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Discussion Starter #1
I thought that I would start this because we seem to get a lot of people just getting off the ground or are interested in doing so.
I'll open the ball.
My dad was a GC and engineer. My earliest recollection, (about 4 yrs. old) was chipping mortar from old brick. He insured that I started from the ground up and I was paid the same as others with my qualifications at the time. Throughout my teen years my paycheck went up and down like a yo-yo but he made sure that I was paired with the best. As a result Iknow how to do almost anything related to construction with the exception of modern roofing. If you want to know how extensive, ask. It includes wrought iron from scratch.
My father was killed in 1973 and the one thing that I was not totally prepared for was the PAPERWORK and it is much worse today. My bookkeeper/office manager left to get married prior to Memorial Day, moved to the West coast too, and as much as she tried to explain it all to me, there are always little things that keep popping up. Today I just found out that I am supposed to be generating reciept reports to a national contractor, know wonder I have boxes of stuff filling up the shop! Nowbody told them that it was here! I didn't know that this form even exsisted.
Just part of the fun of being a small business owner. My paycheck is still very much better than working for somebody else.
 

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Damn Grumpy you got me beat! I think there are child labor laws now to protect 5 years olds! :D

My earliest memory of getting stoked about building was a summer when I was about 13 years old. We spent the summers with my Aunt and Uncle in Indiana and the last two days before summer ended they were working on a property they inheirited, I got to help them out those last two days and I remember trying to figure out a way to not have to go back home on the last day so that I could see whatever project we were working on to completion. It just killed me to leave in the middle. I was just getting reved up, the problem solving is what I love the best, at 13 I was figuring out stuff that the grown ups couldn't. I was like a child protege of the pipe wrench at 13 :rolleyes:
 

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General Contractor
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Well before I can remember I would go with the old man to make sure the heaters were working on the bridges he was working on. I think my first project was at around 10 years old. My father would come home on the weekends and we would frame a wall then my sister and I would sheet it during the week after school. Old man would come home on the weekend, we'd stand the wall, and start all over again. Did a 1500sf addition to our house like that. First actual paying job was when I was 13 pouring concrete and framing. Been doing it ever since.
 

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Flooring Guru
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I have always been a hard worker and fast learner. But I knew nothing of flooring until about 8 years ago. I started as a warehouseman and I met this guy that worked for the company 18 years ago as a warehouseman too. Now he handles the biggest builders in Portland making ungodly amoounts of money. I decided to try to follow his path.
I am about 1/3 of the way there.
 

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I recall painting houses in a north Chicago suburb (Evanston) and gluing up paper with/for my grandfather since I was just a little chump.

And I agree with Teetor, the biggest learning experience in going on my own was and still is all this freakin' PAPERWORK. I hate it, if I could just be on the wall all day, I'd be in heaven, but I reckon a company doesn't run itself.
 

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We moved into a new house when I was 12. Father was a truck driver, mother a secretary. I figured I'd surprise them, while they were at work during the week I 'dug' out and 'formed' out for an octagon patio. (Since I was 12, I made it 12' across) My father ordered concrete delivery that Saturday, and we poured it together. It came out great, and I've been inventing projects to do ever since.
 

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415 Posts
When I was a teenager I had 3 dreams-- to be a writer, to be a pro athlete, or to own a business.

I quickly learned that I wasn't going to be a pro athlete, unless being an incredibly witty guy would qualify as being an athlete. I couldn't find a professional league that would recognize that skill, so I gave up on it.

Then I tried to be a writer. That had mixed results. I write real good, but some editors don't seem to pay no mind to my talent. So I decided I'd start a business.

I knew a guy who did pressure washing and I helped him one day. I thought it would be a flexible business that would allow me to continue to write really good (and witty) things while getting wet a few hours week. Pretty soon my business grew and I got hooked.

I'd always been kind of handy (that happens when you are a starving writer) so I picked up other skills like painting and carpentry. Before too long I grew tired of hitting my thumb with the hammer and scraping paint off of my arms, so I decided I was going to get out of the bucket and run a business.

The rest is history.

Brian Phillips
 
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