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Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?

 
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:03 PM   #1
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Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


Do any of you guys have experience going into business as a sole proprietor, focusing on small jobs like chimney flashings/caps, chimney repointing, leak repairs and small metal jobs (flashing, downspouts etc.)? How viable is it as a business?

I've done some research into material costs, tool cost (ladders, brake) and I have access to a garage to store tools and material so that's not a cost I'm worried about. I don't intend to hire anyone as a helper and I want to focus on the quality of my work to ensure referrals and repeat business.

My experience is 3 years in roofing and cladding, focusing on sheet metal flashing work and a good amount of leak diagnosis/service.

I have a good chunk of money in my account and I'm currently unemployed- does this seem like a big risk?

Would really appreciate some advice and guidance.
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:07 PM   #2
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


It's always a risk. You need customers. You'll need various insurances, licenses/registrations and such just to get going. A lot start doing side work while they have a job working for someone else so they have a steady stream of income. If you are unemployed and receiving compensation as soon as you start that (in theory) all ends and you are now reliant on yourself for all income.

You'll have to figure out what you'll be charging. You'll have to figure out if the things you do will be hourly and what rate or a single fee with a contract. Some states require a contract, others don't.

Some work needs to be inspected, if you don't have the correct credentials you won't be able to pull permits. Lots of things to think about and lots of fees to pay out. It a bit scary starting up your own company. Risk, yes.

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Old 06-17-2020, 03:18 PM   #3
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


I don't do small handyman type jobs but it sounds like you are putting yourself in a position to own roofs that you did not install. Seems like a lot of liability for something most people are not excited to pay for. Make sure you have your licenses, insurances and good contracts in place. I would rather be a roofer or gutter guy but that would require all the headaches of employees and such...
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:02 PM   #4
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


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I don't do small handyman type jobs but it sounds like you are putting yourself in a position to own roofs that you did not install. Seems like a lot of liability for something most people are not excited to pay for. Make sure you have your licenses, insurances and good contracts in place. I would rather be a roofer or gutter guy but that would require all the headaches of employees and such...
So a strong contract that limits my liability to my own work, incorporating my business (as opposed to being sole proprietor) and getting insurance are key then.

I really want to focus on the smaller jobs that larger roofing crews with more overhead wouldn't want to take on, or at least wouldn't spend the proper time on.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:18 PM   #5
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


Another opportunity might be warranty work for other companies. If you're on your own the more income sources the better.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:21 PM   #6
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


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So a strong contract that limits my liability to my own work, incorporating my business (as opposed to being sole proprietor) and getting insurance are key then.

I really want to focus on the smaller jobs that larger roofing crews with more overhead wouldn't want to take on, or at least wouldn't spend the proper time on.
Yes but with leaks it may be hard to limit your liability once you touch someones house.

There's a reason the larger companies don't take on the smaller jobs. They don't pay the bills...
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:21 PM   #7
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


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Another opportunity might be warranty work for other companies. If you're on your own the more income sources the better.
Yeah I've considered contacting bigger roofing firms to see if they've got repair work that they'd like to sub contract out. That's what you mean right?
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:14 PM   #8
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


IMO, things you need to figure out are:

is there a market for what you want to do.

is it large enough for you to make a living.

do you need to be licensed.

insurance(s).

how much do you need to make a day.

can you make enough doing little repair jobs to meet the daily goal.

there is more overhead than you imagine.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:25 PM   #9
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


Ontario. Ya, he needs a license. And yes get work subbed out from other bigger companies to fill in the slow times.
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:17 PM   #10
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


It seems to me I am constantly hearing that people can not find anyone to do small handyman type jobs.
Over the years I know of one or two who have kept as busy as they want to be. But as already said is there enough work for you to make a living.
Beside all the legalities already mentioned, is there enough work out there for you?
How do you plan to get your name out there?
If you decide to go this way go all in, get legal, advertise, and be sure to charge appropriately as handyman work is not a price issue, they just want someone they trust to do it, want it done right, and want it done now.
Good luck.
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:21 AM   #11
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


Quote:
Originally Posted by groopo View Post
So a strong contract that limits my liability to my own work, incorporating my business (as opposed to being sole proprietor) and getting insurance are key then.
Get advice from professionals like attorneys and accountants if you're serious about it.
They can tell you the ins and outs of sole proprietorship, LLC's and incorporating.
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Old 06-22-2020, 01:38 PM   #12
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


I made six figures a year doing countertop repairs without employees.

The trick is having a minimum charge. Book the job on the phone in your Laz-E-Boy the day before. You can't afford to do estimates or make two trips on small jobs.

Offer a customer satisfaction guarantee. They can't lose and you'll collect 99% of the time.
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Old Yesterday, 10:20 PM   #13
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


You need to pull in three times what you want to make in revenue.

IE if you are billing $300.00 a day, you are probably actually making about $100.00 a day.

Every customer needs special attention, has special needs, has little o while you're here's...

If you have to have lots and lots of customers then you have a lot of little problems.

I personally would rather solve 1 medium sized problem instead of 5 or six small ones. Also, every job takes gas.

Its natural and healthy to start small, but you should plan on growing and honing in on projects that are really going to get you paid.
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Old Today, 07:21 AM   #14
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Re: Solo Business Focusing On Small Jobs?


Three years cladding and flashing? That could be very valuable if you are good at it. You say you are experienced at solving/chasing leaks. There are a lot of challenges to finding specialized work like that from the general public whether B2B or residential.


Is the work out there? Yes it is. Will you be able to find it? Knowing others in the industry who you suspect would pass on this type of work might be one avenue to explore. Are you good enough others would risk their reputation to refer or sub-contract to you? Are you knowledgeable enough to command the right price for your work? Are you experienced enough to know when to say no and not get in over your head or take on something that the customer is trying to steer in the wrong direction (they love to do this if they think it will save them money)?



Not everyone is cut out to be an independent business owner.

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