A Business For A Retired Tradesman

This business I am about to tell you about can be started in just about any country and with very little money.  I started here in the UK  from my garage and inside four months I was getting a wage out of it, moved into an office and took on my first member of staff.  Just over one year later I took $100,000 out of it and moved into another new business.

The business type I’m going to tell you about is to do with property maintenance and let me tell you up front that I can’t even put a nail into a wall. All the big store companies in the UK have  —  in most instances  —  100's of stores situated throughout the UK and Ireland. If the lights go out or the roof leaks or indeed if anything goes wrong the manager of the store contacts his maintenance department at the head office and they allocate a firm to carry out the repair. This is still the system everywhere.

I started in my garage at home where I had a couple of desks. I had a telephone installed and I was ready for business.

First of all I gave my business a name    The National Maintenance Team   Then using a A4 size piece of paper I designed what we called a “Job Sheet”.  I’ll explain its usage later.

Now I started up my computer and went to find all the biggest chain-store companies in the UK    when I write the biggest I really mean the biggest,  like Clinton Cards 870 shops    Beaverbrook’s the Jewelers 547 stores     British Home Stores    You will realise they are easy to find. Then I started to telephone them.

I would ring up and ask to be put through to their maintenance department. I quickly that all of them would have their maintenance department working out of one store and that none of them did their own maintenance    they gave it all out to contractors. 

 I would ring the office where they operated from and ask to speak to the maintenance manager    no chance    I had a better chance of getting to speak to the queen of the UK.  But then knowing I was in the right department I would chat to the person who was on the phone and get his / her name.  Then I’d telephone again and again until we were like old buddies. on first name terms.

I quickly realised that although there was a maintenance manager my new found buddy with other members in the same office where responsible for giving out the jobs that needed doing so I explained to whom I had the opportunity to chat with that my company “The National Maintenance Team” took care of the maintenance of stores throughout the whole of the UK further more that we did everything. Electrical    joinery    plumbing    bricklaying    sewage    In fact there wasn’t a job that we couldn’t take on and that we had maintenance men covering the whole of the country. (Of course I didn't have one man – anywhere) 

I impressed my new friends so much that one day my phone rang.  I nearly jumped out of my skin and found it difficult to utter into the phone the magic words    “National Maintenance Team can I help you?” It was one of my new friends that I had chased just about every day “supposedly” wanting to speak to his manager and he had a job for me    

One of their stores couldn’t open up because they had no electricity to work the tills etc. I was to have this job, subject to my hourly rate being comparable to his, and if I could get an electrician to the store inside one hour. I asked what his hourly rate was which I agreed to and also agreed that for each job we should be paid a fixed standard fee just to call out to the job (travelling time) and that the hourly rate should commence upon arrival at the job. 

The deal was agreed and I told him I would have a man on the job in one hour and that I would get the manager of his store to sign a “JOB SHEET” as confirmation of satisfaction stating how long it took to carry out the repair and by how many men. Also if any special materials had to be produced and at what cost ( If big ladders were ever to be used then 2 men would have to do the job because of safety standards).

Now I would prepare a “job sheet”.  On it I explaining what had to be done and included the name of the store and the address. The job sheet would have to be handed to the store manager upon completion of work and he would sign it confirming the time “my” electrician arrived at the job and when he left and include in it any materials that had been used.  There were spaces on the job sheet for this information to be inserted and it had it’s own unique number that I would generate out of my computer.

Now for the tricky bit    I would go to my computer and go into the internet and whatever type of tradesman I wanted I would type it into Google together with the city where the job was.  In an instance I got the names and addresses and phone numbers of all the electricians in the appropriate city and started to telephone them to find one to do the job.

I told them I was telephoning from “The National Maintenance Team” (Making it sound big.) and that I had a job needing to be done in their city to one of our large stores that we look after. I explained that we deduced 20% from the cost of doing the job for passing the work on to them and then I would sweeten the tradesman by telling him that we would now probably get them plenty of work in the future.  Usually I had no problem arranging this and I told them that I would fax or email the job sheet with all the information needed also that when the job was done would they send the signed job sheet back to me duly signed with their invoice. I would then forward the signed job-sheets to the appropriate head office for payment. Once per month they would pay me and I would pay the tradesman less my 20% – sometimes more!


In the end I was looking after just about every large chain store in the United Kingdom from a busy office I had moved into in my town.

Good luck to you

Tommy Stuart

Skype – tommystu2471
Phone – 0161 4840383 (UK)