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  1. #1
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    Default how much money is Capt. Bob Making

    How much money does Capt. Bob make pushing his product. His product seem very informative. Im just wondering if I could be the next Capt. BOB and make bank when I retire. Is it worth his time? Does he make more now than ever before? What do you think?


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    Be very, very careful. cap'n bobby and his minions will start to flame you now that you have dared to question the great one. You will also get a dissertation on how much stuff he gives away. I know for a fact that you can get your first fix of narcotics for free. The ones after that cost you a bundle.

    Apparently, he has some special dispensation here. I have reported his posts with his blatant advertising at least five times. Nothing happens and then I end up getting blamed by the WT for starting it.

    Also, it should be noted that others taking advantage of desperate people looking for FF jobs have popped up. So, to answer your question, the money must be pretty good.

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    He does give some good advice, and I truely believe that in his heart he wants to help others (years ago, I called him on his 800 number for advice, and we spoke for quite a while- he charged me nothing, and paid for the call), but the advertising does get a bit tedious. I can see how it gets on people's nerves.

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    George,
    I believe your comment may have been directed my way. Whether or not, I will address your statement of others that have “popped up.”

    First I will introduce myself.

    My name is Paul Lepore. I am a Battalion Chief for a major Southern California Fire Department (I intentionally don’t use the name as to avoid any conflict with my posts). If you want to send me an email I would be happy to share the information with you, as I have nothing to hide.

    I got hired twenty years ago at the age of 20. I took a beating as a rookie as I didn’t understand the culture of the fire department. From the minute I got off probation I began helping people with oral interviews. I also shared many of the mistakes I made in hopes they would avoid them too.

    For twenty years I invited people into the fire stations and helped them in their pursuit of getting hired. There was a list of 100 questions that floated around that I would photocopy and give to the candidates. They would go home, practice and then return a few weeks later with their answers. Most of the time they were way off base.

    I would then review the questions and answers with them. Again they would return. This time they had the right answer but when I questioned them as to why they follow a certain course of action they had no answer.

    I encouraged them to go out and buy a book. They returned with what I believed were substandard guides. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything better out there. I went to the Firefighter’s Bookstore in Huntington Beach and met with the owner, Peggy Glenn. She showed me what was available. She knew of my involvement with the entry-level crowd and she encouraged me to write a book.

    I had just finished writing a book Called Sportfishing in Baja, about my true passion Sportfishing. I had recently been promoted to Captain and decided to take on the project. The concept was simple. I took all of those 100 questions that we have all heard for years and years. I spent two years writing EXACTLY how I would answer them. Most importantly, I wrote WHY I would answer it in the manner I did. I explained the culture of the fire service, the expectation of a rookie firefighter and what it took to be a good rookie firefighter (a point I personally didn’t figure out until later on).

    At the same time I was sitting on oral boards for my department as well as several other cities. In addition, I was now serving as a rater on Captain and BC exams. I shared my writings with my fellow raters. I knew I was on the right track when many of them asked for my files to pass along to their kids. As you know firefighters are the harshest critics.

    I spent two years on the project and fifteen thousand dollars. As I found with my fishing book, nobody was interested in publishing my works because it is not a big enough market. Finally my book titled, “Smoke Your Firefighter Interview” was delivered in 4 large pallets to my garage. While it was a monumental project, I am proud to say I finished it. My book retails for $24.95. You can do the math yourself. It takes a whole lot of book sales to pay back my investment.

    Like most everything I do in life, I do it for the fun, not for the money. I never even broke even on my Baja book, but I put a picture of my dad on the cover.

    After I finished my Interview book, my phone rang off the hook from candidates wanting to meet with me for interview coaching. I returned every phone call and met with every candidate. After six months my wife told me that it wasn’t fair to her and our kids that I was spending time with people I didn’t know while she had to pick up extra days at the hospital as a Physical Therapist to pay our bills.

    I was now in an ethical dilemma. People had spent time with me for free to help me promote (and to get hired). I believed I had certainly repaid my debt by helping literally HUNDREDS of candidates throughout my 20 years. In addition to inviting people into the station I developed a template for an 8-hour workshop designed to help people become firefighters. One by one we pluck candidates out of the audience and give them a mock interview conducted by firefighters, engineers, captains and chief officers. To this day we have run over 750 people through these workshops. (See the post on this board titled Mark Your Calendars for the next one on February 11th). EVERY SEMINAR I HAVE CONDUCTED AT THE COLLEGE HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY FREE.

    I spoke to a role model of mine who encouraged me to take private coaching to the next level. I purchased a video camera and I now do a private coaching session with a candidate for $175 for a two-hour session. While I did feel awkward taking people’s money for something I had done for free for so many years, I still charge less than what others on the board charge.

    More importantly, I absolutely have seen what a difference it makes for the candidate. Do I believe these guys get hired because of me? Absolutely not! I do believe I can point them in the right direction and show them from my perspective (Chief Officer) how their responses sounded.

    I have since written a second book titled, “The Aspiring Firefighter’s Two-Year Plan.” I wrote this book because I found that when meeting with candidates they had no clear-cut plan on HOW to become a firefighter. They would hear from a firefighter that they should do something so without thinking they would follow his advice. When I asked them why they followed a certain course of action the only thing they could say is that some firefighter told them to do so.

    I spent another year writing everything about background investigations, physical fitness, and the importance of selecting quality friends as well as several dozen other chapters to give aspiring firefighters a clear-cut plan.

    For the record Bob his son Rob and I do not see eye to eye. I disagree with writing a post that is supposedly from a candidate who states he got hired because of your materials. I am the forum manager of another firefighter site and that was the first thing I discontinued several years ago. You are correct when you say that this site is much more liberal. You can review my posts and you will see that I really try to avoid doing that.

    I did not write my books to make money. I wrote them because I believed they would benefit the candidates. Don’t get me wrong, there is money to be made, but it’s not my primary motivation.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    Last edited by BCLepore; 02-04-2006 at 08:32 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCLepore
    George,
    I believe your comment may have been directed my way. Whether or not, I will address your statement of others that have “popped up.”

    First I will introduce myself.

    My name is Paul Lepore. I am a Battalion Chief for a major Southern California Fire Department (I intentionally don’t use the name as to avoid any conflict with my posts). If you want to send me an email I would be happy to share the information with you, as I have nothing to hide.

    I got hired twenty years ago at the age of 20. I took a beating as a rookie as I didn’t understand the culture of the fire department. From the minute I got off probation I began helping people with oral interviews. I also shared many of the mistakes I made in hopes they would avoid them too.

    For twenty years I invited people into the fire stations and helped them in their pursuit of getting hired. There was a list of 100 questions that floated around that I would photocopy and give to the candidates. They would go home, practice and then return a few weeks later with their answers. Most of the time they were way off base.

    I would then review the questions and answers with them. Again they would return. This time they had the right answer but when I questioned them as to why they follow a certain course of action they had no answer.

    I encouraged them to go out and buy a book. They returned with what I believed were substandard guides. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything better out there. I went to the Firefighter’s Bookstore in Huntington Beach and met with the owner, Peggy Glenn. She showed me what was available. She knew of my involvement with the entry-level crowd and she encouraged me to write a book.

    I had just finished writing a book Called Sportfishing in Baja, about my true passion Sportfishing. I had recently been promoted to Captain and decided to take on the project. The concept was simple. I took all of those 100 questions that we have all heard for years and years. I spent two years writing EXACTLY how I would answer them. Most importantly, I wrote WHY I would answer it in the manner I did. I explained the culture of the fire service, the expectation of a rookie firefighter and what it took to be a good rookie firefighter (a point I personally didn’t figure out until later on).

    At the same time I was sitting on oral boards for my department as well as several other cities. In addition, I was now serving as a rater on Captain and BC exams. I shared my writings with my fellow raters. I knew I was on the right track when many of them asked for my files to pass along to their kids. As you know firefighters are the harshest critics.

    I spent two years on the project and fifteen thousand dollars. As I found with my fishing book, nobody was interested in publishing my works because it is not a big enough market. Finally my book titled, “Smoke Your Firefighter Interview” was delivered in 4 large pallets to my garage. While it was a monumental project, I am proud to say I finished it. My book retails for $24.95. You can do the math yourself. It takes a whole lot of book sales to pay back my investment.

    Like most everything I do in life, I do it for the fun, not for the money. I never even broke even on my Baja book, but I put a picture of my dad on the cover.

    After I finished my Interview book, my phone rang off the hook from candidates wanting to meet with me for interview coaching. I returned every phone call and met with every candidate. After six months my wife told me that it wasn’t fair to her and our kids that I was spending time with people I didn’t know while she had to pick up extra days at the hospital as a Physical Therapist to pay our bills.

    I was now in an ethical dilemma. People had spent time with me for free to help me promote (and to get hired). I believed I had certainly repaid my debt by helping literally HUNDREDS of candidates throughout my 20 years. In addition to inviting people into the station I developed a template for an 8-hour workshop designed to help people become firefighters. One by one we pluck candidates out of the audience and give them a mock interview conducted by firefighters, engineers, captains and chief officers. To this day we have run over 750 people through these workshops. (See the post on this board titled Mark Your Calendars for the next one on February 11th). EVERY SEMINAR I HAVE CONDUCTED AT THE COLLEGE HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY FREE.

    I spoke to a role model of mine who encouraged me to take private coaching to the next level. I purchased a video camera and I now do a private coaching session with a candidate for $175 for a two-hour session. While I did feel awkward taking people’s money for something I had done for free for so many years, I still charge less than what others on the board charge.

    More importantly, I absolutely have seen what a difference it makes for the candidate. Do I believe these guys get hired because of me? Absolutely not! I do believe I can point them in the right direction and show them from my perspective (Chief Officer) how their responses sounded.

    I have since written a second book titled, “The Aspiring Firefighter’s Two-Year Plan.” I wrote this book because I found that when meeting with candidates they had no clear-cut plan on HOW to become a firefighter. They would hear from a firefighter that they should do something so without thinking they would follow his advice. When I asked them why they followed a certain course of action the only thing they could say is that some firefighter told them to do so.

    I spent another year writing everything about background investigations, physical fitness, and the importance of selecting quality friends as well as several dozen other chapters to give aspiring firefighters a clear-cut plan.

    For the record Bob his son Rob and I do not see eye to eye. I disagree with writing a post that is supposedly from a candidate who states he got hired because of your materials. I am the forum manager of another firefighter site and that was the first thing I discontinued several years ago. You are correct when you say that this site is much more liberal. You can review my posts and you will see that I really try to avoid doing that.

    I did not write my books to make money. I wrote them because I believed they would benefit the candidates. Don’t get me wrong, there is money to be made, but it’s not my primary motivation.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    I have two thoughts:

    1. I never singled you out.

    2. Nice piece of advertising you just put out there. $175 an hour is what lawyers get around here. Gee, there is a parallel there somewhere.

  6. #6
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    George,
    Please reread the first two lines of my post.

    Secondly, I charge 175 for TWO hours. That comes to 87.50 per hour which is less than shop rate I pay the mechanic per hour to work on my truck.
    Last edited by BCLepore; 02-05-2006 at 09:09 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Who makes money doing what

    pdxfire,

    I have NO information on Captain Bob, but I have worked with a lot of the folks that have made a business selling information to firefighters as authors, presenters and subject matter experts. As a member of the program planning committee, I spent five years looking for presenters for the IAFC conference.

    I am focusing on the active and retired firefighters that you meet here, at the fire conferences or write articles in the trade magazines. Dennis Smith hit gold with Report from Engine 82 in the late 1970's, started Firehouse magazine and ended up learning how to be a financial advisor. He and some current high profile folks (like Brunacini, Norman and Salka) would be the exception.

    I worked with a pair of subject matter experts who travelled the world teaching their craft. Trade magazine articles, big room conference presenters, textbooks and videos. After a decade, they have subsidized their international travel, bought some goodies, have great memories and not much extra money from their experience.

    Their experience is leading them to their after-FD-retirement goals and activities. One of them never intended for this activity to be a profit center, just a way for him to learn new things and move into the next career.

    I have worked with others who have calculated that they grossed about $3 an hour to grind out a trade journal article or a textbook.

    In comparison to business and industry training, firefighters are cheap. Before they imploded in the 1990's, the International Society of Fire Service Instructors moved some of their efforts into industrial fire brigade training. They could charge $300/head for an industrial fire brigade class they struggled to fill at $40/head when offered to firefighters.

    Free enterprise means that the market determines the value of what Bob, Paul, George or I offer.

    Mike

    speaking of self-serving advertising; buy my book http://home.gwu.edu/~mikeward/Fire%2...ook%20info.htm

    If your goal is to make a lot of money as the next Captain Bob, then you should educate yourself on the business of consulting, writing and presenting. Check out the small business section of a large bookstore, search Amazon, etc.

    Some authors to look for are Richard Bly (not the Iron John one, the New Jersey freelance writer), Alan Weiss, the late Herman Holtz (4th edition of How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant was finished by David Zahn and published in 2004.)
    Last edited by MikeWard; 02-05-2006 at 05:42 PM. Reason: added references

  8. #8
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    There is an enormous difference of someone who is teaching a fire fighting topic that is based on education, training, experience and research and someone who takes advantage of kids who are desperate to become fire fighters. An enormous difference.

    To listen to some of them talk, it is utterly amazing that anyone ever got hired as a fire fighter before their tips about lying in your interview and trying to hide the truth and not going to college came along. After, life sucks until you have the badge-even if you sold your soul to get it.

  9. #9
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    George:

    I do not disagree with your point. In fact, you me and Bob discussed this very issue a year ago. http://forums.firehouse.com/showthre...5&page=3&pp=20

    The online postings of pdxfire indicate a teenager in a community college looking for his first career firefighting job. I was responding to this part of his posting:
    Quote Originally Posted by pdxfire
    Im just wondering if I could be the next Capt. BOB and make bank when I retire. Is it worth his time? Does he make more now than ever before? What do you think?
    My assumption was that the guys that were making the big room presentations or writing textbooks were "making bank." I was surprised and disappointed to learn otherwise.

    One reason is that, generally speaking, firefighters are lousy at the business of being a commercially successful subject matter expert. Paul's very long post identified some of the issues.

    Kevin Mellot, after a brief experience with the Pittsburgh Fire Department, created ERASE Enterprises in 1989 (http://www.erase.com/index.htm). I have a vivid memory of an FDIC presentation Kevin made, where he explained how firefighters sabatoge their success as a subject matter expert or consultant.

    Unfortunately, the five years I spent corralling IAFC speakers only reinforced the points of his presentation. In addition, I have done stupid, destructive and income-damaging things while trying to become a commercially successful emergency services expert.

    There are three different sets of competencies at play:
    • Competency set to be a successful and satisfied firefighter
    • Competency set to be an effective and recognized subject matter expert
    • Competency set to be a profitable independent contractor
    Last edited by MikeWard; 02-06-2006 at 12:37 AM. Reason: Add link to earlier discussion thread

  10. #10
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    Mike you posted this:
    If your goal is to make a lot of money as the next Captain Bob, then you should educate yourself on the business of consulting, writing and presenting. Check out the small business section of a large bookstore, search Amazon, etc.
    I would agree with that and your last post 100%. My point is that there is a difference between teaching for the sake of wanting to give back to the profession that you love and serving as a consultant specializing in helping kids get hired by a FD. I am all for free enterprise. If they can make a buck as such a consultant than more power to them. That is what this country is built on-free enterprise.

    My problem is, always has been and always will be, using these forums for advertising. It's wrong and the WT has an obvious double standard.

    It is also wrong to market to desperate kids and give out advise that is unethical (hiding info on your app, learning how to beat the polygraph, giving up college. etc.) in order to "get the badge". The theory being the end justifies the means.

    I should post a poll to find out how many FF got hired w/o any help from the bobby boys.

  11. #11
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    I will say that I browsed capt bobs website and read just about everything on that site. I never bought his "program" but the free information I got from his site very useful to me because I came up with answers for each of the 30 or what ever oral board questions and made sure they were personal enough that no one else could give the same answer. When I went in to take my oral boards, they asked me the exact questions I studied for and I connected with them on a personal level because one of my answers actually involved them, although I did not know that till the end. So I'd say alot of his info is useful, but there is alot of stuff that I'm not sure if I agree with.

  12. #12
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    GeorgeWendt-

    I generally agree with most of what you have to say (especially on this subject). My only issue is with questioning the motives of a teacher who gets compensated for what he or she does. Many professional teachers love to give back, and that is why they do what they do. In fact, I love being a firefighter. If it wasn't my career, I would volunteer to do it. The fact that I accept money in exchange for my services should not detract from my credibility as a firefighter (I'll let my job performance do that for itself!!.

    I do disagree with people using their replies on this forum to hammer us with "testimonials" about how impossible it is to get this job without the aid of their professional services.

    I feel that if an individual wants to put a link to their website, that may be appropriate. If another individual goes to that site and feels that the product is worth the money, then I guess that's okay. However, if you check out some of the sites, they seem to be rambling messes which seem very unprofessional to me.

    If you are going to spend your money on someone whose job is supposed to be to teach you how to make the best impression possible, make sure that their product knocks your socks off!



    Chris
    Professional Firefighter
    Chris
    Professional Firefighter

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrism8922
    GeorgeWendt-

    I generally agree with most of what you have to say (especially on this subject). My only issue is with questioning the motives of a teacher who gets compensated for what he or she does. Many professional teachers love to give back, and that is why they do what they do. In fact, I love being a firefighter. If it wasn't my career, I would volunteer to do it. The fact that I accept money in exchange for my services should not detract from my credibility as a firefighter (I'll let my job performance do that for itself!!.

    I do disagree with people using their replies on this forum to hammer us with "testimonials" about how impossible it is to get this job without the aid of their professional services.

    I feel that if an individual wants to put a link to their website, that may be appropriate. If another individual goes to that site and feels that the product is worth the money, then I guess that's okay. However, if you check out some of the sites, they seem to be rambling messes which seem very unprofessional to me.

    If you are going to spend your money on someone whose job is supposed to be to teach you how to make the best impression possible, make sure that their product knocks your socks off!



    Chris
    Professional Firefighter
    Although putting a link to a commercial website on the forums is technically a violation of the TOS, I do not generally complain about that. What I do complain about is the blatant, unabashed marketing that some people do. I also complain about the blind eye that the WT turns to this subject with certain people. But just let someone call someone else a name and the Wrath of WT comes down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Although putting a link to a commercial website on the forums is technically a violation of the TOS, I do not generally complain about that. What I do complain about is the blatant, unabashed marketing that some people do. I also complain about the blind eye that the WT turns to this subject with certain people. But just let someone call someone else a name and the Wrath of WT comes down!


    Agreed!


    Chris
    Professional Firefighter
    Chris
    Professional Firefighter

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    Default $40,000 a weekend gross

    250 students per class, usually 2 classes per city. $80 a student.

    that's $40,000 gross. ...handful of those a year..

    Than any web based sales of materials....

    cha-ching $

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Nice piece of advertising you just put out there. $175 an hour is what lawyers get around here. Gee, there is a parallel there somewhere.
    Damn...is that all? A good lawyer out here will cost a minimum of twice that amount. You can get legal help for less if you don't mind losing.
    Last edited by scfire86; 02-16-2006 at 06:57 PM.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Although putting a link to a commercial website on the forums is technically a violation of the TOS, I do not generally complain about that. What I do complain about is the blatant, unabashed marketing that some people do. I also complain about the blind eye that the WT turns to this subject with certain people. But just let someone call someone else a name and the Wrath of WT comes down!
    Amen to that...

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