My first day of retirement from the Air Force was April Fools’ Day 2004. I spent five long years after that trying to figure out what I was going to do “when I grew up.” Well, I haven’t grown up yet, but I have figured out what I’m going to do.
I absolutely love this business. I love getting out and doing something different every day, meeting someone new, enjoying the fresh air, and having an opportunity to be creative and solve a problem…every single day. For all the effort it takes to keep Amerivet Services rolling, it gives back so much it’s unbelievable. I’m very grateful to have finally found a way to keep food on the table with a smile on my face.
So what’s the plan? Where is Amerivet Services going from here? Honestly, I don’t have a complete plan, but I have some ideas. Typically I’ve been afraid that if I hire more help then I’d be relegated to an office somewhere to “manage” them. I’m a good manager and I like creating teams. But (never use “but” at the beginning of a sentence) if you talk to people who’ve worked “for” me in the past, they’ll all tell you that I like working “with” them. I once had a union pipefitter tell me to quit touching “their” materials because I was “management.” Ha ha, teams work together, not in compartments of unshared responsibility. Job security comes in the course of getting one job done and moving to the next. So, the key part of “the plan” is for me to continue working in the field, doing what I do now, even as the scope of Amerivet Services grows to support a team.
OK, so that’s important, but what direction is Amerivet Services going? What services are going to change as time goes on? Really I don’t plan on reducing any of the current services. I’d rather expand them. I’m reluctant to put six trucks on the road because it will create so many headaches (with DOT, OSHA, UIA, Workmen’s Comp, and on and on) that I’ll end up stuck in the office. So I’m thinking along the lines of maybe keeping the work I do now for myself, and having a few skilled people to team up on bigger projects. As the our equipment base grows, there’s no reason we couldn’t be doing heavier fabrication, or more volume. Maybe we could be the backup team for local manufacturers, doing some of their repairs, maintenance, and reconfigurations. We will likely expand a little further into construction, and excercise the relationships I’ve built with prefab building manufacturers a little more. We’ll also have more and more tools to work on heavy equipment, trucks, and hydraulic systems as time goes on. Though the focus is welding and fabrication, Amerivet Services is really a full service company, capable of working with pretty much any electromechanical system, and we need to capitalize on that.
The important part is, we’re not going to stop doing anything. Nothing we do now will change. If anything it’ll get better and better. This year started off a little rocky (because the weather didn’t know how to act), but we’ve managed to turn things back around in a hurry.
I heard the other day that a new competitor was calling us a “big company,” like Amerivet Services is some ominous force. I kind of laughed about it because we’re just beginning to finally see the books balance. I started this business at the bottom of a recession with my last $350. The first month I made my $350 back. The following month was a little better, and somehow we survived the first winter. I laugh about guys with little MIG welders working out of their minivans, but really my start wasn’t a whole lot better. I put over 200,000 miles on the flatbed trailer that I used to haul my welder and tools on (I should have kept that first welder and put it on a pedestal). It took four years to put together a fully equipped truck with a backup game in the shop, thanks to support of great customers and suppliers alike. Amerivet Services brings a lot of capability to the table, but we’re not a big company. THAT’S the way I’d like to keep it.