how did you start your company
I am preparing to go out on my own next summer. I would like to hear the stories of how and what you guys went through during the start up portion. I live near Waco TX. Also I a few questions I need a place to purchase hvac invoices. And should I wrap my truck? Does that help I have to have the License # on it any ways so why not make it a billboard. I did sign up with the nate c3 site. What brand helps the most with your company?
I've had several businesses. Some did well, some tanked. I learned more from my failures than my successes.
My big 4
1. Tradespeople make terrible business people. Its hard to accept that the work you do is much less important than running the business and it's easy to get so busy doing the work that there is no time to work on the business. I had read this but didn't really understand it until several years after I lost my first business and could look back with clarity at what went wrong.
2. Pay your taxes first. At a minimum, you will need to be setting aside 30% of your income for income tax. You now pay your portion and your employer's portion.
3. Charge enough. Many business people, especially new business people think that they will get work based on low prices. You don't want the customers that are only interested in low prices. Most of them won't buy no matter how low the price is.
4. Know your costs. You need enough income to cover:
1. A good family medical program - $700 per month minimum.
2. Vehicle, gas, ins., payments, depreciation, tires, tune up, repairs, etc. - $670
3. Office supplies including stamps - $30
4. Acct and attorney, if and when needed - $50
5. Magzines and books $40
6. Business taxes - $100
7. Telephone - $50
8. Cellular phone - $100
9. Travel & entertainment - $50
10. Seminars and Trade Shows - $125
11. Uniforms - even just jeans and shirts - $45
12. Small tools - $15
13. Software and upgrades - $30
14. Marketing & Advertising - $200
15. Office Equipment depreciation - $75
16. Liability Insurance - $300
17. Workers Comp OR Disability insurance - $125
18. Bad Debt - $100
19. Guarantee work $100
20. Future Capital Expenditures - $100
21. Owners draw ($1000 weekly) - $4333.00
22. Bookkeeping - ($150 per week) $650
With no provisions for retirement, no vacation pay, no sick time, no other perks and benefits a real job gets you, it comes to about $7950 per month. Anything less and you're working for wages.
naysayer, skeptic, conspiracy theorist
Contracts contracts contracts. Always get in writing even a repair after a dianostic. It doesn't have to be fancy just acknowlegement that you will do this for that amount. Nothing worse than getting taken by the nicest person in the world "con artist". Specially for $20k you cant afford to loose.
Pay attention to your business. Taxes will not notify they are due they will notify you when your past due and have penalties.
If you think our goverment is screwed up. You haven't lived in another country.
Brands don't matter, neither does NATE, regardless of what they and some people claim.
Professional work, for a fair price. That should be your goal. And if you achieve that goal, then you will be successful.
Answer your phone. Be where you say you will be, when you say. Do the job for what you quoted, no matter what you missed because you were in a rush. Consider your customers as more than walking ATMs. Develop a relationship with them. That way when Billy comes by and offers $5 bucks an hour cheaper, he doesn't get the business. When you screw the pooch, which you will, you make it right, with a smile, and with a free service call (labor) the next time they need you. Never guarantee "x" will fix the problem unless you are 125% sure. Always promise 3 days and "x" dollars, and deliver 2 days and "x-2" dollars. Note the little things when meeting a customer. Clean the roof. If you go do a repair on a roof top, carry down not only your trash, but some of the junk other contractors have left. Wear booties in folks houses. Be nice to everyone on a job site. That secretary you snub, might be the guy with checkbook's wife. Don't leak oil on peoples' concrete driveway. Carry a spare uniform. Carry a spare pair of boots.
Get work = Advertising gets you work.
and the best advertising is word of mouth. Neighbors, family and friend's usually trust each other. 99% of the time when I get a new customer I end up working for a neighbor, family member or a friend of theirs soon.
Show your stuff and never take a short cut. Bid your jobs right the first time.
It's hard to stop a Trane. but I have made one helluva living keeping them going.
If you have some money saved, thats a good thing. I had zero, and it worked out.
And once you get going,don`t worry about the money as much , if you do good work and take care of the customers the money will come
LOL, I had $199.00
Originally Posted by energy star
i started one customer at a time and with one helper and NO MONEY had to borrow to get through the first job in '06...............
it sucked but i appreciate what i have now!
Got PO at 6PM one night on a call. By 11AM next day met a lawyer and filed corp. papers.
6PM that night watched the blood drain from my wife's face when I told her.
$30K and a new van with a utility trailer.
Never took a salary 1st year. Never looked back.
Get your tools, get your license, get your insurance, get your business cards and start knocking on doors.