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Blog entry by Vincent_Von_Gotcha posted 01-28-2010 06:04 PM 3733 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Dear internet friends

I set here in my office bored to tears and ready for a change. Consequently I have recently realised I hate taking orders from STUPID people!!! with that in mind I am thinking of joining the ranks of the self employed and teaming up with a fellow carpenter who happens to be my grand father-in-law and a former head carpenter for the state I live in (indiana). We live almost 2 hours away but I feel we can make the partnership work. Outside of the distance factor any ideas for success or pitfalls anyone have encountered before.

-- Jeff



10 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112538 posts in 2301 days


#1 posted 01-28-2010 06:16 PM

The old saying is don’t quit your day job is true. Now is a tough time to start a business so there might not be much work out there. I would try it out week ends first and see if you can get enough work that way . If that works out think about quiting.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View KayBee's profile (online now)

KayBee

1016 posts in 1970 days


#2 posted 01-28-2010 06:23 PM

If you don’t like taking orders from stupid people, you’re going to need to screen your customers very carefully… Just check some horror stories from other people in the building trades. Then on top of that, the idiots won’t want to pay or take you to court.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Rasta's profile

Rasta

120 posts in 2166 days


#3 posted 01-28-2010 06:34 PM

I had my own concrete business and anyone who tells you being your own boss is great and wonderful has never done it.

-- Roscoe in Iowa

View WayNorth's profile

WayNorth

9 posts in 1777 days


#4 posted 01-28-2010 06:45 PM

My 2 cents. I worked in construction as a Union carpenter, and decided that is not what I wanted. I was on the road quite a bit and many motel stays, one thing I did see alot of was people drinking up the good money they would make. I also do carpentry work as a side line business right now. Work is getting slow up here in Northern Minnesota. Luckily I have a weekend job Sat. thru Mon. 12 hours days and they pay us for forty hours because of the crappy hours. I don’t enjoy the job but figured that theres not much employment around right now. I wanted to just do construction work for a full time job on my own but with the winters, unemployment, no work etc… I decided to keep my weekend job and do the carpentry work during the week. It works out pretty well, A little tired on Tuesdays but I always try and think about the money and bills, good luck in whatever you decide.

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5218 posts in 2032 days


#5 posted 01-28-2010 06:45 PM

I am 62 and have been self employed all of my working life. I have NEVER been an employee of anyone and could not imagine it being any other way.
I agree that it is a hard time to go self employed in todays economy, so if you do make the leap just be sure you have enough financial backup to last you about a year. Self employment taxes, buying your own health insurance, having ALL the tools necessary to do the jobs, and a lot of hard work are just a few things to consider.
You also need a defined game plan for what type of woodworking you have a passion for doing. I spent many years doing custom restorations and woodworking on wooden yachts and was able to work with great lumber such as teak and mahogany in a field that was not as competitive as the residential construction market . Obviously there are a lot of stupid people you have to deal with, regardless of whether you are self employed or a employee of someone. I just always found it easy to tell the stupid ones that I was not interested in their business…or if I did take a job before realizing how much of a problem they were, I knew i was protecting myself because I ALWAYS had every detail of the job and any changes in writing.
Teaming up with grand-father-in-law is very vague. What type of woodworking does he do and is it in line what your passions in woodworking are?
If you are married most certainly make sure your wife is behind you 100%.
Good Luck ! Being self employed is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself an dit can also be one of the hardest things you do for yourself…

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpieceā€¦ because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

View Fireguy's profile

Fireguy

132 posts in 1959 days


#6 posted 01-28-2010 07:14 PM

There are stupid people every where, The only difference between working for someone and being self employed is that when you are self employed they are called customers instead of employer.

If you are going to make the jump I hope it works out, just make sure you do it for the right reasons.

-- Alex

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8791 posts in 2823 days


#7 posted 01-28-2010 07:21 PM

Being self-employed is the best and worst experience all in one.

The stupid people will still call you, they call me all the time. Give me your number and I will forward them to you.

Charging a “consultation fee” will help weed them out up front.

I am a remodeling contractor and there is absolutely no way that I could make it go living 2 hours from my work. I work long days and 6 days a week.

Having someone to work with can help ease the burden of the business and may help cut down on the hours but count on 10 hour days at least.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1521 posts in 1919 days


#8 posted 01-28-2010 08:30 PM

I dont know much about working on your own(wish i did though), but I can tell you from doing consulting that a 2 hour drive will wear on you VERY quickly!

-- - Eric Indianapolis, IN

#9 posted 01-28-2010 08:52 PM

ten hours a day todd? man im doing some thing wrong here.thats like going on vacation for me hell im lucky to get 4 hours of sleep right now .jeff think it through i am not kidding i spend at least 12 hrs a day in the shop and then im on the putr desiging cabinets or putting bids together so i kid u not it adds up fast and next thing u know u worked a 20 hr day good luck my friend

-- i wonder if obama stood in a wind storm with them big ears of his would he start spinning like a drill bit

View BOB67CAM's profile

BOB67CAM

269 posts in 1795 days


#10 posted 01-28-2010 11:32 PM

yea fireguy is right
ive done many things from building computers to fixing cars and so on
just for an example and i know woodworking is a bit different but 1 of my pc customers who was a heavy nightly drinker would call me the day after i reformatted his pc and claim i messed it up, when the truth was his infatuation was porn sites and you know where that heads…but the same is for cars, welding, construction and so on and tellng them to get bent will not keep them around nor will they send thier freinds to you
so in a simple scenario u build a coffee table and the people have a kid that has a party and someone dances on the table but of course “lil timmy” would never do something like that, it had to be a bad joint or bad wood or bad craftsmanship all of which pointing towards you and your work
that is where you will have to figure out how to make people use common sense which is at best an impossible task..lol
regardless i wouldnt say stay away from it, id say take it slow, build slowly and steadily and if its starting to work out you will know when its time to jump ship if you think rationally and not just passionately…hopefully that helps ya ;)

-- if you dont have it, build it, especially when its a stupid idea

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