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DaveS79

Advice for starting out....please!!

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DaveS79

Morning

 

Just would like to say a quick thanks to people who took time to give advice on joining certification scheme yesterday. Unfortunately I seem to have a like limit at present :) but much appreciated.

Basically aslong as all goes well with joining scheme I'm trying to develop a decent plan which will hopefully serve me well into future. I've worked my nuts of subbying last few years so have a bit of a cushion for few months but would like to give myself best chance of success. I'm in process of doing basics getting van sign written, logo'd clothing, ppe, cards, website etc. My thoughts are that although not seeking to be millionaire I might be best served for longer term by focusing on B2B work ie landlords, building/maintenance firms, letting agents? I don't want to run risk of putting all eggs in one basket and going Kaput though. The thinking on B2B is that this should provide more of a stready income, could allow me to go VAT in time and so help with purchase of materials costs and make employing a mate easier should i need extra help at times. The draw back of VAT registration obviously is having to pass it down to private domestic clients. Hopefully domestic stuff can be a life line at times but is this likely to be a good area to focus on for the longer term? I'm also considering joining Checkatrade or something similar. They seem quite expensive in all honesty. Are these worth going with? Any recommendations? Any other advice, experience would be really appreciated. Thanks

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Murdoch

I would keep it simple at first and avoid VAT registration.

 

Business overheads need to be budgeted for:

 

Fixed overheads

 

Business insurance

Van insurance

Van tax

Van service

Mobile phone contract

Scheme membership

Tester calibration

Website annual fees

 

Variable overheads

 

Fuel

Replacing tools

Advertising

Etc

Accountants fees

 

All these will add up to between £5 k And £6 k per year

 

Or about £25 per day

 

Then remember that you won't be paid 52 weeks a year, or get sick or holiday pay

 

And lastly don't forget to save every month for your tax and NI bill. I do this buying premium bonds

 

Hope this helps

 

Ps as for Checkatrade .....i wouldn't 

 

 

 

 

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DaveS79
2 hours ago, Murdoch said:

 

Ps as for Checkatrade .....i wouldn't 

 

Thanks Murdoch. I haven't VAT registered will hopefully be able to keep it like this unless becomes apparent will be beneficial with types of work I'm getting. As for checkatrade is there any particular thing you've heard about or that puts you of It in particular? 

 

Edited by DaveS79

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Evans Electric

As Murdo says ,  forget VAT  until you find it becomes a necessary  evil  .    This is the time when your hard work & efforts are aimed at making a living , feeding the family  etc  NOT  collecting tax for the government   splash out on foreign aid  etc  .  

 

Personally speaking I  never joined anything unless I had to  ,  such as being forced into the Domestic Installer  Scheme .   I worked in industrial & commercial for years  , never joined  NICEIC or anything .       I HAD to register for VAT  , not because I reached the VAT limit but customers were complaining they couldn't reclaim  VAT on my invoices  .   

 

Checkatrade  ...a sparks who uses my wholesaler  joined about 6 weeks ago ,  it was the best thing since sliced bread  ...according to him ...but he,s a raving nut job anyway  and I'd like to bet if I ran into him  tomorrow he would have kicked it into touch .  

Its not something I'd consider , along with agencies  whom I hate with a vengeance   . You shouldn't need to BUY work !!!    Last resort. 

 

A few basics which may help.:-                                      

People need to know who you are & what you do , which means building up a client base , like as you said ,  landlords   ( No idea what B2B  means to be honest )

Note that the powers that are looking at taking Landlord's test & reports  away from contractors  and creating an elite separate body  ( I've already written to various ministers on the subject but they couldn't bother to reply )  

 

Don't rule out Domestic as it may be a lifesaver .

As others have said ,  the best advert is recommendation  which takes time .

You may want to link up another spark for the occasional two handed jobs etc  .   Theres a few do that at my wholesaler.   I've done  it for years .  

 

If you spot a local builder around  , introduce yourself , give him a card ,  BUT if he  comes across as a total prat  with his brand new  4 wheel drive  American style Pick -up  walk away .     

 

Not sure if I've already given you this  ....see if theres a website called  " Nextdoor "  which covers your area  or nearby .    It covers lost cats  to Does anyone know an electrician  /plumber./ carpenter  etc.  

 

 

 

 

 

   

Edited by Evans Electric

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Sharpend

Be aware and realistic, domestic is a dog eat dog game, your competition can be anything from the qualified fellow spark to a half cut man down the pub and all those in between. So it will take a long time to be making good money from it imho, only when you have an established client base whom recommend you to all they know can you actually make a good living, yes you can make a fair wage but it will be hit and miss. If it were I, I would be inclined to look at alternatives such as commercial or industrial even if it starts with the local small industrial estates, small offices,  shops in the high street etc. 

?? 

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SPECIAL LOCATION

What you want to do is achievable....

BUT...  it is bloody-hard-work!!!

 

Have you read any books about starting your own business??  Google or just search Amazon if you haven't...

 

Unless statistics have changed since 20years ago when I went self employed....

You will probably find that more business starts-ups fail within 3 years than those that succeed..

 

And if you do manage to keep going for 5 years then more often than not you have cracked the formula for running your business and are generating sufficient customers to be sustainable.

 

Re Check-a-trade Trusted-Trader etc.. simple rule...

If you have to pay them for the privilege… tell them to F-Off!

If it is free exploit it as much as you can!!!

 

As Lord Dekeington of Deke Towers suggested earlier..

Make to most of every free social media site that you can...

 

Create a profile, join in with a few post, get you name known as a reasonable local contributor..

I used to be on 'Streetlife'  (which generated a decent amount of new customers)…. But it then became 'Nextdoor'...

 

the site is not as good...

BUT.. its free and I still get a reasonable amount of contacts and jobs from it!!

 

Facebook also allows for business type pages...

And there are often local geographic Facebook groups where you can make your presence known...

 

The more you get your name out there the greater the chance that someone will ask you come and do a quote!

As they say... "You have got to be in it to win it"  

 

Guinness

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Evans Electric
11 minutes ago, SPECIAL LOCATION said:

I used to be on 'Streetlife'  (which generated a decent amount of new customers)…. But it then became 'Nextdoor'...

Thats right it was "Streetlife"     now "Nextdoor "     .  As I said , in my area there are a quite a  lot of  enquiries for local tradesmen who can be recommended  & trusted by other residents.    All the trades get enquiries  and they're not afraid to name & shame ropey builders ,say .       There was a post saying I have a quote from DooDah Brothers  Builders for our extension ...anyone used them ?      About ten replies saying don't touch them with a bargepole  etc .  

 

I find that folk these days are really worried about who they ask to do domestic jobs & when you prove to be reliable word gets round .  

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Murdoch

Be careful assuming "free" advertising on Nextdoor will deliver gold.

 

I'm a mod on our local site ............ "self promotion" gets reported and removed very quickly.............. whereas recommendations are OK (but not self recommendations!)

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DaveS79
16 hours ago, Evans Electric said:

As Murdo says ,  forget VAT  until you find it becomes a necessary  evil  .    This is the time when your hard work & efforts are aimed at making a living , feeding the family  etc  NOT  collecting tax for the government   splash out on foreign aid  etc  .  

 

Personally speaking I  never joined anything unless I had to  ,  such as being forced into the Domestic Installer  Scheme .   I worked in industrial & commercial for years  , never joined  NICEIC or anything .       I HAD to register for VAT  , not because I reached the VAT limit but customers were complaining they couldn't reclaim  VAT on my invoices  .   

 

Checkatrade  ...a sparks who uses my wholesaler  joined about 6 weeks ago ,  it was the best thing since sliced bread  ...according to him ...but he,s a raving nut job anyway  and I'd like to bet if I ran into him  tomorrow he would have kicked it into touch .  

Its not something I'd consider , along with agencies  whom I hate with a vengeance   . You shouldn't need to BUY work !!!    Last resort. 

 

A few basics which may help.:-                                      

People need to know who you are & what you do , which means building up a client base , like as you said ,  landlords   ( No idea what B2B  means to be honest )

Note that the powers that are looking at taking Landlord's test & reports  away from contractors  and creating an elite separate body  ( I've already written to various ministers on the subject but they couldn't bother to reply )  

 

Don't rule out Domestic as it may be a lifesaver .

As others have said ,  the best advert is recommendation  which takes time .

You may want to link up another spark for the occasional two handed jobs etc  .   Theres a few do that at my wholesaler.   I've done  it for years .  

 

If you spot a local builder around  , introduce yourself , give him a card ,  BUT if he  comes across as a total prat  with his brand new  4 wheel drive  American style Pick -up  walk away .     

 

Not sure if I've already given you this  ....see if theres a website called  " Nextdoor "  which covers your area  or nearby .    It covers lost cats  to Does anyone know an electrician  /plumber./ carpenter  etc.  

 

 

 

 

 

   

Thanks Evans theres alot there to ponder. Definately hear you with being focused on what I do and type of work looking for will otherwise just end up running around in circles I think not knowing where I'm going and getting nowhere. Linking up with someone initially might be good call hopefully might at least get a wage coming in while I'm sourcing my own bits around it and building it up. I'll check out next door aswell. I'm sure there will be that or something similar locally

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DaveS79
15 hours ago, Sharpend said:

Be aware and realistic, domestic is a dog eat dog game, your competition can be anything from the qualified fellow spark to a half cut man down the pub and all those in between. So it will take a long time to be making good money from it imho, only when you have an established client base whom recommend you to all they know can you actually make a good living, yes you can make a fair wage but it will be hit and miss. If it were I, I would be inclined to look at alternatives such as commercial or industrial even if it starts with the local small industrial estates, small offices,  shops in the high street etc. 

?? 

Sharpend thanks for thoughts. I hear you with how domestic could be cut throat and difficult building stream of work. My hopes are in the longish term to have these more as jobs that I supplement income with i.e call out stuff, quick DB change or circuit addition. Commercial will probably be more fruitful longer term even if can just pick up some small shopfit out stuff, small office stuff, Inc bit of their maintenance atleast if can focus more on getting consistency of work directly with other businesses does away with lot of the ag of VAT. Cheers mate

3 hours ago, Murdoch said:

Be careful assuming "free" advertising on Nextdoor will deliver gold.

 

I'm a mod on our local site ............ "self promotion" gets reported and removed very quickly.............. whereas recommendations are OK (but not self recommendations!)

Noted Murdoch. Will try and be a bit tactful :) notnot always a strong point of mind

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Evans Electric
2 hours ago, DaveS79 said:

Be careful assuming "free" advertising on Nextdoor will deliver gold.

I wasn't thinking "Free advertising "  as such , I was looking at how the site works here .......someone asks for an electrician  , a couple of guys answer with a phone number ,  then someone will post "  We always use Charlie Farley , he,s reasonable & does a good job "       So its done for you , they don't take them down . 

 

I have noticed  some  nail painting wench  is always on there  with multiple posts  pushing her business .... I'll have to see if they're taken down ,  seem to be there forever. 

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Murdoch
8 hours ago, Evans Electric said:

 

I have noticed  some  nail painting wench  is always on there  with multiple posts  pushing her business .... I'll have to see if they're taken down ,  seem to be there forever. 

 

Just hit the report button and select advertising ....

 

weve had had some really persistent offenders .... they are no longer members!

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SPECIAL LOCATION
16 hours ago, Murdoch said:

Be careful assuming "free" advertising on Nextdoor will deliver gold.

 

I'm a mod on our local site ............ "self promotion" gets reported and removed very quickly.............. whereas recommendations are OK (but not self recommendations!)

 

Hmmm...???

 

Maybe not Gold...

But certainly better than Bronze or a Turd!!!!

 

https://help.nextdoor.com/s/article/promote-local-business-and-commerce-the-right-way?language=en_GB

From the above Nextdoor guidelines..

Quote

 

You may respond to requests for recommendations by offering your services as long as you are up front that it is you providing the service or that you are affiliated with the business you are recommending. See our policy on conflicts of interest.

 

 

On our local neighbourhood... If someone is asking about an electrical issue or problem, so far there has never been any issues or problems with someone who is actually an electrician themselves responding and saying I can provide a solution to your question and my contact details are XYZ....

 

However that said...

I have also actively been involved in numerous other Non-Electrical related topics...  e.g. events happening in local area...   bad weather/roadworks traffic congestion issues...  reliability of your broadband supplier etc..

And recommending "other trades"  i.e. window-cleaner / garage for car servicing / hairdresser etc..  

 

Plus I have had my name put forward by various other members as being a reliable electrician...

And  I have NEVER started a "advertising"  topic myself saying this is my business blah, blah, blah, blah!!!!.. 

 

( I have currently got two enquiries ongoing this week,  one about a "Buzzing noise coming from a fuse box"   and another about "Alterations needed to a cooker circuit because Curry's can't install a new oven they have supplied" ) 

 

So IMHO getting active on Nextdoor is a no-brainer if you are looking to win potential new domestic customers....

bottom line is "If it costs nothing"... there is nothing to lose"

:C

 

and the more you get involved the greater the possibility that others living locally will notice you.

 

Domestic work that is a long distance or travelling time away can very quickly become uneconomic...

But if you can build a customer base within a 5 mile radius...  domestic can become decent return!

 Guinness

Edited by SPECIAL LOCATION

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davetheglitz

I've retired now - but my work was mainly domestic. I struggled to start with (tried Trusted Trader - what a crock of s*** that is!) but it took off when I changed my style of advertising. Initially my advert was all about the brand - professionally produced, artistic and as good as any up market company ever. I was in Yellow pages (yes that long ago) and the only people who ever contacted me were youngsters looking for an apprenticeship. I changed my advert so it looked like it had been produced on a 1980's home computer. I didn't mention the company name in highlight - just the fact that I'm a highly qualified electrician who would do any job. Great results. Everything built from there with recommends from that point on. Cut my advertising costs big style and had good responses. Once you get things moving you are the advert - not your van or professionally produced half page advert of self promotion. Keep within budgets - buy budget tools if they are good enough - look after your little old ladies (LOL) and you will make a living. Hope all works out for you. 

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DaveS79
1 hour ago, davetheglitz said:

I've retired now - but my work was mainly domestic. I struggled to start with (tried Trusted Trader - what a crock of s*** that is!) but it took off when I changed my style of advertising. Initially my advert was all about the brand - professionally produced, artistic and as good as any up market company ever. I was in Yellow pages (yes that long ago) and the only people who ever contacted me were youngsters looking for an apprenticeship. I changed my advert so it looked like it had been produced on a 1980's home computer. I didn't mention the company name in highlight - just the fact that I'm a highly qualified electrician who would do any job. Great results. Everything built from there with recommends from that point on. Cut my advertising costs big style and had good responses. Once you get things moving you are the advert - not your van or professionally produced half page advert of self promotion. Keep within budgets - buy budget tools if they are good enough - look after your little old ladies (LOL) and you will make a living. Hope all works out for you. 

Cheers Dave experience very much appreciated. Feeling more clearer with path ahead although is big jump into the unknown. Would it be ok to message you in future if feel might need abit of advice around something

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davetheglitz

Not a problem.  Good luck. 

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binky

Little old ladies - you can make more money on these little simple jobs than full re-wires, provided you don't get all sympathetic nd charge less like I do :shakehead. Changing lamps, broken, sockets, dodgy light switches - keep a few spares in the van so you havn't got to pop to wholesalers, and stick to a minimum charge of say £30, + parts. Couple of those a day, and you earn good money for little work. 

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