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Saskatchewan Plumber Secures $160,000 Government Loan to Grow his Business

$160,000 BDC loan to build commercial shop for plumbing/heating business
Construction/ Professional Trades
Pierceland, Saskatchewan

"Too much working hard for somebody else." When Pierceland, Saskatchewan's Chance Kazmar describes his reasons for going into business for himself, you can imagein a lot of entrepreneurs nodding their heads. Since first working in plumbing at the age of 16, Kazmar has worked for a number of plumbers in the area, but he wanted to start putting his hard work into his own business. About a year and a half ago, the 26-year-old decided it was time to strike out on his own.

In a short time he's built a solid business, and now he's taking it to the next level with help from the Centre for Small Business Financing and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). He recently received a $160,000 loan to build a shop, with retail space, on Pierceland's main street. The financing process itself has been a bit of hard work, but the walls are up, and Kazmar's looking forward to growing K2 Plumbing and Heating.

Over the years, he'd bought a lot of his own tools while working for others, so he was pretty well prepared when he made the decision to launch K2. "I just figured it's time," he says. "And so I spent the money and got myself a trailer and stuff like that, and I did it." He put some small ads in the local newspaper and quickly got jobs, primarily in residential and new construction. "The word got around, and so far so good," he says.

Initially, he didn't want to make a major investment and take on debt, in case the business was slow to grow. "But it looks like it's going to turn out all right," he says. "Business has doubled from last year already, and it looks like it's going to keep going, so in order to further that, I need a shop to do all my work in and store my supplies."

He contacted the Centre for Small Business Financing and learned how the BDC could help him with a loan for new construction. But while he ultimately had success, the process wasn't without it's hurdles.

"I definitely had to jump through a lot of hoops," he says. "But it turned out all right."

Initially, he delivered a business plan and financial statements showing his earnings in his first year of business. "It went on for about two or three months, and it seemed like they kept asking the same questions over and over," he says. "Like whether I'm planning on making more money in the future, which is always a yes. Why wouldn't I be? Of course, they questioned my financial statements two or three times over, which I expected with this amount of money, but a lot of things were repeated which I don't think had to be."

The interest on his government loan is a little higher than usual. "Which I understand, because I'm a high risk," he says. But he was surprised by some of the fees the BDC required. "I had to pay a $1,600 processing fee before I even got approved," he says. "And they're also charging me an annual fee of three or four hundred dollars a year."

But despite these obstacles, he knows he couldn't have taken this major step without the loan. "It's definitely helped me out," says Kazmar. "As a small business, with not a whole lot of credit and just being fresh into it, it definitely helped. And down the road I definitely will be looking for better interest rates and stuff like that." Kazmar put $40,000 of his own money into the $200,000 project.

He expects to hire a full time employee to help him on jobs very soon, and once the 5,400 square-foot shop is up, he suspects he'll need to hire someone to man the storefront.

He says business success requires belief and hard work. "If you feel that you're going to do good, then go for it. If you work hard enough, anything will work out in the end. I know in my mind that my building's going to be here, and I'm going to be here making payments no matter what, so I'll be working that hard to do it."

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