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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just turned 24 this month and I live on the North Shore of Massachusetts. For the past year and a half, I've been working in IT in the insurance industry. It's a good job with a nice pay check and benefits, but I'm bored out of my mind sitting, looking at a computer all day. It's just not for me.

I really want to leave the cubicles to become a residential carpenter. I've always loved building things and I'd love to spend my days working on renovations and remodelings. My goal is to master the trade over the next number of years and then start my own company. Although I don't have much carpentry experience, I did get my bachelor's degree in Business Administration from a well-respected university. I know this may not help much right off, but I believe my education will come in very handy down the road when I'm ready to go out on my own.

I'm really just look for general advice and some realistic expectations here on the best ways to reach my goal and what to be prepared for along the way. I realize the first step for me will most likely be to go work as a carpenter's helper and learn the trade. I'm hoping to offer help with the business-side of the company I go to work for, perhaps helping with billing and marketing to increase my wages while I learn on the job.

Thank you and I appreciate any advice or information you may have.
 

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First thing is to get a job as a carpenter/apprentice----when they get to know you ,that's the time to mention your business skills.
 

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Develop a drinking problem and dropping out of school is a popular choice.
 
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master hacker of wood
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You ever hear feast or famine,,, it's a lot of famine and the feast is so fast you don't ever get your fill!!!

Stay in your warm boring office!!!
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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You ever hear feast or famine,,, it's a lot of famine and the feast is so fast you don't ever get your fill!!!

Stay in your warm boring office!!!
He's got a point. If you are making good money there, with some benefits and vacation then stay put. If you want to do this do it as a side job to see how you like it and if you can make money at it.

Doing the work is the easy part. Finding the work on the other hand.....

Plus taxes, insurance(s), fees, licensing, registration and a whole lot more on that list.

Contracting isn't for everyone, actually it's not for a whole lot of everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the information so far. As a person who is in extremely good shape and very active outside of work, it's tough for me to accept sitting and looking at a computer screen for forty hours a week the next 35 years of my life. It's caused me to lose my drive and as someone who has always been incredibly motivated to succeed, this scares me.

I want to be able to work with my hands and build. Staying put in the chair is not an option for me.
 

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Particulate Filter
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Thanks for the information so far. As a person who is in extremely good shape and very active outside of work, it's tough for me to accept sitting and looking at a computer screen for forty hours a week the next 35 years of my life. It's caused me to lose my drive and as someone who has always been incredibly motivated to succeed, this scares me.

I want to be able to work with my hands and build. Staying put in the chair is not an option for me.
I waited till i was twenty eight. Six years wasted going nowhere learning nothing meeting noone. At thirty people wont hire you and the responsibilties like kids will prevent you from being able to work for 10$ an hour even if you wanted to. I could have been a plumber or electrician but that ship has sailed. I had to teach myself and it was expensive. ***** NOW OR GET OFF THE POT.
 

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I completely understand. Being in a cubicle all day would be death for me regardless of pay. But here's what you need to consider. With little to no carpentry skills you prob start off at $10-$15a hr. no benefits no paid va ca. If you are a very fast learner and have passion to learn carpentry maybe you would be able to venture on your own after 6-7 plus years. At witch point your would have to develop a big customers base. Takes multiple years. Plus have $ for ins liscence business costs. I know there's no security in workplace today. Buy in construction there never has been. But on the bright side you are young enough and hopefully don't have a lot if bills. My advice don't just jump ship it's not going to be easy to succeed and make $ at for multiple years. Do weekend side work for a local contractor or carpenter. And see what you would be getting into. Ask lots of?s
 

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People don't hire carpenters to do things that the normal DIY home owners can do. People hire carpenters to do the work they simply don't have the experience and ability to do. That takes a lot a years of practice and honing of skills . FYI stay away from DIY they general don't care about quality of work. Where they have learned to except there own shortcomings to save a buck. Hd and lowes target market
 

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The Duke
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Thanks for the information so far. As a person who is in extremely good shape and very active outside of work, it's tough for me to accept sitting and looking at a computer screen for forty hours a week the next 35 years of my life. It's caused me to lose my drive and as someone who has always been incredibly motivated to succeed, this scares me.

I want to be able to work with my hands and build. Staying put in the chair is not an option for me.
I'd take some of that good money you are making and buy some GOOD tools, not some low end stuff, go for it if you can afford it.

Work some weekends with a contractor to make sure you like it first, before burning the bridge. Believe me, 35 more years...inside...sitting...getting paid well...sounds great to me. We can trade. You need a hobby to combat boredom. One that your current job is the means to the end.
 

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diplomat
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Not many people choose this path, most go the other way. My concrete guy became a good accountsnt.

I did what you're suggesting. I built my own house first though while keeping my office job, before I knew I wanted to do construction for a living. This was a low risk way to see if it could work. A couple years later I quit to become a GC. I work way way harder now and spend much more time educating myself than I ever did before. It's paid off. Much more rewarding, I'm in demand. It's a good feeling.

But it's not for everyone. Calculate your risk. Do your research. Have a plan.
 

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Finish Carpentry
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Building is the fun part but ask yourself if you would enjoy the following:

Rain
Mud
Heat
Sunburn
Cold
Snow
Injuries

Eight hours or more a day five or more days a week.
Or
Lack of work and money because of weather or injuries.
Or
If you find work with a remodeling contractor will you enjoy:

Crawlspaces
Attics
Getting old dirty insulation all over you on those nice humid days.
Going 10-40 feet up to do some roof repairs.

If you say yes to all of the above then this type of work might be for you.
And I'm not trying to discourage you, just some of the things you'll
Have to deal with.
 

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Goin' Down in Flames....
Highwayman
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I really can't believe some of the responses here. Yes, the work is physically difficult, it can be very difficult to find work, and it's not for everyone, but if it's what you love, DO IT. I'd rather build for free, than get paid to sit in an office. :thumbsup:

The part time thing is a good idea, but only for a short time. If you find it's something you want to do, you will soon see that part-time just doesn't cut it. You'll miss too many tasks, and your learning will be chopped up.


Understand that you will start at the bottom, and you'll have to prove yourself.

Forget about the degree for now, and forget about going out on your own, for now. That's a long way off. Now, just soak up everything you can learn. There is an awful lot.

I'd be careful trying to do office work, as well. 1, when you put in 8 or 10 on a jobsite, you really don't feel like starting a second job! 2, if you're good at it, you'll find yourself being put in that position more often than put ot work on a jobsite.

Take a moment to read these two threads.

http://www.contractortalk.com/f11/jobsite-etiquette-beginners-109614/

http://www.contractortalk.com/f11/safety-first-104227/


Good luck. We need more young, ambitious people in the trades, who choose the trade because they love it, not just the ones who fell into it because they could do nothing else.
 

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I agree with every thing above. I love building and will never get so big that I just play a managerial role. There's nothing I would rather do. My dad had a plumbing heating electrical business. But I found myself liking carpentry work I did for his friends much more as a young teen. I also agree there is not enough young people with the work ethic and drive. Especially when they are handed every thing by there parents. If I wanted $ even as a kid my dad would point to his truck and say get in. I just want you to realize its not easy. But if it your passion like it is mine. You will never work a day in your life. Good luck:)
 

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I would go back to school for constr. management, architecture even landscape architect is a great job, anything where you get to dip your toes in the job sites but for the most part you have nothing to do with it.

You dont know what you dont know.
 

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I am sure that there are plenty of one-man carpentry shops who need a helper, and, a helper with the computer skills that the op has, could come in quite handy. But, (s)he has to commit, which means throwing caution to the winds, and seeing where the cards fall. You can't do this stuff part-time.
 

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Find a quality contractor to work with, and learn all you can, work hard... At first the pay will not be great, however the faster you build marketable skills the more money you will be able to make, however i'd focus on learning the right stuff before wages for the next few years, if you do want to become a carpenter.

There is the apprenticeship route as well, it is common up here, although down there might be more of a union commercial const. thing..something to think about though..

If you don't try you will never know, and sounds like if you try it for a year or two and end up hating it, you can always go back to the office world...
 

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If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. Didn't someone say that?
Yeah he was a camera operator from a pr0n studio during the day and a quality control agent for a distillery at night.


...actually I dunno but he wasn't a carpenter!
 
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