Yesterday I interviewed a plumber…

Let’s call him Fred. As I began to ask Fred about his employment background, I learned that he recently closed shop on his own dude-in-a-white-truck plumbing company. Allow me to share his version of what goes on behind the dashboard of that white truck we all see everyday.

He described how he spent 13 years with a new construction outfit and when the work dried up, he went out on his own. He no longer wanted to work for “the man.” He wanted to “control his own schedule — be home when HE wanted to be home. He knew there was “a *&$%load of money to be made.” I was intrigued.

But according to Fred, running your own business is much harder than it looks, and not nearly as cash rich as he once believed. He told me about vendors that wanted him dead, employees that are impossible to find and keep happy, and phones that just don’t seem to ring without spending ridiculous sums on advertising. I listened patiently.

He admitted that he sees my advertising everywhere and used to think  — “What a waste of money.” He heard about what I charge just to get a plumber to a customer’s house ($49) and didn’t think anyone would ever pay that. He has different opinions about those things now.

So I asked the obvious question. So why are you here?

“Well, I ultimately had to choose between my family and my business.”

Today’s takeaway:

You can lower your price to compete with the white vans in your marketplace. Just be prepared to ask your family to pay the difference.

Cheers to holding true to what we believe, staying the course, and changing the industry.