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Retirement

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What's going to happen to your business when you retire? A few of you lucky ones have children that you've taught well that will take over when you hang up the tools for the last time. And others (Steve Minnich, Paul Pollets, et al) have handed the reigns to their able employees. Others have sold their businesses and still others have simply closed their doors.

As far as handing it down, my son loved helping me when he was young, so much so that he became an electrical engineer and my daughter is an english teacher. I've still got a few years left, but I've been keeping track of my customers and will one day hope to sell that database to someone that wants to start a hydronic company or to expand an existing one.

I'm sure Ellen Rohr has written articles about this. Probably Dan and others as well. But I'd like to hear some real world stories.
8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab

Comments

  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    @Alan(CaliforniaRadiant)Forbes -
    My story is one that would make all business advisers shake their head, but I'm ok with that. I walk my own path.

    I simply gave my best customers a heads up that I'd be closing up shop, and then I did. I didn't sell it (customer list). I sold my tangible assets but that's all. My name and reputation were attached to my business and I wasn't going to put either in someone else's hands.

    It puts a smile on my face when I think of all the projects we did where its very clear that we were always striving to be the best.

    My daughters have all graduated from a number of schools of higher learning and are doing very well in their chosen careers. My wife fits that description as well.

    I still have a ton of brand new replacement parts in unopened, mint condition boxes that nobody is interested in. I'm selling them for 25-30% less than what I paid. I don't get it? Looked into eBay and Craigslist. Both are saturated with the same parts.

    Steve Minnich
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,548
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    Erin was interested in what I did from when she was a little girl. She always showed a talent for writing and graphic design, and she's great with people. She worked with us as a consultant for 10 years before we retired and was the brains behind what you're looking at right now. She's just a natural at this.

    We offered to sell the business to her when it was time, but not before talking to her three sisters about making that offer, and asking if they wanted to be a part of it. They, too, had their own paths and were happy for Erin and very supportive. It was a smooth transition and I was smart enough to get the heck out of her way once it was hers.
    Retired and loving it.
    Erin Holohan Haskellethicalpaul
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    @Steve Minnich That's a clean way to leave. Just say goodbye. Didn't a lot of your customers want to know who to call when they have a problem? I've already got a lot of customers telling me never to retire.
    @DanHolohan I should have had more children.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    rick in Alaska
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,548
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    Me too!
    Retired and loving it.
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesErin Holohan Haskell
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,266
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    Great article in PHC News, Steve. Heartfelt and well written
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Tinman
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    @hot_rod Thank you, Bob!
    Steve Minnich
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes - First, I covered every warranty period regarding all service and installations. After that, I gave referrals to those in state that wanted them. I also gave away thousands and thousands of dollars worth of OEM boiler parts that I would no longer have use for.
    Steve Minnich
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes - First, I covered every warranty period regarding all service and installations. After that, I gave referrals to those in state that wanted them. I also gave away thousands and thousands of dollars worth of OEM boiler parts that I would no longer have use for.

    That kind of hurts, but I guess it's a clean break. My truck and shop are loaded with parts for boilers that are popular here; Triangle Tube, Munchkins, Polaris, Viessmann. When I quit, it would be tempting to sell them all, but finding buyers would be tough as you've discovered. And all the diagnostic equipment.....
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    Sorry to hijack my own thread, but Hot Rod's comment about Steve's article got me curious.

    https://www.phcppros.com/articles/9114-ill-take-the-blame

    Yes, well written and on parallel with my experience as an owner. I don't think I'd ever do it again if I had another chance, especially in this day and age.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    delta TGroundUpTinman
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    I have zero regrets. Some of the customers were mad at me but it wasn't their body that was breaking down. I could run into any of them in a store and not have to duck and cover.

    I kept the majority of my tools and my garage could pass as a hardware store. I like that. 😎
    Steve Minnich
    ethicalpaul
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,926
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    Great thread, and awesome story Steve. Very well spoken. As a young-ish guy (30) still getting my feet wet in self-employed residential after 12 years in the Pipefitters union as a commercial foreman, I look forward to seeing what everyone has to say. I haven't leapt off the union train nor do I have plans to anytime soon, as my side business takes the backseat to my bene-full career, it'll be great to see what others have to say about their experiences!
    Tinman
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
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    Read Jim Olsztynski's book "Bumps on the Road to Riches" if considering owning an HVAC company. It's not easy to do and requires a lot more than mechanical expertise. Wish I knew then what I know now.
    TinmanGroundUp
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,548
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    Amen to Jim’s book. It’s a must.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,326
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  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,807
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    I wouldn't know what to do, so I keep on going . If I don't enjoy it I don't do it .

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    @Big Ed_4 It's kind of like a hobby for me except people pay me to do it.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,457
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    I am looking a retirement in a year or two and will be doing the same thing Steve Minnich did. Just close up. I will be moving back to the states and most likely will still be working part time due to the lack of actual financial planning, and other life diversions, so will be taking most of my tools with me. Like Steve said, I only have my name to sell, and that is not really something that has a cash value. I do have a lot of customers who are starting to panic about me leaving, which makes me feel sad and humble at the same time, but it is time for me to get back to my family.
    Rick
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,338
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    Rick, with your skills, it seems you would have a hard time working only part time if you worked for someone else. They would want you full time! Still, I'm sure that with some getting the word out, you'll soon have as much work as you want. I vote for your teaching the trades as well, particularly troubleshooting! B)

    Yours, Larry
    Erin Holohan Haskellrick in Alaska
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
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    I am thinking more and more about what will happen to Gas Appliance Service Training and Consulting and the Gas Training Institute when I finally retire. Hey I am 79 years old it is bound to happen sooner or later. I have offered my business to several very qualified individuals and no one seems interested. My kids and grand kids all have their careers pretty much locked in. Part of my problem when I finally walk away is what do I do with all the equipment and materials in the training center. I would hate to throw that all away. Again no one seems interested in any of it. Hey I guess I will just have to go at it until I just drop dead. As it is I am busy as ever and lots of classes coming up with good attendance. I did just give away about $8,000 worth of brand new controls still in there boxes. One company took all of those.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,338
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    Tim, Is there a "train the trainer" opportunity here? You have all the equipment and know how to set up a gas training module for the General Society, or Unions, or gas company, or??? It could be a write off if $$ don't happen and your information would never be lost.
    Alternately, there might be ways to make a video based on-line training program, so you get to train folks while asleep, and still make some income. I'm presently working with a "Steve Harrison" to do this very thing for what I know about hot water. We'll see how it goes. :#

    Yours, Larry
    rick in Alaska