As someone who is setting out on his own to create and grow an electrical contracting company, I often look to those who did it before me for ideas, experience, knowledge, and inspiration. I'm sure most of us in the trade at least consider the self employment road at some point.
I also know that those of us who have started our own companies, have done it from various levels of preparedness, from being handed an already running business, to starting out with little more than a six foot ladder in the back of a hatchback and a vision.
I thought it might not only be interesting, but provide a service to this community, to hear the stories from business owners here as to how they started, and what it was like.
So for those of you at the helm of your own businesses, if you wouldn't mind sharing your stories, I know I would certainly like to hear them, and I'm sure many others would as well.
[This message has been edited by MONOLITH (edited 11-05-2003).]
Ah the good old days..... Started out with a Toyota 4Runner loaded with wal-mart storage boxes to hold tools and parts, kept a 6 foot ladder and 20 ft extension ladder on the luggage rack. Had to let down the window in the back to get pipe in it. That really sucked when it was cold.
As for taking the plunge, it has been good for me and I am thankful for all I have received. (Except for the blown out back which put me in surgery about three months ago).
The long hours wear me thin and the people who think you are at their disposal gripes me a bit too.
I went in business for myself 4 years ago and doubled my gross sales each year for the first three.
The work is out there but the biggest problem is finding good employees. I have been through a slew of kids and few men. Just remember that bigger is NOT better.
Would i do it again. Yes. Would i do some things different. Yes. Good Luck with your new business and may you prosper!
Arseegee..... Amen to you.... Finding good guys is nearly impossible! Increasingly, employees want more money, but their quality and quantity leaves much to be desired. Makes me feel better knowing others share the same frustration.
My plan is to stay small. From what I have seen and experienced, smaller shops with fewer people can carry a higher profit margin, with less hassle.
There are plenty of 25 million dollar companies out there, who's overhead is staggering, their quantity of their problems is breathtaking, and the number of employees multiplied by the number of hours people are goofing off, equals a years salary for me. Consequently, even though they are doing 25 million in business, their true profit percentage when all is said and done can be surprisingly small.
I also have a couple of friends, both of whom have small shops (less than 8 employees) who make a killing off of running service vans, and smaller jobs (30 days or less) where they don't get bogged down in extended manhours they didn't bid. Plus, a small, close and friendly group is far more efficient and devoted than 100 employess, most of which just want to milk their hours.
So, my belief is, stay small, keep overhead to a minimum, find a few good guys and keep them happy, keep an eye on things, and hope for the best.
[This message has been edited by MONOLITH (edited 11-08-2003).]