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New member - question for you sole proprietors

Discussion in 'Residential' started by virgil, Feb 14, 2018.

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  1. virgil

    virgil New Member

    Messages:
    22
    I'm fresh out of HVAC school. I'm 46 years old, I have a great full-time job that I'll retire from in 8 years with 25 years of service.
    I'm wanting to start a small residential hvac business that I can grow slowly until my retirement date comes, then I can expand or stay small.
    I don't plan on doing design/duct work, just maintenance and repairs.
    I want to stay small, no employees and minimal overhead/stress.
    I'd appreciate some input from you pros about business insurance - who you use and what it costs you if you want to divulge that.
    I've been getting quotes, some companies don't insure anyone that works with LPG systems, why is that?
    Thanks for any tips and advice.
     
  2. HMD

    HMD does it matter?

    Messages:
    94,435
    Location:
    here
    ..................
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  3. pecmsg

    pecmsg Junior my ASS

    Messages:
    22,377
    Location:
    Eastern LI
    Join the Union
    Full retirement no headaches!
     
    newtech, VTP99 and HMD like this.
  4. HMD

    HMD does it matter?

    Messages:
    94,435
    Location:
    here
    hi
    send me $20
     
  5. virgil

    virgil New Member

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    22
    My full-time job now is union!
     
    crackertech likes this.
  6. pecmsg

    pecmsg Junior my ASS

    Messages:
    22,377
    Location:
    Eastern LI
    I’ll take $18.
     
  7. virgil

    virgil New Member

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    22
    Checks in the mail.
     
  8. oroy54

    oroy54 New Member

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    22,905
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    Victoria, Texas
    Being self employed is not for everyone.
     
  9. jpb2

    jpb2 Dog Tard *

    Messages:
    47,991
    Location:
    within the bounds of reality
    Welcome. Best advice i can give is charge what you need to. Don't be low. Pay cash for evrything and ask your customers to do the same.
     
    VTP99 likes this.
  10. pecmsg

    pecmsg Junior my ASS

    Messages:
    22,377
    Location:
    Eastern LI
    Cash or BEER....

    NO Checks!
     
    VTP99, Jon and crackertech like this.
  11. flange

    flange Act like you care and do SOMETHING!!

    Messages:
    13,082
    Location:
    IMT--in my truck
    you want my input......don't whore up the industry. you are gainfully employed and doing well, but you want to be a whore, work when you want, on your terms, and feck the customer while you are at your (full time job). you probably also want to be cheap so you get a fair amount of work, thereby screwing over the established contractor base who is there 24-7, with signs displayed on their offices, training rooms in their offices, and employees who respond when needed, not when convenient. this business isn't for everyone as roy states, but if you want in, quit and join the ranks of those of us who do it for real.
     
  12. Joeysmith

    Joeysmith New Member

    Messages:
    450
    Fresh out of school? No offense but you'll be lost. You need a minimum of 3-5 years experience in the trade and even then it's be dicey.
     
    Zman likes this.
  13. NZ All Blacks Fan

    NZ All Blacks Fan Just Another swinging Dick

    Messages:
    9,430
    Location:
    West Coast - Canada
    perhaps when it was nat draft and standing pilot gv mer tstats you might be ok but not today my friend not today not tomorrow either no disrespect but you will crash and burn without experience and more technical training
     
    coldsnap likes this.
  14. jays 65

    jays 65 New Member

    Messages:
    369
    id retire and take up a hobby the stress in this field is not for everyone.so much time researching,training fresh out of tech school i couldnt fix shit takes time get the basics down all the rest will fall into place
     
  15. VTP99

    VTP99 Old New Stock

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    NORTH COAST
    What's your full time job ?
     
  16. virgil

    virgil New Member

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    22
    Highway maintenance - NOT a shovel leaner. I've been there 15 years, was a heavy equipment and auto mechanic before that.
     
  17. VTP99

    VTP99 Old New Stock

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    Location:
    NORTH COAST
    The mechanical experience will help.
    You'll need to sharpen your electrical skills.
     
  18. chucko615

    chucko615 Banned camp counselor

    Messages:
    14,692
    Location:
    Michigan
    Welcome..................I know people who know people that are union shovel leaners
     
  19. Zman

    Zman Hanging by a Thread

    Messages:
    1,556
    Location:
    The "I know a Guy" State
    Life is too Short! Stay Union a few more extra years, then buy a Hammock! double-hammock-sunset-760_large.jpg
     
    newtech and Texas-Tech like this.
  20. Septua

    Septua New Member

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Southeast
    What you're talking about doing is what I did and have been doing since the early 80's...though I did a little of all of it, I had gotten down to change-outs and repairs but am now strictly repairs...got tired of buying stuff that wouldn't last through the 5 year limited warranty, let alone the 10 w/ registration...buts that's another unrelated story.

    Since you got the time to "build" a customer base, the #1 priority is learn how to fix stuff...once they start calling, they'll expect you to be able to diagnose the problem and offer an estimate to make the repair...and not take half a day to do it. I realize you just got out of HVAC school but most of the guys you see at forums who just got out of HVAC school membered up at the forum because they can't troubleshoot equipment. I'm not saying the generalization applies to your school or you, but diagnostic skills are paramount to a successful service career.

    What I eventually figured out (after about 20 years) was: the secret to troubleshooting is in understanding how stuff works...you have to know what it's supposed to do and what has to take place in order for it to do it. If you ever manage that, troubleshooting becomes an instinctive response to observed symptoms. You start a system and observe, looking for "normal" operation. If "normal" never comes, then it's a matter of recognizing symptoms, knowing what they mean and what can cause them.

    I could write a book on the in's and out's of diagnostics but the thing to remember is: you don't learn to troubleshoot...you learn how a system works and the troubleshooting ability comes intuitively.

    Priority #2 is getting the phone to ring...I stuck a sign up in the front yard to begin with: "Septua Heating & Cooling Service". :D Then started bumbling and stumbling with all the friend's and family member's heat pumps. By the time the World Wide Web became user friendly, I already had the customer base established. But certainly, websites, Facebook etc make good marketing tools. But "word of mouth" advertising is the best...you end up with referrals rather than someone who asks, "How much you charge?" All that depends on where you live...I'm rural so the calls were at a manageable rate.

    I don't know about the LPG thing with some insurers...I have to maintain a separate LP permit which requires having liability insurance. So, you seem to have a "chicken or egg" situation.

    #3...Buy enough tools to do what needs doing. Digital or wireless gauges can be bought for $300, and they're worth every penny if you know how to use them. If you plan to work on furnaces, get an analyzer so you can walk away from a furnace knowing it's safe and running somewhere close to design. Leak detectors...in the 80's, leaks were the exception...today it's commonplace. And they can be difficult to find with good detectors, so don't buy something cheap just so you can say you have a detector.

    I have bought and continue to buy, anything that makes the service call go faster or more efficiently.

    Last but not least #4, don't work cheap...you can't (shouldn't) charge for your inexperience, but you can charge the going rate. If you get good, you can charge more than the going rate...changing a condenser motor is good for 2.5 billable hours, including one hour for the trip and diagnosis. If your first one takes 4 hours, doesn't matter. Just charge the 2.5 hours...you'll have to gauge your area for an hourly rate but in my part of the country, $80-$100 is minimum.

    Time for me to go to bed...
     
    Rdhill101, R2D2-TX and VTP99 like this.
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