Home Improvement Contractor Working Alone - Should I Get A Job? - General DIY Discussions - Page 2 - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 06-19-2013, 01:53 PM   #16
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Friends ran a top industrial psychology firm that among other things specialized in testing. For fun, and because I was wondering what was next at one point, I put myself through the testing. It was interesting and different from others I had ever taken. The tests had a basic number of aptitude and personality sorts of things we have all taken but then some that really probed right brain and left brain sorts of thinking and explored skills. At the end, it provided a great index of how I would fit with others and more important, other career tracks.

As it turned out, I was far enough along and had been doing what I enjoyed in both blue and white collar realms but I know others that were really helped by the process. I have often thought the testing could be invaluable to young ones trying to decide on a trade or a college major.

Anyhow, it was not that expensive and I found it a great experience. I can PM details if you would like. I did the testing in Chicago but I suspect there are others across the country.

All that said, I had a situation where I reversed parented from fairly early on and had to make a fair amount of money beyond my own needs to keep two households on opposite sides of the country afloat. I was pleased to go back to working in the trades again. All in all, in both realms, I worked on my own more than for anybody else through my career.

There are days still when I wished I had more interaction with others and water cooler talk or something. And I lost most everything to our ridiculous healthcare system because my options for insurance were limited working on my own and with absolute non-life threatening but pre-existing conditions. I seldom had the hassles of employees but did have to weed out subs in a few states until settling in one geographic region with enough antique homes and money to renovate them.

These days I am not able to do much of the physical stuff in anything approaching real time. I do help others with bidding and I have always been great at computer based project management. I am slowly developing a pool of people willing to pay me to track down architectural details and restoration sources for old homes. I think with more effort, I could do more high level color consulting and translation.

Good luck to you. Do not be too quick to give up working on your own and especially not if you are paying the bills and can see that with a bit more effort you might do more than thrive. I think working for others can be hard once you have a taste for sailing your own ship.

I also think it taints you to a point and that some employers considering hiring you might react with either jealousy or suspicion. I often heard that "I would never be happy in job x" and to be honest I couldn't argue most of the time. When I left the white collar world in NYC and DC my salary history and compensation packages scared people too.


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Old 06-19-2013, 02:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by md2lgyk View Post
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.
I'm not licensed in any specific trade, but rather as a "PA Home Improvement Contractor", which is a license that all contractors who don't need a specific license (i.e. electricians, plumbers, HVAC contractors, etc. ) are required to have to operate business in PA. So, all handymen, carpenters, landscapers, tilers, flooring installers, window installers, roofers, etc. are required to have a PAHIC license (PA Home Improvement Contractors license).

I do all sorts of handyman work, home repairs, complete kitchen and bathroom guts and remodels. I do all the demo work, framing, tile work, flooring, plumbing work, electrical work, etc., and I do it all alone (which I like).

Originally Posted by mj12 View Post
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.
To be honest, I don't know *exactly* what I want in terms of getting a new job (or if I even definitely want to get one), which is why I'm posting here for suggestions, all of which I appreciate. I'm happy with what I'm doing now, but I'm one to not be complacent, which is why I'm toying with the idea of getting a J-O-B; i.e. could I be even happier doing something else in this field of work?

Originally Posted by TheEplumber View Post
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.
I understand that no matter what form of work I do, there will be all sorts of hassles. But there may be a job whose hassles don't affect me as much as others.


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