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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,503
    For those who don’t know, I’m on my 4th year as a one-man shop. Have a legit business office, but no shop. Residential and light commercial service and replacement only (no new const.), no need for shop, employees, trucks, etc. I feel I run a tight show. Have one fully-equipped, well-stocked van. No other employees, except an occasional helper here and there. Licensed, insured, LLC, commercial everything, real invoices, QuickBooks, HVAC-Calc, website, etc.

    I realized I was burnt out about this time last year. You didn’t know, but y’all have been my pseudo-tech’s and business advisors for a long time now (thanks!)

    I’m spending about 50-60 hours/week (more in the summer) on this gig now, wearing all the different hats. I’ve also got USAF Reserve obligations, an LLC rental property/RE business, and most importantly, my 2 kids, who are 2 and 3 ½ years old (high maintenance)…

    I’d like to hire a tech, but I’m so friggin particular about things like workmanship and reputation, not to mention all the BS that goes with having employees/trucks… (I’m trying to reduce my stress, not add to it…) And fall/winter is so sporadic...

    The weather this year! The dang leaves haven’t even fallen yet!!! 65-70 degrees for the past 3 months…

    I know I’ll be busy again once it warns up, but my enthusiasm is waning. For this whole thing of being self employed. Kinda like, “Been there, done that, time for something new..”

    Gonna be 40 next month !

    I was talking to a friend of mine a couple of weeks back who’s a big-shot civil engineer at a big Army camp nearby. Long story short, he said let me see your resume. So I buffed it up and gave it to him. He said it’s the best he’s ever seen. That got me thinking: Maybe go back to work for the US Gov’t (where I left to open this biz)…

    I’ve got a lot of good paper (certificates, courses, military experience and technical schools) that civil service uses not only to determine the quality of an applicant, but what they will start their pay at. IOW, I can start out at a higher pay rate with the paper I have…

    Better return on my time, ya know? Make the same pay, for less hours on the job. And the thought of actually punching out and leaving work totally (almost) behind when you drive off the lot is inspiring… I could have more of my life back..

    And the retirement benefits! I could apply my 18 military years towards civil service retirement, and be FAT in 20 years…

    So there’s a US Govt A/C mechanic job 2 minutes from my house that starts @ $18/hour. I sent in my package, and I know I’ll get an interview. USAJobs.com has lots of civil service mechanical jobs.

    Big decision…

    My gut says do the civil service thing. Thanks - I appreciate your comments/opinions, as always.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Ottawa, Ont. Canada
    Posts
    1,729
    My opinion ... go with the government job if you think you can handle the silly stuff that will inevitably be part of it. Man, I live in a government town and those folks drawing pensions sure have it made over us self-employed taxpayers. No comparison. It takes a freaking pile of savings to make it through "The Golden Years", if you don't have a pension.

    Good luck to you.

    don
    don sleeth - HVAC-Talk Founder
    HVAC Computer Systems
    Heat Load Calculation Software

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Maryland's Eastern Shore
    Posts
    892
    Take the gov't job, but like Don said, just be prepared for the normal BS and actually having to answer to someone besides yourself... The biggest benefit and the reason I say leave the business behind is your 2 kids... Just my opinion...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    35,838
    If you are that busy with such little overhead how can you possibly make as much in the civil service job?
    I say forget it, stay put, quit trying to save the world, take the good work, hire a part time helper or if you have that much work a full time employee, only if you have enough to keep you both busy I mean.
    You will never have that opportunity again, ya know how many guys workking for other people would like to be in your shoes?
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

    www.AskTheDiceman.com

    www.TheColdConspiracy.com

    www.Pennwood-HVAC.Com

    Bring Em Home....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,214
    Government funding....sure why not...but you need to be satisfied with the fact that is all your gonna make.
    thehumid1-------I live in NJ, a state where it's free to come in but you have to pay to leave!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,503

    Some clarification is in order...

    When I say 50-60 hours per week, I mean total time, not just production time...

    I think I fret over my business more than most owners do, even when all caught up...

    sheet, I would hire someone if I was steadily busting my knuckles for 50-60 hours a week.

    I meant 50-60 hours wearing all that hats required to be the owner, tech, CSR, webmaster, accountant/bookeeper, etc.

    I know a few of you (Ed) have seen me speak on this topic before, in a different version...

    With all my military time, plus previous federal employment, PLUS all that good paper I talked about, I have such a huge head start in the gov't world, it's a shame not to use it.

    humid1 - actually, no. I'm a big believer in multiple streams of income. My RE business has good flow, plus the USAF Reserves has little temporary jobs popping up all the time, not to mention my annual requirments. I would also keep my licenses current for a little side-work here and there

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Bennington, Vermont U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,864
    25-27 years ago I was in business with this other guy. I like being able to do jobs my way. I liked to have all the benefits of being self employed. What I didn't like was having a partner. We had some rought years bickering. Finally I had enough of that stress and sold out to him.

    In the sell-out I had a non-compete clause in the contract so it was not just a matter of going out on my own. Plus I had a wife and 3 kids to worry about. So I took a job for a leading company in the area.

    The money was union scale. No problems with the boss. I worked out of town most of the time and I never saw the guy. I would call in my material that I needed for the week. They delivered the material to my house and left off my pay check. What could be easier. I HATED IT! My wife said that it was the most miserable she had ever seen me during those 2 years.

    Long story short I found this little town which was out side of the non-compete limits and started my own show. 25 years latter I have 10 people working and we did 1.5 this past year. Are there headaches. Yes but I know what the alternative is.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Colorado flatland native
    Posts
    15,067

    Gonna be 40 next month !

    Oh yea? Me too. March 13th.

    I for 1 could never work for somebody again. Well, things would have to be pretty damn bad.
    My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more.
    Walter Matthau

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    south Mississippi
    Posts
    185
    Spent a a few years at place like the one you are talking about. The hardest part was trying to slow down to their pace. Lots of little differences between G -jobs and the real world, but the pay offs may be good also. Like 8 hour days. Off week-ends, rare call outs, usaully 10 working days off at christmas, Paid holidays/sick leave and vacation. Also 18/hr is P D good for that area no matter what anybody says. We have a job opening now for hvac on our campus,( which is just up the road from you), and it would most likely only pay from 9 to 12/ hr. Thats another subject..If its time with the family you want then just say no to your customers and take in less work and farm out more,, like someone doing the books and paperwork, don't do it all yourself. Or to heck with it all and go G-job. PS If you go with the G-Job I bet the farm it want be long for you start filling you new found free time with little side jobs and end up more tied up than before.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    35,838
    Talk it over with the wife and kids, if they are old enough.
    I was 26 when I went into biz, at 40 you are in a different situation, the 20 year civil service pension is nice, not sure of what advice to give you, you seem set on taking it.
    I will say there were times early on I considered getting out too, bad times, no work, no money 3 kids yada, yada.
    But in the end, working for myself has given me more free time, less stress and greater opportunities and a sense of accomlishment that I never could have realized had I gone another route. If you have the military in your blood, and it seems you do, then that position may be good for you.
    As for me,
    I would have regretted doing it any other way.
    Give it some time, think about it, consider all the angles, good luck.
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

    www.AskTheDiceman.com

    www.TheColdConspiracy.com

    www.Pennwood-HVAC.Com

    Bring Em Home....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Santa Cruz, Ca.
    Posts
    356
    I would like to suggest that you consider your decision from a differant view. Leave the paycheck out of it for the moment. Ask yourself:

    1. Can you go back to work for someone else?
    2. Are you still willing to commit time and effort into your own shop?
    3. What does your family say?
    4. Are you willing to live with the decision you make?
    5. Do I still enjoy what I do?

    Answer those questions and then bring pay back into the picture.

    I read between the lines on your first post and get the impression you want to take the government job. You don't appear to be in a position to hire some help much less want to. I don't believe you want to be "on-call" the rest of your life. Soooo.......

    Think it all thru and make a decision that is in your best interest for both personal and financial reasons.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,503

    Just talked with the super...

    "oh, they left off one thing on the announcement...

    Rotating shift work, weekends, too..."

    This could be bad or good, depends. I think it may mean shift-diff pay and also may give me free time during the week for my RE business...

    I called him to see if I could go look at what their operation (500 ton centrifugal, refrigeration and A/c), get a $.10 tour, so to speak...

    Conflict of interest with other applicants, he says. (I knew that, thought I'd try anyway..)

    Ha - Jack, you're 2 weeks older than me

    Dice, Jack and benn have got this racket figgered out. Helps that they grew up in the biz...

    Seriously, all ya'll over the years have helped me tremendously, wouldn't have survived 1 year, much less 4, without you. Thanks.

    1. I could if they treat me with respect and not like a teenager (like my last civil service boss, who had his whole shop quit on him). I imagine work w/o the hassles that go with owner/manager (just doing the work) and that reduces my stress level. I think about how much free time I would have to do what I wanted, and not be so constantly 'attached' to my biz. Being able to actually taking a vacation (vs a weekend) would be nice...

    2. Of course, this is my project. I like where I am right now, but the phone's not ringing (weather).

    3. I was a federal employee when I met and married my wife. She's for it.

    4. Yes, but at the same time, I know I could crank this up again if I had to. I got this business going completely by myself 100%, could do it again, no prob.

    5. I like the trade. Had a cheap-skate realtor throw a hissy-fit like a 10 year-old a few weeks back, can do w/o that crap. (never happened before). No payers, late payers, ATTICS, houses with pets, dealing with crappy installs/ductwork that someone else put in, but the current owner doesn't want to fix, the general
    sad state/opinion of the trade in this area (if y'all remember it was me who suggested that Don start the WOS and supplied alot of the first pics)... Cheap cheap rules down here (lowest per capita income state of all 50 states). I take all this very personally (probably too much).

    I think the main thing is stress relief while keeping my checking account at the same level...




    [Edited by spike on 02-02-2005 at 02:06 PM]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Colorado flatland native
    Posts
    15,067

    Ha - Jack, you're 2 weeks older than me

    But you never have a Friday the 13th birthday there..... Young'un!
    My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more.
    Walter Matthau

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