Author Topic: Starting a Business  (Read 4430 times)

CptPoo

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Starting a Business
« on: March 15, 2012, 06:37:49 PM »
I'm going to be graduating from college this May, and I want to try starting my own business this summer while I am waiting for grad school to begin in the fall. I am looking to do in-home residential computer technician services, which I have about 4 years experience doing. There isn't a whole lot of equipment that I need to buy, and I will be looking to have about $1,000 to start this at the beginning of May.

I will not be relying on the income from this business to sustain myself and my wife, because I currently have three other part-time jobs that provide the money we need, so I won't be desperate to get clients. With that said, I still would like to have a relatively steady stream of work, ideally somewhere between 5 and 10 hours a week.

With all of the wonderfully smart people in this community, I was wondering if anyone out there had some mustachian pointers for starting a business.

Bakari

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Re: Starting a Business
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 10:22:18 PM »
I started by advertising on Craigslist services offered section.
Initial start up costs: 0
First job at $10/hr (+$1/mile + expenses), 2nd at $15, after the first week at $20.

My only eventual start up cost (done after a couple months of working) was registering a fictions business name.
I never bought a tool that wasn't paid for fully by the job I was buying it for until 2 years in, at which point I also first invested in a domain name and server space ($25/year), as well as signs for my truck.
I taught myself enough html that I could make my own website instead of paying someone (biodieselhauling.org)
Soon after that I applied for and received green business certification.
With that, and a few years experience, raised rates to $30/hr

By 4 years I stopped putting up ads on CL, because I got as much work as I wanted from repeats and referrals.
Raised to $40/hr + $1/mile, but with a discount for anyone who doesn't own a car and sliding scale for low-income.
This was more to reduce hours than to increase income, because I was working 30-40 hrs a week, which is just ridiculous.

It has been 5.5 years now.  In honor of Maximum Mustache March I started putting up CL ads again, as well as rode around the city (and nearby cities) on my bicycle with 10 poster ads with the little tear off tabs and put them up in locations where my target clients are likely to be, and worked 12 days straight (I normally work closer to 5-15 hours a week, over 3 or 4 days)

Given what you are wanting to do, I imagine you could use the same model.  No reason MMM principals shouldn't apply just as much to business as to personal life.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 11:41:32 AM by Bakari »

CptPoo

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Re: Starting a Business
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2012, 11:26:57 AM »
My legal knowledge is virtually non-existent, so I was considering hiring a lawyer to help me get all of the legal stuff out of the way. Do you think it is necessary?

salmp01

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Re: Starting a Business
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2012, 01:41:47 PM »
You have a few options.

You best (and cheapest) may just to start doing the work and don't worry about "officially" creating a company.

If you have lots of assets to your name you could talk to your insurance company and get a umbrella policy (probably would cost a few hundred a year)

If you wanted to limit your liability you could create an LLC.  Buy the book Limited Liability for Dummies and learn all about it.   In MN it costs less than $200 to create an LLC but Iím not sure what the costs are in Indiana.

You could hire an attorney to draft the LLC for you.  This option could be very expensive.  Make this your last option.

Mactrader

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Re: Starting a Business
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2012, 02:19:16 PM »
Unless your business is in a highly regulated industry (financial, etc.) than just get started making money and worry about the legalities along the way. Maybe just file a simple DBA with the State and start collecting $. If you are in a high-risk business (anything manual labor) where damage could be done to yourself, an employee, or a customer you may want to consider some insurance. But don't rush to build the infrastructure of the business. You can spend weeks building it out, designing logos, business plans, etc when you could BE MAKING MONEY!

cosmie

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Re: Starting a Business
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 02:49:03 PM »
I'm going to be graduating from college this May, and I want to try starting my own business this summer while I am waiting for grad school to begin in the fall. I am looking to do in-home residential computer technician services, which I have about 4 years experience doing. There isn't a whole lot of equipment that I need to buy, and I will be looking to have about $1,000 to start this at the beginning of May.

Do you go to a smaller or large university? If a large one, check for resources there. The university I go to has free assistance through an Entrepreneurial Center in the College of Business for any student wanting to start a business. As well, the Law School here offers free legal assistance to currently enrolled students, which includes help with legal paperwork setting up an LLC.

Unless your business is in a highly regulated industry (financial, etc.) than just get started making money and worry about the legalities along the way. Maybe just file a simple DBA with the State and start collecting $. If you are in a high-risk business (anything manual labor) where damage could be done to yourself, an employee, or a customer you may want to consider some insurance. But don't rush to build the infrastructure of the business. You can spend weeks building it out, designing logos, business plans, etc when you could BE MAKING MONEY!
An in-home computer technician service can be considered high-risk, if the technician doesn't cover his bases with a contract releasing him from indemnification of damages to the machine, or losses related to such.

What if he's called in to clean up a slow going computer, and in the act tries to remove a virus that causes the entire computer to crash? The graphic designer is out work while his computer is being rebuilt, and there may have been monetary value to the files that were lost. Who's at fault? If the technician caused the failure while working on it, and doesn't have an exemption from indemnification clause in the contract, then they can be held liable. So routing the business through a legitimate company  or getting a good umbrella insurance policy would be a good idea.

CptPoo

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Re: Starting a Business
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2012, 08:36:12 AM »
Yea, I can have a lot of risk as a computer technician, everyone has personal information on their computer, and I will probably run in to plenty of people with business information as well. If I don't protect myself properly I could easily get sued for a lot of money.

I bought a package of legal documents for computer tech businesses that includes things like liability waivers, invoices, and maintenance contracts among other things. This should provide me with most of the legal coverage that I need, but I want to make sure that I am fully protected before I touch anyone else's computer.

My Aunt is an insurance broker and I could most likely get some sort of business insurance through her, but I imagine that would mean that I need to set up an LLC. Is there any other important legal aspect that needs to be in place to make sure I am covered? It seems like getting all of the legal stuff in place is going to be my largest investment.

CptPoo

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Re: Starting a Business
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2012, 08:39:13 AM »


Do you go to a smaller or large university? If a large one, check for resources there. The university I go to has free assistance through an Entrepreneurial Center in the College of Business for any student wanting to start a business. As well, the Law School here offers free legal assistance to currently enrolled students, which includes help with legal paperwork setting up an LLC.


I just looked in to this, it appears that my school does offer some free legal services for students. Thanks for the info!