337 – How I Sold My Plumbing Business After Nearly 40 Years

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For someone to be able to build a business from scratch and sell it after nearly 40 years — that’s like a dream for business owners. The saleability of one’s business is dependent on many factors and one of those is the profitability of the business, although it shouldn’t stop at that.

Today’s guest, Lorenzo Poletto was the founder and previous owner of Chiswick Plumbing Pty Ltd. This conversation is one that I’ve been very keen to have because I wanted Lorenzo to shed some light
around the dynamics of building a business from scratch and selling it.

This podcast is for all trade business owners, whether you’re new to trades or have been in the industry for quite some time. You’ll surely take away lots of valuable insights so don’t miss it and tune in now!
Let’s get started!

What’s Discussed In This Episode:

0:00 Opportunity Analysis

1:54 Welcome to the podcast

6:19 Lorenzo shares the story of how he got into trades

14:14 Understanding the evolution of one’s role in a business

17:25 Why it’s not a good idea to name your business after yourself

19:10 What you should watch out for about location businesses

20:16 Advice on naming your business

22:33 How Lorenzo started flat rates and upfront pricing

26:26 Managing a team’s growth from 3 to 30 people

27:47 Flat rates changing the financial management side of Lorenzo’s business

29:50 Why you should think about upfront pricing

36:34 If you try to do everything at once, you’ll end up doing nothing

38:02 Is riches in the niches true?

42:04 Being a skilled tradesman does not automatically mean good businessman

43:23 Lorezo on training his people

45:33 The main point of training people in your business

49:03 Taking your team from 3 people to 30 — how does it look like?

53:05 Integrating new programs and systems into your business is a journey

54:25 About coaches and mentors

57:13 What makes a business attractive to potential acquirers?

1:00:18 How did Lorenzo’s service agreement look like?

1:04:36 Selling the business — broker or legal counsel?

1:06:36 What was Lorenzo actually selling and how hw packaged it

1:08:16 Looking at the figures

1:09:39 What type of business acquired Lorenzo’s company

1:12:40 What potential acquirers are looking for in a business

1:14:43 What was included in the sale

1:16:49 Words of wisdom on Lorenzo’s success habits

About the Guest:

Lorenzo Poletto founded Chiswick Plumbing in 1983 by himself starting off with working on the tools
and an apprentice. Over the next 15 years, his business grew to roughly 2-3 men, though he did not
have the ambition to grow and was satisfied with just a small staff number.

About that time, Lorenzo started thinking about Flat Rate pricing and started developing books from
scratch, which took about 5 years whilst he was running the plumbing business.  After developing the Flat Rate Books, Lorenzo tried selling them, unfortunately, no one believed that flat rate pricing would ever take off or sell in Australia.

He then decided to concentrate his efforts towards his plumbing business. From 2010, Lorenzo’s
plumbing business grew from 3 men, plus an apprentice to over 25 plumbers and apprentices plus 5
office staff to show the industry that flat rate was a workable tool. This was achieved solely in the
domestic service maintenance area.

The last 5-6 years, Lorenzo has been approached by various parties within the plumbing industry
asking if he was interested in selling his business. One of the parties that approached him, then came
back in the middle of last year, made an offer, negotiated, and he accepted.

Connect with Lorenzo Poletto:


Connect with me on LinkedIn. For more podcast episodes, you may also visit my website. Tune in and subscribe to The Site Shed: You can also listen to The Site Shed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and

Thank you for tuning in! 

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