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TIM GALLAGHER

SACRAMENTO CALIFORNIA

FROM NAVY DIVER TO SUCCESSFUL CONTRACTING ENTREPRENEUR.

After High-School, I worked on a cattle ranch, then off to Wyoming to work in the oil fields.  When that ended, I came home and wasn’t sure what to do with my life.  My dad suggested that I join the Navy, so I did, and made the Navy Deep-Sea Dive Program.  Six years later, I worked as a diver boat hull cleaner until I realized one day that I wasn’t going to own a boat just by scrubbing hulls of them.

Q: How did you get started in the HVAC business?

I grew up working in my family’s restaurant and remember the ice machine that kept breaking down. It took the repair company three visits just to fix it, and we paid them each time they came out. I started thinking, “I should just fix them myself.”  This led me to enroll in HVAC technical training. 

 

Q: How did you end up owning your own company?

I was hired out of technicial school as a service technician for a heating and cooling business. The business eventually got bought out and the new company restructured, so I went to work for a small family business. They fired me for having a bad attitude (laughter). Actually, as an owner, I know now that it was my frustration with the management, not “bad attitude.” I thought to myself, “How hard could this be? I’ll open my own company!” 

 

Q: What were the early days like? 

It was a struggle. I knew how to fix air conditioners; I didn’t know how to build a business. I didn’t even know what financials were, let alone how to make sense of them and how important of a tool they are in helping you run a company.  Business can be very painful if you don’t understand financials.  

 

Q: If you could go back in time, what advice would you have given yourself?

Find a mentor who knows how to handle the business challenges you are going to face that is willing to share their wisdom.  I truly understand now the importance of mentors.  This is definitely part of an owner’s responsibility. And here’s a tip: when they share with you what to do, do it.  It will change your life.    

 

 

Q: How has having a mentor helped you? 

Contracting is a lonely business. Employees want to be paid more.  Vendors want to charge more. Customers want to pay less.  As an owner, it often seems, it’s you against the world.  Having access to a mentor that has already traveled my journey helps me avoid making costly and painful mistakes. 

 

 

Q: Has owning a HVAC business been financially rewarding?

Beyond my wildest dreams.  It means I can provide for my family (and then some) without worrying about checking my finances. I am incredibly grateful for that.

 

 

Q: What does Contractor Strong mean to you?

If my family needs or wants something, I have the means to acquire it.  I travel and hunt with my eldest daughter all over the world, and my youngest has autism that we treat with stem cells. This requires us to leave the country and is very expensive. Being successful (financially) has increased my daughters' quality of life.  I’m proud to be able to do this for them.

 

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