Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in general services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Keith Bohall, owner of Hot Water Now!, located in Lakewood, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
When my daughter and I opened Hot Water Now! In 2007 we intended to become the premier tankless water heating company in the Denver metro area. We started by offering annual maintenance services and grew the business to include installations and repairs. Our commitment to technician education started before we opened our doors. While many plumbers say they can work on tankless systems, only a few have achieved the designation of being Rinnai ACE Pros, Navien Certified Service Specialists (we were the first NCSS in Colorado), Rheem Pro Partners, Noritz Pros, Bradford White Certified, and have hard to find training and parts for Eternal brand heaters. I spend my day managing the business and the technicians in the field, and Allysia manages the office, schedules work and supports our customers.
Tell us about yourself
I’m often asked how working as a chef in an Italian kitchen motivated me to become Denver’s tankless water heater expert. When you’re running a restaurant instant, endless hot water is essential. When my restaurant’s old boiler began to fail, I was asked to research and recommend a new hot water system. I was surprised to learn that only North America and Southern Asia still use primitive tank-type water heaters. Tanks are literally a pot of water kept hot over a flame 24/7. With a 7-11 years lifespan, they fill with sediment and are a major cause of water damage from leaks and floods.
The rest of the world operates on smart, super-efficient tankless systems which provide endless hot water, are expected to run 20-25 years, and are about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage. I had no idea that a failed boiler would fuel my interest in plumbing but, every time I install a new tankless water heater, I feel like I’ve brought another home or business lightyears into the future.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Of all the titles I’ve had, Dad is the one that means the most to me. Hot Water Now! Is a family business. We’ve grown the team, the fleet, the operations, and our service offerings by treating everyone like family. We make the work comfortable, we foster professional growth and expression, we’re open to improvements, and we focus on team building. Most importantly, we encourage an attitude of gratitude for the hard work everyone contributes and the customers we’ve had the opportunity to serve.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is remembering that most people just want clean and reliable hot water and a relaxing soak in a bubble bath. You might find it hard to believe, but not everyone finds water heaters to be as interesting as I do! I love them. I love learning about them. I love seeing how they perform in different applications. I love the new smart technology. I love the advancements in fittings and piping materials. And I love the thank you notes from our customers and seeing the pile of old tanks going to recycling. Sometimes it’s hard to dial back my enthusiasm.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Keep meticulous records.
- Invest in training and professional development.
- Keep a tidy workspace and put your tools back where they belong.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If your Dad were a hot water systems specialist, he’d tell you to:
- Take a picture of your major appliance rating plates to keep on your phone. You’ll have all the information you need in an emergency.
- Know how old your water heater is; the answer is in the serial number. If it’s more than ten years old, you’re operating on borrowed time, have a plan for a replacement.
- Call right away if you notice a change in the color or smell of your water, if you hear popping noises from the tank, if your pipes are banging, if you see a leak or corrosion, or if the pilot light won’t stay lit.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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