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  1. #1
    Joined
    Dec 2000
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    myrtle beach,south carolina, U. S. of A.!
    Posts
    12,696

    Bad news, need advice............

    Well, as some may have noticed, I have been absent this week. I found out Monday that I lost my job. I have been repairing gauges and the associated control and instrumentation electronics for the past 16 years. With my former employer, I did sign a non-compete clause, which I think is valid for one year. I do live in a "right to work" state, so I am not sure if the agreement would hold up in court. Bottom line..... I'm screwed!

    Honestly if it was just me, I wouldn't sweat it..... but with a wife and kids, and a mortgage..... well you get the picture.

    So here is where I want to solicit advice and opinions. The ONLY thing I know, and am good at besides my last job, is computers.

    I am considering starting my own computer business. I want to concentrate on seervice and repair on existing computers, and offer in home service much like Best Buys"Geek Squad". I know I can do just as good a job as they do, and at a better price.

    So please, give me your thoughts on this, and be brutally honest. I don't need to feel good, I need to make some money!

  2. #2
    Joined
    Feb 2001
    Location
    near the sea-port of Antwerp, Belgium
    Posts
    12,856

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    .


    I would inquire if that pledge holds up after he has sacked you !

    Would have been good for him if he 'd sacked you a week after you 'd started with him.
    One competitor down ...

    I would take advice on the above, unless you really want to try computers ...
    With the economic downturn, it 's already reported that IT will suffer ...


    .


    Fold with what you have, Every Work Unit will make a difference.

  3. #3
    Joined
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Home
    Posts
    6,884

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Dang thelmores, that's some bad news. I'd read over that non-compete clause and see if it applies when the employer is the one ending the employment. Computers? Seems like a tough field to me. On the general situation, much depends on how you're sitting financially. Starting a business is no easy feat, and if the family is relying on you for health insurance that makes it even tougher.

    If you were down-sized, and depending on the size of your employer, there are specific programs in place for training, job search, etc. It's been a while since my original employer went belly-up, so the details are fuzzy. No matter, I'd check with the local job placement office and see what they say.

    I wish I could offer more help/better advice. Best wishes to you and the family getting through this rough patch.

  4. #4
    Joined
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    7,743

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Well crap, sorry T.

    Personally I think I'd go nuts dealing with morons who can't fix their own computer. But if you're patient you may be able to make a go at it. Beats standing on a busy corner with a "Need $" sign.

    Might be worth trying while you search for something better. And heck, you may have a good aptitude for it and succeed quite well, you never know unless you try.

    Buddy and I used to do a little of this stuff, but it wasn't for me. Half the time it just meant using some compressed air and blowing all the crap off the heatsinks etc.

    I wish you luck.
    Tyan S5397 2x X5450 16GB - SuperMicro H8DCI 2x 275 8GB - Iwill DK8X 2x Opteron 250 2GB


    Take a Kid FISHING!

  5. #5
    Joined
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Vvardenfell
    Age
    58
    Posts
    10,892

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    As above: AFAIK such clauses apply only if the employee leaves voluntarily. If they get rid of you, I can't see a court enforcing it if it got that far. Is it in writing? If so, what is the exact wording? If it's not in writing, it would be even harder to enforce.


    M

  6. #6
    Joined
    Feb 2003
    Location
    PA, USA
    Age
    67
    Posts
    2,014

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Well, that sucks T. Not wanting to put a damper on your ideas, but remember that most startups fail in the first 2 years. Go slow and build a steady customer base. No need to throw a lot of money in ads at the start; if you do a good job for people, word of mouth will spread the news. Good luck.
    Andy


    (2) GA-990FXA-UD3
    (1) GA-990FXA-UD5
    (3) AMD FX8350 CPU's @4.5GHZ

  7. #7
    Joined
    Dec 2000
    Location
    myrtle beach,south carolina, U. S. of A.!
    Posts
    12,696

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    thanks Guys for the replies. I may take the non-compete clause to an attorney to get some advice, because even if I could get just a small portion of my old business, that along with what I could do in computers would allow me to make a living.

    Yes, the loss of health insurance scares the h3ll out of me! I have had health insurance 95% of my adult life (20 years plus). I may have to vote for Hillary or Obama to get an unemployment extension and free health care!

    and since my proposed computer venture requires little or no inventory, and I can work out of my home, the startup costs are lower than they could be on most business start up's.

    it just has been a long time since I have been under so much stress and anxiety!

    and to top it off..... I may have to shut down Boinc in order to save power, and cut down on air conditioning this summer.

    Not a huge savings, but I will be cutting everything I can from our budget.

    oh well, in change there is opportunity!

    I could always move to and take the job in Michigan!

  8. #8
    Joined
    Dec 2000
    Location
    myrtle beach,south carolina, U. S. of A.!
    Posts
    12,696

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Quote Originally Posted by andyc52 View Post
    Well, that sucks T. Not wanting to put a damper on your ideas, but remember that most startups fail in the first 2 years. Go slow and build a steady customer base. No need to throw a lot of money in ads at the start; if you do a good job for people, word of mouth will spread the news. Good luck.
    I already have a small customer base, I already do a reapir or two a week. I have been working for tips, I will have to do better now though!

    My Idea, if I offer as good or better service and a lower price, I should be able to get some business. will I get enough to float? Time will tell.....

  9. #9
    Joined
    Feb 2001
    Location
    near the sea-port of Antwerp, Belgium
    Posts
    12,856

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Quote Originally Posted by thelmores View Post
    I already have a small customer base, I already do a reapir or two a week. I have been working for tips, I will have to do better now though!

    My Idea, if I offer as good or better service and a lower price, I should be able to get some business. will I get enough to float? Time will tell.....
    .


    Since you wouldn't have the fiscal burdens of an employer, you should be OK if you undercut him a bit, for sure !

    If some of the old customers won't give you work, they still know about your work and you could ask them to pass on your level of work quality to others ...


    .


    Fold with what you have, Every Work Unit will make a difference.

  10. #10
    Joined
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Vacaville, Ca.
    Age
    57
    Posts
    3,792

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Quote Originally Posted by thelmores View Post
    I already have a small customer base, I already do a reapir or two a week. I have been working for tips, I will have to do better now though!

    My Idea, if I offer as good or better service and a lower price, I should be able to get some business. will I get enough to float? Time will tell.....
    You do better than me...I work for Beer.
    Thats a bummer T...But I always say: When one door closes, another one opens.

    I recently heard about a relatively untapped market. Setting up Construction trailers with computers. Anything from a little 1 system job shack, up to 20-30 workstations networked to a server. Internet access, email...ect. I think it's going to be a nice little niche for somebody. Sounds like fun too.

  11. #11
    Joined
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    14,223

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Thelmores, sorry to hear about the job. I used to do pretty much the exact same thing several years back. The company went under due to financial mismanagement, leaving almost all staff members unpaid. The worst part about it was that it was such a fascinating job.

    Here's a thread that discusses pretty much what you're intending to do:
    http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=451652

    The single best thing you can do to test the feasibility of running your own business is to write up a business plan. PM sent. Another major consideration not usually covered by business plans is your health. If you get sick in the early stages or if a family member becomes dependent on you, how is that going to affect your business? Most likely you won't have to worry about that, but it's best to be prepared/aware in case that situation arises.

  12. #12
    Joined
    Dec 2000
    Location
    myrtle beach,south carolina, U. S. of A.!
    Posts
    12,696

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    all of the support and great info from this thread truly humbles me!

    Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

  13. #13
    Joined
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    74,682

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    What a bitch. Something nobody likes to hear particularly when the economy is not the best.
    I agree with Meridian...that would be my first move.
    See if your lawyer can give it a quick scan.
    The health insurance issue? You might want to check that out with employer.
    Some companies are cool about it and dont chop you off right away.
    Some may offer some direct pay deal but still might qualify for the group rate....anything to avoid a Blue Cross/Shield individual rate. Electric Bill can tell you about what that costs.
    Others have spoken about self employment. Not much for me to add.
    But I will look around here and see if I spot anything interesting.

    Try and not let it throw you for a loop.
    Sometimes it takes something like this to light a fire under
    our butts.
    Stay positive brother.

    Jim

  14. #14
    Joined
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,226

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Thats too bad T. I don't want to discourage you away from the computer biz but I will relate some of my experiences from the last 12 years of doing it. I work for a company that markets to the US Military here in Europe and around the world. They are required to maintain a repair shop here and in the Pacific. When I started here 12 years ago the Biz was booming. We had 6 techs (3 day, 3 nights) and 2 office staff. The shop was stacked to the ceiling with work to do. We mostly did warranty work but also a lot of walkins. Twelve years ago the average computer cost a lot of money and people expected to get several years out of them.

    Time have changed. Now I'm the only one in the shop and it's only open 18 hours a week. It is my experience that nowadays most people won't invest much to repair a computer that is 18 months old or older. As an example: If you have to replace a defictive mainboard on a 2 year old computer, the price of the parts and labor exceeds the value of the system. Keep in mind all the old crunchers that people have just left here because they didn't want to pay a $40 diagnostic fee. Where we do make money is critter removal and recovering data from crashed systems. I used to do inhome help with setting up systems and DSL but I quit because there are just too many wierd people out there.

    Now for some hints if you decide to go ahead with it. You need a shop. Startout in the garage but be on the lookout for an inexpensive shop to rent. A lot of people will go to a shop that would just drive by the garage and keep on going. Good work at a decent price is key. Word of mouth advertising is the best there is. Be prepared for the slow times. Some days the phone doesn't even ring.

    Last tip: Is there a Canon Authorized Service facility near you? If not you could apply to be one. It costs $200 a year and they pay $50-$80 foe warranty repairs that generaly take 30 minutes or less. You would need 2 certified techs. The training is done online and your wife or kid could be your second tech.

    Just some ideas. Let me know if I can offer any more.

  15. #15
    Joined
    Feb 2003
    Location
    PA, USA
    Age
    67
    Posts
    2,014

    Re: Bad news, need advice............

    Hey T, something I forgot to mention before. One of the guys I used to work with got himself setup with Dell as a field service tech in his home town. IIRC, they were paying $35 per repair. They would contact him with a service call; he would go out to the customers home/business and troubleshoot. When he found the problem, they would fedex the part to the customer and then he would return to install it. They would cut him a check once a month for his labor. Worth a phone call to check it out. Other companies may also have similar arrangements.
    Andy


    (2) GA-990FXA-UD3
    (1) GA-990FXA-UD5
    (3) AMD FX8350 CPU's @4.5GHZ

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