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#154690 11/14/04 10:41 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Dave55 Offline OP
I thought it might be helpful if we introduced ourselves and described our operations, so...

I'm a loner/one-man-show. I work out of my home with a 1/2-ton pickup (and a one-truck garage). My overhead is very low, which serves me well during the slow spells. I've been a registered electrician in Illinois for ten years.

For ten years prior I had a repair/remodeling business, so I had a customer base when I made the switch. Before that I was a machine electrician.

I do residential-after-the-builder (builders around here are low-bid, cut-throat), and have a good ongoing commercial job nearby.

That's about it...look forward to the posts in this area.


Latest Estimating Cost Guides & Software:
#154691 11/14/04 02:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 46
Good idea Dave

Some may remember me from visiting the Wed. night chat when I had the time.
I also have a one man show.Been master licensed in VT and NH since 1995,went into business in 1998 after 15 years of making others money.I had a couple of employees until last year and decided it was more enjoyable for me to go solo.I also work mostly in the service/remodeling end now,though I started out in the trade as mainly working commercial/industrial.
I also teach the 3rd year course for the state registered apprentices at the local vo-tech 2 nights a week since 2002.

#154692 11/14/04 02:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
Dave great idea. [Linked Image]

Can you send me an email?

Use the button at the top of my post


[This message has been edited by iwire (edited 11-14-2004).]

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
#154693 11/14/04 06:15 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
I've been self employed for quite some time, not sure that I want to admit just exactly how long that has been.

I used to have a few employees years ago, but finally came to the realization that it wasn't worth the paperwork & it took me away from what I really like to do which is electrical work.

Most of the jobs I get are more or less "design/build" which I prefer over most of the typical architect/engineer over designed/specified work. I occaisionaly get to wire a house, but most of my work is commercial, light industrial or mining related.


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
#154694 11/14/04 10:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 79
Great idea Dave. I am sooooo looking forward to our discussions. I have been an electrician for 25 years now.........and still love it. It is an ongoing battle w/me whether I like the electical "hands on" or the joy of running a systemized business. However, I only work with the public on the side. You full-time guys are my heros and my hat is off to you. Through the week I run an inmate crew at a Federal Penitentiary with a pretty spiffy apprenticeship program that I must admit I truly enjoy teaching. One man shop on weekends, mostly resi "old work". Had some success with data cabling our local schools. No state license required for the state of Illinois as of yet, however I do know they are working on it. Should be soon. In efforts to better myself I went to Lansing, Michigan and took my Masters. I love this trade and want to do anything I can to raise the standard. Along the same lines, I want us to see the rewards of our efforts($$$$$) increase with shared wisdom. LK, I am so glad you are riding fences for us at this site. You have already help me when I could make the chat on Wednesday night. Thanx guys, this will be fun.

#154695 11/14/04 10:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 6
Junior Member
I currently work at an electrical distributor.
Several years ago, I got laid off from one distributor. Between the time I was laid off and was hired at my current company, I worked with my Dad, who was a residential electrician. I LOVED IT!! Something about seeing the "fruits of your labor" instead of shuffling paperwork.
After I got hired, I continued to work on Saturdays with my Dad. Unfortunatly, due to an illness last year, he had to give up his business. I almost took over one of his jobs. But the builder wanted me to do it full time. This would have left my family without benefits. Without the time to research alternatives, I passed.
It got me thinking though about the possibility of starting my own business.
Recently, my wife has been looking for a job that will provide us with benefits so I can do this.
In the meantime, I've been reading up on codes and doing some small jobs.
I'm interested in any advise one might have regarding what I need to do to get my name out there and build my customer base.
Any assistance is appreciated!

#154696 11/14/04 11:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
I started in the electrical field as a summer job in High School. After college I decided to start a remodeling company, don't ask me why, I didn't really like it. I kept doing electrical on the side and on my own projects. One day 5 or 6 years ago I decided to stop trying to do everything and specialize. The rest is history. I was a 1 man shop for a year, then I got a helper, then I hired a lead man for my helper and so on. Now I have 4 crews and spend half my time in the office and the rest of my time estimating, trouble shooting, and checking on the jobs. We do service work and small projects, very little new construction.

#154697 11/15/04 12:22 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 200
I'm a 3rd year apprentice and really enjoying the trade. This is my 3rd career path after getting bored out of the IT industry, and a brief dabble in auto mechanics.

The thought of self-employment when I'm done is already very appealing to me. I'm planning to take nightschool immediately after 4th year to write for my contractor's license. Then take on side work, and let it grow to eventually replace my job as an employee.

The information shared here is excellent. I hope that I can contribute to it with time.

#154698 11/15/04 09:47 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Tom Offline
For those of you planning on starting a business- there is a book out there that is well worth getting your hands on called "Small Time Operator." I read it a looonnnggg time ago when it was chiseled in stone [Linked Image] . It has been updated and is available on paper now, but the book deals with a lot of issues that you should be aware of. We may be good at our trade, but that doesn't neccessarily translate into being good at business.

Advice #2- never, ever, put off paperwork. It tends to breed when you're not looking and can quickly get out of hand, even for a small one man shop.


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
#154699 11/15/04 05:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 156
I second doing paperwork ASAP but tend to procrastinate. It is the part I hate the most but also one of the most important. I strictly do residential electric. I was mostly doing remodel/new construction but working for GC's got to be frustrating so I moved on to service work. I learned most of what I know about electricity in the field but have taken a few classes as well. Been in business for roughly 4 years and in the trade about 10 years. Love the work.....especially when the job is done and you can look back and admire your work.


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