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Are your kids in the business?

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DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
Love to hear your thoughts on this. Did you kids come into the business? If so, why? If not, why not? Have at it.
Retired and loving it.

Comments

  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,658
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    My kids had no interest in the business. One is a banker and the other a special ed teacher. They wanted something more "substantial" and to not work so hard.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,476
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    It took Max a few tries to find the best fit
    He worked with me in the hands on part of the industry, then at the Caleffi factory, worked at a wholesaler for a bit, then a Hydronics rep, Pex manufacturer, now back at Caleffi as a trainer and industry engagement.
    There is a wide range of opportunities in our industry beyond the wrench pulling path that many of us took👍🏻
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    kcoppRobert O'Brien
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    I quickly moved to the sales/education side as well. My dad always told me that I needed to work with my brain instead of my back, unfortunately my back might be a bit stronger than my brain! :D
    PC7060Larry Weingarten
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    When Stacey and Ally were 9 and 7, I had to take them on a no-heat call because their mom and Stevie were out of town. That was enough for them. 
    Steve Minnich
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,167
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    In High School, my son worked with me in order to learn that this hands-on thing is not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Incentive to go to college. When in HS you are motivated by things other than what you will do the rest of your life. ie: Cars, Girls, Music, and where will I be tonight after work This was a great incentive for him as a helper. You see, at the end of a completed job, the system was operating and the tools were still all over the lawn, basement, attic.. so there was an additional hour and a half of cleanup before he could go home and get ready for the summer's adolescent evening.

    It did not take him long to figure this out. Within the first month, when I finished the project, I would start to do the tool cleanup at the end of the day and found that everything was already put away in the truck. He did this while I was still focused on the combustion test or dialing in the refrigerant charge and taking ∆T measurements and the like. This was a very pleasant surprise and I got used to it. I hated to see him go away to college. I lost a great helper.

    Fast forward 8 years. College Graduate, Degree in Computer Science Interactive Multimedia, Working for a publishing firm on the web team, and I get a call from him. “Dad, I really don't like what I’m doing and don't see a future in this for me. Computer science is changing too fast and this job is a dead end with no room for advancement.” I promptly replied that he always has a place in the family business with me.

    Two weeks notice and I had my helper from eight years ago back at my side. I think those were some of the best times I had with my son. And my son agrees. He became great at oil burner service and still has customers that request him for their annual oil burner tune up. I call them tune ups, because when he is finished with adjusting the burner, the following year, they do not need vacuum cleaning. He is good at it. I remember him telling me that he cleaned up my tools years ago so he could get home earlier.

    The best story was when I tried to get him to make sure the refrigeration piping was completed as early in the day as possible so the vacuum pump could be connected sooner than later. You don't need to fasten that line right away. Once the line is on the vacuum pump you can go back with fasteners and hangers. His reply was “Yea dad, I know… Whenever I saw that vacuum pump come out, (as a high school age helper) I knew it was going to be a late work day.” That is before he knew the value of a clean, dry refrigerant system and what that vacuum pump actually did. I enjoyed teaching him the trade and I believe he enjoyed learning it from dear old dad.


    Unfortunately, the Plumber that purchased my business when I retired, did not have the same sense of customer service that was drilled into me as a young service mechanic in my fathers family business. I gave my son that same work ethic. As a result of the different philosophy of the new owner, my son lost all interest in the HVAC trade and is now a welder for a small business that makes awnings and temporary structures.

    That oil burner knowledge is a great source of secondary income on the weekends. Some of my former customers don’t want anyone else touching their equipment.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    GGrossTinmanLong Beach Ed
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,476
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    In High School, my son worked with me in order to learn that this hands-on thing is not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Incentive to go to college. When in HS you are motivated by things other than what you will do the rest of your life. ie: Cars, Girls, Music, and where will I be tonight after work This was a great incentive for him as a helper. You see, at the end of a completed job, the system was operating and the tools were still all over the lawn, basement, attic.. so there was an additional hour and a half of cleanup before he could go home and get ready for the summer's adolescent evening.

    It did not take him long to figure this out. Within the first month, when I finished the project, I would start to do the tool cleanup at the end of the day and found that everything was already put away in the truck. He did this while I was still focused on the combustion test or dialing in the refrigerant charge and taking ∆T measurements and the like. This was a very pleasant surprise and I got used to it. I hated to see him go away to college. I lost a great helper.

    Fast forward 8 years. College Graduate, Degree in Computer Science Interactive Multimedia, Working for a publishing firm on the web team, and I get a call from him. “Dad, I really don't like what I’m doing and don't see a future in this for me. Computer science is changing too fast and this job is a dead end with no room for advancement.” I promptly replied that he always has a place in the family business with me.

    Two weeks notice and I had my helper from eight years ago back at my side. I think those were some of the best times I had with my son. And my son agrees. He became great at oil burner service and still has customers that request him for their annual oil burner tune up. I call them tune ups, because when he is finished with adjusting the burner, the following year, they do not need vacuum cleaning. He is good at it. I remember him telling me that he cleaned up my tools years ago so he could get home earlier.

    The best story was when I tried to get him to make sure the refrigeration piping was completed as early in the day as possible so the vacuum pump could be connected sooner than later. You don't need to fasten that line right away. Once the line is on the vacuum pump you can go back with fasteners and hangers. His reply was “Yea dad, I know… Whenever I saw that vacuum pump come out, (as a high school age helper) I knew it was going to be a late work day.” That is before he knew the value of a clean, dry refrigerant system and what that vacuum pump actually did. I enjoyed teaching him the trade and I believe he enjoyed learning it from dear old dad.


    Unfortunately, the Plumber that purchased my business when I retired, did not have the same sense of customer service that was drilled into me as a young service mechanic in my fathers family business. I gave my son that same work ethic. As a result of the different philosophy of the new owner, my son lost all interest in the HVAC trade and is now a welder for a small business that makes awnings and temporary structures.

    That oil burner knowledge is a great source of secondary income on the weekends. Some of my former customers don’t want anyone else touching their equipment.

    He seemed to still be his dads biggest fan🔥🥰
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    EdTheHeaterManLong Beach Ed
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    My son was always interested in the electrical components of boilers that I brought home. Relays, zone controls, pumps …….He spent a few years working summers for me and then got his electrical engineering degree and has worked for a local electric car company for the last 12 years. I’m so glad that he’s not in the trades. It’s a hard life. 
    My daughter teaches high school in Oakland. How hard do you think that is?  
    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
    GGrosskcoppTinman
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,649
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    Neither of my children followed me, really (I was a Profesional Engineer -- Civil/Agricultural by training -- though my academic and research work was in climate modelling and I've done some other weird things along the way). My son discovered in second grade that he was very talented as a ballet dancer -- a really tough business -- and spent the next 25 years doing that quite successfully (and picked up a charming and equally talented wife along the way). Then got an engineering degree and now runs a company making thermal insulating panels for packaging, of all things. My daughter went pretty much straight academics, and wound up with a doctorate in Medieval History -- then decided what she really wanted to do was come back to the family farm and manage and maintain it. My role in all this was to support in any way I could -- and stay out of the way!

    @Alan (California Radiant) Forbes -- I admire your daughter. That's right up there with Special Forces...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    GGrossAlan (California Radiant) ForbesLong Beach Ed
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,008
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    Kids? What kids?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    EdTheHeaterManrealliveplumberJohnNYdelta T
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    My older brother taught Special Ed in Oakland for 30 years. It wasn’t easy. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,167
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    My older brother taught Special Ed in Oakland for 30 years. It wasn’t easy. 

    Lots of folks call me Special Ed, I don't remember meeting your brother in Oaklend

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    My brother is also Ed. 😂
    Retired and loving it.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,346
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    When Erin came into the business I spent much more time listening than I did talking. She had the necessary skills for the times and she guided this site to where it is now.  The smartest thing I’ve ever done was to treat her with great respect from the first day and really listen. 

    Thanks, Dad. I think the respect and listening has to be mutual for a family business to successfully pass to the next generation. I never took for granted and remain extremely grateful for how hard you and mom worked to build this business and our family.

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

    Mad Dog_2TinmanLarry Weingarten
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Amen. Thanks, Erin. 
    Retired and loving it.
    Mad Dog_2
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    I'm the kid in the business. I have no kids, so it ends with me.
    Hoping to retire soon if anyone wants to buy an oil business...make your own hours (at least 12 a day in winter), pick your own days (all of them between October & April, hoping for T'day, Xmas Eve & Xmas Day off).
    Work for yourself, mostly by yourself, with a part time helper, easy low to mid 6 figure income.
    Who wants it?
    LOL

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Mad Dog_2EdTheHeaterMan
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,167
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    Star Group. I think they purchased Meenan Oil.
    Obviously you do burner service. Are you a one man one truck fuel company?


    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Matt. Thanks.  
    Retired and loving it.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    Star Group. I think they purchased Meenan Oil.
    Obviously you do burner service. Are you a one man one truck fuel company?


    1.25 man, 3 fuel trucks, one service van, one old stake body/lift gate.
    Maybe the bigs are looking to spend some of their huge profits this year.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,105
    edited February 2023
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    It used to be that our children would take over. Now, hardly any.

    (I recently saw a truck that listed "Radiant Heating" on their paint job along with plumbing, sewers and on demand water heaters. I called them up and told them that my neighbor was having trouble with their boiler and could they come out and service it. They said sure, but tell him that most manufacturers don't sell parts anymore. What does that tell you? Seems like fewer want to figure out how to repair a boiler. They want to replace it because they didn't start young enough to have invested the time it takes to figure out how to solve a problem. And they've learned that replacing a boiler has more profit than repairing it.)

    I put the last part in parenthesis because I'm not sure what it has to do with handing down your business to your kids, but it seemed connected in my mind.

    How many of you are doing what your dad did? (Not me. My parents imported greeting cards.)
    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
    GGrossMad Dog_2
  • Tom in Maine
    Tom in Maine Member Posts: 23
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    My company made heat storage systems and heat exchangers for solar and wood. They are panelized and we shipped all through US and Canada.
    Our two middle children work with me. We all figured out our niche and continued to develop the product.

    I never really marketed the products other than online and it was a business that did not thrive. We are waffling about what to do with the tank business at this point.

    That is because the three of us started servicing and selling hybrid cars. Primarily Priuses. Fortunately, I have had and made a bunch of electric cars. And when tank stuff was slow, I would flip cars to help with cash flow. A friend suggested getting licensed to sell cars. I really did not like the red tape involved until he took me to a car auction. Hundreds of cars with keys in them that you could try out.
    That was fun and at that time we started, mechanics were scared of hybrids.
    So we became a car dealer and licensed inspection station. And we make money(!)

    My wife, with her sage wisdom, once said, "sell things people want!" It seems people want cars. (they want tanks too, just not as consistently.)

    We are doing both for now. We have new niches. We usually all get along. They have their requisite "Old man
    losing his mind jokes."

    It is great to spend time with them every day and we get to play with cars. And trucks sometimes.

    I do miss playing with fire.
    Tom Gocze
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesMad Dog_2
  • hvacman1028
    hvacman1028 Member Posts: 4
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    Both my boys are in the business and worked for me. I used to take them on jobs since they were young. My older son is a commercial journeyman in NJ making a great living. He is transitioning into bldg controls and loves it. The younger one works with me but doesnt want to continue on. My daughters both married engineers which you know that's a challenge! My wife troubleshoots with her friends how to fix their units over the phone. All in all not too shabby!
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesMad Dog_2
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,554
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    All of my kids were involved at one point or another. My oldest Jon works with me and I would be lost without him. The next one Ryan didnt like the physical work or the hours but ended up in sales and works for Honeywell. My daughter used to do my books but she had kids and works full time for a university. My son Conor worked with me during the summers in college. He is now a police officer
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,333
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    Second generation waiting on an heir. I have 4 children and only the 2 year old shows interest in following me into the trade. We will see if in 14 years she is still interested.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    TinmanAlan (California Radiant) ForbesMad Dog_2EdTheHeaterMan
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,331
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    I found energy business interesting but I did not stay in it let alone my children. I know that we don't discuss finances but there was a bit of feast & famine.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    Life takes strange turns.  At 13, I was following in my Father Bart's footsteps 👣. 
    ..working with Thoroughbred Race Horses like countless Generations of Sweeney Men from County Tipperary did going back many hundreds of years for a kind but wealthy Quaker Fambly named Grubb.  I knew at 16 I could be a Pony Boy leading the Racehorses out in to the track.  From there, I wanted the coolest 😎 job on the Racetrack - to me; Outrider! Dressed like a Master Foxhunter in Red Blazer with Black Lapels, Knee-length Black Riding boots, and White breeches (pants), the 3 Outriders would position themselves strategically around the track.   Their only Job:
    Chase down loose Racehorses that had thrown their riders during the race.  Most had superfast-Bulging muscled Quarter Horses which could catch a Thoroughbred within a Quarter of a mile .  After that, the Thoroughbred will smoke him.  Very exciting and very dangerous job. If you've ever seen it happen...its awesome. The Outriders other job was Grabbing hold if the winning horse 🐎 and leading him back to the winners circle.  Jim Daley was probably 65 yrs old when I used to hang around him in the Paddocks at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga .  He was a.living legend with a 50 year career to brag about.  He had the coolest horse...a Big, pure Jet Black Gelding named Midnight. I used to ride him back to the barn after the races every night. What a thrill.  We were living the dream...and we knew it...Papa died tragically at 43 of a Heart Attack while driving to Aqueduct.   
    All plans & dreams were askew.  I stayed on the track till age 19 but it was not the same without him and the 7 days 12 hrs a day fir low pay wasn't cutting it.  Along came plumbing and heating.  Mad Dog. 
    Long Beach Ed
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    I never give up - ever! So, I will always keep my eye out for plumbers and heating guys and gals to recruit.  I just wish kids could stick through it and see how great it is...the dirt and grime are a badge of honor 🎖 and soap and a hot 🔥 shower make ya all fresh and clean again..One of my idols is Teddy Roosevelt who wrote about AND lived "The strenuous Life!"  Work hard...play hard.  Life Flys by...Grab it by the 👂 Ears and go..     
    Mad Dog 🐕 
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,167
    edited February 2023
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    jumper said:

    I found energy business interesting but I did not stay in it let alone my children. I know that we don't discuss finances but there was a bit of feast & famine.

    Service contracts... maintenance agreements... what ever you want to call them... that is how you level the playing field. The feast part is still nice, but the famine part is mitigated by those monthly automatic payments. You don't need to be a big company to offer them. At the end, just before I sold the business, It was just me and my son doing over 500 service agreements... and we got over 93% of the tune-ups completed every year. 7% of the customers just were never home for the tune up. Some of them didn't care, they just wanted someone on call for emergencies.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,511
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    What Dan, no boys, only 4 girls? You are a lucky man. Girls love their dad. Girls, an endless source of wonderment.
    Long Beach Ed
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Yes. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,331
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    jumper said:

    I found energy business interesting but I did not stay in it let alone my children. I know that we don't discuss finances but there was a bit of feast & famine.

    Service contracts... maintenance agreements... what ever you want to call them... that is how you level the playing field. The feast part is still nice, but the famine part is mitigated by those monthly automatic payments. You don't need to be a big company to offer them. At the end, just before I sold the business, It was just me and my son doing over 500 service agreements... and we got over 93% of the tune-ups completed every year. 7% of the customers just were never home for the tune up. Some of them didn't care, they just wanted someone on call for emergencies.
    Agreed but feast or famine also applies to time. Some years one can be too busy without payments. Then you're brother-in-law will tell you that you're too nice for this business.

    EdTheHeaterMan
  • lager
    lager Member Posts: 56
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    I never give up - ever! So, I will always keep my eye out for plumbers and heating guys and gals to recruit. I just wish kids could stick through it and see how great it is...the dirt and grime are a badge of honor 🎖 and soap and a hot 🔥 shower make ya all fresh and clean again..One of my idols is Teddy Roosevelt who wrote about AND lived "The strenuous Life!" Work hard...play hard. Life Flys by...Grab it by the 👂 Ears and go..
    Mad Dog 🐕

    Mad Dog have read "River of Doubt" about Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey book by Candice Millard

    Very good book, I highly recommend it! Jim Walls
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
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    My 5 girls never showed any interest but they did run a few service calls with me mostly baby sitter related. Once I took Colleen and Emily with me to a vacant house for a no heat, what could go wrong. Well some where they found a hammer in the empty house and did a number on the slate harth of the fire place. They only charged me a few hundred to repair it. 
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    I can tell you one thing: Everytime I brought one of my 3 kids on an estimate (Usually Matt Jr.) I GOT 100% of the Quotes. .it melted people's hearts  to see a father/son thang goin on.  Mad Dog
    CLambrick in Alaska
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,331
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    Mad Dog_2 said:

    I can tell you one thing: Everytime I brought one of my 3 kids on an estimate (Usually Matt Jr.) I GOT 100% of the Quotes. .it melted people's hearts  to see a father/son thang goin on.  Mad Dog

    Speaking of quote I knew a guy whose business model was to quote super high. If he got the job then he'd bill less than quoted. Good PR. Maybe he didn't get so much business but he earned $$$ when he did. And he didn't work so hard as we nice people.

    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    Although, I'd say I tried to get about 20 kids involved in the trade, I think.only one stuck.it.out.  Mark worked in the 🍕 Pizza place delivering for several yrs after HS...he was languishing and wasting time in school.  It took about a year and a half, but I finally recruited him (for the trade  not me). I'd tell him..."You LOOK like a Plumber...you walk like a plumber...you're gonna be a plumber." I wore him.dpwn and it works  hes very happy at same Brooklyn shop for 8 yrs  mad dog