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