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#175294 - 02/26/08 08:28 AM Planning to go into bussiness for yourself?
sparkyinak Offline
Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1286
Loc: Alaska
I have seen over the course of several posts about sparkies taking the plunge of going into business for themselves with little experience in how to run a business. This can get a person in a pickle really quick. I am calling on the "seasoned" business folks out there to share their recommendations, suggestions, and experiences (mistakes) here for others to learn from before attending the school of hardknocks. My intention here is give others some food for thought before taking the big step and to assist others who already have gone into business for themselves. It may give ideas not thought of already or give someone a reality check before biting off more then they can chew.

* My first piece of advice would be that first and foremost, you have to identifed what skills you have and what you do not.

* Does your local market can support another contractor?

* As a business person, you have to make yourself stand out from your competitors.

* You will obvious need customers, so talk to friends, get involved in your community. Get to know your community, their likes and dislikes of existing service.

* HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN.

* Learn how to budget and figure out your break even cost, like administrative overhead like phone, billing, accounting, transpotation, tools and tool replacement, etc.

* Identfiy all the documentations needed like licenses, insurance, bonding, etc.

* Take small business classes. Many communities provide free or low cost classes.

* You will need suppliers and vendors.

* Get to know your local business owners. You can usually can count on them to pay their bill and on time quicker then a home owner. They know what it takes to run a business plus they know other business owners.

* Being a small operation, money is the biggest thing you will never have so learn how to stetch a dollar without cutting corners.

* You will need reliable transportation and backup if you primary rig breaks and it will.

* learn how to scope and bid projects. there are several good courses out there.

* Plan on many, many long days and no life for a while. Starting a business is like having a baby. It will take all you time and money.

I highly recommend that you understand theses before telling your boss that you are quitting \:\)
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Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#175295 - 02/26/08 09:11 AM Re: Planning to go into bussiness for yourself? [Re: sparkyinak]
LK Offline

Member

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1721
Loc: New Jersey
You can offer all the advice, from EC's many years of making, serious mistakes, and the true dreamers, will disgard all the advice, and dive in head first.

They are sure your advice is all wrong, and they have seen many guys, that started at the bottom, and made it big, but if you ask them, did they take the time to check out these claims of, I made it from nothing stories, there is no response, as you noted, most guys don't even bother to check the area, to see if there is a need for another business.

Check the county records, to see how bad things may really be, someone will always come along, and claim they made it, without plans, and are making big money.

My bet is, if you had access to their records, you would most likely find, they are not what they claim. These are the guys that talk louder, until someone listens, the ones that are really making it are usually, not found on the forums, they are both private, and keep their business matters, to themself, your better off searching out a truly secessful business owner, and letting them mentor you thru the learning process.


Edited by LK (02/26/08 10:51 AM)

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#175311 - 02/26/08 05:51 PM Re: Planning to go into bussiness for yourself? [Re: LK]
sparkyinak Offline
Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1286
Loc: Alaska
I agree with you on all points. This does not mean that sharing helpful info is a wasted effort. There are many folks that read these messages. Rather they take any of the info of any thread serious is totally on them.
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#175314 - 02/26/08 06:08 PM Re: Planning to go into bussiness for yourself? [Re: sparkyinak]
BryanInBalt Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 47
Loc: Baltimore
In the present decline of the economy you do a greater service by advising them to NOT break out on their own.

Stay put where you are.
Do what you can to make things better there.
Expand your skill set while earning.

A year or three from now... reconsider.
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Design-Build isn't supposed to mean design *as* you build.

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#175316 - 02/26/08 06:13 PM Re: Planning to go into bussiness for yourself? [Re: sparkyinak]
schenimann Offline
Member

Registered: 02/18/08
Posts: 194
Loc: Western North Carolina
I'll take all the advice I can get. Dad retired now I have the business. We have plenty of work. My issue seems to be scheduling. Everybody wants it now. I know what your going to say, they have to wait their turn. That's easy to say unless your new at this not very good at time management. Keep the good advice coming.

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#175321 - 02/26/08 06:35 PM Re: Planning to go into bussiness for yourself? [Re: BryanInBalt]
sparkyinak Offline
Member

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1286
Loc: Alaska
 Originally Posted By: BryanInBalt
In the present decline of the economy you do a greater service by advising them to NOT break out on their own.
I can agree with that to a point that it appears to be more trouble on the horizion. Think harder before leaping. This is part of my intention of the thread. If you are thinking about or already went out on your own, you have to think like a business man, not a sparkie. The pickings are fewer and fewer. I am not saying to take the plunge or stay put. It should not be a half-hearted decision. "making it work" or "winging it" is not the best way to manage a business. Granted that is a standard small business model it seems. It works for some but I would not recommend it as an acceptable practice.
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"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa

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#175325 - 02/26/08 06:55 PM Re: Planning to go into bussiness for yourself? [Re: schenimann]
frenchelectrican Offline

Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 938
Loc: Wi/ Paris France { France for ...
 Originally Posted By: schenimann
I'll take all the advice I can get. Dad retired now I have the business. We have plenty of work. My issue seems to be scheduling. Everybody wants it now. I know what your going to say, they have to wait their turn. That's easy to say unless your new at this not very good at time management. Keep the good advice coming.


that part you have to be well aware with scheduling time window i always leave a little room for fudge factor [ it do happend from time to time ]

and also becarefull with afterhours service i almost got burnted from this make sure they understand that once you get your foot in the customer's place you have to charge proper afterhours rate unless it is sheduled work which you can't shut off the power during daytime [ it happend alot on commercal side ]

and the other thing Schenimann just listen to your old man he may pass a trick or two to keep the bussiness going smooth as well.

Merci, Marc
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Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)


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#175334 - 02/26/08 08:52 PM Re: Planning to go into bussiness for yourself? [Re: frenchelectrican]
Sixer Offline
Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 264
Loc: Canada
I highly recommend taking an entrepreneurial business course. It probably was the most beneficial thing I ever did before starting up. You'll be taking the course with other people who have ideas on other types of businesses, and collectively do a business plan, projected cash flow, etc.
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Sixer

"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"

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