Your Own Store Maintenance Organization

Your Own Store Maintenance Business

This business I will tell you about can be started in just about any country and with no capital whatsoever.  I started it in the UK  from my garage attached to my house and inside two months I was getting a wage out of it, then I moved into an office and started employing office staff.  Just over one year later I did a deal with a builder chap and left him with the business. I took $140,000 out of it and moved into another new business and he went on to turn over $1M the next year.

The business type I’m going to tell you about is to do with business 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 in any store, the lights go out, or the drains are blocked, or the roof leaks or indeed if anything goes wrong the manager of that store contacts his maintenance department, usually at the head office, and they allocate a firm to carry out the repair. The repair job usually is mega urgent because in many instances the store with the problem cannot trade until the repairs are carried out and and so they are losing money; this is still the system today … everywhere.

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

First of all I gave my business a name    “The National Maintenance Team”  —  A great big sounding name. Then using a A4 size piece of paper bearing my company name and address and telephone details etc. I designed what we called a “Job Sheet”.  I'll tell you all about that later.

Now I started up my  trusty 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 realize they are easy to find on the Internet. Then I started to telephone them.

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

 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 or the president of The USA.  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, even if they were not giving me any work I would chat like we were old buddies. now on first name terms and they became familiar with my phones calls 

I quickly realized that although there was a maintenance manager, my new found buddies, with other members in the same office, were responsible for giving out the jobs that needed doing . So I explained to whomsoever 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 and Ireland, 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 managed to 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 “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 the job would be mine.

Of course I can I said not caring where the job was … I was now in business!

Now came the tricky bit – I had to find an electrician in that town where the store with the electrical problems was, who would do the job … and call out to it within the hour.

I fired up my trusty computer went in and asked Google for the names and addresses of every electrician in the town where i hade just been given the job and started to phone round them all.

Again I exaggerated the size of my company. I explained that my company “The National Maintenance Team” currently carried out maintenance work for MANY large stores throughout the UK and Ireland and that we didn't have an electrician in his town. Would he like to work with us and if so any future work I got near him would be passed to him.

We agreed that the first hour would be much higher than each hour thereafter because of time and fuel used in travelling to the job and we agreed the hourly rate thereafter. I told him that my company would be responsible for paying him and that we would need to deduct from his price of the total job 20% to cover our expenses  — he agree.

When a deal was agreed with the electrician I then telephone the store and told them I had a man of his way to the job and that he would be there inside one hour. Also that I would get the manager of the store to sign a “JOB SHEET” as confirmation of satisfaction on which it stated 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 – one holding the ladders).

Now I would prepare the “job sheet” which would have to be faxed to the electrician who had agreed to carry out the work. On it I explained the problem and what had to be done had to be done and the agreed conditions and hourly rate, also it included the name of the store, the telephone number 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 each job sheet had it’s own unique number that I would generate out of my computer.

The tradesman ( electrician) would forward to me the signed job sheet with his invoice for payment. I would forward on the signed job sheet to the store for my payment and when I was paid I would pay the tradesman – less 20%.

JOB DONE!

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.

It can be done again.

Good luck to you

Tommy Stuart

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tommy@tommystuart.com
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Phone – 0161 4840383 (UK)

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