by Delta Discovery Staff
Back on September 30th I spoke with Joe Pete, a 2019 Best in the West winner who is now a small business owner. Joe is the owner of Apollo Home Solutions LLC which is a handyman business. Joe and his wife Kathleen are working and raising their two children here in Bethel. We spoke with Joe about his company and safety is a big priority in how he conducts business.
Tell us about yourself, where you are from, where you grew up, where you went to school.
Hi, my name is Joe John Pete. I grew up in Nunam Iqua which is originally named Sheldon Point, out on the mouth of the Yukon. For high school I went off to Mt. Edgecumbe for the last three years of my high school from 2004 to 2007, which is when I graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe.
After high school I decided that I would try to pursue civil engineering. That didn’t play out as I wanted. My second option was plumbing. I ended up signing up for the Alaska Army National Guard for a 6 year contract. I went down to Ft. Benning Georgia for 6 months training for infantry and airborne school.
I came back and got into plumbing which was back in 2010. I was an apprentice for YK for a year, the local Bethel hospital in the construction department.
What helped me was the previous work I did before that and the schooling at Mt. Edgecumbe in the construction trades. So I had Carpentry II, III, and IV classes in Mt Edgecumbe.
How many years of experience do you have?
I have 7 plus years of construction trade experience. I have 5-6 years of carpentry, 2 years of plumbing, and I got some electrical hands-on training in Juneau. That covers the basics.
What was your greatest motivator?
My biggest motivation for construction was my eldest brother Stanley Pete Sr. That’s mostly why I wanted to get into construction, after him. So that was my choice of direction, my motivation. He is also a carpenter.
Can you describe your business?
My business is a handyman business. It is a contracting license for a handyman business which takes on projects up to $10,000 or no more than 25% of the structural repair. It deals with all aspects of a home or building, which covers the structure, the parts to the structure, such as insulation, the whole basis from foundation on up. Repairs can be done such as minor plumbing or minor electrical work. The majority of it is construction though. So flooring, walls, doors, windows, drywall, trim work, finish work, cabinets, counter tops, sinks, can put up lights, replace switches, outlets. And the work can be as little as hanging pictures.
Can you tell us about your rates?
I charge $50 per hour and I got a minimum of $25 if it is under 30 minutes plus 6% city sales tax here in Bethel.
Tell us about your hours.
During the week I selected Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm throughout the week. And chose 9am because that gives me time to set up my tools, also bring my daughter to school and getting prepared for work such as getting my tools in my truck to head on out to a jobsite on various projects.
Can you tell us about how you are licensed, bonded and insured?
Before you can take on handyman jobs like repairs for a community member, the state of Alaska requires that you apply to get a handyman license number and then from that you use that license number to get the state Alaska license, but before that you need two other things which is the bond and insurance. Those go with the handyman license number. They require that you get a bond of $5,000 and insurance from a construction insurance company, an insurance agency that gives out, sells insurance.
For the application process those are the three things you need to get the state license. Then you move on to get the local license with the state license and from the local license you get a sales tax identification number and then you are all set to do business in town.
The bond protects the customer. If there is any mistake that I may make, for example puncturing a water line in the wall with a screw or if I accidentally cut an electrical wire or cutting a water line. There’s $5000 that would cover any damages associated with repairing those mistakes.
The business insurance covers liability with, say, accidents, either with the building itself or injury with other people on the jobsite. So it covers basically liability that may stem from any repairs that we make as we take on different projects.
Can you read to me your mission statement?
Our mission is to render, friendly, clean quality work that promotes customer satisfaction in resolving home/building needs.
How do we contact you if we want to hire you?
My contact info is listed on business card or on FB. My phone number is 907-545-6762. On Facebook type fb.me/joe.john.pete and that will take you directly to my business page.
How many followers do you have?
So far I have 120 followers as of today roughly.
What are your hopes and dreams for this start up?
My hope is to establish trust as a trusted service provider for my peers on their home projects. To gain return services with previous customers. To be known for quality good work that says a lot about me. Basically, to be widely known as someone who can do the job and do it right and to code. There’s building codes and its very important to follow those procedures for safety to the community and homeowners.
Are you a 100% native-owned and operated business?
Did you want to add anything else?
I would hope to be building homes next year, taking on bigger projects and hiring local carpenters and possibly welder and plumbers, electricians to build homes.
I do my best to do follow ups with projects that I’ve completed and have done for customers to see how I’ve done. And that’s one of my policies with my work. And if there is anything that needs adjusted I can make adjustments afterward.
I plan to have an organized and efficient way to get out on jobsites with a way to organize my truck, whether that be building toolboxes and spaces to quickly put in my tools and take out my tools and set up. Anything to make the job operate smoothly and fluidly.
I see you have Rules to Live By. Can you share those?
Rules to live by. The top two rules are: there are two ways to do something – right and again. And number 2, always put things back exactly as you found them the moment you are done with them every time. And number 6, this is an example for batteries – something that may run out: Two is one, one is none so have a backup or backups.
Joe Pete and Apollo Home Solutions LLC were also featured in a recent edition of the Calista’s Storyknife publication. Quyana and best wishes!