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#169420 - 10/04/07 05:57 PM Leaving the Field for the Office  
bot540  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 174
Vernon Hills, IL
I am a newer contractor and am currently pondering the thought of hiring my replacement and going into the office. The thought of expanding sounds risky but we keep getting busier causing customer service and organization to suffer. I currently have 3 employees and do most of the field work and office work. Any advice is appreciated.

Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:

#169438 - 10/05/07 02:07 AM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: bot540]  
Trumpy  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,223
SI,New Zealand
Hi there,
I thought that this would be a nice change myself, after a "coronary incident" a few years back, I looked to do the admin side of the Lines dept of the PoCo I work for.
To be honest mate, it nearly sent me around the bend.
As soon as an "urgent" call for someone to help with a given job comes in, you want to get out there again, as much as you fight it.
Dis-regard any thoughts of "I can do this", you are in an office now, hand your tools in at the door.

#169443 - 10/05/07 07:33 AM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: Trumpy]  
ITO  Offline
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
Working in the field was a lot less stressful than the office.

101° Rx = + /_\

#169456 - 10/05/07 01:50 PM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: ITO]  
macmikeman  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
Honolulu, Hawaii
Of course not all enviroments will be the same, but my experience with it while employed by others was a revelation to me about how much time is wasted screwing off by various employee's in the office enviroment. The same people would stand around the coffee maker complaining about the field people not producing enough. I dig the field more myself, but good luck to you sir, hope this blossoms for you.

#169463 - 10/05/07 03:28 PM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: macmikeman]  
EV607797  Offline
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
I am with ITO. Working in the field is MUCH less stressful than working in the office. Since I am inside 100% of the time now, here is my list of peeves that I've noticed:

1. Answer a phone call and within 20 seconds, another call will arrive. The phone might not ring for an hour, but as soon as it does, another call will show up right behind it.

2. Make the mistake of going to the bathroom. As soon as the door closes, the phone will ring.

3. When your secretary goes out to lunch, all of her friends, all of the field technicians and your mother will call. In addition, the UPS man will show up with COD deliveries, along with someone looking for a job.

4. While you are spending 30 minutes on the phone with someone who barely has a pulse explaining why your price is more expensive than from someone on e-bay, you miss three potential money-making calls.

5. As soon as you start a conversation with a co-worker about ANYTHING, the phone will ring. You will all spend hours trying to remember what it was you started to ask each other before the interruption. Something ends up being overlooked and you have three field people complaining that they can't get the work done as a result.

6. While you are responding to a very important e-mail, you will receive no fewer than three e-mails from phony (but realistic) senders, only to find that they are nobody that you know, but they have one heck of a deal on Viagra.

7. The parts that you needed today didn't show up, but the ones that you don't need (and can't afford to pay for) until next week will be waiting on your desk.

8. A lunch break is yet again optional since you have three calls on hold and several proposals to rush out. You keep saying that you'll grab a bite later, yet it becomes later, later and later.

9. The Monday after an NFL football game arrives and half of the staff calls in "sick". You wanted to do this yourself, but since you know them so well, you came in. It's a good thing that you did since you are the only one there except the delivery people (wanting checks; see #7 above) before the sun has risen.

10. EVERYTHING is an emergency. I don't care if it's a simple matter of a vehicle maintenance issue, you are expected to drop what you are doing.

11. Somebody in the office doesn't like somebody else and somehow it's your problem to resolve this matter.

12. It's a lot harder to lie on your time sheet when you work in the office. I'm here an hour before the other folks and stay at least an hour later, yet they still manage to have more hours worked.

13. Running up the street to pick up something at the store, like toilet paper (yet another issue) can only take ten minutes before the cell phone is ringing, yet two men can somehow justify spending two hours at the supply house counter picking up a part.

I guess that I should stop there and strongly suggest that if you have the option of working in the field, you might want to consider it.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."

#169502 - 10/06/07 12:19 PM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: EV607797]  
dougwells  Offline

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,141
kamloops BC Canada
No wonder I get overwhelmed at times I have all of the above and work in the field 3 days a week.
Thanks for adding some humor to the situation even though its all true.

#169513 - 10/06/07 07:54 PM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: dougwells]  
Active 1  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
Grayslake IL, USA
Hey I keep asking myself the same thing.
Seems like when I'm busy working in the field, and then I have office work to do at night the customer service hurts. It can be hard enough to find the time to do bids, material orders, return phone calls (because you missed it working on a job), bills, etc. You don't have much time to work on marketing and improving your business. I know I could find more jobs to bid on if I was in the office. But I can't say if the improvements in operations, marketing, and bidding more jobs would pay for a J-man. It sould at least reduce my hours to something more reasonable.

Also a goal sometimes is to create a business that is self sustaining with little owner involvement. I think the first step in that is getting out of the truck.

#169516 - 10/06/07 08:51 PM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: Active 1]  
sparky 134  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 91
Joliet, Il, USA

You need to get that truck fixed before you can pass it on to someone laugh

#169562 - 10/08/07 07:58 AM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: sparky 134]  
ITO  Offline
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
As a business owner once you do move into the office get ready to work more than 40 hours a week too. Typically my day starts before 5am, and I don't head home until after 5pm and sometimes plans go home with me to take off for the next day. Your new job becomes keeping the work flowing.

Also keep in mind the material manager/ purchasing agent job will eat much more time than you think.

101° Rx = + /_\

#169570 - 10/08/07 05:45 PM Re: Leaving the Field for the Office [Re: ITO]  
bot540  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 174
Vernon Hills, IL
How many guys in the field do you have to have to support your salary? I know there are a lot of variables ,but is there a general rule of thumb?

Last edited by bot540; 10/08/07 05:45 PM.

Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3

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