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Old 02-03-2010, 08:21 PM   #1
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Default Restarting in NC and could use some advice

I took a 14yr break from contracting to enter the ministry and have decided to come back. Things have certainly changed. Any tips from some of you seasoned guys. Flat rate or T&M on service work? Should I invest more $ in phone book ads or web presence? What mobile billing software do you use or any other tips you could give to save me some headaches if you had to start all over again?
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:33 PM   #2
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I took a 14yr break from contracting to enter the ministry and have decided to come back. Things have certainly changed. Any tips from some of you seasoned guys. Flat rate or T&M on service work? Should I invest more $ in phone book ads or web presence? What mobile billing software do you use or any other tips you could give to save me some headaches if you had to start all over again?
My advise is to go back to ministering. Things are pretty bad. You may want to work for someone for a wile till you can get your foot in the door and get yourself known. Are you going back to being an EC in the same area you were in before the ministry?
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:43 PM   #3
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Thanks Dennis but I see a niche' that needs to be filled in my (new) area and I am fairly aggressive when it comes to marketing and networking plus I am weaving another service into electrical contracting that is a no-risk for commercial clients but allows me to earn $$ and get my foot in the door at the same time.

Oh Yeah, kay seems to be hanging out with mary a lot lately :-)

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Old 02-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #4
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I know two other electricians that took off to become ministers...and now they are back to the trade. I would think that there would be plenty of customers out there. What's up with that? Good luck anyway.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:24 PM   #5
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Riveter,

I can't speak for others but the ministry can be very demanding and draining, not only on the minister, but his family as well. Expectations are often very high and the pay low. Also a good portion of an effective ministers time is spent dealing with people's problems, sickness and death or you are putting out fires from disgruntled sheep that want things their way; and yes sheep bite! For me, I spent 14 years helping small dying churches for almost no pay and now it is time I start preparing for my future. It may not be good timing for the economy, but Gods time is always good.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:27 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum and good luck with starting a new gig.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:30 PM   #7
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Again, I say good luck. You'll find work. It' out there. I remember a saying that an old friend of mine used to say.
She was a seamstress.
"YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW."
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:31 PM   #8
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but Gods time is always good.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:40 PM   #9
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Thanks William, I am looking forward to it and also gleaning some wisdom from you guys and sowing what I can here as well!

Riveter, your old friend was wise! The contractors that are sitting by the phone are complaining while the one's networking, changing their marketing format and knocking on doors are getting work!
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:14 AM   #10
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Again, I say good luck. You'll find work. It' out there. I remember a saying that an old friend of mine used to say.
She was a seamstress.
"YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW."
I think the saying is you reap what you sow. That would be a gardner not a seamstress.

"A holy man once told me to reap exactly what you sow , so I think I'll plant some love and peace and wait for it to grow." The Rascals
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:26 AM   #11
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not sure if you picked a name yet, but, Ministry Electric sounds catchy.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:57 AM   #12
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The contractors that are sitting by the phone are complaining while the one's networking, changing their marketing format and knocking on doors are getting work!
Now you're talking my language. I've been telling people that for years.

As far as advertising goes, I think it's safe to say that The Yellow Pages is a losing bet in 2010. You at least need a very modest ad, but don't spend any real money on it. Creative advertising can be done in more places for a lot less money. Yes, I believe that personal networking has been the single most effective marketing tool for me.

As far as whether to bill service as T&M or flat rate, I think that depends mostly on the culture of your community. Some people prefer flat rate, while others would rather see it T&M. I charge however they want me to, but make out better on flat rate. I don't really call it flat rate... I simply call it an "estimate", "proposal", "bid", or "quote". People are more famaliar with that terminology.

Mobile billing? I don't do too much of that, but when I do, I use my laptop running Quickbooks. You can process credit cards through QB if you have a broadband card in your laptop or can Shanghai some WiFi. They make a variety of high-quality mobile printers to use in the truck. I stick with QB for making invoices in the field because QuickBooks more or less runs my whole company. I thought it better to stick with that software, in the field, rather than working with a 3rd party vendor, who's data might or might not directly import into QuickBooks.

Care to share what your no-risk hook is for commercial building owners? You doing solar, or maybe energy savings upgrades with short ROI's? I hope you're not dealing in those PowerSaver scam gadgets.
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:04 AM   #13
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not sure if you picked a name yet, but, Ministry Electric sounds catchy.
"Heavenly Father, we pray now for the new service this home is about to receive, may the homeowners be truly thankful and pay their bill faithfully. Give the inspector safe passage, that he may arrive on time..."
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:12 AM   #14
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I took a 14yr break from contracting to enter the ministry and have decided to come back. Things have certainly changed. Any tips from some of you seasoned guys. Flat rate or T&M on service work? Should I invest more $ in phone book ads or web presence? What mobile billing software do you use or any other tips you could give to save me some headaches if you had to start all over again?
Find a niche to specialize in that nobody or very few other contractors are doing. NC, or the whole country for that matter needs another "Electrical contractor: residential, commercial, industrial" like it needs a hole in the head.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:04 AM   #15
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"Heavenly Father, we pray now for the new service this home is about to receive, may the homeowners be truly thankful and pay their bill faithfully. Give the inspector safe passage, that he may arrive on time..."



Nice. MinistryElectric.com is open. I'd go buy it quick. If I wasn't an agnostic i'd go buy it.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:25 AM   #16
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Nice. MinistryElectric.com is open. I'd go buy it quick. If I wasn't an agnostic i'd go buy it.
I don't think that agnostics believe in electricians.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:30 AM   #17
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I think the saying is you reap what you sow. That would be a gardner not a seamstress.

"A holy man once told me to reap exactly what you sow , so I think I'll plant some love and peace and wait for it to grow." The Rascals
Thanks for the correction...but it wasn't a garden I was trying to plant.
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:17 AM   #18
 
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Welcome , and good luck from WV.
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