Start a business to hunt more?

CouesKelly

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Mar 8, 2020
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Suggestion.... look to buy an existing welding business. A large percentage of the population is hitting retirement age and looking to sell profitable businesses. You can typically finance it, many times old owners are willing to sell equipment, and it will help cut down on all the initial investment of time/effort of structuring the business. The right business will also come with a staff and a client base too.
 

CoffeeGoat

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I got laid off back in 2019 and started my own consulting firm, it was great, but as many others have mentioned you spend quite a bit of time doing things that aren't your normal job. Someone recommended the book "working for yourself" and it was an invaluable resource to get started. I also used several online tools like "Gusto" to manage payroll, accounting etc and it was really nice to just put that stuff on auto pilot.

If you've never calculated your own rates it's worth doing, figure out your tax rate, figure out sick/vacation time, figure it all the expense and build your rates accordingly. It's always surprising how different my direct rates are vs the indirect rates. This also compensates for the fact that you need to plan on not working all the time, finding work takes time and you want both a financial and professional plan to spend your time not working.

Unfortunately Covid more or less killed my gig because no one wanted an outside contractor in their office for over a year, but I leaned a ton, and because we had planned for non-working time I came out of it Ok. There is nothing like negotiating the next job after you know what you're really worth.
 

crock239

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Iowa
Lots of good advice and perspective here already.

Started my own business 7 yrs ago w a partner...still going and growing.

Consider your accountant, attorney, and insurance agent as the 3-legged barstool that supports your business. You likely won't need them often but when you do they're worth every penny.

If you don't have employees, business structure and accounting is very straightforward....my advice is you'll still want to set up an LLC as additional layer of liability protection. Very easy to do and not expensive.

You'll work more, for less money early on. May be able to dial it back a bit after a few years but that will depend on the nature of your business and your own decisions about income needs etc.

Are you a people person? You'll be sales, marketing, and customer service (complaints) first and foremost while also being finance, operations, quality assurance, IT, maintenance, administration and sanitation....

You'll no longer work for your boss, but your customers become your boss and can be even more demanding, especially early on when EVERY customer is a strategic account.

Business success = solving people's problems profitably. Identify a problem you can solve while making a fair profit and you're off to a good start.

Do it right and your current customers become some of your best salespeople

As a business owner, it is kind of cool to know your income is (usually) directly tied to your performance and decisions (but that can also be stressful as hell!)

Good luck whatever you decide to do!
 

elkduds

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CO Springs.
Great comments and advice here. 2 things I would add:

Keep your wife in the loop. If that partnership isn't copacetic, you're pushing a boulder up a mountain.

Every business is a people business. If you abhor dealing w customers and their problems, self-employment probably isn't for you.
 

Wallydeuce

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California has numerous state agencies that can help you with getting your business set up. At no charge. Forget private council and CPA's, they change for their services by the minute. California's Small Business Administration and Office of Economic Development are good places to start. Their services are either free or on an income sliding scale.

As for your work. Take jobs nobody else wants. Work for "wages" to start if you have to. You may do a small job for someone who has a boatload of other work, or knows someone who can use your services. It happened to me fresh out of college.

As for doing it part time? I disagree. Welding part time is just that. Very few break away from the security of their full time jobs. If you have an income producing wife who is also supportive, embrace the suck and go for it. And as Ben and others have said, your recreational time will be greatly curtailed until you have sufficient resources to hire competent help. The thought of failure is a great motivator.

Good luck!
 

Shortbowshot

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Jan 28, 2021
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Treeshark gave you good advice. Start on the side. Always give a bit more than expected. When something breaks your customers will expect you to be there. You will need good people to cover when your hunting. Don't over commit. I've seen guys get addicted to the promise and let it eat them. God and family first. If your like me find a good secretary It takes a lot of paperwork to keep up with a business. It is a bit of a misconception to expect more free time. At least for the first 5-10 yrs. But 20 yrs in I get to spend as much as my wife and good sense will allow.
 

Boarmaster

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If your skilled and do what your supposed to and when your supposed to for your customers your business will grow quickly. You can bet customers are looking for that.
 

MTGomer

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I don’t really work for myself as I still have my day job but I do have a business I run on the side. Scaling it would make hunting, or doing better hunts, financially more feasible, but I think there would be a long period of sacrifice with much less hunting.
I can take a month of vacation and get paid for it with my day job and turn off my work phone the entire time. Business owners can’t. So there’s definitely give and take. I still think it’s better to work for yourself.
 

Boarmaster

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I don’t really work for myself as I still have my day job but I do have a business I run on the side. Scaling it would make hunting, or doing better hunts, financially more feasible, but I think there would be a long period of sacrifice with much less hunting.
I can take a month of vacation and get paid for it with my day job and turn off my work phone the entire time. Business owners can’t. So there’s definitely give and take. I still think it’s better to work for yourself.
This is certainly true. I have my own business that affords me the opportunity to be own of town hunting and fishing more and when I want to be gone but I am wired in and never really turned off. Texting and emails keep coming and going and calls get returned as I can. I sometimes envy the guys who i‘m with that can leave their jobs behind. Technology has improved so not so crazy before and when I get back from a trip. Most people dont even know I am gone. I do have support staff back at the office.
 

Falcon75

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Jan 3, 2017
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My recommendation would be to take a normal job and start your business as a side gig, then grow for a few years to see if it’s full-time viable.

Its a lot easier to grow a business that is already somewhat organized than it is to start from scratch. A lot of stuff up front like creating an LLC, accounting stuff, payroll etc to get dialed in. You could do that while working a conventional job so that you can just focus on growth when you pull the trigger to go full time.
I would say the same thing except you don't need the money with your wife's new job. But one does that put things she was taking care of on you, ie. Kids, meals, errands and anything else keeping household going, and how much time will that take? Wife and I switched roles while back cause she is really smart and has fancy degrees that get her paid well. The only job I can do with taking on household duties with 4 kids has to be flexible and few hours here or there. I have been trying to get a small farm business going but haven't had success yet and household duties make it hard to do what needs to be done to really get business going. Be mindful of her new responsibility and what you might need to change so everything isn't on her. I think you could go either way with working or side business once you figure out the change in responsibilities. If business takes off slow it can be frustrating but don't really need it to. Time is precious and can't get it back. So quitting would be the first thing I would do.
Don't go and get anything that makes you have to make a payment. Keeps options open to switch to other choice in future.
 

wolfpup

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Jul 14, 2015
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I think if your good at your trade, you won't have any a problem getting work, but word of mouth can be great or a detriment.

If you start a business, treat it like a business... make a list of all your tools and come up with a cost you paid (not what they are worth). Make sure you have operating capital and set it up in a business account. Get accounting software such as QuickBooks or excel spreadsheets if your savvy and track everything. Keep business expenses separate from personal. Discuss your plan with a CPA or your tax preparer. If you don't have one establish a relationship with one now. Depending on what state your in you could have gross receipts or other taxes on service sales. Set aside operating capital and set a budget. I tell clients to put 30% of your gross sales aside for taxes, etc. Learn to operate on the 70% and year end tax, retirement, savings will be much easier.
 

Ben Lamb

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This is certainly true. I have my own business that affords me the opportunity to be own of town hunting and fishing more and when I want to be gone but I am wired in and never really turned off. Texting and emails keep coming and going and calls get returned as I can. I sometimes envy the guys who i‘m with that can leave their jobs behind. Technology has improved so not so crazy before and when I get back from a trip. Most people dont even know I am gone. I do have support staff back at the office.

I made the decision to take 2 months off in Sept & October so I can explore the Northern MI, MN with a couple of knothead labs at my side. That means I'm likely out 4 months income, as I work to find more contracts for the remainder of the year, and next year. We had the most hectic work year in 20 (super fortunate), and 19 was gangbusters as well. I'm burnt out from 2 years of working 60 hour weeks & hustling for contracts. My biggest dread in taking a sabbatical is that my competitors (99% of which I am on great terms with and we share a lot of workload) will get contracts I want. So even with 2 months off, I'm going to be working on getting more work. If you want to go down the route of owning your own business, @Boarmaster highlights a huge issue: you are always on. If you feel you can handle the above when trying to get away from it all, then you'll never be happy. If you accept that you will never truly be off, then you can adjust your mentality around this, and still enjoy things. For example: Landing a 22" smallmouth while on a conference call
I think if your good at your trade, you won't have any a problem getting work, but word of mouth can be great or a detriment.

If you start a business, treat it like a business... make a list of all your tools and come up with a cost you paid (not what they are worth). Make sure you have operating capital and set it up in a business account. Get accounting software such as QuickBooks or excel spreadsheets if your savvy and track everything. Keep business expenses separate from personal. Discuss your plan with a CPA or your tax preparer. If you don't have one establish a relationship with one now. Depending on what state your in you could have gross receipts or other taxes on service sales. Set aside operating capital and set a budget. I tell clients to put 30% of your gross sales aside for taxes, etc. Learn to operate on the 70% and year end tax, retirement, savings will be much easier.

The best money we spend bar none is for our accountant. We've saved tens of thousands of dollars by having competent help. Taxes will bite you in butt easily. Follow the steps, pay your estimates and don't skip a month. Having a $15K tax bill in April is the worst.
.
 

Moz

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Jun 29, 2021
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For the past 6 1/2 years I've worked as an Ag. Mechanic/welder for a local dairyfarm. The pay has been good the bosses aren't too bad to work for but I work 6 days a week 60+ hours. I'm also tired of working on tractors, I barely get by trying to do diesel mechanic work. Needless to say there's very little time for family or hobbies. I work every holiday except Christmas and I only get 1 week of vacation a year.

My wife had gone back to school for the last three years and now after graduating accepted a job with full benefits for the whole family and a salary that's about 10k more than what I'm making that supported our family while she was in school.

I'm at a point now where I can leave my current job, but I'm tossing around the idea of starting my own business instead of looking for another job. I can either taking a fabrication shop job that pays 1/2-3/4 of what I'm making now but it would be mon-fri 8 hours a day and get holidays off, or I can put a welding rig together and try my hand at doing my own mobile welding business. I've been welding professionally for more than 10 years so the skillset is there, but my fear is keeping myself busy enough to make it worthwhile.

My question for those who have thier own business or tried it out, what suggestions or lessons from mistakes have you learned? I wouldn't have employees but dealing with licensing and insurance and billing can be a lot to deal with. I know in the beginning you have to bust butt trying to take on business to grow but once you get into a decent clientele it would be nice to have more time available for family as well as time to hunt not working for someone else.

My wife is all for me starting my own thing but I guess my pride in "supporting my family" is getting in the way of going for it.
I am pulling for you. I definitely feel your struggle. I've purchased property in a remote area so I can park my trailer and hunt more.
 

Akcabin

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Jul 11, 2021
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I've also owned my oun business for 10 years. Was hard on my beautiful wife too. She ended up doing the paperwork and lots of time without me. Even when I was with her or my family. I had to be thinking about how I was going to pay for everything. Dentist, medical. No insurance. Heat food. But I'm glad I did. Because I wanted to. I also went to boss n said hey I'm done. Got my tools n split. On good terms with well wishes. Then I told my beautiful wife the plan. She still loves me too.
Have you thought about working a remote job or shift job such as 2 on 2 off? That can get you some time. And good craftsman like you are needed.
Hey good luck n good to see you have your priorities right
 

Kiwi

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Sep 12, 2014
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New Zealand
I’m self employed as a contract project manager. For a long time I’ve had a goal of less time doing standard office work. I now work 3 days a week in an office and then I have 4 days a week to hunt or work on my other business interests being property investment. This may be an option for you ie contract work part time and start another business at the same time?
 
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Nutrioso

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Jul 30, 2015
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Gilroy, California
A lot of wisdom here. Just a couple thoughts that are variations on the themes above.

First, when you own your own business, you do not work for yourself—you work for your customers. If they need welding done and you are off hunting and fishing, someone else may get the call and your business will suffer. Unless you are the only game in town and can afford to frustrate customers who expect you to be there when needed, this will be a business problem. The guy with the welding shop working 60 hours a week may eat your lunch.

Second, there are several good reasons to start and build a business, but I don’t think a desire to work less is one of them. In addition to welding, you will be dealing with billing, collections, scheduling, insurance, taxes and a thousand other things. Hire an employee to help? Now you deal with all those issues that come with being an employer. Plus, when the work day is done and you’re ready to go home to a Miller Lite, you get to lay awake at night worrying about all those things keeping business owners up at night.

Owning your own business can be rewarding, just make sure you go into it eyes wide open.
 

ILbowhntr

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Apr 24, 2021
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For the past 6 1/2 years I've worked as an Ag. Mechanic/welder for a local dairyfarm. The pay has been good the bosses aren't too bad to work for but I work 6 days a week 60+ hours. I'm also tired of working on tractors, I barely get by trying to do diesel mechanic work. Needless to say there's very little time for family or hobbies. I work every holiday except Christmas and I only get 1 week of vacation a year.

My wife had gone back to school for the last three years and now after graduating accepted a job with full benefits for the whole family and a salary that's about 10k more than what I'm making that supported our family while she was in school.

I'm at a point now where I can leave my current job, but I'm tossing around the idea of starting my own business instead of looking for another job. I can either taking a fabrication shop job that pays 1/2-3/4 of what I'm making now but it would be mon-fri 8 hours a day and get holidays off, or I can put a welding rig together and try my hand at doing my own mobile welding business. I've been welding professionally for more than 10 years so the skillset is there, but my fear is keeping myself busy enough to make it worthwhile.

My question for those who have thier own business or tried it out, what suggestions or lessons from mistakes have you learned? I wouldn't have employees but dealing with licensing and insurance and billing can be a lot to deal with. I know in the beginning you have to bust butt trying to take on business to grow but once you get into a decent clientele it would be nice to have more time available for family as well as time to hunt not working for someone else.

My wife is all for me starting my own thing but I guess my pride in "supporting my family" is getting in the way of going for it.
If you are a certified welder and can do specialized work (like on pressure vessels and such) there is big demand for this. Many industrial companies and manufacturers contract this work out. You may be surprised at the rates you can get if you can get started in this business...but you need to do all the paperwork including safety qualifications and legal/commercial stuff to win business. Maybe find a good industrial welding contractor to work for and learn the business (possibly get them to subsidize any special certs required). Some of this type of work is short-term (seasonal), project based which may require travel. If you don't need the benefits and can work the hours seasonally, it would be a good way to get into this kind of work. Lots of advancement opportunities in this area as well. Big demand for weld engineers in manufacturing these days.
 

thebestusernamesaretaken

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Feb 19, 2021
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Dude, if you are a skilled welder, go for it. Setup a good cheap truck with a flatbed and install your welding rig an whatever else you need and freakin go for it. I think you will be surprised at how easy it is to stay busy.

If I could give any advice though. Try to get the business going and making money before you spend to much on your tools....(Fancy diesel dually truck). I say that because that is a mistake I see around here. People go purchase a brand new ford f350 or 450 and out fit it and end up with a 1500$ car payment o_O. Since your a welder already you know exactly what you need for welding equipment and are likely not to over spend on something you don't need in that department.

Good Luck!
That’s some solid advice right there.

Being self-employed is very different than investing in a business. I would ask yourself; do you see yourself being a business owner or a wielder? That will help you focus on the scope of the work and help guide your choices.

When you invest in a business you are really hoping to build it up to either pass it on to another generation, generate sources of income while building appreciable assets or to eventually sell it for the capital return.

You will get more flexibility being self-employed than you would working for someone else and can earn a nice living or return if you build the business and sell it. You will be working for your clients, they are really the boss. But I would think of it like you’re just buying yourself a job. It’s a job in which you happen to own all or a portion of all the assets and customer lists; but it's a job. In the type of job your planning on buying, you are also the only income generator. If your good at what you do and if there is a market for that type of thing where you live, you will quickly outgrow your ability to take on additional orders. This is the greatest limiting factor of this plan. You can try to keep up yourself but eventually you will have to decide what you want to do, limit customers and income or expand. In order to expand (if you choose to), you will have become either an employer or outsource the work for a vig. All this stuff is business management – not wielding.

I would certainly hire a tax accountant from the start but understand that they are limited in expertise in control accounting. This may become more important to you as you grow your business. Use the accountant to set you down the right path to limit your tax bill and keep you out of the clink. Don't stress too much about paying taxes, it means that your making money. I would also consult with an attorney who's expertiese is in corporate law - these two folks are going to be your closest advisers and will keep you out of trouble.

I would recomend limiting your risk by making only reasonable capital expenditures that you need to in order make the business work vs what you would want to have in your personal life. I would have the best working weilding equipment that I could resonable afford if it will help the end product. Look for the deals, keep your equipment maintained and clean and you'll be all set. Let your work/finished product / service do the bragging - not expensive equipment.

I had an electriction and a plumber on call who both purchased brand new trucks in the same year. They were proud of those trucks but all I could think about was that I was paying for them as a client. Everytime they handed me a bill they did so with a toothy grin. Many people think that buying a big fancy truck is good advertising. Advertise digitally - it's more effective in most cases. Most self employeed folks usually end up building all the business that they can handle by word of mouth anyway. If you want a fancy vehicle look - a cleaned up and wrapped used vehicle will look like a $80k truck. When you think that you made enough money to make additional investments into the business, wait until you know for sure. Endeavor to skip the ego purchases in business and buy your wife and kids something nice instead. Life screams at you and will let you know when you absolutely have to spend money (could be the loss of business due to poor equipment, loss of opportunity, loss of efficiency), but every capital purchase spent on the business should be generating more $ and generating more clients.
 
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Brandon270

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Dec 26, 2017
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I appreciate everyone's input, all the opinions and experience has given me a lot to think about. I grew up with a family of entrepreneurs. Both of my grandfather's were farmers who started from scratch and my dad has had a cattle feed supplement business for over 30 years.

My goal isn't to get rich but make enough to help support my family and enjoy the work I do. I know every business is different and you have to work hard to build a good reputation and a decent clientele to stay busy enough for it to make sense, especially in the beginning stages. Talking it over with my wife she is 100% onboard with me taking the leap. Her new job comfortably covers the monthly expenses, and we live fairly frugally. She says now is the time to give it a try while we only have one little one and we have a small house payment and one low car payment, it would be that much harder to try to start something when more little ones come later and the monthly expenses go up.

The reason I feel like this option is a way to get more family and hobby time is that you can generally set a schedule for yourself even though there will be occasional emergencies. As a kid my Dad made it to every game, every school event and every holiday. I want to be able to do the same for my kids because that's more important to me than making big money.

If others have business experiences or lessons from past mistakes I appreciate you sharing them with me.
 

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