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Pimp my Garage - BN

Bill Nye_2
Bill Nye_2 Member Posts: 538
We have discussed tools, trucks, etc. What about your shop? I have recently found myself unemployed, [Thursday] and I am very tempted to go back to work for myself. Aahh the phone calls, the long hours, chasing my money, the mountains of paperwork.......... I sure miss it.

I have always had my office in the home and worked out of two [very]small garages and a small 1940's chicken coop. After three days of trying to put things back in order [been employed by others since 1998] I am convinced it will not work.

My question is, what do you do? Does anyone have a DEI sized nascar type shop? If money were no object????

I can see in floor heat, well lit work shop, fleet maintenance and inside storage, inventory, climate controlled office space, tunes, .......... showroom?

Well, it is ok to dream, my former employer was so cheap I couldn't afford to live so now I don't have two nickles to rub together......... just some beat up tools , a 13 yr old truck. But on the other hand, a life time of experience, a true desire to suceed, a passion for what I do............ I guess I'll do ok.

Clammy where are you at? Maybe we could get together


  • Bill Nye_2
    Bill Nye_2 Member Posts: 538
    My wife

    My wife caught me looking at new vans, she reminded me I can't even afford new cothes! I turned in all of my uniforms, jackets and T'shirts. Yes I had to turn them in or else they would be deducted from my final pay!!!!
  • singh
    singh Member Posts: 866
    you can do it!

    I delivered newspapers in the am with an old pick-up truck my first year in biz, to make ends meet.
    Then did small jobs and service calls during day.
    Although not were I want to be yet,( >4 yrs) I now have a new van ,do mostly plumbing and radiant heat installs only and just added 700 sq, ft to my "shed".
    Did all the work myself and even made small office space for myself. No heat yet,right now using electric portables.
    Think big but act small,nothing matter with operating out of your basement,shed and garage. Watch those $$ buy only the essentials, combo phone/fax to start out with, buy tools a little at a time. And don't be afraid to charge enough. Find another one man shop to "share" work load on bigger stuff, avoid payroll if you can for now.
    It helps to have working spouse , and we don't pay for daycare, I watch my daughter evenings and weekends while my wife works.
    All in all,the only thing I miss when I worked for someone was a steady paycheck, hopefully I can be independent for a long time.
    Good Luck, whatever you do. Where are you located?
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
    north jersey

    I,m in northern jersey where are you located.I haven,t even took a vacation yet and word travels fast i already have a small line of jobs to do so one door does open as one closes even though i wish things would not have ended as they did with the former employer but oh well .peace clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    Bill Nye, The Radiant Science Guy...

    with what you know, you could go out and show OTHERS how to do it... Or you could become a traveling consultant and show others how to FIX problems that are out there.

    Times will be tight and tough, but I have faith that you can do it. It IS tough being self employed for so long, then having to go to work for other people, and watch them screw up everything they do.

    I feel VERY fortunate for having the partner in business that I do. I brought the brawn, he brings the brains... Together, we are unbeatable.

    Thanks Tom!

    And good luck in your new adventure Bill!

  • Ragu
    Ragu Member Posts: 138
    Bill Nye

    Some good stuff from Singh and Mark E. Going back on your own...I did, so this is my second time around. It is still the right way to go. I didn't need anything new except an attitude. Sharing work with other one person operations has been helpful. You are way better at this than you think you are, and you already know that you are good. Don't make the same old mistakes (there will be be some new ones). Get some help with handling the finances! Remember that you will get paid in chunks. You have the right to say "NO!". You can now go back to doing the design, the specifications and the installation the way it SHOULD be. It never hurts to look at consulting, also. Your accumulated wisdom has a definite monetary value. Find or create the niche for yourself and then fill it. Best to ya!
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    I gonna pimp your

    unemployment, not your dream garage :)

    I like the idea of partenering better than a one man start up show. Gosh the cost of being a small one man shop (insured,legal,licensed etc) has become outrageous!

    Truck and tools is a small start, when you add up all the costs. Being on call 24/7 365 or 6 gets to be a drag also.

    Put pen to paper before you hang the shingle. Either way best of luck. I'm sure you will do your customers proud.

    hot rod

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Bill Nye_2
    Bill Nye_2 Member Posts: 538

    for all the votes of confidence and the encouragement.

    Clammy, I'm in South Eastern Connecticut. It might be a little too far to commute. I-95 sucks and gas costs too much.

    Hard work and money aside, I derive the most satisfaction from a job well done. The correct parts applied in the best manner for the given situation. In my best interest, the customers best interest, and the poor fellow who has to service the system in the future. Idealistic ? maybe, but if I'm the boss, so be it.

    But getting back to the shop, does any one have a dream shop they want to brag about? I'd love to see a picture
  • Ragu
    Ragu Member Posts: 138
    Bill Nye

    Was thinking again of your situation....I left my own biz in disgust, after 5 years, and took a job with the local oil company. Topped out at 10 bucks an hour with minimal bennies (20+yrs in the trade). That aside, the hardest part was doing installations using the company's very poor designs, materials and brand names. It was so hard carrying on, when I already knew that there were much better (and more cost-effective) materials and procedures out there. I committed to them for a year, and during that time I actually went BACKWARDS in terms of personal finance, sanity and skill. Did my year and went back out on my own following my own rules and requirements; it has eliminated much of the "junk" work. Also, once word got out that I had left the company, other places tried to recruit me, but I was committed to my own dream. These were really good outfits and wanted me for a long time, but they were too decent to "steal" me from another company. Is the word out yet that you are available?
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Best of Luck, Bill!

    Just a short note of support Bill! I know that you have the skills to succeed, your installs speak for themselves. Given how unhappy your last job made you, perhaps it was a good thing to be let go by them. Besides, what are the old shirts good for other than something to wear when you're painting in your own home?

    I hope that you land on your feet ASAP. I'd like to think that a great number of customers would be willing to "defect" to stay with you rather than your employer. After all, it's you that installed their showcase systems, not the management. So, I wouldn't feel shy about calling these people and eliciting whether they'd like maintenance, etc. done by you instead of the other guys.

    Also plant the seed in people's minds that you're around just in case a boiler is scheduled to go. Word of mouth advertising is worth its weight in gold...

    All the best in your new ventures, I'm holding my thumb for you (a good luck charm in Germany).
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,338
    Bill... random thoughts..

    It sounds like you have all the right things for being self employed. Consider taking whatever work comes your way now as long as it is for good clients. Bad work and good clients works... the other way around doesn't. Get the cash flow up and running right away while planning that new shop. Live just beneath your means. Print and hand out cards. Use word of mouth. Brainstorm about where those good clients are going to come from. Don't compete on price. Compete based on your knowledge. Your rate may be higher but you'll cost less in the long run. "Find a Professional" might be a good move for you too!

    I've been doing this self employment thing nearly thirty years now and it continues to be a learning experience.

    Yours, Larry
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