Not too long ago, my son Max and I were in a mile-long line at Disneyland’s Splash Mountain Log Flume Ride. Max had watched others go splashing down into the “Briar Patch” and enthusiastically agreed to give it a try. But as we slowly snaked our way through to the front of the line, Max grew apprehensive.

“Maybe we should go another time. This line is too long!” he said.

“But we’re almost there,” I said. “Are you having second thoughts about this?”

“Nah, I mean, I want to go ... just not right now!”

So, should I push him to go? Or let him wait? Basic motherhood decision. Keep in mind that I had once dragged him on Space Mountain on his 4th birthday, scared the pants off of him and lost his trust for the rest of the vacation. After that, the only ride he would go on was the Flying Dumbos — if we didn’t push the lever that would send Dumbo up into the air. From that experience I learned to support his choices.

But this was a bit different. After all, he was 8 years old. He absolutely loved the roller coaster ride at the State Fair. He really wanted to go on this ride. Maybe he just wanted me to talk him into it.

“Max, we’ve come this far. And it looks pretty fun. Why don’t we just go for it?,” I whispered as Briar Fox asked how many were in our group. (Really, most of life is “sales.” So I trotted out the “question close” and listed a benefit.)

That didn’t seem to work. So I tried the “100% satisfaction guaranteed” close.

“Tell you what, if you absolutely hate this ride and wish you’d never tried it, I will sort the recycling for the rest of the year.” (Keep in mind, organizing the recyclables was Max’s least favorite chore.)

That didn’t seem to work any better than the “question close.” So what’s a mother to do?

“Get in the log, Max.”

This worked. Reluctantly, he stepped into the log. Max was in front of me so I couldn’t see his face during the ride. And he was absolutely quiet. Until we went plunging down the flume — steeper, longer and scarier than I remembered. His screams could be heard all over Anaheim.

The log splashed into the water, drowning out my apologies. I cringed as Max swung around to face me.

“THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!! We’re doing that again!!!!” he gushed. High-five’s all around! He raced over to purchase the fuzzy photo of us going over the top, mouths wide open, eyes hanging out of our heads. Before I stopped laughing, we were back in the same long line to do it again.

That’s what moms are for. Give you a little nudge when your courage is flagging. Help you stretch a bit when your confidence is low. As you get older, your mom’s words might start to sound more like nagging than encouragement. You may eventually tune her out. After all, you’re a big kid now and can make your own decisions.

But I bet you could use a little positive pressure right now. Is there something that you really want to do, but the fear of change or lack confidence is holding you back? Sure there is. So as a service to you, I will give you a push off the fence. I am a mother, first and foremost.

I’ve listed a few business decisions that you probably want to make, but just haven’t for some reason or other. Next to each item is a handy list of benefits, questions, encouragement and other “sales” strategies to help sell you on that great idea. Post this list next to your desk or in your truck and refer to it every time you hear yourself say, “I want to do that ... just not right now.”

Three reasons to switch to flat rate pricing:

“It is not the impossibilities which fill us with the deepest despair, but the possibilities which we have failed to realize.”

— Robert Mallet

After you tell her your hourly rate, your customer asks “How long is it going to take?” You might as well give her a flat rate price. Tab Hunter Plumbing Company of Hendersonville, TN, had an average ticket sale of $80. Then they went flat rate. After tallying up the first three weeks of invoices, the average sale was $270. Lawyers charge time and material. Four obvious reasons to hire an apprentice:

“What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it.”

— Ambrose Briece

Your back hurts. Your knees snap, crackle and pop. You have a responsibility to pass on your knowledge and expertise before you die. You might learn something. Five no-nonsense reasons for giving yourself and your employees big raises:

“Money is better than poverty ... if only for financial reasons.”

— Woody Allen

1. Financial experts say we will need about $2 million invested dollars to support a 20–year retirement. How are you doing?

2. People buy Rolex watches for $20,000, when watches are available for $12.95. You could spend from $1.29 to $350 for a cigarette lighter. You can fly to Europe for $500 on United, or $15,000 on the Concord. There’s lots of money in this world. Raise your prices to cover the raises.

3. Recall Jim Olsztynski’s column “The Pay Stinks,” a call to action against the shoddy wages and non-existent benefits in most PHC shops.

4. If you pay better than anyone else, you’ll have the best people in town working for you.

5. Why not?

Several solid reasons for finally going on-line:

“The new electronic independence recreates the world in the image of a global village.”

— Marshall McLuhan

1. It’s sooooo easy and sooooo inexpensive and you can find out everything about anything. Promise.

2. Dan Holohan has a really cool Web site, chock full of techno-babble and industry news. Dan updates the site all the time — always funny and interesting! Once you sign on, go to

3. Bob Allen of Robert Curtis Allen Plumbing, Houston, TX, found the woman of his dreams on-line. They e-mailed and cyber-chatted up a storm until they finally met face-to-face for the first time on a TV talk show! It could happen.

4. Bob Allen and Kathy Love of Gene Love Plumbing Service, Columbia, SC, co-own the Plumbers Discussion List (PDL) on the Internet. You can send plumbing related e-mail to the list, which goes out to more than 400 members. It’s kind of like the CB radio — lots of information and every now and then a golden nugget. If you need help securing an odd ball part, ask the list. One fellow asked for an Operations Manual for Disney World — and got it! Reach Bob at or Kathy at

    A firm push to join forces with a trade association, a utility or a consolidator:

    “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

    — Benjamin Franklin

    Frank Blau calls them “800–pound gorillas” — the consolidators and utilities. You should pay attention to what they are doing for this reason: They can provide exactly what customers want the most — easy, painless, instant, financed solutions to their plumbing, heating, cooling (and Lord knows what other) problems. Look into the opportunities available to you by swinging with the gorillas.

    If you choose not to join forces with them, I advise you to join a network of progressive contractors. Membership in a trade association doesn’t cost you anything! If you’re half-conscious, you will find thousands of dollars worth of ideas at every meeting. If the group you belong to is whiny and boring, join another group. You know my feelings about Contractors 2000. Look into it!

    You don’t need to stay within the industry for support and camaraderie. Check out the Rotary Club. Do you qualify for the Young Presidents Association of America? You must be under 40, worth $3 million and employ 50 people. Think you could learn from people like that? Go for it.

    Start your own “Master Mind” group. Call the smartest, wealthiest business people in your area and ask them to join the group. Meet for breakfast once a month. Help each other develop business plans and hold each other accountable for results. Imagine what could happen!

    Get in the log, my friend — you’ll be fine. You’ll have the time of your life.