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going into business for your self

smoore Member Posts: 28
I'm located in central Iowa and was thinking about going into businss for myself. I've talked to defferent people and most of them tell me that i would be better off working for a company for a good salary with poss. commision. they tell me that i would work 10 hour days 7 days a week and 2 to 3 hours a night on paper work and make less money. I have small children right now and do not want to neglect them. Is this true or do they just not want the competetion? Any advice or comments would be appreciated.


  • Bryan_5
    Bryan_5 Member Posts: 270

    I know a lot of people in business for themselves. There are 2 ways it can go. Either you are flat broke in 3 years or you can turn yourself into a success but it takes time. Most business fail in the first 5 years. It takes extreme dedication. And a good banker. You will probly only work 18 hours a day 7 days a week for the first 5 years or so. :) You have to wear many hats to be in business for yourself ie..human resources, CEO, CFO, laborer,bookkeeper, salesman, maintance, ect. It is not easy but it can be done. When I got into my own business not HVAC it has been a long hard road. I am now seeing light at the end of the tunnel after 7 years. Is it all worth it? I think so
  • bigugh_4
    bigugh_4 Member Posts: 406
    OH BOY !

    I live in Utah and am retired. So no competition here at all. this is just how I saw it for 45 years.
    1 hour "On the job" causes you to spend (or pay for) 2 hours in house work. That is, the business of running the business is very time consuming. The time to bid (get) a job, the time to account for the job, the time to get the material to a job, all this kind of stuff causes the business of running the job, twice as much time as doing the job in the fist place. Now that given , you can hire folks to do a lot of that. However then you must pay for that from the job. So just where do you stand? You'll have to understand your position (costs) for your self.
    That said, Your Family is much more important than How you earn a living. Owning a business can be a lot more fun and earn more $$$ but there sure can be big drawbacks. And then the KIND of business also intrudes or enhances the family.
    You can find work that you enjoy, make $$$ at, and afford to raise a family also,that is the way to go. HVACR & PLUMBING is able to do it, but owning that 'business' is + & - for the time you need, for the family. I hope I make sense here. Your choice is just plain up to you.
  • Rich_2
    Rich_2 Member Posts: 40
    Working for the man

    I have been on my own for about a year (plumbing & heating) have two little ones(1&2 boy & girl)it seems like sometimes I making it & sometimes I'm not , it got slow last summer so my wife started working part time , last few months been buried alive in work I have no employees I do have a friend of mine who is also a plumber who I use on jobs & also give extra work to ,you need a 'go to' guy.My opinion is go for it,you can always go back working for the man I'm 38 ,I have worked for cool guys & a#*holes, tired of them getting compliments on my work.Med. ins cost me an arm & a leg but I'll get past it ,it depends on your drive you have to be possesed. As for the family, sometimes I work alot of hours & dont see them and sometimes you have a free day in the middle of the week & spend the whole day with them ,like I said my wife works part-time so I baby sit its hard but I wouldn't want to go back now! You see guys in the supply house some of them aren't driven there ment to work for somebody(I'm not talking about everyone) had one old-timer tell me he couldn't make it so I shouldn't try ,HA! THAT GUY IS AN IDIOT! ha,ha I love to think about him working for my old boss , anyway if you dont try you'll never know my accountant tells me there are alot of stupid people making alot of money( try to have a good accountant)good luck!
  • Bryan_5
    Bryan_5 Member Posts: 270

    And as far as the family goes. If the kids have a soccer or baseball game or whatever. You dont have to miss it. You make your own schedule... How many parents can say that? Good luck no matter what your decision is. If you decide to go ahead and do it. Work out the details befor you quit your job. Write a plan and stick to it.
  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Eyes wide open.


    Being a good mechanic has very little or nothig to do with running a business. We are all good mechanics, but not everyone should run a business. Knowing your overhead and charging accordingly is the absolute key to being successful. If you do that, it will make things go easier. There is a wealth of knowledge on this site about running your business. My advice would be to ask for advice. I learn something new about my business every day.


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    The Radiant Whisperer

    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Frank_17
    Frank_17 Member Posts: 107
    Do it!

    I just did last April. I love it.I can go to my son's events. I spend a lot more time with him.I put in alot of hours when the work is demanding. I survived this Past New England winter, VERY COLD. Yes I worked a lot of hours , was called out a lot, But I can take it easy now. Work as I want, play as I want. And still make more money than working for someone else. I could make a ton more if I wanted to do the 16 hour days, but I don't , I want a life, Time to spend with my 14yr son. Not many more years to spend with him until he's off and grown.
    I wish I had done it years ago.
  • Howard
    Howard Member Posts: 57
    i'm looking in

    because that thought enters my mind all the time.

    Howard Hansen Service Technician Extraordinaire
  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595
    Both are true Mr Moore...but

    it all depends on what you are looking for in life. it is like a marriage and you will have all the headaches and $$$$$ problems BUT, you will be calling the shots, and answering ONLY to your customers. Alot of freedom, in a way you are a captive of the business, then again if you do it right - you will hold the keys. If I were you, think long and hard about it, make sure you have plenty of work for yourself and YOU BETTER KNOW WHAT ALL YOUR COSTS WILL BE to run it - get Ellen Rohr's books Mad Dog

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  • bill clinton_3
    bill clinton_3 Member Posts: 111
    starting a business

    I did that thirty three years ago. It was thrilling, fulfilling, and not very lucrative for MANY years. I have two pieces of advice:
    1. Get good advice on how to price, and take that advice.

    2. If you possibly can rein in your enthusiasm for a few years, get a job with someone who knows how to run a business and learn from him. That's not what I did: I have reinvented enough wheels to outfit a railroad (with mostly second rate wheels) and established myself in more bad habits than can be unlearned in one lifetime. Nothing like being forced (by your boss) to do things in a proven manner to get you started right. You can innovate later, after you know ways that work. Most of us would be miles better off if we learned from someone who knows rather than being "self-made". Hell, there must be thousands of well established small businessmen who would be delighted to pass on what they know and an established business with it, if they could just find a qualified successor.

    Think about it.

  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
    I agree if you can find someone........

    who can show you the ropes, and get you in working on the other side of things, (bidding, dealing with customers, etc.), you will be years ahead. A big learning curve going from the field to the desk, and I often look back fondly at the years in the field, but can't seem to work my way back there. And not sure I really want to.

    I would advise that if a person is going into it to be the boss, then its the wrong reason. You will trade your one boss in for many, since each customer is another one. And some of them can be a bigger pain then you could imagine. Add this in with dealing with employees, and you find a lot of time spent being a diplomat.

    But if your looking at it for the long haul, don't mind plenty of long hours, w/ the payback maybe years away, and enjoy it, then go for it. At least you will never be able to blame anyone else for what you make.
  • Jackchips
    Jackchips Member Posts: 344
    Only you

    can make the final decision and your starting out in the right direction by asking for advice.

    I had worked for a few companies before going out on my own. The first account I had went bankrupt before paying a nickle on their initial invoice (after the house was roughed). Things were much better from then on.

    Just some of the things you have to be concerned with are: initial capital-do you have enough to carry you through until the accounts payable start coming in; an account with one or more supply houses-if not you must have enough cash to front your first few projects until you build credit; insurance-this is a must in todays climate, especially liability and some type of coverage in case you get hurt and layed up for any time.

    These are just a few thoughts and I'm sure others will give you more. There are many benefits and some great feelings of accomplishment but you can also do that working for a good company. That is what I have been doing for the last 18 years after 13 in business. I don't regret it but also enjoy the freedom 40 hours a week give you.

    Best of luck
  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595
    Good Idea guys.............I did my time

    with a very progressive, flat rate shop , with the right mentality. It would n't hurt to spend at least 2 years with a top shop Mad Dog

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  • Troy_3
    Troy_3 Member Posts: 479
    New business

    And most of all- If you plan on stayin married she better behind you all the way. It will get very stressful at times. Putting in long hours and workin real hard does not always relate to more money. Payroll and suppliers get paid first. Actually everybody else gets paid first. When those checks don't come it can be hard for the spouse waiting at home with hungry mouths to understand. What ever you decide give it your all and do your best.
  • Joe_10
    Joe_10 Member Posts: 22
    Help for business starup.

    Start with the Small Business Administration (SBA) The people who staff it are all volounteers who are retired and there to help with almost all questions you can have for a business. Maybe your local community college will have a program to help start their own businessees. YOU GOT TO KNOW YOUR TAX LIABILITIES. THEY DON'T TAKE " I DIDN'T KNOW AS AN EXCUSE." ( Personal experience) Even though the tax rules are very large. Hope all goes well.

  • Wayco Wayne
    Wayco Wayne Member Posts: 615
    My 2 cents

    I went into business 16 years ago. Have learned a lot about myself. Not all bad, not all good. I've found I can stand up and take responsibility when things go wrong. I've also found I lose slepp literally when things go wrong. It makes me work harder to make sure things dont go wrong. (Things still sometimes do.) I've learned a great deal more than I would have if I worked for someone. A great book for folks contemplating jumping in the river, so to speak is abook called "The E Myth". Helps if you can manage to have a partner, a hard thing to do. An old employer of mine said being a partner in a business is like being married, only you don't have sex to help you over the rough spots. (yikes!)I have not missed my kids stuff. I have even coached soccer, baseball and basketball for my son's teams. You decide what's important. I find it very hard to have employees, I'm very thin skinned and can't stand them doing things half assed. A good manager can deal with that and facilitate growth. I'm still growing in that area. One positive is that my kids don't seem daunted by thinking outside the box. The don't fall in line just to get by. I think perhaps the example I've set working for myself, shows them that thinking for yourself is a way they can go. Bring your wife in on the decision. Good luck whatevr you decide, and stay in touch with your friends on The Wall

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    STRATOS Member Posts: 11
    just do it

    you know guy"s things in europe ,is a little bit different.
    iam 3 yrs on the job,alone i have 3 kids and 4 people who worked for me. i think you can do it,at least by yourself at the begining.
    hello,from greece(did you guys have the extra bonus in holidays?)...
  • John R. Hall
    John R. Hall Member Posts: 2,246
    An individual choice

    I have never worked full-time for myself, done so on many part-time, independent contractor jobs so I can't speak from that perspective. At my age I'm still contemplating setting up my own shop (full-time freelancer/speaker).

    But I weigh all of my decisions on how much time I will spend away from my family. Nothing in my world is more important than my wife and two young children. I don't want to miss out on any of the important moments in their lives and I want them to be comforted with the knowledge that I will ALWAYS be there for them.

    I don't have the credentials to preach on the subject, only to say that you do what is right in your heart first, then in your head. Good luck with your decision.
  • LKE
    LKE Member Posts: 21
    your strengths -your limitations

    Being in business can be very challenging as others have already pointed out.Knowing what your strengths and limitations are can be elusive, and is to most of us testorone poisoned males.Most likely you already have the best partner you'll ever find, and she is unlikely to have the hormone problem pervasive to our gender. She also will have limitations you will want to consider, and what role she is willing to play in this venture. It is highly likely that she would share some insights into what your strong points and weaker assets consist of.Of all the things in human nature one of the hardest things there is to do is to look at ourselves without overestimating what it is that we can accomplish. There are lots of success stories of those who didn't know what they were getting into but made a success of it anyway.Very often they were just plain lucky,so how do you feel sir? Lucky! The wisest man said this about those who enjoyed sucess in their pursuits: "I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor, because time and unforseen occurrance befall them all." Ecclesiastes 9:11. Being a first rate mechanic will not necessarily make a business venture a sucess, there are so many things that will contribute to it. Not the least of which is sufficient capitol to allow you the time needed to establish sufficent cash flow to sustain you and your's in a manner in which you want to be accustomed!But probably more important is the amount of support your better halve is willing and able to add to your own I'll do what ever it takes attitude. That internal & external drive can make a huge difference. There's a challenging and perhaps rewarding learning experience waiting for you either way you and your partner choose. May I wish you and your's all of the BEST. Your fellow Iowan, LKE.
  • Rocky
    Rocky Member Posts: 121
    Two things that are essential to being successful..

    Learn to say "No" right off the bat. "No" to unreasonable customers. "NO" to allowing your selling price to be whittled away by whining customers, "No" to missing any of your childrens events due to so called "Emergencies". Truly, how many things absolutley cannot wait two hours till the play or ball game is over? It is your own guilt or work ethic that conspires against you to miss these events for so called emergencies. Or, your desire to throw on the Superman cape and "save" everybody. Don't do it.

    Also, find a book at your local library called "The richest man in Babylon" and read it over and over and over until its message is burned into your brain..."Pay yourself first!"
    Good luck and hold the line on family time. customers think they are the only person who needs your time. Unless you set your precedent right off the bat, it is very hard to re-educate your customers later on.
  • Cosmo
    Cosmo Member Posts: 159
    What are you crazy!!!!!!

    > I'm located in central Iowa and was thinking

    > about going into businss for myself. I've talked

    > to defferent people and most of them tell me that

    > i would be better off working for a company for a

    > good salary with poss. commision. they tell me

    > that i would work 10 hour days 7 days a week and

    > 2 to 3 hours a night on paper work and make less

    > money. I have small children right now and do not

    > want to neglect them. Is this true or do they

    > just not want the competetion? Any advice or

    > comments would be appreciated.

This discussion has been closed.