America On the Go Plumbing: Incubating Success
America On the Go Plumbing, LLC
Leonard Washington | Kansas City, Mo. | Second-Stage
Founded in 2007, America on the Go Plumbing started as a one-man, home-based plumbing business specializing in vertical plumbing, water and sewer line service. Master Plumber Leonard Washington (pictured above with his wife Syreeta) started the business, working mostly evenings and weekends to grow clientele, while working for the KCMO School District full-time.
In 2012, America On the Go moved to the 18th and Vine Incubator and is now located in the Blue Hills Business Incubator. Since its humble beginnings, it has grown to six employees and a half million in revenue.
Below, Leonard shares his entrepreneurial journey and his advice for others who are ready to take the leap and launch a business.
What inspired you to start your business?
It was a desire to make a difference in my community by providing jobs and a trade to interested parties. Getting laid off gave me the kick in the butt to really get it rolling.
What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be a Scuba Diver! And I still do!
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
When times get tough, what inspires you to keep going?
I have a family to feed, and I want to continue to be my own boss.
Which resources have you worked with?
Blue Hills Contractor Incubator, KC BizCare and Justine PETERSEN Microloan Program.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I would have a larger pool of qualified employees.
What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make to become a business owner?
Time with my family, although my wife is now my office manager, I sometimes still have to work hours that prevent me from spending time with my young daughter who is 7 years old.
What lessons did you learn the hard way?
Estimating jobs correctly, getting a contract prior to doing work and using change orders to document the project.
What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Drive, determination, energy, courage, a hunger for success and capital!
What can/should Kansas City do to be more business friendly for multicultural entrepreneurs?
Provide avenues to receive financing for their companies, even with credit bumps.
Where does the city get it right?
Bid postings and entrepreneurial networking events.
What is your favorite quote?
Improvise, adapt, and overcome!