Starting your own work

#1

Hey Guys

Getting miffed at being shafted at work wrt salaries etc, so I’m seriously considering it to start working for myself.

The issue I have at the moment is that I don’t have any funds in order to resign outright, so I will have to start my own work after-hours and over weekends.

In order to prepare myself for this thing, I need to bounce off ideas from you guys, most especially wrt what services I can offer, and what tools/software I will need in order to perform my duties.

For starters I have decided that I will not do network point or network cable installations, but will be able to test network points for faults.
Then the following that I can do :

  • Server installation (2k3/2k8 etc)
  • Email server installation (Outlook/Linux etc)
  • Workstation installation (physical) by plugging it in, setting it up etc
  • Software and Windows/Linux installation
  • Product key management (for Microsoft and other products that need product keys)
  • Firewall installation and management
  • ADSL/VDSL/whateverinternet access installation and management
  • Shaping internet access
  • Troubleshooting (common Windows/Linux issues)
  • UPS installation and management
  • Advice on procurement of new hardware/software etc

Later on I can add network point installation, printer services and anything else that they want me to do.

So, what do you guys think?

And, of course, I’ll have to create a contract for both parties to sign, no contract, no work… have read too many horror stories on clientsfromhell.net

#2

I did side work consulting for years. I had to have a business license to do so and had to file taxes on my business even though I only had a couple of client calls a year. I don’t know what the laws and fees are in your part of the world, but you may want to research that first.

You’re definitely right about wanting that contract up front, and do a bit of research on what’s legal and standard to put into the contract. See if you can add a second, completely voluntary agreement that allows you to say that you’ve done work for your client and/or use them as a reference. You’ll need the word of mouth and references to get you going!

The only problem I see is one that I had when I was consulting, and that is that most companies will want you to be available during business hours. I was able to get around that because I usually worked from 5 AM to 2 PM, so I had afternoons available during the regular work week.

#3

In a previous life I worked with somebody who had a 9-5 job, and their own company which they effectively staffed in evenings and weekends. They were very up front with clients about not being available during the working day, and it worked very well for him.

For cable installs, do you have any electricians you get on well with? They’ll have lots of experience of pulling cables and may be available for sub-contracting. Probably cheaper than a company that does full network installs.

Another service you may want to offer, would be setting up/managing VPN access. With something like OpenVPN AS it’s really easy to do, and if you’re already dropping in a pfSense firewall (or similar) you’re already all set.

#4

The thing that has stopped me from going out on my own is that I suck as a sales person. And you have to be your own salesdrone. You also have to be your own administration person and do all the accounts / stationery etc.

I’m not saying this to try and put you off, the tasks aren’t too onerous and lots of people do it - but it is something that I know some people don’t think about beforehand and you really need to be aware of it.

#5

Ok, so this is maybe marginally related, but I wasn’t sure where else it would fit. This thread is old enough that I don’t think I’m hijacking @Ook’s spotlight. (I thought about posting a reply when it was fresh, but didn’t think I had anything to add that was any better than what was already said.)

Sooo, I’m thinking about signing up with Uber to make a little extra money, like maybe driving after work a couple days a week and some Saturdays. Maybe give it a trial run for a few weeks.
Does anyone know anyone that has any experience in that area?
I don’t want to put a ton of miles on my new truck, but I do enjoy driving it. I’m not planning to jump through all the hoops to get the license required to pickup within the city limits or at airports, but I get the impression that the 'burbs on the north side are plenty busy.
I ran the idea past the wife yesterday and asked her to let me know what she thinks.

#6

Don’t do it! I know a couple of people who have done it, and neither of them actually made any money at it. One guy even went so far as to get Uber’s help leasing a new car, and he barely covered the cost of the lease.

#7

Oh, geez, yeah, I would not want to go that far - leasing.
Isn’t the Bay area a rough market to try it in? It seems like there are a lot of horror stories from there.

#8

I’d do a lot more investigation into Uber before getting into it. There are a lot of horror stories, from the customer side, the driver side, and the company in general.
The CEO of Uber is a narcissistic egotist who is very fond of his mouth writing cheques that nobody can cash.

The “driverless cabs” in Philly are a case in point - all of the “driverless” cars have to have a “non-driver” sitting in the drivers seat, holding the wheel, and paying as much attention as if they were driving the car. If it looks like a duck …

Also check out all the hype about China, and the actual result.

#9

Not a problem. This is what this thread is for, for bouncing off ideas and see what others say so that you can get the full picture before rushing off and burning your fingers/wallet/etc.

After all, you may think the grass is green on the other side, but somebody else who’ve been actually there will tell you about the lion hiding in the grass…

#10

Ouch.

Golden rule is - if the passenger’s fare doesn’t cover wear+tear on your car + your salary, then don’t as it’ll be a bottomless pit that will suck you in.

Granted, there have been some success stories, but I’d take that with a pinch of salt.

#11

I know three people that have, maybe more but those three I actually know their experiences. One is my BiL, he half assed it and sat in parking lots downtown during the day like it was a regular job. He didn’t do so hot, but he was out of the house, and not ruining the car and he got to read his study materials for his classes.

Another is a local realtor, he doesn’t do it all the time, but when he does he appears to have done his homework, he hits the peak areas at the peak times and makes a ton more money than my BiL did, especially when put as an hourly rate. I read up on this some, and if you know your zones, and know your area you can select just a few peak hours to work and make a killing, the real successful people don’t just drive around for 8 hours.

The third just does it when he’s bored or something, I have no idea how much he makes, but it’s beer money for him.

If you walk into this like it’s a get rich quick scheme then you’ll make out like it’s a get rich quick scheme. If you go into this with some research and poke around some I think you can make a killing. Too bad your town is such a shit hole that they require licensing for people to pick up in some areas. Watch out for the suburban routes, you’ll be dead heading back most of the time since you can’ pick up downtown.

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#12

Thanks, CoG peeps :+1:

My loosely formed plan was along the lines of @Woodman’s realtor friend - hit peak hours a couple nights a week, maybe Wednesday and Friday after work, or swing by the Pavilion when concerts when are letting out. I’m supposedly in one of the high growth areas, so I don’t think I’d need to waste a lot of time/gas running across town to get started. In town runs would likely mean dead heading back to the northern resource area. (haha)

I could probably get most of the city licensing requirements done in a day for under $50*, but wouldn’t plan to right away, if ever. (plus, I think you have to have made 20 runs, but really, big whoop there) An Airport permit is required to pickup at the airports, in addition to the city license, but I believe it is free.

I have no delusions of it as a get-rich-quick thing, closer to the beer money scenario - throw some extra bucks at some bills; save up some fun money for recreational outings like going to a race or fishing/hunting; etc. (I’ve never been hunting, but the guys I’ve been fishing with invited me to go with on a hunting trip this fall, which is not in the budget right now.)

*supposedly under $50, but I’m dubious… Fingerprinting - $11, City fee - $11, Fire extinguisher - $10-25, time & gas; physical & drug test $?, warrant check $?

Weekend plans
#13

In my internet travels for research, I’ve also decided that, if I decide to give it a go, I’m not using my primary personal phone. (nor my work cell phone) I’m thinking that I’ll activate my old phone on a free plan and use that for Ubering. It is a Smasung Galaxy S4, so it should be plenty fast enough, and it’ll be riding on Sprint’s LTE grid - their coverage is good in this region.

#14

Just a note or two about using your vehicle for livery service… You can’t take the standard mileage rate, only your actual expenses against your income. Since the vehicle will most likely be used for Uber and personal use, you have to track your miles and expenses like a hawk and only charge the percentage that you are driving for Uber (or Lyft or whomever) against your income for tax purposes.

Also make sure your insurance covers what you want to do. Most folks can get away with 100/300 but if your using a vehicle for business, you’ll probably need 300/1000. The liability advantages of forming an LLC should also be considered.

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#15

Good points, thanks. If I do give it a shot, I doubt I’ll put on enough miles to make a dent in my tax return, though. I don’t have a ton of deductions.

#16

Not how it works. Say you make $100 doing Uber driving 50 miles. (Just an example. I have no idea what their actual reimbursement rate is.) If you used two gallons of gasoline that cost you $5, then you can take that off you income for tax purposes. If you get an oil change every 3,000 miles and that cost you $50, then you can also write off another ($50*50/3000) 83 cents. Ditto insurance and all other vehicle expenses like repairs and tires.

Depending on how much you drive for them, it can make a difference when it’s tax time.

I’m not sure what the standard mileage rate will be for 2016, but it’s usually higher than actual expenses. (Which, as I drive my own vehicle up to 80,000 miles a year, means my income tax burden is negligible, even if I do pay FICA and fuel taxes.). It’s just that livery vehicles aren’t allowed to do it that way.

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#17

A ha ha ha dontcha love hidden costs?

#18

My wife rents a car for long office trips. She usually ends up making $20-40 after paying the rental and the gas.

#19

Ex-boss at ex-company is really struggling with IT. They expect him to do IT and Project Management at the same time, which is impossible.

I have asked if they’re interested in taking me on a contract basis (after hours [and I will also try during the day when things are quiet at my other work]) when they have something that need to be done that can be resolved remotely.

Still waiting to hear, if they’re willing and it can be done, it’ll mean a bit extra in the kitty.

It will be a good thing for me as I can put it on my CV and also look at taking contract work at other companies.

Still too early to tell - don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched etc etc…

#20

Just make sure $NewJob is cool with it.

And that it is written in such a way that you can disentangle if/when you need to. If it becomes too convenient for them to call you it can turn into a nightmare as they suck up too much of your time.

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