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Hi, recently lost job of 35 years in Tool&Die work, due to plant closing and moving to China. I have small welding and machine shop at home, has been just a hobby. I need profitable projects to give this a chance. Can you help me ?
The hardest part is finding people to pay for your work whatever it is. I too have a machine shop and can get lots of work but i can't get any at 50 or 60 bucks an hour. But i can do all the small jobs the bigger shops turn away and still make a few bucks. But there is no way i could support my house with it...Bob
Dwayne, Sorry to here about your misfortune. It sounds like your way ahead of most folks who have found themselves in this position.It would be a good idea to talk to an accountent to get the bookwork set up the right way from the get go.You need to decided in what spacific direction you'd like to go and pound the pavement, visit shops and businesses. talk, talk, talk to friends, family, and even strangers. Stay flexable but don't loose your direction. Find out about your competition, rates, services offerd etc. Don't work to cheap, an hourly rate is easier then bidding on jobs, espeically when starting out. Keep the overhead as low as possible, very important. Also back away from pushy people. Thats just a small percent from the school of hard knocks.Good luck to you.
I all just depends on how good you are at promoting yourself.
There are plenty of skilled craftsmen out there who simply need a boss.
There are plenty of very diciplined business people out there who do the money right and have all the bases covered... but just plain out suck at finding work.
Many guys who always worked for "the man" have a whole bunch of idealistic views about the right way to run a business.
There are guys out there that truly SUCK at what they do and still stay covered up and make loads of money because they know how to get the business.
What type of welding and machining are you good at, and what is it that people in your area will pay for??? If they match up, and you fill the bill, you may just have to retire all over again someday!!
Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"
Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
Miller 30-A Spoolgun
Miller Spectrum 300
Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400
I'm sorta in the same boat as you (well it started in 2003) But i was let go from a job because my wife had a seisure and they said i couldn't go to the hospital till after work so i told them i was done with work right then. This was for a corporation owned by blockbuster that is in the autoparts industry, i had benefits, 401k, health insurance, paid vacation the works.. now vacation is when i don't have work, it's not paid and health insurance is a matter of how much money is in my wallet LOL
After that we (the wife and I) opened a small home painting business which quickly became rather sucessfull due to the fact that i knew some people in the home building trade. Then in 2005 I tore my ACL,MCL and ruptured the meniscus in 5 places and was laid up for 2 months waiting on surgery then there was 7 more months of wearing a brace, physical therapy and the like. Well, by the time i got back in the swing of things the housing market had plumeted around here and my one and only contract builder went under himself leaving me with only retail work to find and that's when things got hard.
Over the next few years I took painting jobs with companies that understood i was only going to be working when i didn't have business myself (about 80% of the time at that point) and with their help and my will to work, chase work ans self promote constantly, my painting business took back off, just not to the extent it was before my injury.
Well, by this time i had bought a mill/lathe, a bandsaw, MIG welder and a ton of other metal working tools because that was my favorite hobby, then as the painting business went on I decided to open a new division so to speak and with the purchase of about 9k dollars worth of new welding and fab equipment I took the plunge and opened my doors to the public for welding and fab work ( i had always done stuff for the local guys i knew from the track already) So i started going to the track with my mobile rig, talking to racers and drumming up work. Then as things started picking up i just started going more and more places promoting what i do (and at some points i was even too broke to have business cards, but people who had heard of me through friends were willing to bring me work once they met me, and with that refferals to their friends became common.
NOw days i still paint when the work is there, but i constantly have some sort of project in my welding/fab shop and i'm just straight up with the customers telling them to expect 60 an hour ( but honest hours, no beer time) and on those occasions where i felt i could just ask a set sum instead of an hourly rate the customers were estatic and just kept coming back and telling more and more people.
Now mind you this took countless hours of phone calls, millions of crap jobs you would other wise not do except to help get your name out and a bunch of other jobs i would have rather not taken, now here it is 2 years since i went public with it and i'm making more money from my basement and garage than i would in any average week working for some one else ( i run the taxes under my contractor license for the painting business)
Now also keep in mind self employment brings it's own hardships, you have no insurance, you can't call in sick, you don't have "set hours" you work when work is there and you're nice to the customer to the best of your ability even if they annoy the crap out of you, you have to act like their best friend when talking with them and doing the work and making sure it's exactly what they want. Then you've got to keep track of all funds and bills, incoming and outgoing and make sure you're on top of it as this is what can easily sink a business suring the first tax season if you don't spend enough to offset your income and then have to pay thousands in taxes to the govt because you didn't have enough deductions.... My deductions for painting business were getting low as profits increased and this is another reason the new "T.G. Industries" wing was born as this allowed me to buy non-painting related items on my contractors tax ID and not get questioned about how it fits into my business by my accountant and tax guy.
The best and cheapest way to get started if you already have equipment is to go to office max/office depot and get some avery clean snamp businss card paper and print up a batch of decent looking cards and just start handing them out EVERYWHERE, talk to EVERYONE, and have no shame in promoting what you do as it's the only way you'll make it
I think i fall in between the 2 categories FusionKing brings up, while i don't make tons of money i do manage to get by, but am usually on call from 7 am to 10 PM just incase the business pops up. I'm not the best at drumming up business as there's still a lot of untapped markets i'm just trying to figure out how to get into. And one thing i can say that helps is to be clean cut, well spoken and very outgoing and friendly with the ability to talk to ANYONE
I would dare to say that self employment is the hardest job you'll ever have, but once you have a taste of the freedome, pride, and good paying jobs you'll never want to work for "the man" again.
I started at a rate of 40 bucks an hour + materials+ consumables (learned in the auto world to charge for anything you can when you need to)
Now i just charge a flat 60 an hour which includes materials i have in stock, or unless the project requires a decent amount of material to be obtained.
advertise in every sector from home repairs (fences to fireplaces) and from construction equipment to custom auto/motorcycle fab. Just give everyone cards, tell them you'll do them a fair deal and try nad keep a few examples of your work available to show case what your skills are and people WILL find reasons to call you... If you just say "here's my card, I'm a weldor" you won't drum up much, but if you ramble on about every littltle thing you can do while chatting with potential clients yuou'll most likely spark something in their memory that needs your skill to be fixed, and although you may have to go cheap in the beginning to get that bussiness, it won't be long before you can charge full shop labor (around here its' anywwhere from 65 - 85 dollars an hour + whatever other charge said shop decides to tack on) I just always tell my customers "no matter what i bet i'll be a little cheaper and just as good as other said place they were thinking about going. But also there are times when it's best to reffer some one to another person if you feel that you or your equipment are not up to completing the task at hand to a satisfactory level.
hope that helps, it's a bit of a book i know, but this is how i became self employed to this day
Hobart Handler 135
Smith MB55A-510 O/A setup
Hypertherm Powermax 45
Just about every other hand tool you can imagine
Your success working as an independent will be determined by: (in order of importance)
1. Ambition & Drive
2. Common sense & I.Q.
Humans are "born with" #1 and #2 (i.e. they can't really be taught, you either have them or you don't). And #3 is obviously out of your control too.
I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but you need to be realistic. If you were born with a lot of natural ambition/drive and have good common sense and a decent I.Q., then give it a go and you are likely to be successful. Otherwise, you are not likely to succeed.
Of course the final problem is that most people don't have the introspective skills to even evaluate themselves objectively with regard to ambition, drive, common sense, and I.Q. There is a reason why the vast majority of people work at companies for a "boss". Not everyone is cut out to start up a business and run it successfully.
But i was let go from a job because my wife had a seisure and they said i couldn't go to the hospital till after work so i told them i was done with work right then. This was for a corporation owned by blockbuster that is in the autoparts industry, i had benefits, 401k, health insurance, paid vacation the works.. now vacation is when i don't have work, it's not paid and health insurance is a matter of how much money is in my wallet LOL
I hope you sued them. For all the frivolous lawsuits out there, some people really deserve to have their pants sued off. Anyone in their right mind knows that if man's wife has had a seizure, you better not get between him and the door. That's common sense. But if the company had more than 50 employees in a 75 mile radius, common sense is backed up by federal law. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 allows up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave. You can't be fired, reprimanded, or lose any benefits. And you only have to give notice if the leave is foreseeable, such as elective surgery.
You'll find that corporations are structured in such a way that they can claim that subsidiaries are completely separate entities, and they scatter employees all over specifically to beat the rules that apply to large corporations and qualify for exceptions intended for small businesses. However, any good lawyer can "pierce the corporate veil" and make them answer for their actions.
Even if it was ruled FMLA was not applicable, what would a jury think when they learned you were fired for attending to your wife after a seizure?
The thing that worries me is that honest hard working people do not utilize their right to their day in court when they should. It's always some slack-jawled yokel that never worked a day in his life that gets a huge settlement for slipping in the parking lot.
And when the scales tip enough toward that yokel and his sheister, our rights will be "tort reformed" little by little until your only 2 choices are staying at work while your wife is in the hospital, or losing your job to manage her care and sign consent forms, etc.
80% of failures are from 20% of causes
Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future. "All I ever wanted was an honest week's pay for an honest day's work." -Sgt. Bilko "We are generally better persuaded by reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others." -Pascal "Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything." -Pascal