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Posted: 3/14/2006 12:58:14 PM EDT
Any tips or pointers from those who have been there and done that.

I know there is a market here for the skills I have I would simply need to purchase the equipment.

Basicly I will be subcontracting my services out to different industries. Should I incorporate or stay a sole proprietor? What about funding for equipment (~$15K) is an SBA loan the way to go?
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 12:59:01 PM EDT
Have at least a years worth of salary put back to draw on during start up.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:06:32 PM EDT
+ learn to spell business
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:15:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Punani:
+ learn to spell business



Spelling isnt as important as doing the job wright (<--- its a joke). Thats why there is spell check.

I do have some living money saved up but Im haveing a hard time convinceing myself not to use it to buy equipment.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:25:13 PM EDT
First off, find a good accountant. They can do wonders for you. As for equipment, used it good if it doesn't nickel dime you or make you appear "amature". New is good, so long as you don't dig a big hole to get it and have to sweat paying for it while your business takes off. After having worked for myself, I will never draw a paycheck that I didn't write to me (least not without one helluva fight )
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:33:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Shoot-N-Scoot:
Spelling isnt as important as doing the job wright (<--- its a joke). Thats why there is spell check.



Maybe not to you. If your communications with prospective clients are written poorly, there are a fair number or people that won't give you a chance. As the saying goes, "an ounce of image is worth a pound of performance." Of course, there are a lot of stupid people who can't tell if you do a good job (hint: they're hiring you because they don't want to or can't do the job themselves)and somehow got into a position where they can write you a check and all they've ever known is to hire the guy with an ounce of image.

I place value on ability over presentation any day. However, when I see people whose resumes, web site, or other communications don't look professional, I don't look for an excuse to give them a chance. If someone isn't smart enough to recognize their own shortcomings and get help writing things that go out, they're not the kind of person I need.

Also, it would probably help to give more information about what industry you want to go into. There's all sorts of people here who could probably help you, but they have to know that they're the ones you need help from. I do consulting for large Unix based computer systems. Needing to spend $15k in equipment to get started suggests your business is not like mine. What has worked well for me wouldn't necessarily be helpful to someone who is going to lay tile for a living.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:35:46 PM EDT
It's tough to get an SBA loan right out of the gate. Lots of documentation for SBA loans, going back 3 years. I was able to get 10K from AMEX on a CC account. I could use some capital pronto for a retail business. I sold off anything I had laying around to pay to get this far. It's not easy when you have no cash.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:46:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/14/2006 1:50:01 PM EDT by Shoot-N-Scoot]

Originally Posted By qwijibo:

Originally Posted By Shoot-N-Scoot:
Spelling isnt as important as doing the job wright (<--- its a joke). Thats why there is spell check.



Maybe not to you. If your communications with prospective clients are written poorly, there are a fair number or people that won't give you a chance. As the saying goes, "an ounce of image is worth a pound of performance." Of course, there are a lot of stupid people who can't tell if you do a good job (hint: they're hiring you because they don't want to or can't do the job themselves)and somehow got into a position where they can write you a check and all they've ever known is to hire the guy with an ounce of image.

I place value on ability over presentation any day. However, when I see people whose resumes, web site, or other communications don't look professional, I don't look for an excuse to give them a chance. If someone isn't smart enough to recognize their own shortcomings and get help writing things that go out, they're not the kind of person I need.

Also, it would probably help to give more information about what industry you want to go into. There's all sorts of people here who could probably help you, but they have to know that they're the ones you need help from. I do consulting for large Unix based computer systems. Needing to spend $15k in equipment to get started suggests your business is not like mine. What has worked well for me wouldn't necessarily be helpful to someone who is going to lay tile for a living.



Thanks for takeing the time to answer. I will be doing troubleshooting and reliability consulting on rotating equipment (electric motors, pumps, and gearboxes) used in many different industries. There will be no employes (unless things really take off in a couple of years)

I understand how image is usually more important than being able to confuse people with techincal words they do not understand. I was simply giving the spelling nazis here a little what for since they started off right out of the gate.
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 1:48:25 PM EDT
The us govt wont give you any money to help start if you are not a minority.

Good luck. I am selling one of the bid'nesses off that I have built up in the past 5 years. Looking forward to looking for the next one.

Link Posted: 3/14/2006 3:23:17 PM EDT
If i was you, i'd move back in with your parents!!!

I could not imagine trying to get a business of the ground and be living on my own! But hey, i am only 19! If i didn't start my business at 18, i don't think i would be able to when i am 27 with wife and kids.

Owning a business is one of the most rewarding things you could ever do. However, it is also one of the most stressful!!!! Often it will be both in the same day!
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 3:51:29 PM EDT
First off, the PRIMARY reason you would incorporate would be to limit your personal liability.

Without knowing the details but given what you said you're working on, (performing reliability testing on motors, electro-mechanical systems, etc.) then I would definitely incorporate (or LLC). If this item fails in use after you've 'passed' it, what are the potential repercussions? Is there even a remote chance that people could get hurt? You could be sued and end up in a world of shit. Let your Inc. deal with it and shield your personal exposure. Based on what you've told us I would say Do not do a sole proprietorship.

You and I have different definitions of 'small business' than the government does. I'm about 95% certain that you can forget about getting a $15,000 loan from the government. Simply not worth the hassle for the small amount you're talking about (this is considered a 'microloan' to them) and they're just going to refer you to a normal lender anyway (your bank or credit union).

If at all possible...DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB.

The best way I would recommend starting this thing up is to start doing it part-time while working your day job. That way you have a regular income stream, you can 'consult' on evenings and weekends and you won't need to start hustling clients right off the bat just to put beans on the table. If you don't do this you'll probably start to panic once 2 weeks go by with no new work lined up and the current contract is running out. You don't need that pressure as a startup.
Start working up and sending out proposals on evenings to see if you get any bites, schedule around your existing work schedule.

Get used to the idea that you'll be working 2 jobs for 6-9 months.

I would STRONGLY recommend just saving up the money first to buy equipment.

MAKE THAT CRAP PAY FOR ITSELF!!!

Do you REALLY need to spend $15k? Be honest with yourself. If you're only using it to buy a new F150 dually just to haul around a 500 lb motor once a week then you probably don't.

Can you GET BY with spending $1500 or $5000 now for used test gear then buying nicer stuff as you get income coming in?

I know SOOOO many people who go out and buy nice new tools, spend $$$ on specialty equipment then 12 months later they're selling it in a garage sale for 10 cents on the dollar. Because they went broke trying to get everything they thought they needed at the start.

Sounds like you're going to be a consultant (of sorts) so you'll be selling yourself. If you're dealing with a bunch of auto-mechanics then you probably don't need to worry about your image (spelling and presentation) but if you're selling to a pharma plant then consider the presentation and image being presented in your written communication, quotes, bids, etc.

Does this help?
Link Posted: 3/14/2006 5:20:01 PM EDT
Incorporate+Accountant+Lawyer= Good Start

I'd go Corp. for liablility reasons.

Makes sure you have the best attorneys and accountants that you can afford.
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