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Thread: Ranting

  1. #1
    Field Supervisor 500+ Posts tcypy1961's Avatar
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    Ranting

    I've been in this business since 1984. While I don't mind it much, I did make a bad decision in 2006. Instead of leaving the company (that had been going down since 1996) when the owner was ready to retire I took it over. Yes I can work on the copiers and yes I can manage a company. Yet I took this venture on with no money and while I do ok that's about it. Along with the decision of keeping my wife out of the business(we differ on how to treat customers) I also dropped my medical insurance due to cost and it bit me big in 2016(open heart surgery). Needless to say instead of having to go from pay check to pay check I'm going from deposit to deposit. I grossed a little over 65K last year made a little over 30k in profit but have paid no taxes or SSI as of yet. If anyone has a suggestion how to unload this albatross from my neck and be able to make money to pay off the debt I'm in which is either around what I made last year or a little more I'd really appreciate it. I'd be willing to work a second job yet pickings are slim to allow me to maintain this business as well.
    Thanks!!!
    Tom the Copier Guy, LLC

  2. #2
    RTFM!! 2,500+ Posts allan's Avatar
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    Re: Ranting

    Mixed base or mostly the same brand, amount of machines, OEM dealership? Been working for companies that just float above the water for years.
    Once the morale is gone its difficult for attitudes to recover.

    What do you mean by differences in customer treatment?
    Whatever

  3. #3
    Field Supervisor 500+ Posts tcypy1961's Avatar
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    Re: Ranting

    [QUOTE=allan;746813]Mixed base or mostly the same brand, amount of machines, OEM dealership? Been working for companies that just float above the water for years.
    Once the morale is gone its difficult for attitudes to recover.

    What do you mean by differences in customer treatment?


    Started with Mita in 1984 & all brands similar. Started with Ricoh around 1999. I mainly work Ricoh & it's equivalent yet still have a few Kyoceras that I service. Will look at anything I'm called on.
    I feel that my wife thinks I'm to easy ( not being demanding for payments yet only if it's people she doesn't know) with my customers and I don't charge enough. The latter is true; I'm somewhat fearful of raising prices and losing what few customers I have. I have no employees yet my morale has definitely plummeted. I'm thankful I don't let it show to my customers.
    Thanks for responding!!!

  4. #4
    RTFM!! 2,500+ Posts allan's Avatar
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    Re: Ranting

    Hey hang in there.

    I was offered to take over a small base not long ago, but after investigation found it too risky and tedious.
    Running a business like this on your own can make you go mad. Ask the guy i contract for.

    How do you take leave from it for a holiday?

    One thing to extend grace to some customers its another if you get screwed by it.
    That is a matter of the heart and the heart is not really good with the green stuff.

    If not this what else would you do?
    Whatever

  5. #5
    Senior Tech 100+ Posts
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    Re: Ranting

    i have my own business as well. It is tougher to make money now then in days past. You may have to go door to door. Not fun but if you hand out 10 flyers you may get one person interested in your service. What kind of website do you have? If someone googles copier repair, are you on the first page? Do you do printer repair? Hp's are pretty good. I also sell printer cartridges as well (remained). I do some light networking as well. If you are an authorized dealer you could sell it to a bigger dealership. The big companies are gobbling up the small ones. Good luck.

  6. #6
    General Troublemaker 250+ Posts ddude's Avatar
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    Re: Ranting

    I have been approached with many opportunities in this line of work to head out on my own, start my own business, take over a company, and each time I decided to stay put in a low paying job in order to safely pay my bills and raise a family without many worries about our next paycheck. I did not take a chance. I live a nice life, but I often wonder what might have been.


    I envy you for your decision.


    I applaud your bravery.

    You have made a decision to take over this business, you must have seen the value within the company. Many good companies can become fruitful without a lot of capital, the goal is to increase profit- If you look at most business models in our industry today, the concentration is on growth, with a disregard to profit. For a small business, profit should be a priority. Look closely at your P and L for the last year, identify your biggest profit producer, and study the reason why. You should be able to reproduce more customers like your most profitable one, if you identify the reason that this one customer is working so well for you.
    Just as important, identify your biggest profit drain, and fire that customer, or adjust the contract to make yourself the winner. Do not lose money just to keep a customer. Some customers need to be fired. Before you fire the customer, decide if you can re-adjust the customer into a profitable situation- sometimes a "free" upgrade to a more reliable machine (that had cost you next to nothing) can become a profit center. Be creative. Be assertive. Make good decisions. With every new contract or sale, think about your future, decide on making sure that the deal is fair to both parties. If you are a one-man show, you have the power to make drastic changes to your sales and service tactics, you are in charge of your future.

    DO NOT be afraid to charge for your services.-customers are used to paying for services, this is a normal business transaction. Charge often and whenever justified. It is far easier to remove a charge after the fact than it is to add a charge when it should have been appropriate.

    One place you may look for higher profits would be a niche opportunity- something that you can offer that your competitors are not able to-This may be evening and weekend servicing, or out of the way machine placements, or short term rentals to hotel conferences, or coin-op placement in out of the way territories. See if you can find a need, and then you can become the solution to the need.

    Be active in the community. Listen to your customers. Listen to your customers. (yes, I repeated that.)

    You own the business. You own your future. You make the difference. You direct your destiny. You know what to do.
    2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

  7. #7
    Service Manager 1,000+ Posts
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    Re: Ranting

    Being a Chuck-in-a-Truck repairing machines, selling a few is great for a bachelor or guy whose spouse has stable income/insurance. But if you want to grow and be rich owning a business you definitely need a hungry sales guy to partner with. Sales drives everything.

  8. #8
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    Re: Ranting

    Read the last previous answer. Then read it again. If you canít find a hungry young sales partner, then you probably donít have a sustainable business.

  9. #9
    Service Manager 10,000+ Posts
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    Re: Ranting

    yes sales will get it going...

    now depends on the TACTICS your sales rep uses: Promise the world until you get the check

    or Be straight up with the customer. They have to understand.. you BOTH are in business .. you both want to grow...make money.. BUT Customer TRUST/LOYALTY will sustain you when others falter.

    along with HONEST Sales, you will need a service staff with the same trust and loyalty in YOU as your customers have in you.

    Your customer must fit along with your biz.. I would never have an untrustworthy customer.

    I have, since 12yrs owned/co-owned 6 different businesses.. everything from landscape/lawn care - network wiring/management - computer/PCF repair-consulting. And when working in the "corporate world" Manager-InventoryControlManager-ShippingRecMgr.

    And in EVERY job... if sales and service are shady/immoral in their dealings with the customers.. YOU WILL FAIL!

    just my 2

  10. #10
    Service Manager 1,000+ Posts
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    Re: Ranting

    Senior IT tech in large firm

    Printer ***** has been printing grey colours as pink.

    There are sufficient quantities of each toner.
    If this was even slightly low on toner this customer has in the past "replaced toner but did not help".

    Not very good troubleshooting skills for someone in IT

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