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#157624 - 12/12/05 10:14 AM For one man shops....just curious.
WhiteRook Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/04
Posts: 49
Loc: Republic of Texas
When you first started your business, did you already have customers that you had established a relationship with at your previous job? Did/Do you get your new work by "cold calling" local GC's, realtors, or property management companies? Did you go to work sites like strip malls and the like with vacant lease spaces and post your business card? What did you do to get your business up and running and how do you find work in the slow periods when your regular customers don't have anything in the works? Without spending a fortune on yellow page advertising, how do you promote your business to the public? Do you use flyers or small ads in local papers?
What do you do for help when you find bigger jobs that might last for a short while...do you use a labor service? Do you want to remain a one man shop? If so why? Are you building a business or are you just self-employed? As a one man shop, did you set your business up as a sole proprietor or an LLC?? Do you work from your home or do you rent or own a "office/shop"?? What do you do for medical insurance? Do you use an accountant/tax person? Do you have an attorney you use for business purposes?

Just wondering!!!

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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#157625 - 12/12/05 11:48 AM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
dougwells Offline

Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1228
Loc: kamloops BC Canada
The first thing I did was to Advertise in the Yellow Pages

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#157626 - 12/12/05 01:28 PM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
Dnkldorf Offline
Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1091
Loc: nowhere usa
A friend of mine asked me about yellow page advertising the other day. He was looking at spending 10K, for a quarter page add.

I told him, my experience in that form of advertising was dismal at best. At first, I pounded the pavement, then advertised in the yellow pages. I got more customers pounding the pavement, then in the books.

But to keep it fair, my customer base doesn't look in yellow pages for electricians.

My lesson learned...

Once you have name recognition, you can trim back avertising costs substantally.

Home or rent space? Both....
I never stop working on something..

Building a business or self employed?
Building, looking to merge with others.....

Accountant=yes, I need one
Attorney=no


Dnk...

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#157627 - 12/13/05 02:51 PM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
whatevva Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/05
Posts: 8
Loc: Uxbridge,Ma USA
"When you first started your business, did you already have customers that you had established a relationship with at your previous job?"

I had one job left to do for my former boss, that I knew he needed me for. I told him he could pay me hourly at the same rate , but he ended up making me bid on the job. Other than that I had nothing solid lined up.

"Did/Do you get your new work by "cold calling" local GC's, realtors, or property management companies? Did you go to work sites like strip malls and the like with vacant lease spaces and post your business card?"

All I did was run index card size ads in 3 town newspapers. There are 2 saying that will bring in tons of work: "No Job Too Small" and "We Return All Phone Calls"

"What did you do to get your business up and running and how do you find work in the slow periods when your regular customers don't have anything in the works?"

There are always customers that have aditional work that they say can be done any time. I ask them if I can save it for slower winter months and that's usually acceptable. I keep a list going .

"Without spending a fortune on yellow page advertising, how do you promote your business to the public? Do you use flyers or small ads in local papers?"

Yellow pages are a joke! My biggest mistake yet. Stick with local papers.


"What do you do for help when you find bigger jobs that might last for a short while...do you use a labor service? Do you want to remain a one man shop? If so why?"

I had friends that I would hire for a day or 2. Now I have a full time (almost) employee. He's ok with having a day off now and then.

"Are you building a business or are you just self-employed? As a one man shop, did you set your business up as a sole proprietor or an LLC?? Do you work from your home or do you rent or own a "office/shop"??"

Self employed sole-proprieter working out of an office in my home (great deduction!)

"What do you do for medical insurance?"

My wife carries the insurance

"Do you use an accountant/tax person? Do you have an attorney you use for business purposes?"

I have an accountant but saw no need for a attorney yet. The accountant does my employee's payroll for $10/pay period which is every 2 weeks
_________________________
Butch

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#157628 - 12/13/05 05:02 PM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
LK,
 Quote:
The contractor i worked for has a clause in the employment contract, that for one year after leaving his employment i could not work within 25 miles from his location, also in my opinion stealing previous employers work is on the shady side of doing business.

It must be the same the world over.
In my old EC's contract, it had a clause called "Restraint of Trade".
For a period of 2 years you were not allowed to work within 10km (7miles) of thier business premises, if you would be working in direct competition with your former employer.

Other side of the coin, there was a well publiicised case over here, about 2 years back, of an Industrial Electrician that negotiated a few deals with the companies customers for himself, while working for his Boss and then abruptly left.
When the Boss found out what had happened, the electrician was hauled before the courts and was in the end fined NZ$40,000.

I must say I agree with you though Les, if you have to use underhand methods like that to win jobs, what's the point of being in the trade at all?.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#157629 - 12/13/05 08:44 PM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
WhiteRook Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/04
Posts: 49
Loc: Republic of Texas
LK...wasn't suggesting "stealing" anyone's work from your employer. Obviously there are companies out there that specialize in say remodel only, residential only, commercial only or industrial only. It would seem to me that you can make "contacts" with people as you go that may want you to do the type of work that your employer does not do. I have never had to sign anything that says I can't do work for someone after I leave that employer. I know that those agreements like the non-compete ones are out there...I just never had to sign one. I was approached by a company that we were doing work for and asked to come and do some more work for them on the side and I refused it because I knew it wasn't right...I even went to my (at that time) employer and told them of the work that customer needed.

You know some bigger companies do not want to mess with smaller jobs too. There are a variety of reason you could have built up a customer base. For example, lets say you did a job for a customer when you were working for your previous employer, they liked your work and found out that you were opening your own business. They have a friend that needs some work done so they tell them to call you. I see no problem with that. Or you may have worked with another trade on a job, say an HVAC company. One of the guys you worked with (past job) recommends you to one of his customers. See what I mean? Or would these be stealing to you?

Anyway...thanks for the responses I have gotten so far. I have heard good and bad about the yellow pages, and I sure don't have that kind of money to spend on one form of advertising. If you can spend that kind of money for one ad in the yellow pages as a one man shop...great, you are really doing well. I would worry that if I got a really good response (enough to pay for those big ads, that as a one man shop I would have to turn a lot of work away which in turn wouldn't give me such a good name regardless of the quality of my work. Personally, I depend a lot on word of mouth to get my customers, but was thinking of possibly trying to expand a bit.

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#157630 - 12/13/05 11:20 PM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
macmikeman Offline
Member

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 718
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
Honest to God truth, I was sitting in the bar where my girlfriend of that time was a waitress until she got off work. I overheard a guy talking to some other guy's about how he was having trouble getting his electrical contractor to get to his jobs. I slid my card over, and next thing I know he is asking me to bid on a townhouse project. 21 years ago, and I am still going strong. I am a one man show now, but wasn't always.

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#157631 - 12/14/05 07:27 AM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
Dnkldorf Offline
Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1091
Loc: nowhere usa
LK, Pa is a right to work state.

Employement agreements that limits ones ability to work in their field, are not enforceable in PA.

I went through one.......


Stealing business is another thing...


Dnk.....

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#157632 - 12/14/05 08:29 AM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
WhiteRook Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/04
Posts: 49
Loc: Republic of Texas
MacMikeman...Where did you go to high school? I went to Radford. I sure do miss body surfing over there...Sandy Beach was awesome. I also liked scuba diving there.
Off topic, but thought I would ask.

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#157633 - 12/14/05 04:33 PM Re: For one man shops....just curious.
LK Offline

Member

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1721
Loc: New Jersey
Dnk,

It's a non compete clause, nothing to do with right to work.

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