch the I would pay them 12-14 an hour.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProdigyCPS View Post
    So I am currently working at the hospital as an RN, I train physicians on our electronic health record system as well as build and maintain it. 3 kids and married, same for my partner.
    Thanks again!
    Dear gawd. And your current job is just too boring for you? No benefits? Three kids not a busy environment enough, too?

    > find someone that was trainable and had some common sense

    Ok, now you're just being unreasonable.

    What devil of bad judgement possesed you to get into foodservice repair? Let me guess- the other partner in crime said "It's easy money."

    At the large company I retired from, techs were around $30 an hour, I made it to $34ish. Could have pressed for more if I was going to stay. On-call was like once every 3 months when we had a full roster of techs. Health plan sucked but other bennies were good. Lots of sick days I never used. 3 weeks vacation.

    In any event, I do wish you good luck and success. It will be a very uphill battle these days, the borg is strong and relentless. I suggest staying small though. Seems to me to be the winning play.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Thread Starter
    haha.

    Not bored, but I like a good challenge, and I think this industry is hard work, but much room to grow and leave my mark. As far as my Nursing career it is hard to advance and make money, you will be capped out and unable to progress unless I went to get my Masters. But hopefully we can get this where we have some weekends off and family time. But one thing about this industry is that when people call they want it fixed NOW!

    We are also looking at getting our HVAC license, but that in it's self poses it's own challenges, the experience they require is insane. Once we get that though we would like to do start HVAC work and advertise as we can take care of all of your equipment from your AC to your microwaves!

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