Did I make the right choice in leaving my job?
Just looking for some input from everyone out there, to see if I made the right choice...I think I did, but there is always that uneasiness about it.
I started working for a guy 6 months ago who was a one man operation, he had lost his license for dui and needed a "helper" to drive him around. I was overqualified, but desperate, as most are in this economy and took the job, but was working undocumented for cash money. He was always late in paying right from the first couple of weeks, and after a few months I was only able to get back to even with him when we did a big job that paid him well, which was only about once a month..
Anyway, I went almost 1 month and only got paid $200, even when he was bringing in about 800 to 1000 a week and we were only working 30 hrs a week. I would end up doing most if not all of the work while he was drinking away a lot of money at the bar, as well we had to make regular stops at the beer and liquor stores...I figured out in short order that he had a drinking problem...
He allowed me to keep track of my hours and it got to the point where he owed me almost $1400. So as of last Saturday I had enough...I was doing a solo call on Saturday for one of his customers, the deal was always that if I did a solo call for him on a weekend or just took care of one on my own that he would normally have turned down because he didn't feel like doing it that we would split the call 50/50....So I go do a no heat call and clean a dirty flame sensor and general check over and the customer writes me a check for $150....Well my wife flips out because he owes me so much cash and I tell the guy to make the check out to my boss....Man it was WW III at my house this past weekend.
When my boss called me to setup a start time for Monday, I told him that I couldn't do it anymore unless he could pay me something so that I wasn't so far in the hole with him. He told me that we had a couple of fireplace installs(that we were supposed to have done last week) and he could maybe get me $400 or $500 by the middle of the week. I told him I couldn't go on empty promises anymore and to call me when he had some money for me. My wife tore up the check from the customer in anger, and now either I go back to the customer and have him cut one to me, or basically the guy gets a free service, either way my boss will not see the $150. My wife feels that he has taken full advantage of me and has a lot of nerve to offer to split a call when he owes me so much money...
The way I look at it, I had to cut my losses..The service van stayed with the boss so I had a 45 min commute one way to go and work 6 to 7 hrs a day, a 45 min commute home, burning my gas and not getting paid regularly, and no "sure thing" when it came to jobs coming in...I just couldn't do it anymore...He was a great guy to teach me stuff, and always freely shared his knowledge and buy me lunch (while he had a liquid lunch), he wasn't a dumb guy, but made stupid choices....
I don't think I have any regrets, I have taken a few of his clients that he pissed off with his poor service and drinking, and have been going at it on my own for the past few days thinking may he would come to his senses and call me and want to pay me and get back to working, but that hasn't happened. He can find another $10/hr guy to drive him around, but he won't find another tech with a couple years experience willing to put up with his drinking and lack of paying on a regular basis...
Anyone else out there have this problem, I mean, I have no problem with drinking, but save it for home and after working hours...not during the day.
I was in your position a few years ago but I remember making the run into the liquor store for him to get a bottle also, fun times for sure. I was not in the same $ situation you were in he had a wife that kept him sort of straight at least the checks were good. I left pretending to go away on a trip I won and just moved out of the area completely. He called the police on me saying I stole some stuff but all I took was what I started with, lesson learned don't work for a Drunk!
You did the right thing although you should have left a little sooner. But lesson learned. maybe you should think about going on your own. I have beed debating it for about six months now and I am still not sure.
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My friend, you have a wife to take care of. That changes life considerably. IMO when the day is done, your choices are about taking care of your family.
I think you did the right thing. I would not worry too much about yesterday; rather make better plans for tomorrow.
If you do choose to go it on your own, you might want to consider these things:
1) It will take a while to build up your clientele, be sure you and the wifey have a way to keep the lights on and beans on the table. If you have to clean gutters and do handyman stuff while building your HVAC clientele, that is just 'paying the dues' so to say.
2) Get the proper licenses and insurance, you will be glad you did!
3) Techincal skills are not all there is to being self employed. One must also have business skills. Most small businesses fail in the first 2 years, because the boss does not have business skills... Go to the Business forum and read, read, read!!!
Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!
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You got hook and reeled in by a Drunk lesson learned.
If you have the tools you need and the License and don't have a job give it a try. If a good job comes along and you want it then OK. when you start out Keep it simple don't assumes debt if at all possible and collect before you leave (when you get on your feet you can bill) But at first at min payment for parts is due at the end of the Job.
GA has some very good advice.
If you help others then you are a Success
There is your first mistake. What some people don't realize is what kind of trouble you can get into with the IRS, Social Security Adm. state taxing bodies, etc. If you get caught trust me it won't even be worth it. They don't care who you are or your personal finances. When someone speaks cash, run don't even walk away from the person making the offer. If his next victim helper decides to burn the bridge and report him you may get involved more than you think. I would advise talking with a tax expert and pony up on your side of paying what you owe and make an honest effort to keep yourself out of hot water.
Originally Posted by 73Stingray
You made the right choice by quitting.
Business operators like that deserve to be reported. Number one what if he should service someone's furnace while drunk and cause the house to burn down and kill and injure people? Do innocent people deserve that? I don't think so.
You should have taken that check from the customer in your name and walked from the guy that "hired" you. Consider it a down payment against what you are owed. I would feel no shame in going back to that customer and asking for another check because you "lost" the last one, and offer to have the total reduced by an amount equal to a stop payment fee.
Originally Posted by 73Stingray
You were putting yorself and your family at risk by working with someone that was working under the influence. What would have happened if you got hurt (or worse) as a resullt of some stupid accident due to intoxication? Your wife tearing up a check would be the least of your worries.
Disclosing certain aspects about a pay arrangement on a public forum may not be in your best interest.
I have worked with several people with drug and alcohol problems... dui's and such, yet they remain employed. One guy was so wasted that he fell off the first step of a ladder. I don't get it. Must be some fine print on the dues receipt somewhere.
Nope. Return the check to the customer and walk away. Screwy as it sounds taking the check in his name would be legal grounds for theft that the business owner could take. They have no legal business contract to accept payment in his name. In court the verbal agreement would have about 0 standing. The judge would have no choice but to rule in favor of the business owner.
Originally Posted by neophytes serendipity
He still did the right thing by quitting.
As for posting the details in a forum I agree. A lawyer I know and I got into a discussion about this. You know he said we don't use email in our office to send things, I presume case related information, because once something becomes electronic no telling where it goes and who sees it. I know this probably doesn't make 73Stingray sleep well hearing this but you have to remember if the owner sees this posting I bet he won't do a darn thing. Why the IRS, state revenue office, Social Security Adm. would be all over the business owner like a bear to honey would be. Why he may even see some jail time too if he gets caught.
Originally Posted by BigDick
Thanks for the reassurances....I can return the torn up check to the customer with out a problem, it is only in 3 large pieces, so he can have it back with no need to order a stop payment on it....My old boss is aware of this site, and does come on it, but not frequently, and would not know me by my id, in fact I don't really care if he did read this post....
He is an out right looser, I know he will not chase me for the money, really I should just go back to the customer and explain to him that I quit on the Friday and the Saturday call should have been mine and have him make it out to me. Either that or just basically forget about the whole thing and take it as a lesson learned.
btw...The guy has no insurance for his business, or his vehicles, or his own home for that matter. He declared bankruptcy about 6 weeks after I started, but still continues to work and just has ppl put the checks in his name..not his companys name...He prefers to just work for cash and fly under the radar....He does a ton of lets say...not quite code compliant type stuff for people that want it and know that they are breaking the code and that he was the man to call to have it done. I don't know how he sleeps at night.
He pass out at night
Originally Posted by 73Stingray
If you help others then you are a Success
Precisely why I have prefered working for larger outfits. No mystery paydays! As of yet....