Damien and his wife Casey are based in the regional NSW town of Narrabri, where Damien grew up, but work and life took him on a few adventures before he headed home to build his business.
"I had done a work studies program through school and was offered an apprenticeship when I was 17," he says. "I liked plumbing right from the start because you're always doing something and I like to keep busy and work hard."
In those early days, he also liked to play hard, and says he was living week to week. "That's what it's like as a young apprentice. I'd spend my whole pay packet as soon as I got it."
His apprenticeship focused on residential plumbing with a bit of farm and commercial work in the mix. A mate then shared an opportunity to work on a major contract in the Hunter Valley, where he worked for about three years, but he headed back to Narrabri to start his own business in 2016.
"Once you have a young family, everything changes," he says. "You need more money, for one thing, but you also want a more settled life. I could sense there was opportunity in Narrabri, with the growth of the town, so it was just the right place and the right time. The ambition was always there to start my own business when the time was right.
"We bought a block on the river and Casey looks after the books, and we have a small team now."
Casey says she learnt the administration side of the business by doing it. "I used to ring the accountant a lot!" she says.
The business now has five staff on the tools, including two apprentices.
"The hardest part of running my own business has been learning to be a manager," Damien says. "You want to look after your staff and give them their own opportunities, and you need to look after your customers, too. Client relationships are at the heart of business and you have to get good at being able to talk to a really broad range of people."
Damien and Casey moved their business banking to CommBank in late 2021 because they were unsatisfied with their previous bank. Instead, they were looking for a bank that could offer them a simple business transaction account and tools that made it easier to run their business, including cash flow management and invoicing features.
Damien is now looking forward to working with CommBank as he seeks to expand his business.
"We're having a crack at some bigger projects like subdivision updates and a Sydney Uni wheat research project. CommBank has been great about helping us understand our options and giving us ideas, and we're looking forward to working with them as the business grows."
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