Every other year, we query our Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) members via an Internet poll to gauge our membership’s wishes, wants and needs. During the last survey, our members told us that for the most part, they understood the pipe, valve fitting and heat source side of the equation, but they didn’t have a good handle on the business end of doing business.

They didn’t know important things like their “break-even costs” or what really defined their “overhead” expenses, and how they should divide these costs up between the different divisions (new, repair and replacement) of their company.

Having actually driven a company to the threshold of bankruptcy myself, I too have the ability to say, “Been there, done that and still have the scars on my credit report to prove it.” Being good at your craft is an excellent trait. Knowing how much you need to charge your customers to recover the direct costs of doing business is extremely important; otherwise it is a long, drawn-out effort in futility.

You may have noticed that the RPA has partnered up with an organization that is respected throughout the industry that teaches all of these business principles and more. The group we chose to associate with is Grandy & Associates. We send our members copies of their monthly newsletter and have arranged for our members to be able to view podcasts assembled by Grandy & Associates.

One of the first articles I wrote for this magazine mentioned Tom Grandy. He has written for many different trade magazines over the years and has helped a lot of our fellow tradesmen and women make their efforts worth the while of running a business.

Tom and his group of dedicated people will walk you through the process of accounting for your direct costs and determining your overhead, indirect and direct costs associated with determining your break-even cost. They will also show you the best ways to recover those costs, add a reasonable profit margin to the totals, and maintain your business in a profitable, sustainable way.

I have spoken with graduates of Tom’s courses who are also members of the RPA, and they all said they were shocked at how little they really understood about the business of doing business. They all said they benefited from his course and it helped their businesses become profitable. Imagine that – enjoying your trade and being profitable at the same time. That sounds like the real American dream, instead of what is actually happening out there all too often – working 60 to 80 hours per week and struggling to make payroll and taxes, material bills, and on and on. Been there, done that and have the scars to prove it!

In response to this issue, we are offering an opportunity for our members, regardless of the position they hold within their company, to attend a class that will address these nagging problems. The RPA, in conjunction with Grandy & Associates, will offer “Planning for Profit” during a two-day presentation at the RPA’s training facility in Mokena, Illinois, March 1-2. The staff of Grandy and Associates will walk you through the time-tested principles and basics of doing business. 

The person who does the books for the company is encouraged to attend, and the fee actually covers each company for up to three  people, so the owner, bookkeeper, service manager or construction manager may attend and come up with a solid plan for making and keeping the company profitable now and into the future.

Besides eliminating a lot of stress out from your personal and business life, this class will give you the opportunity to spend quality learning time with some of your industry peers, who deal with a lot of the same issues your company does on a regular basis. Nothing trumps the opportunity to discuss issues with similar companies. That was one of the founding elements of the original RPA. Some people call it socializing. Some call it networking. We like to call it what it really is, which is camaraderie. You will come away from this opportunity with new friends for life, and renewed inspiration to do what’s right.

Tom is so convinced this is the learning opportunity of a lifetime that he is willing to give you a taste of what is covered. He is putting on a free demonstration Feb. 4. Register here. 

Wholesalers: Consider helping one of your better contractor customers who may be great mechanics, but are always stretching their accounts to its limits, and watch them start taking their cash discount. I will also be in attendance, sharing my experiences and knowledge with the group.

Please join us by registering here for this do-not-miss opportunity. Class size will be limited, so If you are even thinking about getting involved, do it sooner rather than later.

See you in Mokena!

Mark Eatherton material on this website is protected by Copyright 2016. Any reuse of this material (print or electronic) must first have the expressed written permission of Mark Eatherton and CONTRACTOR Magazine. Please contact via email at: mark.eatherton@radiantprofessionalsalliance.org.