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A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge

 
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:58 PM   #1
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A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


I'm 23 years old and I've been working for a large contractor for five years. I'm a foreman now. My job is pretty much doing structural concrete foundations for power plants, paper mills, etc.
Our group size varies from job to job and we move from state to state every 2 years. We excavate, place formwork, rebar, and finish concrete. I an do a bit of everything.
I have experience in all the above things. Well, as much as you could get in five years. I've been very fortunate that the company I work with has given me to opportunity to learn as much as I have.
Our Civil group is one of the best in our company. We always save manhours in every area that we've been. Foundations that have been bid for 19,000 man hours, we've completed in 11,000. All our earned hours get sandbagged and moved to other crafts that need it.

So, to get down to it, I want to stay here in Kentucky and have a go doing concrete with 2-3 other key members of my current group. I have it in my head that we should start with small jobs and go from there. Some of these guys don't speak very good English and are kind of wanting me to take charge of the business side of things. Estimating, talking with clients, etc. All things that are required of my current job.
What are some good tips you could give me? Anything would help. I've been wanting to do this for some time but I haven't because I want to do it right and not rush into things.
Any advice would be great.
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Old 04-24-2019, 07:13 PM   #2
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Re: A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


Don't give up your day job until after you test the water!

The first and most important thing you need, before you quit your job, is to be 100% positive that you can get enough work to keep several employees busy 40 hours every week of the year.

You need to make sure you have what it takes to get the licensing, insurance, bookkeeping system, accountants, phones, equipment, vehicles and everything it takes to run a business.

You will need cash on hand for payroll and everything you need to run the business until you get money from your first job.

I continue to say the same thing over and over. You may be well qualified to run a business and you may only think you are qualified. As I always say, 90% of the people in this world do not have the ability to properly analyze their capabilities and that causes people to jump into the fire with both feet.

Another problem with most people (I am grate for telling everyone their problems) is people are too anxious. They get too excited and can't wait for things to come to fruition. Move along as slow as possible and ponder over decisions for several days, weeks, or months depending on how much damage the wrong decision can cause.

Read every book possible about business laws, employment laws and don't depend on attorneys or accounts telling you even 1/2% of what you need to know because no attorney or accountant is going to give you even 1/2% of the proper laws and things you need to stay legal.

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Old 04-24-2019, 08:53 PM   #3
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Re: A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


Tips for starting a new business? Have lots of cash available. See who your potential competitors are and what their rough pricing is.

No matter how much you get your plan nailed down, it isn't going to happen that way.
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Old 04-25-2019, 04:54 PM   #4
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Re: A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


Quote:
Originally Posted by daffysplumbing View Post
Don't give up your day job until after you test the water!

The first and most important thing you need, before you quit your job, is to be 100% positive that you can get enough work to keep several employees busy 40 hours every week of the year.

You need to make sure you have what it takes to get the licensing, insurance, bookkeeping system, accountants, phones, equipment, vehicles and everything it takes to run a business.

You will need cash on hand for payroll and everything you need to run the business until you get money from your first job.

I continue to say the same thing over and over. You may be well qualified to run a business and you may only think you are qualified. As I always say, 90% of the people in this world do not have the ability to properly analyze their capabilities and that causes people to jump into the fire with both feet.

Another problem with most people (I am grate for telling everyone their problems) is people are too anxious. They get too excited and can't wait for things to come to fruition. Move along as slow as possible and ponder over decisions for several days, weeks, or months depending on how much damage the wrong decision can cause.

Read every book possible about business laws, employment laws and don't depend on attorneys or accounts telling you even 1/2% of what you need to know because no attorney or accountant is going to give you even 1/2% of the proper laws and things you need to stay legal.
*great at* I have the same skill.
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:03 PM   #5
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Re: A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


Daffys right, you need to find out what the market is like. I would have gone out of business 10x if I didn't have so many people in the trades giving great referrals. The first 3-5 years is tough because your trying to grow a business while purchasing a lot of tools and equipment.

You might also find the margins of small jobs are no where near commercial. I would start with doing small jobs on the side and see how much work you can get.

Also keep in mind, the economy has been blazing for a good while. The signs of a slow down are just starting to peak their head now IMO. Not a bad thing it weeds out a lot of bad contractors. Just need capitol, nothing worse than quoting jobs you need to get. I still look back and shake my head at what I charged to stay afloat.
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Old 06-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #6
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Re: A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


are you planning to just jump in without a job in site?
have called around some of the potential clients ( people you can sub from, or people who might have a need for you ?
daffy`s right ,
i`m 60
i have always been good with clients , i can run a project good , i give a good product.i get almost every bid i go out for , because i really know my trade

but , i am not that great ( or is it grate" ) a business man .
i just never to seem to make enough money
i don`t keep my paperwork in the order it should be /
thank god my wife is a bookkeeper, she helps when she can

but i`m missing some pieces of the puzzle.

just because you can do great carpentry , or concrete work, doesn`t mean your going to be great at the business of carpentry or concrete work.

also , partnership is a tough one ,
a buddy , is not a buddy anymore once money is involved .
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:45 PM   #7
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Re: A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


Would you consider doing it part time first? That way, you gain more experience, still earn money as you make adjustments to your business, even learn a thing or two about establishing one while you're at it. That would take more time though and could be stressful if you're not the best at managing priorities. Might benefit you to look at this article and similar others to help you decide.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:01 PM   #8
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Re: A Bit Of Advice Before Taking The Plunge


You need to start with a written business plan. Start putting some numbers on paper.

How much equipment, trucks and tools are needed to get started and what is the cost?
How much $$ do you and your counterparts expect to make?
Do you and your counterparts expect some insurance and benefits? How much will these cost?
Where are you going to operate out of and what will be the expenses?
Do any of you have office skills; accounting, billing, estimating, subcontracting, purchasing, project management, sales, etc?
What about office supplies and tools; computers, printer, scanner, phone system, desks, software, electronics, etc.?
How will you promote and market your business and what will that cost?
Can you set up a bank line of credit, bonding, get the appropriate business insurance, etc. and how much will this all cost?

Build yourself a monthly and annual budget including all of the above and likely more to see what the raw expenses look like. Then try to start figuring out what kind of a volume of business it will take to cover all of this.

A meeting with a good small business accountant might be the first important step.

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