MONDAY MAN: Plumber glad he took the plunge
SOME OF THE WORLD’s most successful people have at one time or another experienced failure on the road to their eventual prosperity.
This fact, though well known, didn’t stop people from doubting Richard Weir when he made plans to start his own plumbing business.
“Don’t even think about it”, “You know something ’bout running a business?”, and “I can’t wait for it to fail ’cause you gine look foolish” were but a few of the comments made to his face and behind his back.
But what else was Weir supposed to do? The father of a teenager had recently become unemployed and, of course, the money stopped coming, but not the bills.
During an interview with the DAILY NATION on a job, the 40-year-old said he decided to start his own business not so much because he couldn’t find employment with another company, but he just made up his mind that he had enough experience and knowledge to go on his own.
Prior to losing his job, Weir had worked with the same company as a plumber for almost half his life. He started when he was just 19 years old.
He didn’t do well academically in school but in his early teens, he knew he had a knack for working with his hands. So straight out of the now defunct Wakefield High School, Weir enrolled at Skills Training.
He would have preferred to learn plumbing, his first love, but he was persuaded to do masonry instead.
“I learned the plumbing from every since going ’bout with a man threading galvanised pipes, cutting track, and I watched and learned and learned measurements, how to install things myself, everything from there. So when I went to Skills Training and did a little masonry, my heart wasn’t really into that and that was when I got the job doing plumbing,” he said.
In 2014, Weir sat in his Licorish Village, My Lords Hill, St Michael home and debated with himself whether establishing Richard Weir Plumbing Services was the right move.
“I was frightened to go on my own because of all the talk I was hearing. I know the detractors would try to down-spirit you, but you always have to go forward and do what you doing. Always believe in yourself because nobody ain’t better than nobody. Everybody had to learn to walk, to drive, to do work. That is how I push through and motivated myself from there,” Weir said.
“Then I decided to just take the chance. In life you always got to take a chance and from there things start happening.”
Initially, business wasn’t rolling in as fast or as consistently as he would have liked, but Weir was still optimistic.
It all began with one odd job that mushroomed into several others, and word of mouth became his best advertisement.
“All these people [were] calling me for jobs and I went and show the people I wasn’t making any sport, ’cause some people would call people and they would take two or three days to come. I don’t do that; I turn up straight away and all them things does catch people.
“Plus, people can guarantee they will get a high standard of work from me – no doubt. Nobody ain’t perfect still butI don’t leave leaks, nothing. I give them a really good service and I make sure to do a really good job,” he said.
Weir acknowledged that self-employment is a venture that could be fraught with difficulty, but he believes that retreating from the idea and waiting for a call, which might or might not have come from an employer, would have been a more uncertain way to live.
“It was risky at first but eventually you have to take a chance and just make sure you got a little finance because some people might tell you to buy the material and they will pay you back. I would tell anybody who wants to go on their own [that] it ain’t hard but you’ve just got to have the belly and the heart.
“Some days will be so tough, they will bring you to your knees and make you cry like a child. What help me through, though, was dealing with my customers good,” he added.
Weir’s advice to young people was to pursue vocational training and, most importantly, have respect for people.
“I’m telling you that [respect] is what I keeping. People will still try to push your buttons, but you got to keep out of their way and respect carries you a long way. Being self-employed to me is all about learning to deal with people; you can’t go wrong with respect. If a man call you for a job, don’t delay, don’t say you coming tomorrow and don’t come.
“What I would like to tell the youngsters is go and learn a trade, but it seems that everybody want to wait on people for a job, but you can’t wait on people. Find something you good at and do yuh thing.
“Everybody ain’t bright. Me, I couldn’t handle the books to the fullest, but you see that technical work and my hands, I large. For sure, [there are] youngsters like that, you can get through in life. The good Lord bless everybody with something, so just find out what that is and do your thing,” he said. (SDB Media)