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#156980 08/01/05 03:17 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 9
Junior Member
How's the transition from factory to contractor? I'm assuming you worked in a factory or similar industry. I have a ton of questions for you if your willing to spill your guts.

My story is I'm an industrial electrical/electronic technician(electrician) who is concerned about his future in a factory in Illinois. Our work is continually moving South to Mississippi or to cheaper manufacturers in general and I don't see the trend ending.

My wife and I just purchased our dream home in the area where I grew up and have no plans on moving which leave very few options as far as work goes.

My area like yours doesn't have any licensing requirements although I wish they did. So I've thought about starting my own contracting business doing whatever the area needs. But what I would love to do is start a business doing industrial maintenance/calibration/troubleshooting/OSHA requirements. Have you thought about this or do you plan on sticking to mostly residential?

Best of luck!

If anyone else has any input I'm all ears!

Doug [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by Winchester EE (edited 08-01-2005).]

Please buy American made Winchester ammunition! Business is slowly going overseas!
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#156981 08/01/05 10:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 135
If I were you, I would stay at the factory until they throw you out. I also work in a area that doesn't require licensing (varies town by town though) and I can tell you that it is very tough to make a living when there are "handymen" working for $15 an hour and are installing 100-150 amp services for just over $500 complete. And all this is completely legal. The hourly rate that I would like to charge would get me thrown out of most places. With all sorts of businesses closing up around here, all the guys working in maintenance, etc are going out and starting their own businesses meaning the competition is fierce. This is only my first year on my own and the ONLY reason I'm making it is because I also have a stationary engineers license and a background is HVAC-R. Truth be told, I still would have been bankrupt if I hadn't made a killing on my last house when I sold it and have been able to live off the profits. I'm hoping to do the same with the house I bought recently and then get the hell out of dodge. Unlicensed areas bring the market value of your services down, like it or not, that's reality. I listen to some go on and on about not selling on price, etc, etc. I can tell ya, in lower income areas, talk is cheap, people around here only care about price and will hire Joe Blow handyman in a second to save a few bucks. If you do it, ya better have your networks already established with work waiting for you at a price that will allow you to stay in business. If not, you better have a lot of money in reserve because I would bet that you will need it. Just my 2 cents, let me know when you quit your job with a steady pay check and benefits, I'd love to apply.

#156982 08/01/05 10:55 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 219
Would it possible for you to do just Service Work. With a vast industrial background you could troubleshoot circles around 90% of the competition.


#156983 08/03/05 03:27 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 9
Junior Member
sierra electrician:

That's what I would love to do and from the feelings I get about my plant, my company is willing to pay hefty prices for the right contractor. I was even asked by my general foreman one time when I was going to start my own business just so I could rebuild these special high speed motors. We cannot find one shop that can rebuild them besides the manufacturer. So there are some unique skills I've learned from my company that would help.


Thanks for the advice. I have no plans on leaving my job but I just worry about the future with all the outsourcing going on around the country, especially in the rustbelt where I live. Actually my company seems to be very strong and is hiring electricians. So if you or anyone else is interested in a good job give me a PM. Last year I made $84,000 plus benefits but I also had to work 900 hours of overtime to get it!
I do have some close friends who are contractors, one HVAC and one house building. Both seem to do very well and I'm sure I could network with them(on a barstool). But it sounds pretty tough starting out. I hope things get better for you.

How many years do you have to eat potato soup and Raymond noodles before you start making money? My wife, who majored in marketing, says it would take at least three years for advertising to start working. And for every dollar you spend, you would get back three over time. All theory of course! [Linked Image]

I'm going to post an ad in the employment area if anyone is interested in a job.

Please buy American made Winchester ammunition! Business is slowly going overseas!
#156984 08/03/05 07:25 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 135
Sounds like your doing extremely well. Glad to hear it. I was being blunt because sometimes I think people assume they will make more and have a better life on their own, in many cases, this seems to be the opposite of reality. Health care insurance alone will break a small one man shop just starting out. Profit per se, is sometimes nonexistent, you're glad just to be able to pay the bills. Well, I'm not going to rant, seems that you are well aware of this and are just contemplating the future. Sounds like you have a good thing going as of now and it doesn't hurt to plan ahead. In 3 years, if I'm still struggling maybe I'll hang it up, maybe not, but one thing is for sure about business, networking is one of the most important things you can do. If you start building your networks years prior to starting your company you will be ahead of the game. Sounds like you've already started this. Good luck in your endeavors.

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