Leap of Faith

After losing his longtime job, Anthony Ayala turned to prayer and was able to find his true calling, owning his own business

BUSINESS NAME: Aquatic Plastering

OWNER: Anthony Ayala

LOCATION: Roseville, Calif.

WEBSITE: aquaticplastering.com

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And while we cannot change the past, we can only ask for the strength to help us make it through. Going through tough times helped Anthony Ayala, owner of Aquatic Plastering, to reach new heights.

For over 30 years, Ayala had been doing pool plastering for a small, family-owned company. One day his boss said if any of the employees wanted to plaster pools on the side, they would have to get a license. So, Ayala studied hard and obtained his license. About 6-7 months after getting his license, Ayala’s boss passed away and his brother took over the family business. He promptly fired anyone that had a license.

Ayala was unemployed and praying that something would come his way, soon. Then one day, it came to him. Ayala was able to find a partner and start his own business, Aquatic Plastering.

Since they first opened their doors in 2006, the business has grown by leaps and bounds. When they first started out, they had no finisher. According to Ayala, you have to have a crew to work on jobs. With the way the economy is these days, most workers that have experience are going to stay with the companies they’re at. In addition to finding a solution to his own joblessness, Ayala was also able to find some experienced workers who had gotten laid off and offer them a job. “Sometimes there was just a clash of personalities between these workers and the former companies they worked for, Ayala said. “Being that I am a very religious person and I read the Bible, I was able to develop a relationship with these guys. We call ourselves ‘The Misfit Crew.’

While it may have started off rocky, the business is now doing quite well and they’ve even had some famous people as their clients.

As far as what makes their business stand out from other plastering companies out there, Ayala says it’s their honesty and integrity. “We’re out to save people money, not to gouge them,” Ayala said. “A lot of times, when business owners see a larger home they feel like they can charge the homeowner more money. We don’t try to cheat people.”

The biggest challenge for Ayala as of late is surviving in this economy. “Just last week, we had a credit line of $10,000 and they just dropped our credit line down to $3,700 and froze our credit card,” Ayala said. “We had these big jobs coming up and all of a sudden we had to pay off what we owed until we could do these jobs.

Another test for Ayala has been the rise in gas and material costs. “We’ll bid on a job and think a price is $15 a bag and now it’s $16 a bag and we didn’t even know about it,” he said. “We can’t even give people a price list. We have to take each job individually as it is. I have to call up once a week and find out what the prices are on the material.”

One thing that is helping Ayala keep up with the competition is increasing his visibility on the Internet by being a member of America’s Best Companies. “The website you made for us is really sharp, I’m really satisfied with it,” he said.

Ayala has high hopes for the future of his business. “In 10 years I’d like to see our business have about 3 trucks, two always out on jobs and one on standby,” he said. “I’d also like to have a good-size warehouse and branch into other things. Maybe we could get into servicing pools in addition to plastering. Eventually, I wouldn’t mind strictly handling the remodels and doing very little new pools.”

As far as his favorite part of being an entrepreneur, Ayala says it is being able to help people by doing what he and his team do best. “It goes back again to being honest with people and giving them an honest bid. That makes me feel good.” —Lynn Celmer

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Reader Comments

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 5:30 PM
Romeo C. Blanquera says:
I can identify with this business owner. In 2006 I took a chance of owning my own business. Previously, I was a partner and co-owner of a CPA firm. After I quit the firm, I was employed in three private jobs and before I opened up my firm, I was the Finance Director of a large non-profit firm taking care of their financial affairs. So I started thingking to myself If I can handle this job I can handle any kind of financial job that comes my way. The rest is history. I have turned my business into a Corporation and I am the President and CEO. I don't mind workign hard because it's my own firm and I am my own boss. I wouldn't trade it for any private job even if it pays more. I am so used now to working for myself and thnk of all the strategies to drum up business while servicing the present one's. It is so satisfying knowing that you can control your own destiny and no one's going to fire you. I always keep an open mind, believe in what I do and be proud of it, be honest and courteous towards your customers and staff.

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