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14 LOAN$ T INTEREST FREE // DEFERRED PAYMENT FOR CONTRACTORS he plumbing residential ser- vice and replacement mar- ket in the Oshkosh, Wis., area had been pretty steady until about the fall of 2008. Plumbing contracting businesses such as EC Merrill Inc. had cleanup jobs on their books from area fl ooding. But when that business “dried up” and the recession continued, those same plumbing contractors found it tough to keep cash flowing. EC Merrill’s territory covers a 15-mile radius around Oshkosh and Fond du Lac — about 75,000 households, said third-gen- eration owner Jay Merrill. With 8-10 percent unemployment in the area, many of those homeowners opted to patch up boilers and water heaters instead of replacing themor try to fi x the problem themselves. “Every dollar that came in went right out again to pay bills,” Merrill noted. There was no investment capital left for advertising or marketing or buying new trucks or investing in training for his three employees. Th e company used to be strictly a me- chanical contractor, but ventured into the residential plumbing repair and replacement business in the mid-1990s. Now 90 percent of Merrill’s business is comprised of residential repair/replacement (a small portion is re- modeling), with only 10 percent of the busi- ness in the light commercial segment. Itwas about this time that Merrill receiveda letter from Terry Nicholson of Success Group International and Plumbers’ Success Interna- tional (PSI). PSI was reaching out to inform contractors of a new loan program from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Th e America’s Recovery Capital (ARC) loan program is funded by the stimulus leg- SGI Makes Business Planning Template Available Success Group International is making its Business Plan Template available for plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and roofi ng contractors. The 24-page template (in Word format) is a systematic approach to complete the ARC loan application; just plug in your company’s fi nancial and market data. The template includes an executive summary; a general company overview; an explanation of products and services; marketing, operational and fi nancial plans; an explanation of the company’s management and organizational structure; and personal and company fi nancial statements. It also includes a list of possible appendices you may need to include, such as advertising and marketing materials; industry studies; copies of leases, contracts, and agreements; previous two years’ business and personal tax returns; previous two months’ bank statements; detailed list of equipment owned or anticipated purchases; testimonials from customers; and documents that provide proof of legal ownership of the business. Along with the template is an Excel document containing four spreadsheets to help you complete the application or include in the appendices: promotional budget and sales forecast; personal and business fi nancial statements; business fi nancials for two years; and a fi nancial plan (12-month profi t-and-loss projection as well as a fi ve-year profi t projection). Access to the template and spreadsheets are part of the power of be- ing in a networking group of other profi t-minded, successful contractors. During downturns and recoveries, SGI has proven its value to contractors by providing them information and knowledge that the average contractor wouldn’t learn about on his own. by Kelly FALOON islation signed in early 2009. This temporary program (which ends Sept. 30, 2010, as long as funding is available) provides interest-free, deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 to small businesses to be used for principal and

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