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Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business

 
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Old 05-22-2013, 03:22 PM   #1
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Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Hi my name is Pat, I am 23 years old. I have been a carpenter/carpenters helper for the past 5 years. I started off with a company that specialized in high end kitchens and baths, we also did additions, windows and doors, trim, siding , framing, Sheetrock,decks,ect . I learned alot there, now I am working for a smaller company that that does most of the same things. I pay very close attention to everything that goes on and how everything is ran. I have aquired alot of tools in the last couple of years and a truck with tool boxes and I built a ladder rack, I am going to be buying a 7x14 enclosed trailer soon , I am looking for an advice, tricks or tips on how to get my business started.
More advice on the licensing, insurance marketing aspect

Thank you all for reading my post
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:08 PM   #2
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


That trim you do is very nice Butttttttttt You may consider jumping on with a framing crew to find what gos into the building you do your nice trim in. This will make you a more rounded carpenter with a wider field of knowledge. This Knowledge base will command a higher level of respect from your fellow men (&women) in the trades as well as your clients.

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Old 05-22-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtywhiteboy
That trim you do is very nice Butttttttttt You may consider jumping on with a framing crew to find what gos into the building you do your nice trim in. This will make you a more rounded carpenter with a wider field of knowledge. This Knowledge base will command a higher level of respect from your fellow men (&women) in the trades as well as your clients.


Hi thank you for your complements , and I have done framing, I do framing to, I have done from the foundation up to roofing in the last 5 years just specialize in trim, I love looking back and seeing a finished product
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mckelvey View Post

Hi thank you for your complements , and I have done framing, I do framing to, I have done from the foundation up to roofing in the last 5 years just specialize in trim, I love looking back and seeing a finished product
Work for someone else for about 5-6 more years and take some night time buisness classes.

5 years of mixed tradework isn't as much experience as you think.

It typically takes 3 plus years in one field to truly be proficent and efficent to the point of being a foreman/ project manager type candidate.

And project management from the owners standpoint is a whole different animal.

You do do nice work but I'd be patient..as there is a whole other job in being a contractor...even has a different title than carpenter...see where I'm going.

Invest in the buisness classes I sure wish I did.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:04 PM   #5
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Yea I understand, I'm so busy with side work, id rather be legal, I know alot of people and already have alot of word of mouth customers
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:13 PM   #6
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


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Yea I understand, I'm so busy with side work, id rather be legal, I know alot of people and already have alot of word of mouth customers
Have you let them all know that if you got hurt on their property that you have no insurance to protect them and cover you? I don't have problem with people looking to start their own business but I hate when they do it illegally.

Choose a business name and set it up to pay federal and state taxes. NJ is simple. Get a home improvement contractors license. I think the first year is $90 then $75 a year when you renew. Contact an insurance agent and get general liability insurance

And by all means you must realize running a business is WAY more them just doing the actual work.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


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Yea I understand, I'm so busy with side work, id rather be legal, I know alot of people and already have alot of word of mouth customers
I'm not trying to beat you up but you won't be as busy when you start having real overhead and having to charge for it.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:53 PM   #8
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


How's Paulie? Haven't seen him around in awhile..
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:28 PM   #9
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How's Paulie? Haven't seen him around in awhile..
Good question.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:12 PM   #10
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


You should do it if you are ready to learn some new tricks in the business world and work 70 hrs a week for a few years. Good carpentry skills are just that, good skills. But if you can't sell or put together a contract, or get all the tradesmen and product suppliers on the same page and working together to complete jobs. Than your carpentry skills aren't worth squat.

Your story sounds like exactly like mine 8 years ago. I was 23, only worked 5 years in the remodeling industry, loved and was dam good at building anything that had to do with wood, knew other trades and the steps to complete home remodels. I was just married with a kid on the way and I started my company.

If I had waited to start my company until now I think I would have burned out after a couple years of long hours and the school of hard knocks. You are very young now, have the energy and drive, your living expenses are probably lower now than they will be in at any other point in your life. Why not? You could probably think up of just as many pros as cons at this point.

The other guys had made some really good points, but only you know what's best for you now and what your drive is within you to complete your dream of what your future will hold. Take classes, talk to other contractors in peer groups, read everything on contractor talk, take a selling course, read up on marketing.

One piece of advice I would give you is don't think that everything that your prior company's did is the only way to do things. That was something hard for me to get around. My previous bosses where great guys, I still talk and do things with them to this day, but they didnt really run their business that well. It was the only way I had learned to do anything, so it took me a couple of years to unlearn it, or to even see that it was wrong or could be done better.

good luck in your decision. I will be rooting for you since you're not in my market!
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:51 PM   #11
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Just remember, being self employed isn't a job its a life style. You work 24/7 for many years before you can relax. Be prepared for atleast 12 hr days 7 days a week or work, and another 20 or so hours of paper work each week. Good luck!

Stick around here, lots of good stuff and knowledge on this site.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:37 AM   #12
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtywhiteboy View Post
That trim you do is very nice Butttttttttt You may consider jumping on with a framing crew to find what gos into the building you do your nice trim in. This will make you a more rounded carpenter with a wider field of knowledge. This Knowledge base will command a higher level of respect from your fellow men (&women) in the trades as well as your clients.
That is excellent advice. It is important to improve your skill set which will earn you more money.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:13 AM   #13
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Nothing wrong with starting up a business and jumping in head first but make sure you have some financial backing for when work gets thin or you get screwed. Either have a pile of bills in the bank or a wife with a good job.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:37 AM   #14
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Im in a similar position as you are, but a little farther along. I'll give you a few of the things I've learned so far.

I'm 25 and I started swinging a hammer in a roof truss manufacturing plant during the summers when I was 13. Did that for 3 summers then when I turned 16 and I could drive I started working for a construction/remodeling company probably similar to what you described. I worked there for about 8 years (4 summers then mostly full time after college). I started as the little guy who didn't know anything and ended up driving the company vehicle and being I guess you could call me the lead laborer. My boss was aware that he was pretty much training his competition for 8 years, he tried to help me as much as he could.

I started an LLC for my company and bought 2 rental houses in 2010-11 and quit my job and started working for myself full time about a year ago. It's been slow at times and I have learned some lessons the hard way, but I have learned.

First, come up with a name, I used my initials and started RLS Construction, LLC. LLC is a limited liability corporation, I don't know much about it technically but my mother was a business owner for 25 years and she has advised me alot and the LLC was her recommendation along with my former boss's recommendation.

I think started an LLC will make you more legal because you get a tax number and you will be able to file taxes on the work you do, thus being legal.

I'm working on my licensing and insurance right now, today. My state requires a contractor to have a Home Builder's license to perform jobs over 10k. So as of now my jobs have all been under 10k (I have only had to turn down 1 due to it being over 10k). You need to figure out the proper licensing required by your state to do the type of work you want to do. Your city/state should have a website where you can find this information or find someone to call and ask.

Insurance, I'm working on that today also and I have contacted a insurance agent who is getting back to me with some information. Like state above you need some limited liability insurance.

Marketing,
First you need business cards. I'm fairly handy on the computer so I designed my own and had them printed. You want a professional looking business card since that is what a lot of people first see about your company.

You need a website, nothing major but something is better than nothing. This way when you advertise or hand out business cards you can have your web address available so that people can see your work and learn something about you without having to call or question you.

You need a Facebook page. Being young like yourself and I this should come as a no brainer and should be easy to pull off. Make one, invite your closer friends and maybe some of your parents friends if they are on Facebook. Try to post almost everything that you do on there. THe more people who see it the better and since pretty much EVERYONE is on Facebook you have a good chance of pulling some good work from there.

I've done Craigslist ads in the past but have stopped. I get a decent amount of work by hooking up with a plumber who needed a good remodeling contractor that he could recommend when he fixes leaks in people's houses.

Something I'd highly recommend is a book that I just finished. It's a book for contractors that helps you determine your price and your markup along with other things. You will certainly not regret this purchase, it really helps understand more of the business owner side of running a contracting company. "Markup & Profit: A Contractor's Guide" DOn't hesitate, get this book. You will probably find that you are charging to little for your work and could very likely find yourself out of business in a few years.

Hope some of these tips helped!

Also, don't be threatened to much about the 12 hour days 7 days a week. I haven't experienced that "constantly". I have come close to it but it wasn't quite that bad. I did have two weeks here recently that were several 10 hour days and a couple 13 hour days but it's not full time and it wasn't on Saturday or Sunday.... I will say that if I was busy enough to have to work that much I would be ecstatic because I would be bringing in a pretty darn large some of money. But I know I don't really want to be that busy all the time. I don't have a lot of living expenses (I'm blessed to not have much) so the money I make even if I work 1/2 the time is sufficient to pay my bills and allow me to live comfortably.

Don't take on more work than you can handle.
Don't take on more work than you can handle and keep up the quality.
Don't take on more work than you can handle and keep a good professionalism attitude towards your customers.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:41 AM   #15
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


I say go for it. Get some help. Make some mistakes but fail forward.

Good luck to you!
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:06 AM   #16
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


As a general contractor you set the schedule, if your like me time management is everything. It allows me NOT to have to put in real long days. The subcontractors seem to be the ones that work longer hours simply because a lot of generals set the schedule that they agree to at the beginning of the job. A lot of times they overlap themselves.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:52 PM   #17
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Since your question means you have the desire to own your own business, do it. You'll never be content any other way. No one with the drive to be in business can be happy working for da man.

With that said, I echo other advice above. Take business classes. Learn everything you can and never stop learning. Be sure to sharpen your sales skills. Hire people to cover the things you are not strong at instead of winging it. Make sure you are well funded. And above all, make a solid plan.

Be sure to size up the advice you get too. Determine your goals and make sure the advice is sound to reach those goals. If your goal is to build a 20 man operation, be careful not to take advice from someone running a one man show. It's not that anything is wrong with the one man show, it's just not compatible with your goals if you're aiming higher.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:20 PM   #18
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


The book that was mentioned, "Markup & Profit: A Contractor's Guide" , is a great place to start. If you can read that book cover to cover and actually get what he is saying, then you will go far. If you find it boring and put it down after a couple chapters and never pick it back up again, you might not be cut out for this. It takes a very special combination of skill and business sense to be a successful contractor.

Aside from that there is the whole marketing thing. I cannot emphasize this enough. Marketing, in whatever forms you choose to use, (business cards, vehicle lettering, uniforms, signs, website, flyers, post cards, hot air balloons, banners behind airplanes, city bus graphics. Go crazy! Get noticed!) should be used constantly, not just here and there when you run out of work. Trying to market your business when you are cash poor and short of work is a recipe for failure. Stay ahead of it. Don't forget this. It will bite you in the [email protected]# if you do. Keep marketing. Coca Cola didn't become the brand it is just from word of mouth. They spend billions on marketing because it brings them many billions in sales. One of the biggest factors in contractor failures, other than not charging enough, is not having a solid marketing plan that is well executed.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:18 PM   #19
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


Go for it. There are always going to be guys who tell you it is an unbelievable amount of work and you don't have all the experience. If you weight tell you have the experience, time, funds an so on you will be in the too old category heading.

There are a lot of ways to make money. If you make a deal with yourself that you will work hard ever day at making money and working towards building the business you want to own it will happen.

I have managed projects for a boss where you are wrong if you do wrong if you don't and lost more sleep despite having steady work. I am far less stressed running my business then I was at that job.

I am unsure why every one says you have to work 100 hours a week and then do paperwork and so on. If you can bid a job so it will come in there is no reason you should have to work that much. If you can't work 55 hours (including paperwork) a week and make more money then you did when you had a job, you are doing something wrong from the get go. If you are taking a bootstrap mentality where you build the business as the business produces the revenue to do so, it isn't that hard.

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Old 05-24-2013, 10:57 AM   #20
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Re: Young Carpenter Trying To Start A Business


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LLC is a limited liability corporation
Just a quick correction, because a lot of people think the "C" in "LLC" stands for "Corporation." LLC is a Limited Liability Company. It is a non-corporate business entity.

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