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Real lives - Building the dream

26 May 2019
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At just 24, Taylor Galloway is running a successful Auckland plumbing business with his wife Olivia—a goal they’ve had since they met in their school years.

When Taylor Galloway was 18, he reserved the name of the plumbing business he planned to own one day. As his birthday present, his mother gave him a personalised plate to go on his company vehicle when that day came. “I knew from a young age that I wanted to build my own dream rather than someone else’s,” he says.

Six years later, on his 24th birthday, Taylor was out on the road in a smart, signwritten van complete with personalised plate and enjoying the first day of running Taylor’d Plumbing & Gas Ltd—the new Auckland-based business he had set up with his wife Olivia, a chartered accountant by training.

Olivia and Taylor Galloway by their new company van complete with personalised number plate

Having spent about six months looking into what’s involved in a business start-up, and another month setting up their systems, they launched their company in May 2018, three months after getting married. Early this year, they took the next step and joined Master Plumbers. “We pride ourselves on providing high-quality work, and Master Plumbers has that ‘step above’ public perception,” explains Taylor.

Coming from a family that, in his words, “lives in the ocean”, Taylor has always loved water, so he decided it made sense to work with water, too. “I also enjoyed all my practical subjects at high school, and have always been a natural problem solver,” he says. On leaving school at 16, he completed a plumbing pre-trade at MIT before starting his apprenticeship.

With uncles and cousins in the building trade and having established a good working relationship with his (since retired) bosses at his previous place of work, Taylor had plenty of useful connections to get him started in business. It also helped that, as Olivia describes him, he is a perfectionist, reliable, efficient, energetic and enthusiastic—and loves what he does. “He has a creative flair and loves helping make our customers’ visions become reality,” she says.

 Grabbing the bull by the horns

“Starting the business was a little daunting at first, but we just decided to grab the bull by the horns and hold on,” says Olivia. Her role is “everything apart from the plumbing”—all accounts and admin, invoicing, marketing and social media. “It helps having me as an accountant for the cashflow,” she says with a laugh.

One of the first things they did was set up a business Facebook page, which Olivia believes is crucial to raising their profile. “We live and work from our home in Beachlands, which is a small, semi-rural community close to East Auckland, and our priority was to build up our reputation there before extending Auckland wide,” she explains.

"We advertised locally and on Facebook, and we now get recommended on our page all the time. We’ve had so many repeat customers to date, which is great. We really want people to use us again or refer us.”

 Their strategy is clearly working, as they are now contracting a Certifying Plumber to help keep up with demand for the maintenance and renovation services they provide—and they are looking to hire another staff member later this year.

 Being organised is key

Asked what advice they would give to others thinking of starting up in business, Olivia says being organised is key. “Ask people for guidance and advice where you need it and set everything up before you begin—your business systems, GST, insurances, vehicles, marketing strategy and compliance. Health and safety is a big one and we joined Site Safe straight away. Taylor had already done Site Safe training courses but it’s different when you’re managing others.”

Right now, Taylor and Olivia are thoroughly immersed in their new business, leaving little time spare time for hobbies. However, it hasn’t stopped them launching into a new house build on their existing section to give them a little more space than their current bach-style home.

With their house due to be completed just before the 2019 New Zealand Plumbing Conference in late May, they reluctantly had to forgo this year’s event. But as new members of Master Plumbers, they’re looking forward to getting to grips with all the business resources on offer. “The organisation does a lot for the plumbing industry and we want to be part of that,” says Taylor. “There’s a lot of good knowledge to be handed down.”

This blog has been adapted from an article in NZ Plumber magazine, Apr/May 2019 issue.


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