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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Waco Texas
    Posts
    116

    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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    1,241
    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.
    Ryan
    Maintenance Guy
    -----------------
    naysayer, skeptic, conspiracy theorist

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Central Oregon
    Posts
    749
    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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Winston-Salem NC
    Posts
    1,133
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,824
    Get work = Advertising gets you work.
    Always here

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,615
    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,824
    If you have some money saved, thats a good thing. I had zero, and it worked out.
    Always here

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    north carolina
    Posts
    32
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    16,168
    Quote Originally Posted by energy star View Post
    If you have some money saved, thats a good thing. I had zero, and it worked out.
    LOL, I had $199.00

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    greenville , sc
    Posts
    718
    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!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    1,746
    Great thread!
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" Socrates

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Ocean Pines, MD
    Posts
    6,957
    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    So.Cal
    Posts
    441
    Get your tools, get your license, get your insurance, get your business cards and start knocking on doors.

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