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Headaches of starting your own business!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hillbillyhellcat, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. 37cevy4dr
    Joined: Nov 21, 2010
    Posts: 31

    from Louisiana

    Being in business for your self is NOT EASY and DO NOT plan on MAKING MONEY just a living. Like one of the guys said do not fall for the sad stories, figure YOUR TIME and charge for it. Your talent and TIME is what you are selling. If you figure on renting an old gas station DON'T. At any time the EPA (not anyone's friend, human or animal) can come in and rip out the tanks at your expense. They can shut you down for months. If they find gasoline leakage they can make you haul all the dirt for 10 feet around the contamination to a toxic landfill and then you have to backfill the hole. In no way is it worth the risk. If they have been pulled already get written proof that they signed off.

    Remember as one guy said "Never take a 5 day vacation." Darn near went bankrupt just because I took a weeks vacation and took my wife to see her Mom. If you are not there the customer will find somewhere else to get it fixed and he WILL NOT come back. Had a good body business till the vacation, took me 6 months to get the business back up. Took the wife and kids let them out to graze where they could darn near couldn't feed them or keep the lights on.
    Damn politicians have NO IDEA about small business and they will tax you to death.
  2. carryallman
    Joined: Jan 5, 2009
    Posts: 399


    i just run off a guy wanting some aliminum welding ,done on a trailer ,besides being late for an appointment i looked at job ,told him it would be under $50.00,he said well how much under ? i said well,id do it for $40.00 ? 2-4" horizontal welds ,plus a 4" vertical weld -tig of coarse ! it was ground but not ss brushed ,anyway he told me no way he would spend over $20-$25.00 for that weld ? he had a 110 v welder at home BUT couldnt weld aluminum ! i told him i just filled a argon bottle /thats not cheap and supplies always going up ! told him well can you do anything -like a barter for me ? all i got was a dumber that shit look ! i have gave people i dont really like free jobs -cause they had a sob story -but this idiot ought to go buy some aluminum weld equiptment -find out what the cost is of doing business is !! i should of thrown him out ! BUT i was nice -just told him to get out of my driveway and have a nice day! even if you have a small home shop its tough trying to support it !like somebody up this list said i dont want to buy work ? was that it ?? anyway thanks for listening mike "carryallman" wahl
  3. beast460
    Joined: Aug 21, 2011
    Posts: 71


    bob and chaos are spot on.
    i used to have a business outside of the car industry and i'm in sales now (pretty much the same as self-employed). i am definitely not the cheapest guy out there.
    i am the guy that you can call after 5 and get an answer most days. i am the guy that you can call at 6 in the morning and get most days.
    i sell building materials to mostly residential builders in the worst economy in history and i have already beat my best year (been doing it for 6 years). do good work at a fair price.
    be prepared to lose money on a job now and then. you can't win them all, learn from the ones you lost.
    watching the cash flow kind of falls in with not working too cheap.
    if you line up a ton of work then complete it and hit a slow period and there's not enough money to survive for a few lean months you are working too cheap. it felt like you were making money because you were working your ass off.
    my stock answer to anyone that tried to beat me down is "i can break even on the couch".
    good luck!
  4. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,905

    from Minnesota

    Have a contract worked up by a lawyer between you and your partner.
    Lay out all guidelines and have responsibilities spelled out.
    More than once I have seen partnerships go south leaving one partner holding the bag while the other says...see ya!
    Make sure anything bank related (especially outgoing checks and withdrawals)require 2 signatures.
    Protect your ass
  5. gtkane
    Joined: Jan 25, 2009
    Posts: 327


    Think it's hard starting? Wait until you try to dissolve a business.
  6. realkustom51
    Joined: Nov 14, 2005
    Posts: 664


    I travel the east coast from Maryland to Florida installing and repairing press brakes and shears. (Even repaired a shear for the FBI) After doing it for 20 years under someones thumb, I started my on outfit in 2006 ( Made it this far knock on wood. So here is my advice.

    Save every single dime you get your hands on. Dont spend anything. This will keep you from having to borrow so much money next year to pay your self employment taxes. I can barely make enough to pay uncle sam.

    Attached Files:

  7. hillbillyhellcat
    Joined: Aug 26, 2002
    Posts: 595


    Thanks for all the input.

    We're responsible for the building and property as per the lease. However, the HOP is responsible by the owner unless we have a lease for longer than 15 years according to PA. He is telling us that we are. So we are in a dispute right now. If it ends up he is right we're walking away. I'll look for another building. It's quite a shame. I am glad that my investment is small right now, the worst part is that I have been off work for 3 weeks.
  8. hillbillyhellcat
    Joined: Aug 26, 2002
    Posts: 595


    Oh, and we are a LLC. Like everyone else, it would be nice to find a way to fly below the radar.
  9. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,813


    One big lesson I learned when I opened my business over 13 years ago, you really can't do it cheaper than the next guy. You can do it better, but not usually cheaper. The guys who low ball everyone else don't seem to be in business for very long. Either because they become too busy and cut corners or they get burned out because too much work and not enough money.

    There was a post a while back by a younger guy who said he worked at a auto repair business of some type and the owners were charging X amount an hour and he figured he could open his own business in his garage and charge 1/2 of X and still make a good profit. What most of this people don't realize is the hourly shop rate not only pays employee salaries while they're working but it also pay them while they are standing around waiting for work. You cannot lay off workers if you have a day or two of down time. You have to keep them busy sweeping floors, washing windows, whatever you can find for them to do until work comes in. It's not easy laying people off. If you have good workers they'll find other work and when you need them they won't be there. If you do start out on your own, in your garage or small shop, and are really good you will get more work than you can handle yourself. You will have to hire help and then you'll have to find a larger facility so you have enough room so you aren't stumbling over each other. When your volumn of work increases your neighbor will start to complain about the traffic and late hours.

    Shop rates also pay for other expenses like rent or mortgage, utilities, taxes and other expenses. Believe, shop rates get eaten up real fast.

    In my business a good percentage of the competition are guys working out of their garages at night or on weekends. They charge about 1/3 of what I do and usually get paid in cash, no invoices or other paper work. The two major benefits I impress onto prospective customers I over the garage guys is I will be available at 10:00 in the morning if they need my help to get a machine running, the garage guy might be able to make it some time after work if he doesn't have a family obligation to attend to first. When a machine goes down it can literally cost a company tens of thousands of dollars an hour, every minute counts. The other benefit is I carry full liability insurance. If some one is injured while using a machine I wired everyone involved can and will be sued. If I worked out of my garage and I found out some one got hurt on a machine I worked on I'd clear my garage out of every single tool and supply that in any way linked me to the job. When the customer came to me and asked to help with the law suits I'd disavow any knowledge of the job. Where's the proof?
  10. 40streetrod
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 477

    from nj

    you start a thread asking for advice on starting your own business.
    Any pointers - Words of Wisdom?
    then your fellow Hambers give you 2 pages of their wisdom
    and then in your last post you say
    "It would be nice to find away to fly below the radar"
    now I have to ask, what do you mean by "fly below the radar"
    what part am I missing here?
    everyone here told you some good sound advice on running a business and the best you could get out of it is "fly below the radar"
    my advice to you is get a Lawyer now because when the IRS get's your ass in a few years with that attitude your going to need him.
    good luck
  11. 39 sledge
    Joined: Aug 6, 2007
    Posts: 346

    39 sledge
    from p.a.

    Two words DONT DO IT times are hard for everybody i had a shop for 8 years and closed last year due to cash flow or lack of it, had alot of fun but in the end put alot stress on me and my family NOT WORTH IT people dont care about you in the end just what they can get for nothing or free i still have friends that are doing it still and barely floating!unless your business is healthcare,pharmaceutical,food service,medical fields.your going to struggle.end of rant sorry.:D:cool:
  12. hillbillyhellcat
    Joined: Aug 26, 2002
    Posts: 595


    I know, and I appreciate the advice. Just kind of a wishful thinking type of thing, but I know what reality is. :)
  13. coolmilitary
    Joined: Jun 16, 2006
    Posts: 120

    from So Cal

    Don't let my previous post make you think it's all bad. There are a lot of positives that go with owning your own business. I was just saying that in the beginning, it can be tough. If you find your nich, and stick to it. The rewards will come!
  14. carmuts
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 874


    I tried to go it alone selling parts in 2001. Went very well til about Sept. of 2002. May have just been bad luck or bad timing. I got behind on things from there and had to sell things at a discount to catch up and keep food on the table. Then had nothing left to buy more inventory. I should have spent less on buying parts for my project when things were going good and spent more on parts to sell. Lesson learned. Rod
  15. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,813


    I agree, I don't know if the good balances out with the bad, but I'm too far into my business to be able look for another job. I've been on my own for over ten years and there have been some very lean times where I had to find part time work just to pay the rent on the building.

    Anyone who complains about being self-employed are just whiners. I complain about the low times but enjoy the high times. I also tell the whiners to get a real job if they don't like being self-employed. I for one would have an extremely hard time working for some one else. I like doing things my way, at least what I assume is the right way. That's the main reason I started my own business. The two previous places I worked wasted more time and money trying to get something done and usually the end result was a half-ass mess. They would rather do a procedure using inadequate tools and hours of time than spending $200 for a tool that would save them hours of work and come away with a better product. Now when I see an advantage of spending money to make more I do it without having to beg for it.

    The biggest advantage I see is being able to make my own schedule. I don't have to fill out paper work or gravel to have a day off. Many times my schedule won't allow me to take time off but when it does I've been able to go to school programs and chaperon field trips with my kids' classes. I don't think I could have done this if I worked for some one else My schedule is usually like a balloon when you squeeze the middle the ends bulge, if take some time off during the week I usually have to make it up with a longer day or weekend day later on. If anyone asks about my time out of the shop I just say I'm attending a "Meeting" or giving a "Quote".
  16. Kilowatt
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 5


    I would read the folling books before you spend a dime: The E-myth by Micheal Gerber and Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. Good luck I wish you the best. The best advise I can give is learn from others mistakes. Success leaves clues.
  17. carcruse
    Joined: Aug 20, 2007
    Posts: 838


    In Micihigan, any work within the State Highway roght of way needs a permit from the State. It sounds like that is equilivant to your " Highway Occupancy Permit". I don't believe you need the highway occupancy permit unless you a repairing or installing the driveway into the site or fixing or installing something else within the State, city or county right of way.
  18. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,081


    Be sure and find out who's responsible for the EPA clean up if it's an old gas station. This includes paying for the removal of the old underground gas tanks if not already done.
  19. Kerry67
    Joined: Apr 11, 2005
    Posts: 2,606


    I want to point out that yes, it may be hard work but at least the harder you work the more YOU make. Instead of the harder you work the more someone else makes while you get an hourly wage or salary. I say go for it and good luck.

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