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RotationSlimWang
10-07-2012, 11:35 AM
Looking to get advice from others who have done so or haven't but are overflowing with a variety of useful knowledge about matters of business, taxes, and stuff like that (I'm looking at you, Tom). Here's my situation: my primary source of income is travelling all over LA County fixing office's computers and networks as a sub-contractor for this asshole who does almost nothing to pretend to be a legitimate business except for having a really ugly website, paying for Google AdWords placements, having a big yellow pages ad, and... actually no, that's about it. He doesn't even rent out office space, I pretty much just work out of my house and meet up with him in person once or twice a week to hand in checks and get paid. It's an annoying company to work for because I get no health insurance or mileage reimbursement but I make a high percentage of all the profit I bring in, so in theory I make really good money until you factor in car expenses, not to mention the high costs of illegally purchasing all the medications I need. The thought of starting my own company and doing the same work for the same costs but making 100 percent of the profit instead has naturally crossed my mind from time to time, but I've always been too lazy and have a savings account for appearances only.

Despite my laziness, recently I've started getting requests from quite a few offices that have no relationship with my employer (naturally I had to sign a pretty strict non-compete agreement when I started working for this guy stating that I can't poach his clients) to do their IT, the most recent one being a big enough job--somewhere between 5-10 grand just for the initial setup--that I think it might be time I actually form a company to handle my side clients.

So, wiser, older people who understand this stuff, what do you recommend I do and what can you tell me that I'm probably not already thinking about?

There's the question of being a sole proprietor vs. an LLC (I'm leaning towards LLC since it would protect me from being sued personally in the unlikely event that I ever ruined a client's life and also because as a person I have fucking terrible credit but as a new company I could probably finally get a credit card again which is kinda critical as being able to purchase 2000 dollars worth of equipment immediately can be kinda crucial in my line of work). Anybody got any insight into which would be best considering that the growth of this company will probably have to be done very gradually since I need to build up a larger client base and save some money before I can actually completely split from my day job.

Anyone out there whose work makes them acquainted with whatever new business loans/grants/whatever-just-gimme-some-goverment-money-things I might be eligible for? Does Mr. Obama have some program that will just give me a bunch of money for no good reason?

Does anyone have a copy of that book in the infomercials with that guy in the Riddler jacket?

You get the idea. Explain real life to me, older people. Thanks.

Courtney
10-07-2012, 11:50 AM
The real benefit to being a sole proprietor is that the paperwork is much easier. But you want to be an LLC.

But before you embark on anything, you should create a solid business plan with all your estimated costs and revenue sources. Once you really start thinking about it, there are a LOT of costs associated with running a business, so it's worth putting it all down on paper and doing some math to figure out if it's really a good idea. Having a fully fleshed out business plan will also help you to apply for loans and stuff of that sort.

RotationSlimWang
10-07-2012, 12:12 PM
... Courtney, for fuck's sake, I'm not a goddamn idiot. Of course before I actually do this I'm going to sit down and run numbers and probably meet with an accountant. I'm asking people for specific instances of useful knowledge they might have, not a list of the most obvious and rudimentary steps of the process. You sound like my mother. "Well, you'll need to sit down and write out a budget..." Obviously that will have to happen. I'm looking for advice from people who have actually lived, not just gone to school: SHOO!

VigoTheCarpathian
10-07-2012, 12:35 PM
1. Always run it like it's going broke: don't spend money unless you absolutely need to and only on goods / services that will directly benefit customers and your bottom line. Shop-out everything you buy and be patient with your decisions.

2. Grow out of your house: start with a very low overhead situation(your personal finances included) and retain profits for investment in marketing and infrastructure.

3. Strive for high gross and net margins. You're in business to make money, lots of money, not just a little money that will be destroyed by inflation before you even spend it. A 30% net margin on gross revenues is typicaly great but every business unique. Understand your costs and the costs of financing your customers to great detail.

4. Stay close and communicative with your customers and change readily and rapidly to their demands, preferences, and over all direction of your industry. Most big companies start off doing one thing and get rich and famous for things they never set sail to perform.

heart cooks brain
10-07-2012, 03:22 PM
Regarding the non-compete disclosure, is CA right to work state? If so the non-compete is worthless, and you should feel free to poach away.

Tubesock Shakur
10-07-2012, 03:34 PM
You are over thinking it. Hire a good accountant now and get going. File the llc open a bank account bring in some money apply for a credit card and you are good to go.

summerkid
10-07-2012, 05:52 PM
Regarding the non-compete disclosure, is CA right to work state? If so the non-compete is worthless, and you should feel free to poach away.

No, it is not.

fatbastard
10-07-2012, 06:00 PM
My 2 cents on poaching customers.

Many years ago, our company used only rhino-tech toners. Their company was started by a recovered drug user that set aside a percentage of their sales to the preservation of the white rhino.

Anyways, I loved our rep. She always called for an order when we were close to running out. The short amount of time always felt like reacquainting with a long time friend. She lived by the beach, so we talked about that. She would ask what concerts I’d attended recently and how was the wife. Basically, she was a great sales rep.

One day, I get a call from a guy who took her place. He tells me that she doesn’t work there anymore and that he thinks she started her own business. I place my order with the new guy and continue life. A couple of days later, I get a call from her. She goes into great detail on how management were pieces of shit and that her and a few people from the old company started their own business and were ready to take my order. I explained the reasons on why we’d continue to remain a customer with her old company and wished her the best of luck.

This should be a no brainer but wanted to say that there were a thousand of other ways she could gone about trying to gain my business. She really could have had it. People in other departments don’t really give a fuck about toners. They just want to make sure that we are stocked with them in the office. I could have easily swayed myself to going with her company, but. So, well…you know what I’m saying.

TomAz
10-07-2012, 06:32 PM
If so the non-compete is worthless, and you should feel free to poach away.

Pretty sure this is utterly and absolutely a false statement. "right to work" states forbid any requirement that an employee join a union. This is a different thing altogether from a professional non-compete agreement.

TomAz
10-07-2012, 06:36 PM
1. Always run it like it's going broke: don't spend money unless you absolutely need to and only on goods / services that will directly benefit customers and your bottom line. Shop-out everything you buy and be patient with your decisions.

Pretty sure I disagree with this statement too, though here it's a matter of judgment rather than fact. A startup company should focuse on generating revenue first. Use common sense when making spending decisions but don't be such a tightwad that it either drives you nuts or hampers your ability to get shit done.

TomAz
10-07-2012, 06:42 PM
Randy the benefits of starting your own company can be substantial and I think you are doing the right thing by giving it serious thought. The main hurdle you face is ramping up the business so that you have enough work (revenue) (that's old person talk for money) coming in. The advantage of working with the guy you're working with now is he has an established business/reputation etc and that brings him enough work to keep himself and you busy, apparently. If you go it alone, how long will it take you to get a client base big enough to make it work? Also, what will you do to build that client base? Just hang up your shingle and hope the phone rings? I don't mean this to sound negative,not at all, I'm just saying these are the questions you need to ask yourself. If you have good answers, then go for it.

As for the mechanics of actually setting up the business, J$ is right, don't overthink it, just find a guy who knows how. Or google it or something. The mechanics of starting the business are important but secondary to the business plan and mission of your firm.

TomAz
10-07-2012, 06:43 PM
Also, one more thing: Does your noncompete have an expiration date?

chairmenmeow47
10-07-2012, 07:28 PM
Also, one more thing: Does your noncompete have an expiration date?

and if not, can you threaten said boss with incriminating information to get out of the contract?

gaypalmsprings
10-07-2012, 07:43 PM
By a book on declaring bankruptcy.

Grandma
10-07-2012, 07:53 PM
http://uboachan.net/x/src/1342083972850.gif

TomAz
10-07-2012, 08:01 PM
and if not, can you threaten said boss with incriminating information to get out of the contract?

No, if there's no expiration date the contract is probably unenforceable. Reasonable noncompetes are generally allowed by the courts but a noncompete that lasted for eternity would be deemed unreasonable, I believe.

xuclarockerx
10-07-2012, 11:42 PM
My 2 cents on poaching customers.

Many years ago, our company used only rhino-tech toners. Their company was started by a recovered drug user that set aside a percentage of their sales to the preservation of the white rhino.

Anyways, I loved our rep. She always called for an order when we were close to running out. The short amount of time always felt like reacquainting with a long time friend. She lived by the beach, so we talked about that. She would ask what concerts I’d attended recently and how was the wife. Basically, she was a great sales rep.

One day, I get a call from a guy who took her place. He tells me that she doesn’t work there anymore and that he thinks she started her own business. I place my order with the new guy and continue life. A couple of days later, I get a call from her. She goes into great detail on how management were pieces of shit and that her and a few people from the old company started their own business and were ready to take my order. I explained the reasons on why we’d continue to remain a customer with her old company and wished her the best of luck.

This should be a no brainer but wanted to say that there were a thousand of other ways she could gone about trying to gain my business. She really could have had it. People in other departments don’t really give a fuck about toners. They just want to make sure that we are stocked with them in the office. I could have easily swayed myself to going with her company, but. So, well…you know what I’m saying.

I'm not seeing where she drastically fucked up here?

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 06:08 AM
I've talked to numerous people about this, several of them being guys who actually did exactly what I'm talking about--got tired of consulting for other people, started their own. And yeah, the basic rundown is that you either have to delicately balance growing a client base on the side equal to at least 33 percent of the work I get from my current situation OR that I'd need to have one year's worth of expenses saved up. Preferably, I should have both. As far as poaching customers goes, honestly he has very few who I'd even consider taking. It's part of my contract that I keep my cell phone number a secret from clients and I love it--even though it means turning down a lot of fast money from all the people who offer to cut my boss out of the equation because they like me better, I don't really care for the way he handles his customers and he takes too many residential customers, something I hope to phase out as soon as my new business becomes remotely financially solvent.

I'm not planning on taking the leap too soon and I think urging me to just get an accountant and go do it is stupid. You're not taking a lot of shit into account with that thinking. There needs to be preparations. What I want to start doing is getting some cheap business materials made up--even just VistaPrint cards--and going office to office in the fields that I know the best and just seeing the reactions I get. Generally speaking I find most office managers will tell you they're dissatisfied with their IT people at least 75 percent of the time. Most of the guys doing my job are incompetent, gouging, mutant-looking motherfuckers. Just as a test I think I'll spend a couple weekends going around the area and trying to get some face time with businesses nearby. The real important thing to figure out--unfortunately I can't do it until I have a website to deploy--is how much it's going to cost me to get the Google placements I'll need. That's where the majority of our business comes in now, I need to set up an account just to test for a day or two and plan out what my monthly expenses for getting the upper-tier results in the towns I'd like to be working in. That's a big variable that my boss doesn't seem to like getting into specifics about. He'll never say exactly how much the advertising costs him, probably because he's concerned I'm doing exactly what I'm hoping to do.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 06:09 AM
Also I'm 99 percent sure that my boss doesn't have the foggiest fucking clue where the non-compete paperwork I signed five years ago is. I've quit and come back to work for him four times now and he SUCKS at keeping records, so the clients I really want to keep are gonna get kept, fuck 'im. Gas is 5 dollars a gallon. Time to slit throats.

bug on your lip
10-08-2012, 06:27 AM
Also I'm 99 percent sure that my boss doesn't have the foggiest fucking clue where the non-compete paperwork I signed five years ago is. I've quit and come back to work for him four times now and he SUCKS at keeping records, so the clients I really want to keep are gonna get kept, fuck 'im. Gas is 5 dollars a gallon. Time to slit throats.


NEWSFLASH : Randy thinks other people are incompetent

TomAz
10-08-2012, 07:28 AM
Second newsflash: Randy asks people for advice, then insults the advice they give him.

Drinkey McDrinkerstein
10-08-2012, 07:41 AM
It's just such a great way to remind yourself that you already know everything you need to.

BROKENDOLL
10-08-2012, 07:43 AM
I don't think any boss, foggy, or not, is gonna feel threatened by an employee that has quit and returned 4 different times in 5 years... just sayin'.

bmack86
10-08-2012, 09:46 AM
No, if there's no expiration date the contract is probably unenforceable. Reasonable noncompetes are generally allowed by the courts but a noncompete that lasted for eternity would be deemed unreasonable, I believe.

This is true. In California, if I remember my corporate law correctly, it's something like 5 years maximum, within the same exact field, within a very specific geographic radius (I want to say 25 miles, but I may be incorrect). California's not overly cool with noncompete clauses.

VigoTheCarpathian
10-08-2012, 11:24 AM
Pretty sure I disagree with this statement too, though here it's a matter of judgment rather than fact. A startup company should focuse on generating revenue first. Use common sense when making spending decisions but don't be such a tightwad that it either drives you nuts or hampers your ability to get shit done.

Austerity For Posterity.

http://www2.warnerbros.com/willywonka/img/gallery/wonkpic1.jpg

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 03:36 PM
It's just such a great way to remind yourself that you already know everything you need to.

No, it's a great way to remind other people not to be silly. Drinkey, suppose you started a thread about how you've recently started playing chess and asked for recommendations of good books/games/learning tools to help sharpen your game. There here comes Courtney, drunk off power from her first semester of Business classes and starts things off by informing you that you should find good players to compete with, and to always remember that knights are the only piece which can jump over other pieces. That would be a retarded contribution to the thread. Except that in my example, at least she'd be giving dumb advice to someone who could conceivably be fairly dumb. I mean, who the fuck knows? You have the movie tastes of a middle-of-the-road brain and you don't know how to be photographed without making faces the way preschoolers do, so she'd actually be less culpable in that example since there's some basis to suspect you might need a much slower paced education.

I, on the other hand, have about 1000 times more experience running a business than Courtney The Employment Illusionist except that I've never had to deal with the accounting and I've always joined pre-existing companies. I was asking for people's suggestions on what things I might not find out in the course of the standard due diligence any thinking person would obviously go through before doing something like this, and so when she pops in to remind me to write a budget and a business plan it's kinda insulting if not just totally unhelpful. I don't think she was intending to be insulting, but it is. It'd be like a first year Psych major hopping into the Anxiety, Depression, Medication thread and throwing out buzz words she'd learned in that week's class to people who've been in treatment for over a decade.

Tubesock Shakur
10-08-2012, 03:47 PM
Your arrogance in ignorance will cause your business to fail. It's okay to say thanks for the advice and move on. You asked the question. Don't bite back. The worst thing that ever happened to small business is yelp, BBB and other rating sites, customers are not scared to throw you under the bus over the smallest bullshit, and your attitude towards people will be your downfall.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 03:54 PM
... I've been the most liked tech/consultant at every company I've worked for. Clients love me. Me giving my friend Courtney a little ribbing for something she privately admitted was pretty useless doesn't really have much to do with my business. Forgive me if I don't really give much of a shit about the opinion of the guy whose brilliant advice of "just fucking go do it, man, stop thinking and planning so much and just get moving." Usually solid counsel for anyone making a major financial decision. I keep forgetting whether you're Mr. Nipples or J$$$, and so I'm not sure whether I should tag this reply with a fat joke or a hook joke.

TomAz
10-08-2012, 03:54 PM
So, wiser, older people who understand this stuff, what do you recommend I do and what can you tell me that I'm probably not already thinking about?

I recommend that you stop worrying about trivial crap like company credit cards and VistaPrint business cards and start worrying about the fundamentals of your business. If you want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the IT community then stop acting like a smug asshole. People are offering you genuine advice, don't shit on them for it.

Also, you can talk to office managers to start, but ultimately you want to be talking to business owners. Office managers deal with commodities, business owners work with strategic partners. I mean yeah your foot in the door is probably keeping their network running. But the long term value is in helping them use technology in ways they haven't thought of to make their business run better.

TomAz
10-08-2012, 03:56 PM
also, hook joke for tubesock, old joke for me. k?

TomAz
10-08-2012, 04:00 PM
one more thing re company credit cards:

the question you're really asking is how do you come up with operating capital. This is the single most important question you will face with a startup. There are no easy answers. Either you front the money yourself (if you have it) or you find others to do it for you. Friends, family, or, eek, a bank.

Tubesock Shakur
10-08-2012, 04:01 PM
I recommend that you stop worrying about trivial crap like company credit cards and VistaPrint business cards and start worrying about the fundamentals of your business. If you want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the IT community then stop acting like a smug asshole. People are offering you genuine advice, don't shit on them for it.

Also, you can talk to office managers to start, but ultimately you want to be talking to business owners. Office managers deal with commodities, business owners work with strategic partners. I mean yeah your foot in the door is probably keeping their network running. But the long term value is in helping them use technology in ways they haven't thought of to make their business run better.

Seriously, business cards, web site, seo, smo, and business names is the easiest part of getting a business started.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 04:13 PM
... okay, just nevermind with the thread. Tom, that wasn't advice about starting a business. That was advice about how to do the job I already do. I've got an idea: how about, if you're going to bother still trying to contribute any suggestions which I hope to God nobody does 'cause this is getting fucking annoying--you just pretend like you don't have any insight into how to be a better IT consultant to give me? It would be nice in two respects: (a) I didn't ask for advice on how to manage clients. I already manage clients. I think you either don't understand what I do or you just assume I must be doing some lower-end version of it because my personality is just so deplorable.

I don't want advice about starting an IT consulting company unless you're an IT consulting company owner. I was asking for general advice about the process of starting a new business and if anyone knew of any useful programs or lessons they learned in their first few years that they think any first-time business owner should hear, that sort of thing. Not for you yokels to give me your opinions on whether or not it's possible that I know how to deal with my clients.

PotVsKtl
10-08-2012, 04:16 PM
Get a batch of big dick dogs and charge $100 a pop to have them run a gravy train on Amy. Business sorted.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 04:20 PM
There's no way Pot has a high-paying job with responsibility at a major technology company. Look at the things he types. Someone quick, give him a suggestion how to behave in front of his supervisors. Because apparently how you talk on the message board is exactly what you're like at work. This is what I'm gathering.

Tubesock Shakur
10-08-2012, 04:21 PM
Your new best friend. http://www.sba.gov/

Mugwog
10-08-2012, 04:34 PM
A friend of mine is an owner of an IT company that serves SD, OC and some parts of LA, he originally started by working as a subcontractor for a major realty company. He's doing pretty well, has to still deal with idiots (IT work standard), but he's buying larger property, just had his first kid and drives a foreign luxury import. He works like a mother fucker sometimes, but its going well, as its expanded to basically the coast of So. Cal. He's talked about it possibly expanding to NV and further up CA.

It sounds like you have enough independent clients to invest whatever little time you have to yourself to see if the money has potential to grow, in addition to staying consistent. Not sure how you would price yourself, as flat rate jobs seem very inviting off the bat, but if they aren't consistent and you offer support within the flat rate, it may just become a headache in the end.

An LLC is definitely the way to go, just have a good accountant and possibly consider keeping a daily expense log, you'll be able to write a lot off. You want to take advantage of as many tax loopholes as you can.

HotHamWater
10-08-2012, 04:38 PM
I don't have anything useful to contribute, I just want to be on the receiving end of a Mexican joke.

VigoTheCarpathian
10-08-2012, 04:42 PM
2 ways to grow: 1. Sales 2. Acquisitions

Think about that. Think long and hard. PM me when your ready to make some money.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 04:46 PM
::eyebrow:: If you have a proposal of some sort just say so, either publicly or via PM. When you ask me to PM you when I'm ready to make some money, it just sounds like you're going to sell me a bridge... or rape me.

fatbastard
10-08-2012, 04:47 PM
How about certifications in hardware/software applications and liability?

People call from our 3rd level support and ask me to power cycle multiple servers. They have been certified and I have not. I ask them to send me the request via email and CC their boss. They do this 80% of the time, they come back 20% of the time after putting me on hold then tell me they are sending HP out to further diagnose of the issue, which normally has a 4 hour turnaround time. This tells me that they weren't that confident to put their name in writing. Just trying to cover my ass.

You know what I mean right? Certification means you have a license to fuck things up and the producer will back you up, for the most part.

You realy haven't spoken in detail on specifics, so not sure on the size of businesses you would be taking on.

bug on your lip
10-08-2012, 04:47 PM
::eyebrow:: If you have a proposal of some sort just say so, either publicly or via PM. When you ask me to PM you when I'm ready to make some money, it just sounds like you're going to sell me a bridge... or rape me.

somebody has been thinking long and hard

ThatGirl
10-08-2012, 04:54 PM
My only advice would have been that you get help with budgeting to ensure you have the capital or the revenue potential to go it alone, but you don't want to hear that. Considering you mentioned your personal finances were a concern, i.e. terrible credit history - I'm really surprised you would ditch on Courtney for offering that advice. Sounds like its the area you'll need the most help.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 04:55 PM
Certifications in IT don't do anything like that, FB. They're mostly exercises in test-taking and knowing how the software/hardware developer wants you to support their product, which is not frequently not actually the best practice when it comes to reality. Certifications come in handy because you need a certain percentage of your employees to be certified in, say, Microsoft products in order for your business to be accepted as a Microsoft Partner. That stuff is a bit more important when you have a staff working for you. I think I've been asked maybe a handful of times by clients whether or not I was certed.

ThatGirl
10-08-2012, 04:57 PM
Certifications in IT don't do anything like that, FB. They're mostly exercises in test-taking and knowing how the software/hardware developer wants you to support their product, which is not frequently not actually the best practice when it comes to reality. Certifications come in handy because you need a certain percentage of your employees to be certified in, say, Microsoft products in order for your business to be accepted as a Microsoft Partner. That stuff is a bit more important when you have a staff working for you. I think I've been asked maybe a handful of times by clients whether or not I was certed.

You need liability insurance to protect you from errors and omissions when you are an independent.

gaypalmsprings
10-08-2012, 04:58 PM
Hire a good lawyer. Save money for bail.

fatbastard
10-08-2012, 04:58 PM
Just throwing it out there.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 05:00 PM
My only advice would have been that you get help with budgeting to ensure you have the capital or the revenue potential to go it alone, but you don't want to hear that. Considering you mentioned your personal finances were a concern, i.e. terrible credit history - I'm really surprised you would ditch on Courtney for offering that advice. Sounds like its the area you'll need the most help.

Exactly. And since I'm not FUCKING BLIND and I'm not A GODDAMN IDIOT, it's somewhat reasonable to assume that before I embarked on a life changing financial transition, I would probably take my big Jew brain and do some fucking calculations to see how much I'd have to make and how many clients I'd have to maintain in order to reliably make that and estimated the costs of all the expenses I've thought of already, fucking OBVIOUSLY that would be a critical part of my process, you goddamn dizzy motherfuckers.

TomAz
10-08-2012, 05:03 PM
... okay, just nevermind with the thread. Tom, that wasn't advice about starting a business. That was advice about how to do the job I already do. I've got an idea: how about, if you're going to bother still trying to contribute any suggestions which I hope to God nobody does 'cause this is getting fucking annoying--you just pretend like you don't have any insight into how to be a better IT consultant to give me? It would be nice in two respects: (a) I didn't ask for advice on how to manage clients. I already manage clients. I think you either don't understand what I do or you just assume I must be doing some lower-end version of it because my personality is just so deplorable.

I don't want advice about starting an IT consulting company unless you're an IT consulting company owner. I was asking for general advice about the process of starting a new business and if anyone knew of any useful programs or lessons they learned in their first few years that they think any first-time business owner should hear, that sort of thing. Not for you yokels to give me your opinions on whether or not it's possible that I know how to deal with my clients.

I have no doubt you know how to wire networks together. I doubt you know the first thing about running a business. because I and others have offered you "lessons they learned intheir first first years that they think any first-time business owner should hear", but you want to talk about company credit cards.

PlayaDelWes
10-08-2012, 05:05 PM
Just get started and go at it. You say you have some pretty good leads already. Develop those relationships. Take them to lunch, explain what you are going to do, and confidently ask for their support in your endeavor. Don’t’ worry about your current employer. Work forward and the rest will take care of itself.

The only disconnect I see is when you say “…doing the same work...” I think you know that simply continuing to do what you like and what you are good at is not enough. Client relationship development is THE barrier to entry in professional services and a huge part of what’s going to make you succeed. It takes a lot of time, effort, and emotion.

The administrative BS will be an initial pain, but won’t take up too much of your time. Just get the LLC, FBN, Tax ID, and all the other hoops out of the way ASAP so you can start doing business legitimately for your initial clients.

On the surface it doesn’t sound like you need a terrible amount of cash to get things rolling. What’s this ‘2000 dollars worth of equipment’ you speak of? Is this something you need to service your clients? Or is this a client cost that they expect you to front and get reimbursed for later?

I think all this is extremely doable and whatever you need to do to motivate yourself to go forward, you should, ASAP. None of this is rocket science that only a bunch of a-holes on a music message board hold the answer to. The barriers to entry here are essentially a couple hours and a few hundred dollars on legalzoom and your ability to gain some immediate trust from your initial clients.

gaypalmsprings
10-08-2012, 05:05 PM
You'll make more money selling drugs.

lt.roast.a.botch
10-08-2012, 05:10 PM
As said earlier, LLC seems to be the best for you however, a few of things to consider that I remember from my Start Up Law class. First, although you mention that you are going solo (and I assume will take on the financial burden alone), if you do ever plan on finding an investor/partner remember that in an LLC the profits AND losses are distributed based on contribution. Second, in an LLC there is a franchise tax on gross receipts not net receipts. So if profits are low but margins are high you will be taxed more in an LLC then a LLP. Lastly, CA courts will strip you of your limited liability if you manage, tax, and act like a Partnership (unlimited liability). Again only relevant if you have an business partner in the future. Ask your accountant or lawyer for more info.

RotationSlimWang
10-08-2012, 05:23 PM
I have no doubt you know how to wire networks together. I doubt you know the first thing about running a business. because I and others have offered you "lessons they learned intheir first first years that they think any first-time business owner should hear", but you want to talk about company credit cards.

You like bringing up the same quote from the beginning of the thread repeatedly. Perhaps it's a short-term amnesia. What you were cautioning me against there is that I only know what it's like to be the guy who shows up and greets the receptionist and then fixes the thing, but if I run my own business I'm going to have to show them how I can help business grow profitably from the smart use of technology. Yeah, that's already part of what I do. I mentioned office managers because--guess what--90 percent of the time that's who the point of contact is. You talk logistics and scheduling with them and then you talk money with the owner or whoever's acting on their behalf. Convincing men to spend money is at least interesting... putting up with chit-chat is the arduous part. My point is that you've done some bizarre extrapolation of one little comment I made about a company credit card--the usefulness of which is that sometimes clients really need me to be able to show up with thousands of dollars worth of equipment in a hurry and since I have no fucking startup capital, I offhandedly brought up the credit card, you old fuck.

chairmenmeow47
10-08-2012, 06:02 PM
You'll make more money selling drugs.

if you're going to sell drugs, test the product and make sure you know the people aren't cops. just sayin'

(wants to be on the receiving end of tit jokes)

ThatGirl
10-08-2012, 08:09 PM
Exactly. And since I'm not FUCKING BLIND and I'm not A GODDAMN IDIOT, it's somewhat reasonable to assume that before I embarked on a life changing financial transition, I would probably take my big Jew brain and do some fucking calculations to see how much I'd have to make and how many clients I'd have to maintain in order to reliably make that and estimated the costs of all the expenses I've thought of already, fucking OBVIOUSLY that would be a critical part of my process, you goddamn dizzy motherfuckers.

Sounds like you have it all figured out and didn't really need to start a thread asking for advice then.

p.r. teo
10-08-2012, 09:26 PM
I don't know why I'm helping you but when I started my first production company in 2001, the one thing I made a point of was having a nice office that could convey to my clients that I was a serious about my work. They were impressed by the videos I made but there were other companies in town who could also make impressive videos. What set me apart aside from the unique look of my cinematography was that my office reeked of professionalism. Clients would come in and see my armada of XL-1 lenses and the dolly track I had my friends built (but told them I built myself, heh) and the posters of the movies I'd already made or storyboards of the projects I was in the preproduction stage of and they would think they were in Hollywood. One of them even said wow, it's like I'm in Hollywood. It was not like any other office in town at the time. I got a lot of commercial shoots that way and helped to fund my real projects. Now you go into any production office in Tucson and it looks like what I pioneered 12 years ago, so I've had to keep reinventing to stay ahead of everybody, but now it's not as important because I'm established and don't have to do commercials like I did back then. But that was probably the number 1 thing that led to my early success.

VigoTheCarpathian
10-08-2012, 09:43 PM
My mom hates it when I make movies and smoke weed in the house

TomServo
10-08-2012, 10:00 PM
Without reading all the responses...

Going LLC is extremely expensive, and it never ends. Even if you incorporate in Delaware (like everybody else), California still screws you with huge taxes (if you're in Cali), and the attorney fees for keeping everything current are significant. If there's no real likelihood of a personal liability situation, don't overvalue that protection. Most businesses fail quickly, hopefully yours does not... but since it's an IT business, just have an attorney write up an ironclad no fault agreement (with an arbitration clause) for the clients to sign and bill them as a contractor.

Of course this is not intended as legal advice. I advise you to speak to an attorney, but know that the attorney may encourage you to do whatever gets them the most billable hours.

RotationSlimWang
10-09-2012, 12:26 AM
I don't know why I'm helping you but when I started my first production company in 2001, the one thing I made a point of was having a nice office that could convey to my clients that I was a serious about my work. They were impressed by the videos I made but there were other companies in town who could also make impressive videos. What set me apart aside from the unique look of my cinematography was that my office reeked of professionalism. Clients would come in and see my armada of XL-1 lenses and the dolly track I had my friends built (but told them I built myself, heh) and the posters of the movies I'd already made or storyboards of the projects I was in the preproduction stage of and they would think they were in Hollywood. One of them even said wow, it's like I'm in Hollywood. It was not like any other office in town at the time. I got a lot of commercial shoots that way and helped to fund my real projects. Now you go into any production office in Tucson and it looks like what I pioneered 12 years ago, so I've had to keep reinventing to stay ahead of everybody, but now it's not as important because I'm established and don't have to do commercials like I did back then. But that was probably the number 1 thing that led to my early success.

So your office helped you convince people to fund your continuing production of totally shit movies? Good to know. Fuck an office.

bug on your lip
10-09-2012, 05:48 AM
GAYDDAMM FUCKING BLIND IDIOT !! amirite randeeee ?

lehorne
10-09-2012, 09:19 AM
heh, we are pretty much in the same business. With the encouragement of my Aussie buddie, I started my own S-Corp incorporated in Hawaii in '06 (we had this dream of living there with him doing leasing at the now defunct Aloha Capital and me doing equipment/service. Never panned out). But six years in I'm still going on and it was the best decision ever.

Why? Mainly the freedom and everything associated with it. The problem with standard IT service is you're never going to make any serious money, because everything is so hands on. Even with managed service contracts [(exp: 15 PCs, couple servers, firewall going onsite monthly or remotely (We use Kaseya)] I know individual consulting companies who struggle. And if you try to invest too much right away you go out of business (see 'Make it Work' who had red Mini-Coopers for their engineers. WTF?).

I would do it, because working for other people generally sucks a mean dick, but don't expect more than $100k a year unless you have some kind of specialty where you can charge $200 an hour (exp: MS SharePoint or custom software). My company has been making pretty the same money every single year, which I guess isn’t bad in a down-turned economy. But, wanting more, I am diversifying into automated income options via selling tour tickets online where it's not necessary to touch every single deal and invoice. The money just hits the bank account.

Let me know if you need hardware/software quotes as we are a reseller and get next day delivery to OC/LA on standard Fedex Ground rates from Ingram/Tech Data’s Riverside-area warehouse. Some IT consultants don’t want to mess with hardware, but that is my specialty. 15% referral of the margin and it helps close deals going in as a team with a full solution quote.

P.S. Don’t be afraid to charge a lot or go in high. Got one regular client in Vegas who gets a $150 an hour bill and had them for four years. If you always go in low you’ll never make any money.

P.S.S. Post an ad on Craigs for part time engineer, interview them, and subcontract at a rate of $25-$40 an hour. I have a server genius working for me at $40 and charge at least $100 an hour to the client. Pure margin.

TomAz
10-09-2012, 10:02 AM
Yes but what accounting software do you use? That's fundamental.

Mugwog
10-09-2012, 10:11 AM
Turbo Tax?

RotationSlimWang
10-09-2012, 05:11 PM
heh, we are pretty much in the same business. With the encouragement of my Aussie buddie, I started my own S-Corp incorporated in Hawaii in '06 (we had this dream of living there with him doing leasing at the now defunct Aloha Capital and me doing equipment/service. Never panned out). But six years in I'm still going on and it was the best decision ever.

Why? Mainly the freedom and everything associated with it. The problem with standard IT service is you're never going to make any serious money, because everything is so hands on. Even with managed service contracts [(exp: 15 PCs, couple servers, firewall going onsite monthly or remotely (We use Kaseya)] I know individual consulting companies who struggle. And if you try to invest too much right away you go out of business (see 'Make it Work' who had red Mini-Coopers for their engineers. WTF?).

I would do it, because working for other people generally sucks a mean dick, but don't expect more than $100k a year unless you have some kind of specialty where you can charge $200 an hour (exp: MS SharePoint or custom software). My company has been making pretty the same money every single year, which I guess isn’t bad in a down-turned economy. But, wanting more, I am diversifying into automated income options via selling tour tickets online where it's not necessary to touch every single deal and invoice. The money just hits the bank account.

Let me know if you need hardware/software quotes as we are a reseller and get next day delivery to OC/LA on standard Fedex Ground rates from Ingram/Tech Data’s Riverside-area warehouse. Some IT consultants don’t want to mess with hardware, but that is my specialty. 15% referral of the margin and it helps close deals going in as a team with a full solution quote.

P.S. Don’t be afraid to charge a lot or go in high. Got one regular client in Vegas who gets a $150 an hour bill and had them for four years. If you always go in low you’ll never make any money.

P.S.S. Post an ad on Craigs for part time engineer, interview them, and subcontract at a rate of $25-$40 an hour. I have a server genius working for me at $40 and charge at least $100 an hour to the client. Pure margin.

Thank you for a useful reply. Just out of curiosity, when you were just starting up what did you find to be the most beneficial mechanism for pulling new clients? How would you say an effective chop-up of your total advertising budget/available time be split up between web searches, ads in other mediums, referrals, and actually hitting the pavement and hitting office stretches? Big biggest concern at the moment is what it will cost me to build up a client base sufficient to keep me alive while building the company. Since I have practically no capital to prop me up, I'm kinda stuck in a position where I either have to somehow manage to build up a reliable base of enough offices/machines that I can be confident even in my leanest weeks I'd be able to expect 15 billable hours, that's about where I figure I'd be strictly sustainable on a no-frills lifestyle.

RotationSlimWang
10-09-2012, 05:17 PM
Actually on that subject, another question: got any tips for how to best construct metrics that estimate the amount of work you should expect/count on a potential client to generate? Obviously there's a lot of variables at play as I've certainly seen, some offices just generate an extremely high numbers of calls based on their complexity whereas others are so content to deal with minimal functionality rather than spend money that they're uncommonly infrequent, but do you have any rough idea of an equation you ever used? Every five workstations or so can be expected to yield X number of hours per month factored by their degree of fuckedupedness?

p.r. teo
10-09-2012, 05:17 PM
So your office helped you convince people to fund your continuing production of totally shit movies? Good to know. Fuck an office.

INT. CLIENT'S OFFICE - DAY

ROBERT, a well dressed CEO of a large corporation, meets with RANDY, who is trying to secure a contract for IT work.

ROBERT: You certainly seem very knowledgeable. Tell me, what's the square footage of your building?

RANDY: Building?

ROBERT: Yes, where your office is located. What security measures do you have in place to make sure my information is safe?

RANDY (starting to sweat): Well, you see, I don't really have an office. I run all my servers out of my home.

ROBERT: Your home?! What kind of rinkydink operation are you running here? Get out of my office.

Randy lowers his head in shame and leaves the office, forgetting his three-ring binder he brought in for his pitch.

ROBERT (picking up the phone): Jasmeen, get me Earl Rinds at Sony Pictures on the phone. I have to warn him about that meeting he's got with this minor league IT professional (making quotation marks in the air with his fingers).

FADE TO BLACK

RotationSlimWang
10-09-2012, 05:24 PM
I have never once had a client ask me how big my office is at any company I've worked for. I don't house my customer's servers. That would be silly, you see, because then it would put MY company in the place of being liable for their servers. You install client's servers at THEIR locations. Because they want to actually see the thing that they payed 2500 dollars for. Also because it's idiotic to put your clients' ability to run their business at the mercy of both of you having an active internet connection.

Your lack of imagination as well as any semblance of insight is unsurprising, given your "films."

p.r. teo
10-09-2012, 11:28 PM
It's spelled "paid" not "payed."

My last bit of advice; if you get a business partner, do a thorough background check. You don't want to make the same mistake I did and go into business with a drug addict.

As far as I know, you haven't even watched my movies, so your attempts to criticize me are ignored like the ignorant comments of envy that I know they are.

HotHamWater
10-10-2012, 05:22 AM
You don't want to make the same mistake I did and go into business with a drug addict.

Amazing advice for Randy.

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 07:51 AM
Amazing advice for Randy.

::throws business plan out the window::

guedita
10-10-2012, 07:59 AM
If he had watched your movies, would his comments of envy be informed rather than ignorant?

Mugwog
10-10-2012, 09:23 AM
Don't worry Randy - Boosh is here to support you

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 09:33 AM
I've seen his reel. That was more than enough.

Mugwog, explain to me why i should entertain something as annoying and undeserved as you being referred as Boosh. Especially when that name already belongs to a brilliant TV show

guedita
10-10-2012, 09:38 AM
Boosh is what Mugwog has tirelessly tried to get the message board to refer to me as, Randy. It's never caught on and, like everything he ever posts about, it's fucking stupid.

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 09:46 AM
Oh its supposed to be you? I've never understood that any time he said it. How are you like British absurdist comedy?

Mugwog
10-10-2012, 09:50 AM
http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c367/Mugwog/Publicity/angrygingerboosh.jpg

lehorne
10-10-2012, 02:33 PM
Actually on that subject, another question: got any tips for how to best construct metrics that estimate the amount of work you should expect/count on a potential client to generate? Obviously there's a lot of variables at play as I've certainly seen, some offices just generate an extremely high numbers of calls based on their complexity whereas others are so content to deal with minimal functionality rather than spend money that they're uncommonly infrequent, but do you have any rough idea of an equation you ever used? Every five workstations or so can be expected to yield X number of hours per month factored by their degree of fuckedupedness?

No, not really. Some clients we'll receive ten hours in a short period of time, then not hear from them for months. The best way for re-occurring and predictable revenue is to sign customers up for service contracts. Charge them monthly X amount to monitor their servers, schedule one day a month to spend four hours in their office fixing whatever they need, as some clients like to see their IT person live and in the flesh, or remote monitor/update for the ones who don’t care. Maybe offer a discount on bulk, predetermined scheduling. We have most of our clients on three and/or six month maintenance as well, which helps out with reliable hours and also is a benefit to the client by having tuned up machines.

Quarterly Visits

• Perform Necessary Operating System Updates
o Apply Security Patches
o Apply Hot Fixes
• Perform AntiVirus Updates and Scan System
o Apply Virus Definition Updates
o Scan Entire System
• Analyze System Error Logs
o Determine Error Causes
• Confirm Proper Driver Configuration
• Perform System Disk Scans for Errors and Disk Maintenance/Cleanup
o Scan Disk
o Disk Cleanup
o Disk Defragmentation
• Equipment and Software Inventory Management

Biannual Visits

• Perform All Quarterly Steps Above
• Perform Physical Inspection of the System Interior
o Check All Cables & Connections
o Remove Harmful Dirt & Debris from System Interior
o Compressed Air Cleanout

sonofhal
10-10-2012, 02:40 PM
1 - Ask for advice.
2 - Mock all who offer advice.
3 - Profit.

chairmenmeow47
10-10-2012, 03:01 PM
Don't worry Randy - Boosh is here to support you

STOP TRYING TO MAKE FETCH HAPPEN

lehorne
10-10-2012, 03:01 PM
Thank you for a useful reply. Just out of curiosity, when you were just starting up what did you find to be the most beneficial mechanism for pulling new clients? How would you say an effective chop-up of your total advertising budget/available time be split up between web searches, ads in other mediums, referrals, and actually hitting the pavement and hitting office stretches? Big biggest concern at the moment is what it will cost me to build up a client base sufficient to keep me alive while building the company. Since I have practically no capital to prop me up, I'm kinda stuck in a position where I either have to somehow manage to build up a reliable base of enough offices/machines that I can be confident even in my leanest weeks I'd be able to expect 15 billable hours, that's about where I figure I'd be strictly sustainable on a no-frills lifestyle.

D2D aka door-to-door or gorilla marketing. Pounding the pavement. Without the right dominant mindset it can be a discouraging pain-in-the-arse, but D2D is an effective way of gaining IT service clients. Design a flyer, possibly with a promo (exp: Free Hour for new client or site survey analysis or something), and knock on doors asking if companies need “any help”. Always try to get in front of the decision maker and/or get their contact info so you can follow-up with them in a day or two after leaving your marketing material for them to review. Try to close for a face-to-face appointment. If they are willing to meet or speak with you, then chances are they are not currently satisfied with whatever IT service provider they have going on (another company whose response time is poor, an inhouse person who isn’t properly trained, etc.). Get a team together to handle all facets of their business and let them know about it on your first visit: hardware/software/accessories guy (me), a IT subcontractor or two for when you are not available to go onsite (they don't have to know the subs aren't official employees), a phone person, a printer person, a cabling contractor, etc. Once trust is built Company Heads just want you to handle it all and would prefer not shopping for everything and everyone. People fucking hate IT for the most part.

Find a consultant or software company who doesn’t do onsite IT and will provide you with referrals. One of my subs uses onforce.com for jobs sent from out-of-the-area companies.

Invest in an official company website, as potential clients do look you up looking for credibility, then add more domains with common words that will eventually get you to the top of search engines (exp: www.LAbusinesscomputerservice.com , www.losangelesITsupport.com, etc.) and link those domains to your site. We haven’t done much adwords and should probably do more. Mailers haven’t been effective (i.e. mailing a letter with expensive postage to a vertical market). Get business cards with a PO Box that looks like a regular office address (exp: 11 Wilshire Blvd #25). We use Overnightprints.com for cards and flyers. Cheap and always running promos.

Sounds like you might want to continue working for that consultant to maintain income, while also working on building your own customer base on the side. We started with $10k in the bank, but that is only necessary for reselling hardware. If you are just doing service, then you don’t need as much to cover purchases. A lot of clients expect at least Net 15 terms and we haven’t had issues with collecting. Just one or two small, isolated events in six years.

Now, when ready, you owe me a fucking deal! Or at least the opportunity to quote one. Small Business Server, Firewall, Win 7 Pro PC, AV licenses, whatever.

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 04:12 PM
Good stuff, yeah I've worked for companies in the past who were big on service contracts, there's a definite advantage in the reliability of the income but at the same time I kinda want to stay away from them so that I can fire a problem client whenever I feel like it. I'll throw one order your way as a thank you for the only actually useful input in this whole thread, but why would I send you all my reselling profits? C'mon now. Orders for new equipment are the easiest big checks I get.

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 04:14 PM
Love the idea of buying up other domains just to link to my site. Sounds like a nice, affordable way to get keyword hits without having to name my company something lame.

TomAz
10-10-2012, 08:16 PM
Tactics are not strategy.

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 08:22 PM
Holy shit do you have a fucking point ever.

p.r. teo
10-10-2012, 08:34 PM
If he had watched your movies, would his comments of envy be informed rather than ignorant?

I've dealt with people like him my entire life. My father was a successful businessman, very wealthy, and I didn't starve in any sense of the word when I was growing up. So I'm used to people having envy for me. They see people like me driving nice cars or having the latest electronics, or in this guy's case, being successful at making movies that I get paid to direct, and they look at their shitty lives and instead of trying to better themselves, they try to destroy me and bring me down to their level. That's the only enjoyment they get from their sorry state of existence. So you see, any comments from RotationSlimWang would be born out of ignorance because he hates himself to the point that he lashes out at someone like me for being and having everything he's not.

If he had watched my movies, though, he would find he likes them and instead of being a failure as a filmmaker, he could try to befriend me and get a leg in the door and maybe even get to where he wants to in life.


I've seen his reel. That was more than enough.

Oh, so you have seen "Lincoln" then? You have seen "The Life of Pi" because you've seen the trailer? A trailer or a reel don't show everything about a movie. You can't make a good judgement about a movie with just that as a basis.

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 08:37 PM
You don't make Lincoln, and you don't make Life of Pi. You make horror schlock with absurd premises and terrible cliches. Tripe is extremely easy to spot, even at a glance.

stinkbutt
10-10-2012, 09:01 PM
I've dealt with people like him my entire life. My father was a successful businessman, very wealthy, and I didn't starve in any sense of the word when I was growing up. So I'm used to people having envy for me.

What will your son say about his weekend dad?

RotationSlimWang
10-10-2012, 09:22 PM
Hahaha, damn, you guys are better at remembering how he got dealt with than I am.

P.R., what did your neglected son say about your office when he finally got to see it during the month you had custody that year?

lehorne
10-11-2012, 06:51 AM
Good stuff, yeah I've worked for companies in the past who were big on service contracts, there's a definite advantage in the reliability of the income but at the same time I kinda want to stay away from them so that I can fire a problem client whenever I feel like it.

We keep them pretty informal, so they aren't really drawn up contracts...more like verbal commitments to do specific work in the future. No blood on the line or anything.


but why would I send you all my reselling profits? C'mon now. Orders for new equipment are the easiest big checks I get.

Well, was hoping you wouldn't setup as a reseller. Some service companies don't like dealing with all the taxes and thin margins. But I'll send you my contact info anyway as we still may be able to work together in some capacity (sub each other out for jobs in our respective territories, maybe use our large $100k credit line with TD/Ingram on a big equipment lease deal, or something else creative and mutually beneficial).

lehorne
10-11-2012, 06:56 AM
Love the idea of buying up other domains just to link to my site. Sounds like a nice, affordable way to get keyword hits without having to name my company something lame.

Yeah, genius, and courtesy of one of my TV (we sell LCD/Plasmas to most the local race tracks and casinos) customers. The IT Manager of Hawaiian Gardens Casino. He also "buries" negative press on search engines for people pushing it six or seven pages back where nobody ever looks.