Owner Name:Paul Rein
Email or Website:www.slatsandpleats.com
Number of Employees:2 plus myself(for now)
In November of 2008 my employer told me they couldn't afford to keep me on board full time after 17 years with the company as a window treatment installer. Mind you, I was the only employee they had. The downturn in the economy hit them hard. They had to cut me down to 2 days a week. Obviously I couldn't survive on that so I decided to finally make a go at it on my own. I continued to work the 2 days a week for them and went about starting my own business. It was difficult to do but I bought my own tools and ordered some free business cards online. I did a few jobs for some friends of friends which got the ball rolling. Right around this time my girlfriend lost her job. It really worked out because I couldn't hire someone to take phone calls for the business. We scraped together what we could and had a few lawn signs made up to advertise. We posted some free ads on Craig's List and stategically placed the lawn signs where I thought they would do well. We used to go out late at night to do this when there were less cars on the road to see what we were doing, it was embarrasing. We started getting calls from our lawn signs and some word of mouth referrals. Whenever I had any money left over after paying bills I invested it into the business. Some additional tools, ladders, more lawn signs. Business was really picking up. I was working my regular job and then going out on calls after that in the evening in addition to working all other days of the week. In the summer of 2009 I worked 70 days straight without a day off and each of those days was long. In the beginning I had to borrow my girlfriend's father's wagon to fit merchandise and my growing tool and supply collections. Then I sold my 2 seater car and picked up a small wagon of my own to use for the business. A few months later I was able to buy a used cargo van. By the end of 2009 I was so busy with work I had to tell my employer I couldn't give him the 2 days a week any more but gave him 4 months notice so I could train someone if he wanted. For the next year or so I worked 7 days a week, only taking off holidays or special occasions, like August 14th 2010 when I asked my girlfriend to marry me. I continued to reinvest what we made into the business, spending very little on non-essentials. I was looking at the big picture and knew I needed to do more to support a family eventually. 2011 was even better for business and I was able to put my fiance' on payroll. WOW was that a rude awakening, all the extra I had to pay in employer taxes to give her what was already our money essentially. A few months later I was able to afford health insurance for us both, after all we were getting married and planned to have children as soon as possible. Here we are in 2012 and I am happy to say we are happily married just over a year and we have a beautiful 4 month old daughter. We also were able to put my mom, who lost her job and was collecting unemployment, on payroll and give her health benefits this year. Our business is doing very well and I continue to re-invest in it to make it even better. I'm working 6 days a week only because I don't want to work 7 since I have a family now that I love to spend time with. I average 70-80 hours a week, many days I leave before my daughter is up and return after she is in bed. To keep expenses down, I eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch 4-5 days a week. I drive a van with over 215,000 miles on it. That van had 70k miles on it when I bought it in October 2009. Figure that monthly expense out at today's gas prices. We have 1 car, other than my work van. We are saving and hoping to be able to buy a house by spring of 2013 and have a 2nd child by the end of the year(2013). It's been a lot of hard work and sacrifice but it's the most rewarding thing I've done in my life and I will continue to work my ass off so I can provide a better life for my family. Anyone who thinks I didn't build this simply doesn't have a clue what it takes to build a business.