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Chris Sweeney 06-18-2013 10:37 AM

Home Improvement Contractor Working Alone - Should I Get A Job?
 
I'm a home improvement contractor working alone; just a sole proprietor with no employees or help of any kind. I really love what I do. I do all sorts of work, including all general home repairs, bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels, etc. I like the money I make, and I love the work I do. I take great pride in my work and make sure to do things the way they are supposed to be done. However, I probably only actually work half of the days of the year. In a way, it's kind of nice because it gives me time to get things done around my house. But at the same time, I would love to keep busy working as much possible and maximize my income. I'm debating getting a full-time job working for someone else for this reason. No, I do not want to work for someone who does what I am currently doing (otherwise I'd just stay working for myself). I'm thinking of working for a big construction outfit, or the government, or even like habitat for humanity (paid employee) or something. Any ideas?

Has anyone here been in this situation? What did you do and how did it work out?

Also, what sorts of jobs could I get utilizing my skills? Where should I look? Thanks! :)

Willie T 06-18-2013 11:03 AM

Hummm..."a home improvement contractor". We don't have any classification like that for contractors in Florida, so I really couldn't say how you should proceed.

TarheelTerp 06-18-2013 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris
But at the same time, I would love to keep busy working as much possible and maximize my income.

You need to sell work.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Willie T (Post 1203272)
"a home improvement contractor". We don't have any classification like that for contractors in Florida...

I'm from Maryland. They have them there.
Ever see "Tin Men"? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T89tMPDLwk

oh'mike 06-18-2013 02:01 PM

Working for someone else might be a good idea.

Even working for another person that does home improvements.

I sense that something is missing in your skills--selling might be the weak skill or pricing---speed--something is amiss that you have so many open days.

Working for someone else might teach you the skills that are weak .

Some people like to be employed,without the pressures caused by self employment.

Willie T 06-18-2013 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tarheelterp (Post 1203315)
you need to sell work.


I'm from maryland. They have them there.
Ever see "tin men"? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t89tmpdlwk

OUCH!

drtbk4ever 06-18-2013 03:08 PM

How many of your existing and past clients have you asked for referrals?

I'm sure many of your current jobs come from referrals from existing clients without you even asking them, so just take it to the next step.

It is likely many of your clients don't even know you are looking for jobs and I'm sure most of them know at least one person who may be doing or looking at some improvements.

Note: I realize it isn't an industry norm that contractors ask their clients for referrals, but referrals are the best and most efficient way to grow the business.

Chris Sweeney 06-18-2013 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willie T (Post 1203272)
Hummm..."a home improvement contractor". We don't have any classification like that for contractors in Florida, so I really couldn't say how you should proceed.

All contractors in PA are required to register with the state as a "Home Improvement Contractor", i.e. roofers, plumbers, solar installers, masons, etc.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TarheelTerp (Post 1203315)
You need to sell work.

Thanks for everybody's responses so far. I appreciate them all.

Sorry I wasn't clear in my original post. All of my jobs have been from referrals, and I actually have a constant supply of leads who I could do work for if I chose to. The problem is with me following up with and actually performing work for those referrals. I run another small business that keeps me busy, but I'd like to focus more on contracting, without all the hassles of being self-employed.

In summary, I'm not looking for more leads for contracting work or to sell any additional jobs. Rather, I'm still looking to focus my abilities on contracting work, but without all the hassles of being self-employed. So, any suggestions for what types of jobs I could look for or where to look for jobs that may benefit from my skills?

Also, has anyone been in a situation like this? If so, what did you do, and how did it work out?

Willie T 06-18-2013 04:38 PM

I did work for some house flippers for awhile when all I wanted to do was install trim, doors and cabinets. It was light, relative clean, usually in A/C, and helped cover some bills.

oh'mike 06-18-2013 05:26 PM

A couple of times in my life,,when I was tired of dealing with the selling and holding hands with a customer. I went to work for other contractors---

Off and on with one highly skill guy--learned to deal with high end customers from that one. But he was a sullen grump--

Another was a millwright---that was great---big tools--big machines, cranes---high places and huge heavy things to move--and a pleasant fellow--however,that went away when he hurt himself and retired.

Another was supervising a crew installing commercial bathrooms----32 bathrooms remodeled in grocery stores--three to four a week gutted,tiled and plumbed and partitioned---Learned a lot there----

But I like being self employed--so none lasted long--I left and went back on my own.

TheEplumber 06-18-2013 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Sweeney (Post 1203482)

Sorry I wasn't clear in my original post. All of my jobs have been from referrals, and I actually have a constant supply of leads who I could do work for if I chose to. The problem is with me following up with and actually performing work for those referrals. I run another small business that keeps me busy, but I'd like to focus more on contracting, without all the hassles of being self-employed.

In summary, I'm not looking for more leads for contracting work or to sell any additional jobs. Rather, I'm still looking to focus my abilities on contracting work, but without all the hassles of being self-employed. So, any suggestions for what types of jobs I could look for or where to look for jobs that may benefit from my skills?

Also, has anyone been in a situation like this? If so, what did you do, and how did it work out?

Sounds like you want to be a supervisor, project manager or foreman with out the headaches of running your own gig- it won't happen. The headaches will still be there in another form. But hey, they may be more bearable...
You'll still have schedule dates to hit, untimely subs, unforgiving bosses and under funded budgets to meet.

wkearney99 06-18-2013 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheEplumber (Post 1203560)
Sounds like you want to be a supervisor, project manager or foreman with out the headaches of running your own gig- it won't happen. The headaches will still be there in another form. But hey, they may be more bearable...
You'll still have schedule dates to hit, untimely subs, unforgiving bosses and under funded budgets to meet.

Yup. When you're running your own show you know just how much work it takes to keep the ship afloat. You typically know when things are going to go wrong. When you work for someone else you often don't have that same awareness, as in sudden layoffs. But then again as part of a larger company you've got others doing the other parts of the job (payroll, sales, inventory, taxes, etc). But that brings along the hassles of dealing with those folks AND the work to be done.

mj12 06-18-2013 10:10 PM

I want to just do commercial work. I just did a bunch of work in an office space. Surrounded by people I had nothing in common with. People that did not really care what I was doing as long as I did not bother them. You disable a kitchen or bathroom in a house, watch out. I am still not 100 percent clear on exactly what you want. Sounds something like, I want to eat as much as I want and not get fat. A rock in one second can crush a flower that took a great deal of energy to be born. If you make one mistake your reputation is over after 30 years of building it. My point is, life is hard their is always going to be some sort of hassle or other, no matter.

md2lgyk 06-19-2013 06:53 AM

Sorry, but I'm not quite understanding just what you are. "Home Improvement Contractor" is kind've vague. Are you licensed to do electrical? Plumbing? HVAC? A licensed general contractor? Handyman? All of the above? It would seem to me that if you're licensed in any of the subtrades, you could easily get a job with someone.

rrudd2 06-19-2013 07:51 AM

If you have enough leads and referrals to keep yourself busy, find someone to take care of the administrative parts of your two businesses.

One of my neighbors has her own small business doing accounting and tax work for other small businesses. She takes care of their accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and taxes. It frees up her clients to concentrate on their own businesses.

Deja-vue 06-19-2013 11:05 AM

The Question here really is: Why would you give up doing what you love to do?
Is it not making enough Money?
Too many Hours?
Paperwork killing you?
Too many responsibilities?
Looking for a "Plan B" ?

I am on my own since 2001, I am a Computer/Network Consultant and just like you, I love what I do.
It makes me enough Money, I won't get rich, and there are Days when I have no Calls whatsoever. (Usually happens before Holidays, 4th of July, etc.) Time to do Inventory, fix things around the House, do research, go to the Beach.
:yes:

My Point is, I couldn't work for anyone else anymore, I am already set in my own ways. The way I work, troubleshoot, set up appointments, etc.
No-one tells me what to do, no-one tells me how much I'm worth.
I learn new things everyday, and my Business is running great.
Think about it.


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