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Solo Business??  

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NSTEYB
Posts: 2
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SERIOUSLY tossing around Idea of leaving my cozy Survey Dept. Manager position and go out on my own as a Solo business owner.....boundary, topo, small layout, etc.  Licensed in 4 states with 25 yrs behind me.

Problem is it terrifies me to give up insurance and a "regular" paycheck.

My area has the need currently....

Has anybody done this with (later) regret?  Or is it a "Go For it!...you'll never look back!"

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Jim Frame
Posts: 6082
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No regrets here, but be aware that timing plays a role in the outcome.  If you believe that we may be on the cusp of a significant recession, now might not be the best time to leave the warm embrace of an established firm.  If you think the good times are going to keep on rollin' for a few more years, then there's no time like the present.

I went out on my own for personal rather than business reasons, and I did so at a time when the regional market was slowing.  Fortunately, I had enough saved up to carry me through the first year, because I needed it.  The good part about that is that I had plenty of time to set up my office and field operations without having to worry about getting work out the door, because there wasn't much of it at first.

As long as you're a self-starter, you'll likely never look back unless your finances are so thin that you can't weather a down period.  I can't imagine what my life would have looked like for the last 26 years if I hadn't made the jump.

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paden cash
Posts: 9495
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Being a "freelance" surveying consultant is extremely rewarding.  I gave up that "steady paycheck" almost thirty years ago and no, I've never looked back.  I really can't say I've known anybody over the years that actually fell on their face and washed out in doing so.  As an employee if you have ever sat at your desk (or behind the steering wheel) and wished you had more input on putting a job together, or wanted more time to investigate things further, you need to do your "own" work.  But doing so has its unique qualities.

Be prepared to put in more time than you've probably given your day job.  I've burned up barrels of midnight oil cranking out work, doing research and bookkeeping.  But in my mind it is so worth it.

Let us all know what you decide.  There are many brothers and sisters here of the same ilk that can offer experience and guidance. 

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James Vianna
Posts: 382
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Posted by: @jim-frame

No regrets here, but be aware that timing plays a role in the outcome.  If you believe that we may be on the cusp of a significant recession, now might not be the best time to leave the warm embrace of an established firm.  If you think the good times are going to keep on rollin' for a few more years, then there's no time like the present.

This is probably the most important advice you will get.

Jim

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Just A. Surveyor
Posts: 1794
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If it terrifies you don't do it.

What you can do while you are employed is start acquiring all the non-perishable survey items and begin building your inventory and such. You can knock out a lot of the must have items while you are currently employed. Setup a business under a nondescript company name, like XYZ Land Services, (not land surveying) and that will allow you to begin purchasing stuff. The reason I say (not surveying) is because if you incorporate a survey business you will have to have a PLS\RLS as its registrant and you don't want to do that yet. Heck, you could even make it a handy man business it does not matter so long as you can write off the cost.

Once you get closer to actually making the leap then you can change the name of the company and register it with the board.

Before you make the plunge, know what the market is. Go around to every survey company and quiz them on their prices. The worst damned thing you can do is run you business without know what the cost for various things are. A lot of folks here who get their ticket immediately quit their job and set their prices based on the salary they were making at their last job. So they quit their job and immediately start offering up cut rate discount prices because they think that they were making $75k at their last job and they want to make the same for themselves and they go broke, starve and drive prices for services even further in the gutter.   

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1 Reply
FL/GA PLS.
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Joined: 9 years ago

2,500+ posts
Posts: 3901

@just-a-surveyor

"If it terrifies you don't do it."

I took the exact opposite approach. Scared to death, sold half of what I had, depleted savings and jumped in head first. Absolutely petrified the first year. When you are worried 24/7/365 you have a tendency to learn business real quick like. It's not easy at first, but with intense perseverance you will succeed. For me, things really turned around the second year and it has been a breeze ever since for 30 years. Only regret was that I didn't start my own business 10 years earlier. 😎 

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