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The two met again when then attended an Energy Conference at Fort Lewis College. After the conference, they went out for a beer and talked about becoming business partners. Their skills were complementary, since Joe does plumbing and electrical and Eric does carpentry and building.
Rent A Man Handyman served the community for about a year before they attended the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs class. Eric explains, “Even though we’d been in business for a while, the course was a good refresher.” Joe agrees, “You can reassure yourself that you’re going in the right direction.”
They mainly took the LEADING EDGE class to “come out with a business plan.” It also made them talk about some hard decisions they’d been avoiding.
Joe really appreciated the legal and accounting advice they got from LEADING EDGE“You’d spend four times that amount going to independent businesses in town to learn the same things.”
An SBDC instructor also helped them hone in on their finances by breaking them down and showing them, “exactly where the money was going.” The SBDC instructor pointed out areas they should keep an eye on.
Learning how to price their services accurately was extremely valuable. They learned to calculate their overhead and include things like vehicle maintenance, tool replacement and travel time in between jobs. Their pricing also needed to include adding a mark-up to labor and materials to cover overhead plus make a profit.
True to Rent A Man form, they admitted to being the class clowns and as Eric explains, "You can’t take business too seriously or you’ll never come out alive.”Eric also appreciated the good connections they made in the class and liked interacting with other passionate business owners.
Both partners would highly recommend the class to new business owners and those just thinking about starting a business. Joe feels that it’s a great place to get the basics of owning a business. “When you run the numbers, you’ll know if you want to continue or not.”
They agree that Jasper Welch and Terryl Peterson did a fabulous job teaching the classes. “The class is a great support system for entrepreneurs,” explained Eric. “It’s hard to learn about running a business on your own. Meeting with people in person in a class is much more useful than just reading a book. The one-on-one interaction with the professors is very valuable.”
Again, both men agree, “The services the SBDC provides are invaluable. It’s a great resource in the community. We really appreciate everything they’ve done for us.”