Is it too late for a change?

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Bailes1992
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Is it too late for a change?

Post by Bailes1992 »

The last 2-3 weeks I've been having a serious think about the possibility of doing my own thing in 3-4 years time. I'm an Electrician by trade and work as a site manager/project manager on some very large projects. Pay is fantastic and at 25 I bought a 4 bedroom detached new-build house and at 27 I'm driving around in a brand new 5 series. BUT... I can't help but feel that there must be an easier way to earn a living. I find my job consumes the majority of my head space, even out of working hours I'm thinking about things that need doing in work and means I don't enjoy my personal time as much as I should.

I'm out of the house a minimum of 12 hour days. I'm usually up and out of the house at 6am before anyone is up and I'm usually home just in time to see my little humans for 30 minutes a day, enough time to bath them and put them to bed. I can't help my Wife in the evenings/nights if the kiddos are having a bad night because I'm aware that I'm up at 5am and need to be bright and awake for the next day. And all in all, I generally feel guilty about the whole thing.

At the moment my salary covers all of our monthly bills/outgoings with <£100 left. My Wife's pay then brings in enough money for food, fuel, savings etc. However, in around 3-4 years time with a little money management and assuming my Wife goes back to work full-time I could quite easily turn that on it's head where her pay will cover all our monthly outgoings.

It's been my long term plan that when our mortgage comes up for renewal in 2 years I wanted to free up some equity in the house to build an extension off the kitchen and more importantly rebuild my garage as a double and re-do the drive.

So, I have this idea that I could build the garage into a small detailing studio and work from home. In addition, get myself a crew-cab Vauxhall Vivaro sized van so it's family friendly. Set the van up for mobile detailing with a water tank under the rear seats, shelving, pressure washers etc to offer customers maintenance washes. I then thought I could get myself a 2t trailer and offer drop off/collection services for clients. That then snowballed a bit and I thought maybe I could also offer general car transportation services as an add-on.

Do we think it might be worth a shot? I'll be at least 31 before these plans come to any sort of fruition, is that too late in life to start again?
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by steve_earwig »

I have heard of people doing such things and making a success of it, although the pay takes a bit of a dip they don't feel like they're slogging their life away doing something they hate.

I suspect only time will tell, I don't even know how Virus McVirusface affects this sort of thing, hopefully there'll be an end to it, erm, eventually. It might go well, it might fall on its arse but I can tell you that if you don't try it you'll spend the rest of your life grinding away at your current area of expertise thinking "what if?" And the longer you leave it, the harder it'll be!

And yes, it is important to spend as much time with your kids as you can during their formative years ("The best parent is both parents!") Besides, I don't suppose your qualifications will go out of date that quickly...
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by GingerMagic »

I would rather get paid less for a job I enjoy, and as Steve says, your kids need a Dad, and your missus needs as much support as you can give.
If you can spend more time to your family, without burning any bridges with your career - then I should imagine that is your goal?
I have always been paid a modest wage, but we have managed, and always had food on the table, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads.
Time is more important than money IMHO
That's all I have to say.
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Doggy
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Doggy »

I was in your shoes for most of my 30's, 40's & 50's, had a well paid job / longish commute that took about 12 hours a day, frequently wrecked weekends and holidays plus emergency calls at 3am etc. I dreamed of jacking it in and setting up on my own, (I started as an electrician too but specialised in industrial control systems and software).

Never had the balls to do it, often wished I had. My excuse was I couldn't have survived more than a few months of lower earnings and would have had little chance of getting another job that paid enough if it fell through.

Can't comment on how sound a business model your idea is but if:
- you've thoroughly done your homework
- have a plan 'B' just in case
- your good lady is OK with it
- and it's what you really want, do it

27 is definitely not too late for a change.
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by dirtydirtydiesel »

I'd echo what the other's have said,
I've been in welding, machining & fabrication all my life, I've worked in some interesting places
& for some interesting company's BUT.
I have always had a hankering to work for myself, most of my family & friends do.
But I've always had an excuse not to (but if I'm totally honest it's having the bottle to go for it)

But heck 27, I'm 47 just about to turn 48 & I'm still thinking about it :roll:
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by PeterN »

We escaped to the country before it was fashionable. I was a TV engineer for 50 years, self employed for most of that time, not to stressful but it had its moments and didn't pay a fortune.

50 years ago we decided to move to the west country and have a 350 year old house out in the sticks with no immediate neighbors, I continued on in the TV trade which slowly died in the '90s so we started doing B&B. We are living off a state pension now plus some savings we can't afford luxuries but I don't care, we live in a beautiful area with cheap car insurance 8) and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

My work paid for the house and at 81 I am still doing household and our own car repairs so living isn't to expensive, we also have an abundant supply of free wood which saves with heating costs. We have our own well and solar panels so fairly self sufficient.

Working in the TV trade was very nice down here, got to spend most of the day in the country and quite a bit of it at farms but very little hassle since I retired. Would much rather live here with little money than in a town or city with lots.

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Bailes1992
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Bailes1992 »

Thanks All. I think I'm going to aim for it and hopefully get in a position in 3-4 years where my Wifes pay can cover all our bills. Even if it means for 6 months I'm delivering pizzas and chineese to keep food on our own table. My idea would be to try setup and maintain a business with as little overheads as reasonably possible, thus working from home etc.

Something else my Wife brought up last night was being able to offer electrical testing as another on-the-side type of thing. I have all the tools, equipment and qualifications. It would require insurance and accreditation by a body such as the NICEIC or ECA at ~£500 a year. 2 or 3 jobs a year PAT testing, doing landlord periodic certifications or signing off DIY installs etc would soon cover that outlay.
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Doggy »

Now you're talking.

Testing, inspections or even the occasional installation job will give you the means to rake in some cash until you get on your feet. If you're crafty you'll find a way to set something like this and/or your detailing dream up and running in a small way before you take the plunge.

Try to imagine yourself further down the line - what would you wish you had put in place now while you have the time space and means to do so?
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Welly
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Welly »

Bloody hell Sam - welcome to Construction Industry Sub-Contracting.

IT
IS
SHYTE

Signing up to onerous contract conditions, everyone around you letting you down, Main Contractors not helping you other than saying "your the specialist", trying to make a badly-estimated job profitable, Client changing their mind, other trades damaging your install, poor co-ordination, theft....the list goes on.

I know exactly how you are feeling, your job 'consumes' your life and you're in the 'buck stops here' camp. I believe the construction Management salaries are way under what they should be (given the stress and aggro of the job).

I know folk on YouTube like Car Cleaning Guru and White Details seem to be doing well but is that supported with their YouTube income and On-line shop sales? and is there enough customers out there that are happy to pay £200 - 300 for Paint Correction, or £50.00 for a wash/vacuum?

I did a quick-as-poss turn around on my daughter's friends' old Corsa because the blue/purple paint had tarnished it was basically matte. I did a wash, clay, hand polish and wax - then a quick interior clean and glass and it took 5 hours :shock:

When I received the 4 x bottle pack of Lager in return I felt very deflated, even the products and chemicals used cost me a fair bit - this is what I don't think people 'get' all the stuff you use costs a lot and needs adding to the job, I even thought to myself I could earn some money at the weekends detailing my neighbours' sh*t-up cars but do they care that much to pay me £40.00 to 'wash' the car when they can take it down to "Swirl Masters" at the Polski Pez Station and pay a fiver :(

I think the 'independent electrician' route would be favourable; Landlord Certs, Letting Agent repairs, PAT Testing etc and small domestic jobs.

It's a difficult one, I know you love cars and detailing but will you recover the outlay quick enough to make it worth it? will half the jobs be rained off? I don't think "Electrician and Car Cleaning" will send out the right signals to customers - then again I bet you've had a belly full of Electricals hence the thoughts of a change - let me guess you're on a really bad site right now? one of 'those' jobs?

PS. I'm too wishing I'd changed career years ago - or at least worked for myself doing whatevs.

Something else to bear in mind is the high risk of getting your Electrical Kit stolen - it is so common these days and you can't realistically cover it fully with insurance - something to consider safeguarding somehow.
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Bailes1992 »

My biggest gripe with the industry at the moment is with the document uploading/sharing systems like 4P or BimXTRA. If you try to 'RFI' or ask anyone for anything these days its... "It's on 4P" rather than just telling you the answer. Or if during install you hit a snag, there's no offer to help it just "Well you should have know that, it's been on 4P for weeks". They just expect that you check all the other contractors drawings beforehand. :roll: Some jobs have thousands upon thousands of drawings. :shock:

I've got three jobs on the go. One in design stage, one active and the second starting on Monday. They seem to be going okay, although I think my current active job is going to run late, although down to optimistic programming by the main contractor.

I just find the job takes so much of my mental resources during the day that by the time I get home I'm ready to crash on the bed and go to sleep.

I really want to stay off the tools if I can. However, if periodic inspections and PAT testing brings in some money till I establish something else then so be it.

The idea would be that 99% of my detailing work would be done from the house. Then 1 day a week/fortnight I could offer maintenance washes from the van so customers aren't coming to me all the time. If I purchase myself a trailer for a few grand to pick up and drop off customers cars then I could use that to offer car transportation services too. Obviously I'd need a tacho, would have to do my +E drivers license and I suspect as it's over 3.5t commercially I'd need to consider CPC too. But again, none of these would be massive outlays and overheads.
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Welly »

Bailes1992 wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:54 am My biggest gripe with the industry at the moment is with the document uploading/sharing systems like 4P or BimXTRA. If you try to 'RFI' or ask anyone for anything these days its... "It's on 4P" rather than just telling you the answer. Or if during install you hit a snag, there's no offer to help it just "Well you should have know that, it's been on 4P for weeks". They just expect that you check all the other contractors drawings beforehand. :roll: Some jobs have thousands upon thousands of drawings. :shock:
You're right, it's hopeless and the Main Contractors seem to employ 'fresh from Uni' idiots who don't know one end of a conduit from the other, then comes their "M&E" guy who's read the Spec cover to cover.....

I get the same problem with the way the Tender Enquiries are sent in, thousands of documents with no recognisable titles and no help with any of it "it's all in the download" etc consequently you waste time, miss stuff and generally get tied up in knots.

My pet hate is clients sending emails tagged onto the end of a previous subject but now including something very important about a completely different subject, or 'attaching' other email threads to open and you're left trying to figure out who said what and when :? actually car forums have helped me in this respect where the subject title reflects what's being discussed.

Something else creeping in to ruin the industry (especially in London) are these 'Logistics' Companies working for the MC - their task is to go around site looking for waste/rubbish/safety issues and issue 'notices' on a daily basis, FFS it's a construction site! I was sent a clean up notice for 2 x Washers on the floor where we were working....WASHERS! I then had to find out who did it, get pictures of the area cleaned away, document it, email back it's assumed that if you don't respond you're guilty. This system takes up time you don't have. Basically the whole industry is designed to stitch you up financially which is stressful because it's your income at the end of the day.
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by nick »

Is wanting to change careers a common thing? I’m also in a similar boat, except I wouldn’t mind becoming a spark 😂. I’m 36 and have been looking at how we could survive taking a wage cut.

Is there any chance your employer can offer a sabbatical? Take a year and see how it goes? That way you should have a job at the end if it doesn’t work out the way you hope and if it does you’ve still had the security when trying it?

Bailes1992 wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:07 pm The last 2-3 weeks I've been having a serious think about the possibility of doing my own thing in 3-4 years time. I'm an Electrician by trade and work as a site manager/project manager on some very large projects. Pay is fantastic and at 25 I bought a 4 bedroom detached new-build house and at 27 I'm driving around in a brand new 5 series. BUT... I can't help but feel that there must be an easier way to earn a living. I find my job consumes the majority of my head space, even out of working hours I'm thinking about things that need doing in work and means I don't enjoy my personal time as much as I should.

I'm out of the house a minimum of 12 hour days. I'm usually up and out of the house at 6am before anyone is up and I'm usually home just in time to see my little humans for 30 minutes a day, enough time to bath them and put them to bed. I can't help my Wife in the evenings/nights if the kiddos are having a bad night because I'm aware that I'm up at 5am and need to be bright and awake for the next day. And all in all, I generally feel guilty about the whole thing.

At the moment my salary covers all of our monthly bills/outgoings with <£100 left. My Wife's pay then brings in enough money for food, fuel, savings etc. However, in around 3-4 years time with a little money management and assuming my Wife goes back to work full-time I could quite easily turn that on it's head where her pay will cover all our monthly outgoings.

It's been my long term plan that when our mortgage comes up for renewal in 2 years I wanted to free up some equity in the house to build an extension off the kitchen and more importantly rebuild my garage as a double and re-do the drive.

So, I have this idea that I could build the garage into a small detailing studio and work from home. In addition, get myself a crew-cab Vauxhall Vivaro sized van so it's family friendly. Set the van up for mobile detailing with a water tank under the rear seats, shelving, pressure washers etc to offer customers maintenance washes. I then thought I could get myself a 2t trailer and offer drop off/collection services for clients. That then snowballed a bit and I thought maybe I could also offer general car transportation services as an add-on.

Do we think it might be worth a shot? I'll be at least 31 before these plans come to any sort of fruition, is that too late in life to start again?
Thanks,
Nick
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Bailes1992 »

nick wrote: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:00 am Is wanting to change careers a common thing? I’m also in a similar boat, except I wouldn’t mind becoming a spark 😂. I’m 36 and have been looking at how we could survive taking a wage cut.

Is there any chance your employer can offer a sabbatical? Take a year and see how it goes? That way you should have a job at the end if it doesn’t work out the way you hope and if it does you’ve still had the security when trying it?
I doubt it if I'm honest, however, getting more work wouldn't be an issue. There's a huge shortage of construction staff and workers right throughout the UK and I regularly get offers of work elsewhere.

I just need to get myself into a position where I can afford the wage cut and just go for it.
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by Welly »

Bailes1992 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:50 pm There's a huge shortage of construction staff and workers right throughout the UK and I regularly get offers of work elsewhere.
I've had 2 companies trying to poach me over the lockdown period, trouble is you just know what you'll be walking into.....

I bet if you mentioned leaving they'd increase your salary and benefits package.
Cars in my care:

2005 Volvo S40 T5 German Diesel botherer with new tyre grippage
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Re: Is it too late for a change?

Post by dirtydirtydiesel »

Bailes,

Off topic I know but, how do you find the st220 on fuel just urban & knocking around
Not on a run.
I've heard that they can be as bad as 17mpg urban, 24mpg mixed & 34mpg on a run.
I ask as I might have to give up the 535d & I've seen a ST220 estate in very good condition near me
& it's in my price range.
2002 110 HDi estate, Rapier in monaco blue! ( found quite a bit more power :cheesy: ) for sale
1999 3.0 V6 SE coupe in Diablo Red ( my baby ) sold
2006 206 1.4 16v sport in Aegean blue ( wife's shopping trolley :roll: )

2006 BMW e61 535d m-sport :supafrisk: run's for cover :lol:
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