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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings!
Longtime lurker here. Finally decided to make my presence felt, bless you all with my company, and absorb all that is to be learned from you (mostly) fine contractors.
I know that everyone likes to know just who you are on this site so if you are so inclined, I will offer up my story.

Yes, I am a professional contractor. Certainly not to the scale that most of you are, but I do get paid for my services. My specialties are interior trim/finish, special projects, and outdoor structures/decks. Unlike most of you though, Contracting isn't my only gig.
I am also a Registered Respiratory Therapist and am employed by one of the best children's hospital in the nation. My unit's speciality/title is Complex Pulmonary/Cystic Fibrosis.
Rounding out the activities that take up my day...I am also a Property Manager/Landlord.
Quite the mix-up huh?
For now, the many jobs serve me well. I am only part-time at the hospital (by choice) which allows me to be picky about my contracting jobs while maintaining an income, retirement, insurance, etc. The hospital allows me to pickup extra shifts when contracting work is slow and to work my minimum hours when I am busy. This, however, doesn't allow me to fully focus on one area.....spreading my time over two different careers.
Unfortunately, the job at the hospital simply doesn't suit my long term goals. I adore my patients and feel that I do good work there, and I always give my best when working there, but it simply doesn't get my juices flowing like carpentry does. I have never sat awake in my bed anticipating the next days job at the hospital. Most of my contracting jobs leave me feeling excited.
But, as you all are aware, starting a business from scratch takes much sacrifice and work. I wasn't willing or prepared to jump feet first into a new business while being newly married, a new homeowner, and the wife in grad school.
So I decided that I could have the best of both worlds (with my wife's blessing), still maintain employment and benefits while slowly and methodically growing and learning my business.

I have worked for a few contractors over the years but never felt it was something I wanted to do as a career. I think that I didn't enjoy those jobs because I wasn't included in the whole process. For example, my first construction job was right out of high school with my uncle. He was a framer and he had a lot of work with a large home builder that was throwing up subdivisions everywhere (remember the late 90's). He had a small crew of 5 guys....4 carpenters and me. My job was well...the *****. Clean up, go get, lift this, hold that, etc. Mindless work that made the days drag...I hated it. But I managed until school started. At this time, I had no idea that carpentry was in my future...and didn't want it to be. I thought that what I did was carpentry because I was never included in the building, never instructed in anything. Yes it was my fault, I should have asked to be included but looking back, I doubt it would have made a difference.
Same story with another uncle that built swimming pools...just a different kind of exclusion. This was later and I had learned alot since that first job. But this uncle liked to run everything himself and simply wouldn't hear any other way. The worst is when you know something is wrong but he still insists we do it his way. There were many "I told you" moments but felt it wouldn't do any good. Plus, he was one of those contractors that you pray you don't get. He was a nice guy and I think his heart was in the right place, but I saw him screw over/lie to many customers. He could sell ice to an Eskimo but his follow through and expertise was severely lacking. He even old me once that he will take on jobs he doesn't know how to do, just to keep working. He hired illegals, didn't pay proper taxes, didn't have proper insurance, etc.
The silver lining in all of my ****ty jobs...I learned what NOT to do. I learned what kind of contractor I DIDN"T want to be.

to be continued..........
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Looking back, I think I gave WAY too much info. Sorry for the rambling but just figured you all would like to know where I came from.

Anyhow....
I am currently working through the chores of starting my own business. I am so glad to have found such a wonderful resource like this site.

Currently I take on smaller jobs, things that are more cosmetic rather than structural such as trim, deck re-skins, etc.
I am a one-man crew with some good relatives that I call on when I need laborers.

Thanks for looking everyone. I look forward to learning and sharing information with all of you.
 

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Welcome to the site...So you want to leave a job that gives you health insurance, paid vacations, retirement package, paycheck regardless of the economy, weather, and if the homeowner feels like paying, worrying about keeping the guys busy etc. etc. etc. :eek: Just half kidding Again welcome
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I hear ya GUTTERGUY.
Had a student with me yesterday that got out of the trades and into the medical field (he was a flooring guy). He was shocked when I told him of my plans. He couldn't believe what I was doing.
As stated above, my wife is in grad school to be a nurse practitioner (100k/year) and supports my goals. She will make enough for the both of us.
I question myself sometimes but often come back to the question of happiness. Is it worth a lifetime of not really enjoying your job verses doing what you like to do and feeling fulfilled. Some say yes, some say no but I keep coming back to this notion of having my own business.
I am lucky to have a supportive wife. Even luckier to have earned 2 college degrees that can serve me my entire life. I can always work at the hospital PRN (as needed) or simply keep my part time hours and benefits.
 
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