Terence Chan: Born entrepreneur

Name: Terence Chan

Nicknames: T$, T dawg, T, Eagle Eye Terence

Company: Impetus Plumbing and Heating

Job title: President

Born in: Vancouver, BC

Lives in: Vancouver, BC

Age: 30

Pet: A Pomeranian named Knuckles

In the mechanical industry since: 2011

Schools and programs: BCIT Plumbing 2014


Terence Chan wasn’t enjoying the engineering program he was enrolled in, so he took his parents’ advice and switched to plumbing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and found his future career path. “I ended up really liking it. And when I started doing other projects, I really enjoyed the process,” he recalls, adding that even then, “I had the thought in my head that I was always going to do my own thing. I planned to have my own business and learn everything about the trade.”

Having worked in his parents’ arcade business from an early age, Chan had a love for both mechanics and entrepreneurship. So, after gaining work experience in everything from commercial and residential new construction, to sales, commercial and residential servicing and hydronics, Chan established Richmond, BC’s Impetus Plumbing and Heating in 2015. The company services Lower Mainland BC, and currently has six technicians and an apprentice.

Hydronics is a big part of the business, and Chan especially enjoys planning out the systems in his shop. “I like these kinds of systems because they’re very intricate, and they’re very interesting. And the deeper you dive into it, the more these hydronic systems become like computers other than just moving the medium of water. It’s kind of like a game sometimes.

And I like to go all out and do these artwork boards where I do epoxy coating, I’ll wrap my boilers, I’ll put lights behind the installs, and make it really nice and clean. It’s a great satisfaction being able to show people that there is good work being done, to do good work myself, and to give [customers] a great system that can work for many years.”

Chan says the hardest part of hydronics work can often be explaining the benefits of the systems to consumers. “We try to put a lot of things in laymen terms of what this actually does for you and why this company might do this or that,” he notes. “We’re also more expensive than other companies, just because of the way we do things. But it’s a branding thing. So when customers come to us, they know that this is what they’re looking for specifically.”

Both the company and Chan have a strong social media presence, something he believes is important to highlight the range of work done in the industry, as well as to encourage more people to enter the trades.

“More people have to understand our trade for our trade to grow. My goal is bringing more younger people into the trades, while trying to push the trades forward.”

To that end, Chan hopes to launch an initiative over the next year to help inspire youth to enter the industry. “It will focus on letting people know what there is within the trade and what this trade is about, not just the hands-on side but the wholesale side, the manufacturer side, to give people a bigger picture of what this industry really is.”

Best advice you’ve ever received: Be happy with whatever you do. If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.

Advice for young people considering entering the trades: Try it. Know that it is really important to be able to work with your hands, not everything can be replaced by machines. Give things a chance – there is more to plumbing than you think.

The current work ride: Ford Transit Mid Roof

Service area: Lower mainland BC

Favourite part of the job? Being able to fix the problem and help my clients. Having a challenge and being able to overcome these challenges.

The most useful tool in your toolbox: My phone

If you were granted one wish: Stay young forever

Favourite band/performer: The Weeknd

Best concert you ever attended? The Weeknd

Favourite book: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

Favourite TV show: Demon Slayer

Favourite movie: Spider-Man: No Way Home

Last movie you saw: Morbius

Do you play an instrument? Piano

Favourite video game and preferred gaming system: Counter Strike GO – PC

Favourite season: Summer

Favourite place to be: Japan

Last book you read: The E Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Three albums that you’d take with you to your desert island:

  1. Starboy – The Weeknd
  2. Anything by Drake
  3. Anything by Bruno Mars

Finish these sentences:

My rule of thumb is … to play by my own rules.

If I had a million dollars … I would invest in another house.

If I had a super power it would be … to stop time.

Biggest pet peeve: People who say “can’t”

One place in the world you would like to visit: Singapore

One thing most people don’t know about you: I used to B-boy (breakdance).

If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be? Gary Vaynerchuk

Favourite sport: Golf