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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 202
J
Member
I am thinking of doing some industrial machine tool electrical, mechanical, plc, and programming on the side. Does anyone have any experiences that will give me some ideas on the do's and don'ts of running a buisness on the side. I have one project going now and have thought about putting my name in at some small machine shops in my area.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 112
G
Member
thats how i started my own business. i was a night shift maintenance electrician for a major auto manufacturer, and started doing small, one-man jobs on the side. it was a struggle during those years because, even though i was a "card-carrying" journeyman, i was not up on the residential portions of the code. i made a lot of phone calls and picked a lot of brains in those days, to make sure i didnt screw something up. [Linked Image]
i still screwed up my share though........
as time went on, i began getting more side business, through "word-of-mouth" advertising, to the point that i was able to quit my night job, hire an apprentice, and begin doing it full time. i ate a lot of beans and "jam sandwiches" in those days...:S
[Linked Image]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 111
S
Member
I have done pretty much the same as gramps. After september 11, 2001, and the ensuing economic woes, My job as a commercial electrician was at stake. The company started laying off the week of X-mas [Linked Image] During the first week of Feb 2002, I packed my grip. I was asked to wire a 19 unit storage building for a friend. I have been busy ever since. I also left the company because of lack of work. ( I was off for 15 days in december)
I now have my ol ford outrigged with tool boxes,tools, etc. and a growing list of satisfied customers.
It takes lots of Faith [Linked Image]
Go for it


I did not get as think so badly as you shocked I did.
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 131
T
Member
Get insurance... If you don't your buisness could be over before it started. A legal buisness gives you the ability to bid real work with out having to worry if you will get caught. Even great electricians make mistakes. If they make a bad one and are not insured they could go to jail. it does happen. Hope I didn't scare you - well maybe just enough to be smart - Just be careful and make good decisions

Tom

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
S
Member
Quote
Even great electricians make mistakes
roger that Tom. [Linked Image]

i'd only add that one should collect as many resources as possible, not just trade related, but business related.

the one single element i lacked opening my doors was customer relations, or more the ability to cultivate them.

this is something i've had to work hard on, allbeit there seems a never ending variety of customers adding to said education....
[Linked Image]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 131
T
Member
I second sparky's reply. The more things you have in place like supply accounts, relations with builders (if you choose to go that route), buisness bank account etc. the easier it will be when work starts rolling in.
Develope a buisness plan. Invision how you are going to handle situations as they arise. For instance what do you do if your supplier limits you account to $500 to start. Your first big job requires $5,000 in material. You should have thought that through long before it became a problem. If you did then you already know how to handle the situation.

Good Luck
Tom

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 717
G
Member
I was in business for 12 years. I picked up my major customers by engineering stuff no one else would do, read make legitimate repairs on major equipment rather than complete replacements. Yup, lotsa jam sam-which-is, but we made it through.

Roger that insurance, it's expensive, never once used it, would not go without it.

On the subject of lay-offs, Sean, Christmas eve, late 70's, company came around with a pink slip (we were expecting them, but anyone with a heart woulda at least waited until New Years), as I left the building, it started snowing, they had laid off me and the guy that was riding with me at the same time. We got in my truck, as I turned it on, Merle Haggard came on the radio singing "If we make it through December". It was either laugh or cry, we chose laugh. BTW, to make this better, my wife was pregnant, and he had just had a daughter a month before. Geeeez, we coulda been a country song. [Linked Image]

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 202
J
Member
I know about the lay off, it was about 5 years ago and we had just had our second boy and it was about 3weeks till christmas and wham we don't need you anymore. But i had another job in less than a week. i have never been out of work for less than a week unless i wanted to. i know how to talk to people and were to look.

Thanks for all the good advise guys, like i said if i do it now this will be a machine tool repair buisness, but i have also considered the electrical side residential, commercial and industrial, iam looking to find a company that does this in my area and work PT for them to learn more of the code and tricks of the trade.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 83
P
Member
Don't be hesitant to take on small jobs. Or even jobs that are kinda-sorta-not-maybe what you want to be doing. It's getting inside the door that counts! Then make yourself invaluable. It doesn't matter if your watering the plants in the plant managers office. If your charging for T&M, than your still making your mortgage payments and feeding your family.

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
Likes: 1
Member
You can survive off of sheer enthusiasm the first few jobs, maybe even the first year... but then things will start really catching up if you haven't planned...

Nothing beats working capital.

Always pay yourself.

Being as your starting out while keeping a "day job", your woes and worries won't be as extreme, so use it to your advantage.

Just more "pithy bromides" from Virgil...

Good luck!


-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI
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