I'm wondering, are there any other business owners here on adisc? If so, can you share some of your triumphs and tribulations. As a new business owner, not to mention being younger than a lot of the guys working for me, it's a bit overwhelming at times.
Okay, my story can be the first to be shared. Yay!
I recently purchased a 50% share into a foundation repair business and have been going at it for about three months now. I'm finding it to have its rewards, but it seems to have many more troubles.
The first problem was that I started into a business that pretty much just digs a lot of dirt from beside a house, and it was winter in Winnipeg. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the normal weather there, but it's @#$!ing freezing in winter, like -40 freezing. At those temperatures, the ground freezes to the point it's almost as hard as concrete and has to be taken out with a jackhammer. So, that sucked, but it's started getting warm now and the work is getting easier.
The work was easy, and it was going good, but there came a point where for a few weeks I didn't finish any jobs. I kept opening them up, but structural problems kept me from closing several of them, and a cold front kept my drain stone from being delivered for a few days on others. I don't have a huge operating reserve built up, and my guys know that I have to get paid for a job before they're paid. They're told this fact upfront and they all agreed to it. But one guy didn't like having to wait and starting phoning me and my partner and making threats. He even got his step-dad in on it. They phoned and said they were going to come to our house, wreck our truck, steal tools from our job sites, etc... Not a big worry for me, the guys comes over and I think my arm is bigger than his torso. Plus, if he smashes or steals anything, I'll just have him arrested. Nonetheless, it was a pain in the ass.
Despite it getting easier, the work is pure brute force digging for most of the job, and most people turn the job down in the pursuit of better jobs. I found a group of brothers that would work for me, and I thought it was going to be awesome. They all know each other and are pretty decent guys, so I figured they could work together fine. And it turned out that I was right, they are good workers, while I'm sitting there watching over them. But the thing is, I'm not always at the job site. At any given time, I have 2-5 jobs open at once, with 1-3 crews working for me. When I leave these guys at a site, then come back 5 or 6 hours later and think to myself, 'This is all these guys got done,' I start to question if I should even keep them around. I've come to the conclusion that it'd be great to keep a crew like that around, but I'll have to just offer them a straight cut of what a job is worth instead of paying them hourly, maybe that'll get them to quit wasting their time and my money.
Mainly problems up to now, but there are great rewards. No real bosses to answer to. If I wake up and just don't want to work that day, I don't have to. Once summer's going full blast, I might not have to even get in a hole and dig, since my workload will be huge and I'll be managing more jobs and crews. The pay isn't bad either; I just turned 19 and I'm making $1000CAD/wk, and that's going to get bigger in the summer. My assets keep growing as well as I buy new tools and equipment, I'll even be getting another vehicle in the next few weeks. Oh, did I mention that I've lost 30 pounds in three months doing this?
Now that I've written a wall of text, I want to close with this: Owning a business is a great experience, but it challenges you to the core. I am coming to love it more and more everyday and I can't wait to see where I'll be in a year. Please, if there are any other business owners, come share your stories.
I don't own a business but sometimes I think it'd be really cool to open one. Maybe a restaurant or an ice rink or some other kind of recreational place. I'm probably too much of a coward though, scared to put in that much work and maybe lose money. That's really cool that you get to experience the feeling of doing something you really enjoy and find challenging, and even doing well financially for it.
Yeah, the good thing for this was that I didn't have to have a lot of upfront capital or take out a lease on a big building. A truck, a few wheelbarrows and shovels, and some plywood was what got us started three months ago. Now we're looking into a shop and will be purchasing a third vehicle shortly.
I have done quite a few iPod/other Mp3 player repairs as my own business. Don't really have the time or money to expand it, but I did like working on my own. I hope to one day own and operate an engineering firm.