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How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?

 
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Old 10-28-2012, 04:23 PM   #21
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


I can't remember exactly but I think it was from my boss when i did carpentry work. I had done a couple side jobs for his cousin while I was employed by the last brick layer who laid me off after x-mas. I went back to working for the carpenter because I didn't want to pull unemployment. He knew I wasn't sticking around for the long haul and would be doing masonry again once the weather got better so he got me to get a business name and sub to him rather than putting me back on the payroll. In the early spring a couple brick repair jobs came up through him, then a few more then friends were calling asking if i could do a chimney or whatever...
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:21 PM   #22
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


i just laid cards around in different stores /etc...got a call ,,,,,went did it...the
rest is history
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:47 PM   #23
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


I can tell you when I did my first "Hardscaping" job I was 17-18 years old. A customer of mine told me he bought a little restaurant in the city. He wanted a patio built for people to sit outside. Now when he asked me if I built patios of course I said yes. I will say that most of my answer was based on a .5 second thought process of, "how big can the patio be, it's in the city?" I had been dying to build patios at that point and I thought it would be a win win. When I went out to look at the job I damn near s*** my pants. Proposed patio totalled 1480 sq. ft. Two different style brick pavers with "fan patterns" and two seperate colors. What was I gonna do? I couldn't tell him I had changed my mind. I was in wayyyy over my head and this was long before Google and internet searches. Needless to say it took me six weeks to build the patio with 5 guys. I could do it now in about 4 days. I lost my shirt on that job, but at least I was able to get into building patios.
PS.... DON'T DO IT THAT WAY!!!!
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:28 PM   #24
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


I was a employee in Massachusetts, when I moved to Florida I started working with my dad for a friend of ours. Economy went bad, I moved to Louisiana\New Orleans area, and here I found a good company where I learned a lot and a couple months later I met another contractor who I did some side work after work.
I started getting referrals, when things would get slow I'd keep busy with side work. Eventually the trim part of the company closed down, and I have been working on my own.
Now I actually do work for my former employer as an independent employee (something like that), along with other contractors, h\o.
I still got a lot to learn but I'm very into details and do a good job. To be honest I don't remember the last time I had to go back and re-do some of my work.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:05 AM   #25
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


The old guy I worked for taught me much of what I know.
If you showed up by 6 AM his wife cooked breakfast for who ever was there. She also packed a lunch for the crew.

One morning after breakfast he said to me, "Time to go out on your own".

Handed me a set of plans for a room addition and said "Let me know if you need help".

There I was....we worked on several projects together for several years...

He was the one of the most honest men & one of the most intelligent men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. And I got to work with and for him...

On his jobs we did everything....fall trees, site work, foundation, utilities, frame, side, roof, plumbing, electric, sheetrock, paint, cabinets & finish.

Only thing got farmed out was carpet, vinyl & tile. Thank God....
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:41 AM   #26
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
The old guy I worked for taught me much of what I know.
If you showed up by 6 AM his wife cooked breakfast for who ever was there. She also packed a lunch for the crew.

One morning after breakfast he said to me, "Time to go out on your own".

Handed me a set of plans for a room addition and said "Let me know if you need help".

There I was....we worked on several projects together for several years...

He was the one of the most honest men & one of the most intelligent men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. And I got to work with and for him...

On his jobs we did everything....fall trees, site work, foundation, utilities, frame, side, roof, plumbing, electric, sheetrock, paint, cabinets & finish.

Only thing got farmed out was carpet, vinyl & tile. Thank God....
How cool is that!?!

I got fed up with the guy I was working for. He'd get all pissed off that I was buying tools. "You don't need tools, use mine. You're wasting your money. Yada Yada Yada"

So I had plenty of tools that weren't getting beat to death on his jobsites for a while and one day I had enough of his infinite BS and told him to suck it.

I went to a bunch of companies looking for sub work, and got more than I knew what to do with.

Lots of bumpy roads later, and here I am.

Learn how to market, and sell. The rest is easy. I never had much trouble selling, marketing was the bane of my existence. Still is to varying degrees
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:42 AM   #27
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wylian View Post
I was a employee in Massachusetts, when I moved to Florida I started working with my dad for a friend of ours. Economy went bad, I moved to Louisiana\New Orleans area, and here I found a good company where I learned a lot and a couple months later I met another contractor who I did some side work after work.
I started getting referrals, when things would get slow I'd keep busy with side work. Eventually the trim part of the company closed down, and I have been working on my own.
Now I actually do work for my former employer as an independent employee (something like that), along with other contractors, h\o.
I still got a lot to learn but I'm very into details and do a good job. To be honest I don't remember the last time I had to go back and re-do some of my work.
Nola is my next stop. Heading down there sometime in Jan
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:09 AM   #28
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


Classified ads, and any free advertising I could find. I did a lot of work in my own house and took pictures, that helped show some skill. People from my church hired me and gave me references too. It was scary. The best way to start is to keep your job until you are too busy on your own (unless you are undercutting your employer...bad Idea).

I was laid off and just looking for handy work to get by until I found a real job. My ad said Handyman Extraordinaire, then listed my skills and that I was insured. I charged less than half of what my rate is now on my first jobs, but after a few weeks, I didn't have time to look for a real job.

I did a lot of odd work. One time I drove clear accross town to change a lady's porch light bulb. I refused payment, but she insisted I take her $4 and get a cheeseburger. LOL so I did. But eventually, someone will take a chance with you to do a real job, and when you do your best over the top work, word can spread quickly, plus you have some good pictures, and a good reference.
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:28 PM   #29
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


This was after 9/11 when I couldn't find a job even flipping burgers.

I built a website and made up fliers with my number on pull tabs, I hung them up on the local grocery store bulletin boards. I would make the rounds once a week put up new ones, this went on for about 8 months and then I was getting so many referrals that I didn't need to put up fliers anymore. After 2 years I was working 12-14 hrs a day (including paper work i.e. billing design, tax's etc) 7 days a week.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:20 PM   #30
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


People always wanted me to do work and I always turned it down. One day I stopped turning it down.

I immediately figured out how to use a customer as a springboard for word of mouth. It spread.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:52 PM   #31
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


First job on my own.

A contractor acquaintance who owed me money, brought me to a job to look at it. It was a lot of outdoor sheet metal work.

After we left I went back to the house and asked the homeowner if we could do this without the other guy. Funny, the homeowner never trusted the other contractor, they have history.
Homeowner said okay. That job led me to other ones.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:46 PM   #32
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by realelectrician View Post
It's kinda sad that people care more about what looks good over what works good and safe but it is what it is
So true. My neighbor has faux waterfall/fountain in his back yard that has flashy multi-colored lights. It was designed by the landscaper but the electrician got all of the credit.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:39 PM   #33
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


Quote:
Originally Posted by smalpierre View Post
Nola is my next stop. Heading down there sometime in Jan
Good luck, hope you like it here, I sure do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
The old guy I worked for taught me much of what I know.
If you showed up by 6 AM his wife cooked breakfast for who ever was there. She also packed a lunch for the crew.

One morning after breakfast he said to me, "Time to go out on your own".

Handed me a set of plans for a room addition and said "Let me know if you need help".

There I was....we worked on several projects together for several years...

He was the one of the most honest men & one of the most intelligent men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. And I got to work with and for him...

On his jobs we did everything....fall trees, site work, foundation, utilities, frame, side, roof, plumbing, electric, sheetrock, paint, cabinets & finish.

Only thing got farmed out was carpet, vinyl & tile. Thank God....
Oh man, that's a dream boss right there. I've been surrounded by really good people, but that is just extraordinaire.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:28 AM   #34
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


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How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?
Tropical storm Erin 1995. My buddy worked for a national restoration company. He called me and said that if I got a lic. and all the proper insurance, his compny would supply me with plenty work orders from all the storm damge insurance claims in my area. 17 years and 6 major hurricanes later, I'm still going strong.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:27 AM   #35
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


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The reason why I am asking is I'm still mulling over getting into different trades.

I really want to get into finished basements, decks, sheds and finish carpentry like coffer ceilings, crown molding, wainscoting etc...

I love building things and my attention to detail is like no other. I have my customers in electrical tell me I am meticulous.

I started in the trades as a teen in carpentry and worked for a GC. I loved woodworking in grade school and high school and won awards for my projects.

I love using my brain with electrical work and troubleshooting and that's why I got into it. But with electrical work I can't really show detail and my passion for building things.

Anyway how did you land your first job as a business? Did you do work for friends and family to use as a reference? Did you do free work to build a portfolio?

With decks, finished basements etc.. people need to see past work. With electric work there is nothing to show really it's based on trust mostly.

So how would I get started?
I opened a one room office in a small office building and bid night and day. During that time we lived on my wife's salary. It took about 4 months and then I landed a small Post Office Job. I then told everybody my company specialized in Federal Work and from there it was a rocket ride.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:12 PM   #36
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Re: How Did You Get Your First Job Working For Yourself?


I built a couple houses of my own in my spare time, this gave me credibility and showed my future customers I could build a house from start to finish. I'm really quite surprised however that my first customer agreed to have me build their house, given than I had so little experience(and about five years working for a GC). It turned out great, and led to me doing a commercial job for one of their friends.

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