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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    First, I am truly touched that y’all take the time to help a (wishy-washy) brother out with advice…

    James - Yes, we did. Health issues were a factor then, along with what I’ve said earlier on this thread. And then it was the recruiter thing before that… I’m busted…

    Shane, what can I say. Read your post 4 times. I hear you, friend, and you’re right. You, Dice, James, benn, and MANY others have been so inspirational and motivational, friggin amazing… And I think I do pattern my business style after ya’ll…

    And yes, I went thru Dice’s website and learned a lot, both technically and about the business side of things. His site actually inspired me to do mine in a similar manner. Yes, it took a lot of time, at the time. But not anymore, it’s done. And that article he wrote in The News about which jobs to take and such was great…

    You’re right though, I am a perfectionist. And I can’t rest until everything (about the biz) is 100% squared away… It’s like a cloud over me when there are things left to do…

    And I do like being small. People ask me, when you gonna hire people, get trucks. I’m like –naaah…

    Since we’re this deep into this topic, let me share this. I hope this translates on the net…

    I started this biz somewhat different than most owners, I think. Six months before I opened this biz, I quit that civil service job I mentioned earlier and stupidly opened another HVAC biz with a PARTNER! At the time, it was the thing to do. My civil service boss was a complete ass, and the new partner and I had went through trade school together, and got along OK. He’s 10 years younger than me, but a sharp tech. Headstrong with lots of attitude, a go-getter. After graduation. we went our separate ways, but would see each occasionally at the parts house. One day we passed each other on the road, pulled over and talked, and decided to open a biz together. We were both CLUELESS…

    My wife was prego with my son at the time I quit the govt job and opened the 1st biz with dude. She was freaking out (I can’t believe she didn’t divorce me)…

    Dude was BIG into wanting to do new construction. I grew up all on the service side in this biz and really wanted nothing to do with ductwork or new construction at all. You can see where this is going…

    I did ALL the administrative stuff required to open the biz, I passed the Master exam for the mech license, etc, etc. He sat back and waited till we hung out our shingle. He was already basically unemployed at the time. (isn’t hindsight 20/20?)…

    So he’s out bidding new construction jobs and getting nowhere. We’re putting systems in 40 year-old houses that didn’t have central anything, and you know how bad that sucks…

    Three months into it, neither of us are having much fun at all. We had totally different as on where we should focus the business. Me – all service, him – all new construction…

    At the 4 month mark, (July) he tells me he wants to buy me out! Wife’s still prego, really freakin out now! We went back and forth, yada, yada. Truly was the end of the world at the time…

    Anyway, I decided to let him buy me out and start over. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE!!!!!!!

    He took subsequently took out the biggest full-page ad in the phonebook. “We beat any competitor’s price” it says at the top (doh!)…

    In the 3 years since, he’s had judgements against him by the Employment Security Commission, bounced his employee’s pay checks, had to replace burned carpet in customer’s house when red hot El’s popped of the reefer line out of the closet on an AH replacement, fix big water damage on a high $$ house from an attic install with no 2nd pan, his S-corp has been administratively dissolved by the state, etc.etc.

    I digress…

    So I took the buyout money and opened this biz right back up. Sink or swim in the middle of peak summer season. It was easy – did it in 1/3 the time it took the 1st go-round…

    I say all this not to argue or justify, but so you kinda know where I’m coming from. Y’all may think I’m nuts…

    The idea of having a partner was OK (all things considered). It was the thing to do at the time, and we ran with it. Having it blow up on me 4 months later was a blessing in disguise, but I had to what I had to do, and quick. Couldn’t go back to the old job (I went out with a bang, if you know what I mean).…

    I never really had a burning desire to be self-employed, to be the boss, a sole proprietor/ owner. But now that I’m here, I don’t mind it. It has brought to a new level of understanding, made me grow up. I knew I was smart enough. And I can maintain this and make it work…

    But with retirement and family in mind, I can’t help but wonder if I’m really using my available resources effectively? All that paper I have ain’t doin’ squat for me now, but it travels well with civil service employment. Get me?
    In summary, the best way to describe it, is that I was ½ way up the govt’ ladder in all regards, and going well towards the top, and I jumped off…

    But I learned a HELLUVA lot since that jump, buuut….Is the grass greener? Is there an easier/better way?…

    Sorry so long & thanks…

  2. #28
    You're ex parnter made all the wrong moves, you made the right ones, that's why you will be successful in time.

    When I officially went into biz 25 years ago last November, 2 year old kid, preg wife, health insurance went belly up after the 2nd kid was born, don't know how we made it.
    Hang in there, think about it, good luck.
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

  3. #29
    I remember a story my dad told long ago, I never forgot it.

    He left his dads plumbing biz to open his own, my grand pop was cheap and some other factors, that was in the late 30's maybe early 40's or so. My dad worked hard and did well, built a house in a very good neighborhood outside of Pittsburgh here.
    He had friends that were well off, some inherited their dough, most worked for it. One day one of his friends who had a great job and made lots and lots more money than my dad said this to him. Paraphrased now, "Ya know, I envy you, I wish I could have my name on the side of a truck and a business I could have started and called my own."
    Through it all I never forgot that.
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Fast Forward to year 2032

    Spike posting on HVAC-TALK announcing his retirement.

    Spike Quote:
    Today I am announcing my retirement to all my fellow brother HVAC/R comrades. Twenty–seven years ago in February of 2005 after being in business for four years and successful, I almost made the fatal mistake of going back to work for someone else all because I just needed a little extra push, guidance and advice from my friends here. Looking back it was hard to vision the successes which would come my way when you go through the tough times. The most important thing I learned while being self-employed is you must keep yourself motivated. I learned a lot from the free newsletter in sales, marketing and other business areas which helped me tremendously, and my friends here.

    One night at the dinner table while admiring my beautiful family, I realized going back to work for someone else would not provide for my family like I wanted. Little did I know, taking the extra steps of marketing my company better would and did satisfy our dreams. I was able to pay the college tuition for my children, and now can enjoy my retirement years while being financially secure.

    During my retirement, I will be posting here often to help show you youngsters the ropes.

    Again, thanks to all my friends here, it has been a great ride.
    End quote year 2032

    MadeinUSA….Vision it Spike, it is all there for you to have. You have gone four years and proven to yourself you are a successful entrepreneur. Take the extra steps to continue controlling your own destiny.

    You never know what opportunities will come your way while in business which can enable you to diversify. This can not happen when working for others. You are living the American dream with a family and your own business. Don’t you DARE let someone else control it since you are already successful. Isn’t having a jerk for a boss once enough in your lifetime?

    Print my signature line and tape it at the top of your screen so you can vision your goals.

    Good luck to you.

    I, SPIKE, promise to never let a manufacture, wholesaler or any other source control my company’s destiny and ability to provide for my family, and my employees families.



  5. #31


    I will be a very old man by then, but I will still be here busting your guys chops.........
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Your thread asked the question what you should do. And you have been given an incredible amount of real experience in all our threads. The question isn't what you should do. Not even close to that. You could make it either way and make it well.

    The question you need to ask is.

    What do you want to do? How on earth can we know that?

    If you want my straight up opinion. I think your being a wus and haven't given yourself a chance to be succesful yet. Listen to these guys my man. You aint the first person to wake up one day and having a tough time trying to put food on the table as a self employed contractor. And you aint the first to be presented an opportunity which makes life easier in ways. But godamnit listen. We hear you. We understand. And were all telling you to stay the course. And in time you will be gratefull to heed that advice. Your the only one that has now got to walk that rope and understand with out words what were saying. And in time you will understand why this choice is your best bet.

  7. #33
    I don't think Spike is a wus, not at all.
    It's a tough decision, thinking about the fam and all.
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    yeagh that was little too harsh. i meant it kinda sorta like hey, bozo.

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Camel City, NC


    # 1 Dice and I have been in Buss. about the same time. # 2 Get your A** to the next Convention, bring your wife.
    # 3 Your customers will be there when you get back.
    # 4 Yes the grass is greener, could be putting sh** on it. # 5 You may know to much to work for someone else now # 6 Folks told me to grow my Buss. I'm still a 1 man shop. # 7 I plan to leave here the way I came. Broke and naked.
    Be safe not fast. body parts don't grow back

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Gold Coast of Connecticut
    I would just hire some one else to do most of the work, and let him make you money. You could then have some more time to persue your other desires. I am not saying to get out, but maybe a small van for your self and set a limit of 30 hours a week period! The work will wait for you!
    Aire Serv of SW Connecticut- Gas heat, dual fuel and central a/c systems installed and serviced

  11. #37

    Re: Spike

    Originally posted by selfemployed
    # 1 Dice and I have been in Buss. about the same time. # 2 Get your A** to the next Convention, bring your wife.
    # 3 Your customers will be there when you get back.
    # 4 Yes the grass is greener, could be putting sh** on it. # 5 You may know to much to work for someone else now # 6 Folks told me to grow my Buss. I'm still a 1 man shop. # 7 I plan to leave here the way I came. Broke and naked.
    I agree, nice touch Scott, broke and naked.....nice....
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

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