I was 21 when I started my business. Wish I would have went to work for some other more established contractors to learn a little more, so I wouldnt have made so many mistakes and cost so much money (under bidding) but it sure as hell was cheaper than a worthless degree from college and now I make more than most I graduated with that were in college for years and 100k in debt.
Get it for sure and you will save yourself a lot of trouble.
Also, when you first start out I would try to avoid taking out a loan to pay for your start-up costs. Fortunately I didn't take one out so I'm not worrying myself to death when work slows down if I'm going to be able to make the payment.... I've been sticking to my financial plan and I'm about to be spending about 5k on a new enclosed trailer that will be paid for.
Practically speaking, it depends on whether you plan to do the physical work, what your plans are for the growth of the company, your financial resources, and so on.
I'd encourage anyone to do it, as long as you're aware of your limitations. If you're 18, go ahead and start a company. Know that you don't know everything, so keep your main job working for someone else, and start building a business based on small side jobs that don't interfere with your Monday-Friday work. The sooner you start to learn about taxes and the financial side of a business, the better.
If you're 50, go ahead and start a business. Know that you don't have the physical strength and stamina of a 20-year old, and hire appropriately. Use your life experience to connect with customers.
If you're 70, go ahead and start a company. You might not spend any time on the scaffolding, but you can be an owner's rep or CM on projects where you bring your lifetime of knowledge, and your ability to ignore all the BS that distracts the 18-year-olds.
They say that the adolescent brain doesn't learn caution until about twenty six twenty seven. So, you know, when your twenty you will probably be more inclined to shoot yourself with a nailgun, make bad deals, expect the clients to care AT ALL that you are experiencing some difficulty like an injury illness or cash flow problem, fall off a roof, drop a ladder on a car, forget to tie down a load, get a dui etc...
There are many many ways to go out of business. On the bright side, if you got nothing to lose, go for it. I would work for a good construction company to 26. Moonlight for a year and then strike out.
Watch out for women; they will destroy all of your careful planning with pouty lips and crying babies.
I started a painting business at 15. Primarily condos and a fair bit of occupied commercial because I preferred working late hours vs. daytime. I only did about 500 hours a year but it was a legit business.
I started my remodeling business at 22 when the union went belly up after Sept. 11 and my unemployment checks were MIA. I moved this business to another state 1.5 years later and then reformed it after a four year stint running a retail business.
I think it was easiest when I was 15 because I had no living expenses and could pick only the sweetest jobs. For that same reason, it was pretty easy to get started in Maine at 23 years old because I wasn't short on cash.
Basically, I think your circumstances matter far more than your age. Starting a business isn't for people that are short on funds or dealing with anything other than a solid family and life situation. It will exaggerate any negatives in your life. That said, if you can't find a job and you don't have unemployment coming in, taking on some jobs is better than starving.
I second what Ethan said about your circumstances are pretty important.
I have zero debt, no house payment, no truck payment and hardly any bills. I'm blessed and my mother owned a roof truss manufacturing company since I was born up until she shut the doors about 2 years ago. She did well when the market was good which has benefited me.
Granted I was in a good starting position I was smart with my money (that I earned working for another family member who does construction/remodeling and who taught me a lot about the trades, I worked for him from 16-23 which was my only other job outside of building trusses when I was 13-15).
If I had payments and bills it would have been nearly impossible for me to start my company without any money saved up and already owning tools/trailer/vehicle. Not completely impossible but it would have been tough and still would be I bet.
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