New Heading #2

So, where was I? Oh, our new business…

At this point I should point out that I’ve had quite a bit of experience working in construction, but mostly in framing and almost none in exterior stuff; it was the distinction between the two different construction applications that most interested Harm & I.

The reason for this is because it seemed that there was a glut of framers and general contractors working in our region, and that following that path (which would have been a LOT easier) would have meant working for somebody else in most cases. Not that this would have been a “bad” thing, but it didn’t offer the range of future possibilities that we were looking for. Similar to the attitude that we had when racing, always trying to improve ourselves and constantly matching our abilities against the best in the business, we wanted to create something a bit more lasting, something that had the possibility of creating a lot more cash flow than we could make working for someone else’s company.

Which brings us back to rain gutters and why I was willing to work so hard for so little.

As was pointed out by our contractor friend, Helena seemed to have a shortage in people willing to service/repair/clean existing gutter systems, so that is where we chose to start. Mostly our business consisted of phone calls coming in from a very tiny advertisement in the Dex yellow pages, some for new work, mostly for cleaning out gunk/debris (such as pigeon excrement) and fixing leaking miters. Not glamorous to say the least, but unlike a successful career racing sled dogs there was nothing “speculative” about the getting paid part–you provided a service that was both difficult and dangerous (and trust me, cleaning gutters from 2-3 stories on an old craftsman mansion is plenty dangerous) and you got paid for it.

After a summer spent chipping away at this kind of work, we were convinced that there was a serious need for our services, and that gutter work tied in nicely with roofing & siding, two other disciplines that we were determined to tie into our burgeoning business. How useful to a homeowner would it be to work with only one company that specialized in modernizing all of the external portions of their home, as opposed to working with 3-5 different companies? Relatively speaking, there were not as many people working in this field, and given the nature of contracting, plenty of of the people who were working were great at being “craftsmen” but not necessarily so great at customer service and phone work. Given the fact that in small/medium scale contracting all of the initial contact with the potential customer comes over the phone, this is an exceedingly important skill to have, and one that is more uncommon than most people think.

So, at the end of the summer we had amassed a bit of money and a lot of experience, and more importantly cemented the  idea of our company All in One Exteriors, a business that would provide seamless gutters/windows & siding/roofing of all different types to the micro city of Helena and the surrounding areas.

The next step was surviving the winter and getting the ball rolling come spring of 2012 when the construction season opened up again.

See you all next week with part 3 (and yes, there will be some dog mushing in it!).




2 Responses to “New Heading #2”

  1. Looking forward to part three!! So good to have you back 🙂

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