New Business Owner

March 20, 2003

Have you joined PHCC yet?

By: John Zink


Industry research shows that the p-h-c industry is cyclical in most areas and that many new contracting businesses can trace their beginnings back to a slow down in business. When the inevitable downturn in business arrives, many companies tighten their belts by cutting labor. Businesses feel the crunch and nobody in town wants to hire anyone.

After being frustrated in his job search, the unemployed technician begins to think about how much his last employer was charging per hour. He “knows” he can charge less than that and still be making money hand over fist. So that technician with a pick-up, tools and excellent skills decides that it’s about time to start working for himself. Some paperwork is filed and a new contracting business has been born.

But now what? What happens during the next 12 months is critical to the long-term success of the business.

Unfortunately, the failure rate of these new businesses is staggeringly high. Often the root of the problem lies with our technician, now the business owner. He has the skills to install materials quickly and do the job right the first time. His customers love him. He thinks he’s making money hand over fist.

But then he gets that phone call that stumps him and has the potential for make or break the new business.

The first time a situation comes up that the new owner does not know how to handle, who does he or she have to turn to?

And what about all the other elements of running a successful company?

  • Does he know how to build a budget or calculate his break-even?

  • Does he know how to market his business effectively?

  • Does he have skills in maintaining cash flow?

  • Does he know what to look for when he starts hiring other people?

  • Does he have the skills to manage those employees?

  • Does he know how to make sure there is money for the payroll every two weeks?

  • Does he know how to fill in and file the business paperwork?

  • Does he know where to get the best insurance for the price or even what coverage to ask for?


The simple fact is that most business owners know only what they have learned the hard way. The ones who were very smart or very lucky were able to go it alone, grow their business and make it profitable over the long term.

Others had the benefit of taking an easier path. They looked for ways to get in contact and build relationships with other successful contractors. They looked for opportunities to network with suppliers and manufacturers reps. They looked for ways to learn about how to manage their business. They found their local, state and national PHCC association.

After joining, they knew that if they ran into something they couldn’t handle alone, they could call that person they met at the last meeting for advice. They heard about and attended seminars offered by their local, state or national chapter that taught them the importance of managing the office side of the business. They contributed money that helped a politician listen to the concerns of the small businessman. They participated on a committee that produced a new product that helped contractors across the country.

Time and again at PHCC we hear business owners say “I wish I had known all this years ago.” As a new business owner, do you choose to wait & see if you can go it alone, or do you choose to belong to an organization now that gives you every opportunity to be successful?

This information is brought to you by the
PHCC Educational Foundation .


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