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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, maybe you're not so old ...maybe you have an injury or early arthritis?

Here's my situation: I'm very successful doing resi work in close proximity to my home.
I'm 60, still love this job, love old houses, love meeting new customers. I'm booking months in advance despite limiting what I do and where I go.
My business model is that I do all the work, customers get my cell number, I do really personal customer relations, and all my labor is guaranteed for ever. So I'm not crazy about hiring a helper. (I used to run a crew of 3-4 guys and my job became being a "manager" -boring).

However, I really should stop doing 200Amp services and hanging ceiling fans. It's not that I "can't", but it's taking a long time -and my hands, shoulders, back might ache for a few days. The last few 200 amp services, my arms feel numb the next day(s). My hands hurt, making a fist is difficult.

I don't need to do these jobs, but I'm wondering how 'normal' this is at 60?

Also, what should I say to customers? I don't know if they will care or not, but I don't want to get that reputation for being "too" old. I definitely don't want to sound weak. We're supposed to be hardy, manly men ...and I feel like a F'ing wimp. Wah.

I'm just starting to write responses to requests -and I don't want to message: "Hey, I'll do blah, blah for $XXXXX, buuuut ...you'll have to find someone else to hang that fan because I'm and ancient and decrepit old man".

When did you stop doing some of whatever you do?
And how did you tell your customers?
 

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Residential, lite comm., Industrial
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I am a few months past 65 now. I was like you, I felt I should continue to work as usual in spite of aches and pains. I dont think i ever hurt as bad as you describe.
I pinched a nerve in my shoulder/neck in the late 90s, it has only been a few years since it finally stopped hurting as much as it had. It made it killer for me to hang a fan, but i did it for years.
I have had a 1/2" corded drill ripped out of both hands about twice (bit hung up). I havent been able to make a tight fist with one hand since i finally got over it the last time years ago.

One thing i know, im not as good as i once was (not even as good once as i ever was) !

Now I tell them I am partially retired and i dont do fans or services anymore. I dont care at this point if they call someone else from now on. I will start SSN in a year.

I also have a small mill that calls me occasionally for troubleshooting mostly. I charge them top dollar and it is plenty of money by itself, so i am not worried about making a living
 

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You worked your whole life to get gravy jobs at that age, find a nitch and move in that direction.
I'm 63 and feel that way when working hard, it is normal I just spent 4 hours in a 4 foot high manhole. I wish I could get out and work more just to stay in shape, but management will get you out of shape.

Cowboy
 

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Going on 63 and for the past year I have been telling everyone that I’m retiring the end of this year. I will do small jobs for select customers next year. But no more attics, crawl spaces or trenching. No more houses either. Just turned another one down this week. It’s nice to be at an age where I can work as little as possible and be comfortable. I learned one thing this year, I thought I could just slow down, but I really had to inform customers that it was coming. I started getting the panic calls, asking who was going to replace me, why don’t I just get an apprentice, or “just charge double”. So if you have a large customer base, start letting them know your intentions before hand.
 

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Working With the Tools
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Physical conditions can limit one, but never stop if you can do it. I am 70 and do residential work much as I always did. I just go slow up and down a ladder and hold on tight. If you have a passion for your work, you can never be happy doing nothing.
Amen! Loved that... I easily could have written the same thing word for word.
 

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Power distribution and controls
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I was 63 working at a mine in NM. After one particular brutal motor debacle. Where a 2500 hp DC motor grenaded because someone did not check the brushes. I hurt for a week after the motor replacement. Taking drugs of any sort were banned by the mine, even aspirin. I got chided by my boss for getting the hand truck to move some heavy boxes. Just like they taught us to do. I quit on the spot. Loaded my tools under the constant berating of the electrical manager. He really did not understand the words, I quit. Kept screaming at me you can not quit! What an idiot, definately a people person. No, we never got along as he was not an electrician just a wannabe.

I admire you for thinking ahead, and about your customers.
Be honest and gentle with the good customers and try and help when you can.
Everyone else refer to someone you know for a fee. No sense letting a revenue stream dry up quickly. Or you could take one person under your wing and train them. Personally I like the idea of paying it forward if you can find someone who wants to learn the trade.
I have tried but most want 20 bucks an hour and can not dig a clean ditch.
 

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I'm 59, no aches and pains that don't work themselves loose in the 1st 15mins of work. I haven't exactly looked after myself either. I consider myself lucky.
It's coming to a body near you, Yours.

For you young guys that are reading this take care of your body NOW, don't wait.
My son is a hard time skateboarder and I warn him all the time "you'll be sorry"
 

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Install, troubleshoot, maintain, and upgrade electrical systems, plant utilities, PLC's, mechanical
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Yep, all that abuse you inflicted on you body when you were young will catch up to you.

Now when someone asks if I'll do some work on their house, I tell them find someone else if there is attic work involved.

64 years old, shoulders hurt from throwing a 16 pound bowling ball for 30 years, back hurts from doing my own farrier work and falling off a roof, knees hurt from being kicked by horses, and that doesn't cover all the other parts that hurt from doing electrical work for 40 plus years.

If I sit too long in one spot everything gets stiff except the one thing I would like to get stiff.

Old Beattles song lyrics " what a drag it is getting old" is the truth.
 

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At age 70, two friends starting doing game rooms / finished basements.
They named the company "Geriatric Construction" - our Motto - we warranty our work for a lifetime, our lifetime, not yours.
They do excellent work and are very busy.
It's the best thing that happened to them. Even though they both had comfortable retirement income, the work, meeting new people and getting out of the house has renewed their energy.
Not to mention the extra income to buy a Hot Tub and pay for the family and grandkids to travel.
I'm 66 and still going strong. I just bought new downhill snow skis, can't wait to get our on the slopes.
 

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I think that was the Stones lyrics, but I digress. 52 and my shoulders are so so, my right fingers have arthritis. If I sit down too long, it's not easy to get up. That said, my back, while sore from time to time, isn't too bad. It can always be worse. I don't see myself retiring anytime soon. My father lost his marbles when he retired. I may slow down, choose other things to do, but I'd rather stay busy in some fashion.
 

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I think that was the Stones lyrics, but I digress. 52 and my shoulders are so so, my right fingers have arthritis. If I sit down too long, it's not easy to get up. That said, my back, while sore from time to time, isn't too bad. It can always be worse. I don't see myself retiring anytime soon. My father lost his marbles when he retired. I may slow down, choose other things to do, but I'd rather stay busy in some fashion.
It seems like the goal is to pay off all debt, find ways to generate passive income and find a good medium on where to settle down. Do we really need a new house?? That way the older you get, the less you “have to” work and the more you “get to” work.

At least that’s the way I’ve started looking at getting older. I just turned 40.
 

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I don't know. I've seen a few guys that stop the hard work for a desk job and they seem to be deteriorating faster than me. Terrifies me, so I'm still going at it like I'm 30.
I put on 15 -20 pounds in the last 2 years now that I am off the tools and I feel it.
 

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36th year apprentice & Floor Sweeper
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Anybody try Omega XL? I see that commercial constantly. I was thinking about trying a bottle.

At 54 I’m still doing fine. Just the normal aches and pains. Like Joe-nwt said, nothing that doesn’t work itself out once I get going. I just spent three months behind a computer doing layout for three jobs. Went back into the field two weeks ago to run one of them. Two weeks of doing slab work and I find it tough to get out of the car after the ride home. Being a single dad I have to get in the shower and cook dinner, then try and keep my eyes open when I hit the couch. I usually wake up around 2:00AM with the OmegaXL infomercial. It’s gotta be a sign?
 

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Electrical Contractor
Trying to retire or at least slow down a bit, but life not cooperating
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5,148 Posts
Been doing this for 51 years (71 this year) and still enjoying it.
I downsized 4 years ago and became much more selective of the projects and customers.
I don't go into attics if it's too hot or too cold. I don't do crawl spaces less than 3ft high and wet crawl spaces are a definite no go.
Guess I'm lucky in that I've not had any major damage to this old body. 1 major ankle sprain ( ripped some tendons off in the foot), 1 hair line hip fracture when the pole I was up, broke off (25 ft in the air) and 1 dislocated shoulder which is nagging me still, after 3 years.
Obviously, I don't have the muscle mass of my youth, but experience has taught me ways of getting most of the bull work done, with what muscles I have left.
I now sub contract out the basic devices and wiring and keep the control and data work for myself. It's working out not too badly.
As with most of you, work comes in via word of mouth. I have more than enough to keep me busy for 3 to 4 months ahead, not counting service calls and "side" projects.
Wish I had downsized 15 years ago. Maybe I would have a bit more hair
 
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