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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I'm new to this forum and I'm hoping to find some help on what is sure to be a long quest that I've been working on.

I am working on putting together a company that does many things. My main focus is to be to offer services that are "Green" with the intention of saving my customers money over the long term and of course minimizing their carbon footprint. My goal is to have a company that offers these services:

Native and low-water/maintenance Landscaping

Solar Panel installation
Energy-saver windows and doors
Sola-tubes and attic fans

I figure that the landscaping business is actually going to be a separate company with a different staff of different skill-sets. The rest of the services can be offered by a team of contractors.

I've had a really hard time finding where to even start! I don't want to spend hours on a business plan yet because I need to make sure it is even going to be possible for me to attain the licenses I need which is my main question for this board. Do I need to attain a different license for all these services or will a General Contractor License suffice? Should I be looking at finding contractors to partner with instead of going at this all alone? I understand how ambitious this project is, I currently have a government job which is very safe and secure so my goal is to start this business while keeping that job for my family. I guess I'm more looking to be a business owner with a crew of guys doing the majority of the work while I keep the government job and help out on as many jobs as I can on my days off.

I'm open to all kinds of ideas, suggestions, guidance, etc. As long as you don't tell me to give up on the idea!

Thanks for any time and help ahead of time.

Edit: Guess it could help to note that I am located in the San Diego area in California
 

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You have a diverse offering there so I would go with a general contractor's license. A GC can advertise and perform any trade (except fire alarms) as long as when he does that trade, he does 2 other trades at the same time. Your other 2 trades could be "patching and painting". I know this sounds like a scam but it's totally legal. You can install photovoltaic panels and "patch and paint" a microscopic piece of drywall in the garage and be legal.

"Maintenance Landscaping" is a secret code for "3 Mexicans, a 1980 Toyota truck and 2 lawn mowers". You can kiss that work good bye, there's a 2.5 million Mexicans in southern California doing that already.

Look into LEED certification and learn about energy conservation measures involving lighting, light retrofits and lighting controls.

As far as homeowners go, Green building is a fad and they are probably not interested, but commercial clients are another matter, especially here in California. Also bone up on Title 24 and other state requirements.

Best of luck, you seem to have some good ideas.
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..........................................Richard
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Average Joe
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You sound like an idealist/daydreamer. :thumbsup:

You obviously don't know anything about any of the businesses you mentioned, but you want to tackle them as a side hobby.

You have a ton of research/education ahead of you if you want to even "hold your own" in any of those aforementioned sectors.

LEED certification/accreditation requires passing an exam that even architects struggle with.

GC license in your area requires an exam and a slue of other requirements.

You want to jump from the counter into the frying pan and you don't even know what's what. If you're serious, go take some courses/night classes, change your career path and get a job in the industry and build yourself up slowly.

On paper it all sounds great but just how are you planning on becoming a consultant of sorts on "Green" building methods when you hardly even know what that means? Educating Home Owners, providing the services that are usually restricted to Engineers/Architects/LEED accredited GC's...while working your Gov't job and no actual training/knowledge/certification :blink:

I hear a ring, you should get it...








It's reality calling ;)
 

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I love it how 50% of American males run a construction business as their side job. They keep this other job for reasons like health care, vacation pay, retirement, and other benefits. This is the reason why I can't offer all these things to my employees is because of these other 1 million part time side show bob companies are not charging for it. Why? because they already have it at their full time job.

This thread should be closed this guy is obviously not a contractor or in the trades. Not sure what he does for the govt but maybe he could put some more effort in his job instead of starting up a side business and help protect legit contractors from these fly by nights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lot of aggression here. I kind of expected it but I did think this was a message board where you could seek advice from contractors...

Anyway maybe a little more info to calm the masses. I'm 26 years old have my associates degree. If I need to continue my education I'm pretty open to that idea, this business is an end goal and by all means not something I want to be a side project. It has to start out as a side project because I have a family and I do have a responsibility to them first. I currently work in environmental for the government and actually have done a ton of research so far as well as working with many of the products and services that I want to offer (solar panels being the exception here because it's not something that is cheap or easy to just dabble in). I realize how much work I still have in front of me but I'm also not looking at opening for business in the next couple days either!

I also work with a local wildlife company doing humane wildlife exclusions and removals. This often involves me doing quite a bit of repair work to people's homes and was a business that I started on my own but found an opportunity to partner up with a company that could provide me with more customers.

I did say in my original post that I am aware of how ambitious this undertaking is. I'm just a guy looking for some advice/help.

Thanks... hopefully...!
 

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Los Angeles Remodeler
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Lot of aggression here. I kind of expected it but I did think this was a message board where you could seek advice from contractors...

Anyway maybe a little more info to calm the masses. I'm 26 years old have my associates degree. If I need to continue my education I'm pretty open to that idea, this business is an end goal and by all means not something I want to be a side project. It has to start out as a side project because I have a family and I do have a responsibility to them first. I currently work in environmental for the government and actually have done a ton of research so far as well as working with many of the products and services that I want to offer (solar panels being the exception here because it's not something that is cheap or easy to just dabble in). I realize how much work I still have in front of me but I'm also not looking at opening for business in the next couple days either!

I also work with a local wildlife company doing humane wildlife exclusions and removals. This often involves me doing quite a bit of repair work to people's homes and was a business that I started on my own but found an opportunity to partner up with a company that could provide me with more customers.

I did say in my original post that I am aware of how ambitious this undertaking is. I'm just a guy looking for some advice/help.

Thanks... hopefully...!
Krocky, you are on a contractor talk forum with lots of testosterone, but you will get used to it soon and you will get aggressive too.

I would like to welcome you to the board and rest assured this is the place to get advise, keep posting and asking questions. I have found it extremely useful to be here.

My suggestion is that try to stick to what you know best and do it. And if you are trying to get your business up and running soon, don't try to DIY on everything. If you need to establish a corporation use mycorporation.com (no affiliation) or similar service. Get a professional to do you website so you have a presence in the online search world. Dont pay for online advertising its useless. Print your cards professionally, I use Office Depot and they are great quality, dont use your own printer. Get the state licenses you need so you stay in the legal zone. Once you are set up, then get out there and intorduce yourself to everyone you meet casually. Tell them what you do briefly so they know and talk to others about you. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up you will have lots of opportunities to get your business introduced to family and friends and you never know as you may get your first job through a recommendation.

And after all said, once ou get your first opportunity to bid on a job, make sure you estimate right and price right so yo uwalk away with a profit.
 

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Project Manager HFH..
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Well to start you need 4 years of journeyman level experience to get a contractors license in California.That's for any trade.
For a GC license you need to show 4 years of supervisory experience in at least four trades.


And to address the "aggression" issue...
Many contractors,myself included,find it kind of offensive that someone with nothing more than a degree thinks they are qualified to start a contracting company.We all have spent many,many years in the field learning our trades,THEN we got licensed and started a business.

Maybe you should stick to opossum and rat exclusions and removals....Just sayin'
 
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LEED certification/accreditation requires passing an exam that even architects struggle with.
LOL. The average architect struggles just trying to produce a set of drawings. Unless krocky07 is a slobbering imbecile, he's smarter than an architect! In life I've met people who were smarter than me, none of them were architects. Seriously, how many times have architects proudly delivered their work product to you and it was total junk?

:clap:
 

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I guess I'm more looking to be a business owner with a crew of guys doing the majority of the work while I keep the government job and help out on as many jobs as I can on my days off.
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I can't believe you guys haven't figured out who this is...
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Thom
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I can't believe you guys haven't figured out who this is...
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The trades are screwed up enough already. We don't need to add this clown to the mess.
 
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I don't see enough demand to start a business that does strictly green renovations. I can kind of see having a regular construction business and then making green renovations a branch in one of your services. But to do strictly green work? I can't see it happening in this economy.
 

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I don't see enough demand to start a business that does strictly green renovations. I can kind of see having a regular construction business and then making green renovations a branch in one of your services. But to do strictly green work? I can't see it happening in this economy.

Thats very true. Remember Krocky07, this is the part they dont tell you about Green openly: GREEN = EXPENSIVE

and most people dont like the second part which they figure out after you have spent days and weeks lobbying them to buy your product.
 

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Thats very true. Remember Krocky07, this is the part they dont tell you about Green openly: GREEN = EXPENSIVE

and most people dont like the second part which they figure out after you have spent days and weeks lobbying them to buy your product.
So true. My cost for some green countertop "solutions" offered by a major supplier was nearly 10 times what average granite costs me for materials.

It had crushed glass bottles in it, and looked HIDEOUS. I wouldn't even consider offering it as an option to my clients. I would have had to charge nearly $150 per square foot. With granite at such reasonable prices now, the green thing just isn't realistic yet.
 

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I can't believe you guys haven't figured out who this is...
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I know that guy!

He is the man formerly known as the dumbest man in the US Senate, Joe Plugs Biden.
 

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So true. My cost for some green countertop "solutions" offered by a major supplier was nearly 10 times what average granite costs me for materials.

It had crushed glass bottles in it, and looked HIDEOUS. I wouldn't even consider offering it as an option to my clients. I would have had to charge nearly $150 per square foot. With granite at such reasonable prices now, the green thing just isn't realistic yet.


Those are truely expensive I think the crushed glass look is ok but not even close to the granite I get installed for $35/SF average.
 

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Those are truely expensive I think the crushed glass look is ok but not even close to the granite I get installed for $35/SF average.
The number above is YOUR cost I hope. If that is what the customer is truly paying, including cut outs it matches the barrage of signs littering the roadways around here.

They advertise $29 to $38 per square foot to the end use customers but kill them with cut outs, templating, delivery, etc. so they end up paying between $50 and $75.

(Thats for the basics like Tan Brown, Giallo Ornamental, Santa Cecilia, Black Pearl, Uba Tuba, and all the cheaper green colors.)

If it's 3cm residential grade material and you factor in the cutouts, 50-75 is the norm. (And it's fair):thumbsup:
 
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