Anyone start a business before or just after they retire?

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Post by willy3486 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:36 pm

Question for all the folks who retired or started a business. Here is some background on why I am asking. I am approaching the big five zero this year. I have heard all the horror stories of how no one wants to hire you after 50. Anyway I currently have a job and have been here for 10 years. I have worked on computers since the late 80s. I got a degree in electronics. Even though I get kudos and such I have been laid off so many times I guess I am paranoid. But with any computer job things change. I could see being here for years to come or being told anytime that my hardware tech position is no longer needed. As far as the job it doesn't matter one way or the other to me, if I could find another job I wouldn't worry about it. I currently live an hour away and work 10 hours a day, getting up a couple of hours earlier than any other job I have had. I stay extremely tired and this morning it was all I could do to stay awake. I would move closer but we take care of my mother in law and my wife will not move.

The good points is that everything I have is paid for, house,cars,furniture, etc. Only thing we usually pay for is usual costs like gas,food and other utilites. We have a small nest egg but not enough to retire on. I do have some money for retirement, money I rolled over from 401 before it lost out in the recession and a retirement package. As far as the job now goes its ok. I have seen my work drop off a lot. I have gotten a lot faster on the computer types I repair and we went to leases so I usually don't fix them until that is out. Any more I dread coming to work and look forward to the weekend. It doesn't help that I am next to lowest paid tech here but the most experenced. If another job was offered to me I would look at it seriously.

Now with a little background here is the reason for the question of someone owning a business. Do I expect to get laid off? No. Would it surprise me to get laid off in the next 5 years? no to that as well. I work in a enviroment of politics, there are folks who make decisions here that get elected. I also see the potential of a younger person doing whatever it takes to get ahead and make a name for themselves. One of the reasons I have stayed so long is the recession. Anyway just quitting to start a business is out of the question. I don't like being without insurance. I have always had it and I have left jobs without it. Another reason is a daughter in college we help out. I have someone who wants to get me on where they work but a opening has to come open. You know the story, waiting forever. Anyway I am thinking of getting into repairs again.

What I would like to do is in the next 6 months to two years start working on stuff again for folks. I did this when I had lots more energy in my late 20s and early 30s. I got to where I had so much business I had to decide if I wanted to stay on my full time job or do repairs full time. I saw the repair business dying so I stayed with my job. I live close to Nashville and there are lots of musicians within a couple of hours from me. I also know a lot of them, One of the last amps I fixed was for a fellow who has sung with folks like Hoyt Axton and has been on Austin City limits. Anyway I am thinking of repairing amps for the cash flow and fixing radios only for myself. Then putting most of the cash in savings and paying taxes for the shop. I have a decent size shop on my place tools and access to parts, I have run my own shop before and I am familiar with the issues. I was thinking of doing tube amps on the side and then if I get laid off just do it full time. If I get laid off I don't expect to get a job fast from all the stories I have heard.

Whew,sorry for the long post but I am curious if anyone out there started a business after 50 and how did it go for you. I expect if I stay here the stress and harm it is doing on my body will eventually get me big time. I don't mind working for someone else but I don't expect to retire from this place due to the stuff I see around here day to day.

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Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:28 pm

I would not repair guitar amps for the public if it paid a million dollars per unit! Guitar bangers are one of the most impossible to deal with segments of society ever. They "hear" differences in their amp that normal human beings do not. That does not sound like a good idea to me. Repairing church organs is another hard way to make a living.

My thinking about starting a business after 50 is to be really careful. One lawsuit can wipe out all you have worked for all your life. My thinking is that by the time you get insured, equipped, advertised, and have a place to do business, you could take that money and retire to Tahiti.

How about trying something less connected to public contact? How about buying, rehabbing, and flipping houses? You could easily make 100 large a year with very little contact with the "customer." Low liability. Probably not in Tennessee, but surely in Vegas or Phoenix, places like that. Good luck, Willy.

Regards

WC

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Post by Guest on Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:35 pm

Willie......I've had small businesses from the time I was old enough to work but always had a real good full time job at the same time. All that changed when I was 51 years young. The company I worked for moved to Florida and I was not about to leave Virgina. I started a business telephone service and installation company with a fellow employee who I worked with for 6 years prior. Business partners are like spouses and I need to get a divorce after 3 years. I bought my partner out and managed to turn the business around to something successful. Don't think you're going to be your own boss.....if you do, you will fail. You will have more bosses than you can imagine...they're called customers !

The pros;
A) I can adjust to the current market without hesitation.
B) I can adjust my pay up or down without fear of layoff.
C) I can change direction of the company as I see fit.

The Cons;

1) All your clients are your boss
2) You will work more hours than you ever did.
3) Partners can be a big problem
4) Employees can also be a big problem.
5) If you don't keep your own books and wear many hats everyone but you will make money.
6) If you are in the critical service business like I am, your time is not your own.

Try to go it alone, no partners and no employees! Try to select a business which is not time critical. Incorporate WITH THE SERVICES OF A LAWYER to protect everything you already have.

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Post by N7ZAL on Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:03 pm

I started an electronics repair business and it worked out fine. Guitar amps can be a good income and the profits are high. Make sure you price your labor rate with that in mind. Heck, even the guitars were profitable. I'd stay away from the low end, disposable electronics like TV's, radios, etc.

When I first started I contacted music stores and gave them business cards and put up a poster. I also started by contacting pawn shops and they have a fair amount of bad music electronics they get stuck with. Look around and it is easier to get work through other businesses, when you first start out.

The audiophiles do have money and high end amps and such. The tube stuff is easy, yet specialized and will be profitable.

You can contact local SCORE or other mentors for the business details. I started as a sole proprietorship and then grew into a corporation.

Good luck!
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Post by willy3486 on Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:15 pm

Thanks for the replies folks. Please understand this is not something I am going to do now. I want to have a backup plan if I get laid off and can't find work. I have been laid off way too many times. As far as customers go I am use to it. I ran my own shop for years and in computers like I do I have lots of "customer bosses". As far as amps go in my area it would be a good business and good money so to speak. I have worked on Musicians stuff for years. I rebuilt a amp years ago for this fellow. I replaced all caps and uned it up. I got the " I still hear a vibration". I got the fellow to play on the amp. Come to find out the amp was made for wood and there was nothing between the back panel and case. So I added weatherstripping to it and put the back on. When he played it again he said it played better than it ever did and he bought it new.

Mainly this is just a backup plan so to speak so I won't starve. I would prefer to go somewhere else but the last time I was laid off for about 18 months. I expect it to be longer next time before I find a job. But if I had this to fall back on and turn it into a full time business to support myself.

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Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:15 am

If I had a hundred large laying around, I would invest in a payday loan/check cashing/title loan business. All I would need to worry about is getting a bigger truck to haul the cash to the bank.

Regards

WC

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Post by willy3486 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:06 am

Wildcat445 wrote:If I had a hundred large laying around, I would invest in a payday loan/check cashing/title loan business.  All I would need to worry about is getting a bigger truck to haul the cash to the bank.

Regards

WC

I don't have anywhere near that much laying around.I don't think I would want to make money that way. To me those places take advantage of people down on their luck. I much rather keep to something I know about and can do. I worked for a while the last time I was laid off for a plumber. I didn't work long for him and no one else does. He takes advantage of everyone including his workers. I went in one day and told him I was quitting. We got into a discussion as why I was quitting and I told I couldn't in clear conscience work for him. I told him I had trouble charging elderly folk and people down on their luck 300 to change out a flapper that took ten minutes to change and cost 5 bucks. He told me the bible says the poor would always be among us. I told yes it does but it told us to help out the less fortunate and not to keep them poor. I guess I am better suited to repair stuff than be a banker.

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Post by Guest on Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:00 pm

I just wanted to add.....

Today I finished all the quarterly tax forms and paid them!
Federal withholding
State withholding
Unemployment taxes
Virginia Sales Tax collected

When you work hard you should see your net worth increase!

Today I worked for the government but they got the pay!   Sad  No


Think about that, when you think about starting a business.

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Post by N7ZAL on Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:17 pm

Today I worked for the government but they got the pay!

So true. When I had my electronics corporation I also had employees and they made even more government work for me. Add the W2's, unemployment, workers comp., payroll, etc.  Shocked 
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Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:41 pm

Willy, your comment about taking advantage of the poor and needy is well-taken. I have a friend in the note lot/check cashing/title loan/ rental business. I have seen him operate. Nearly all the folks he deals with I would consider greedy, entitled and living above their means rather than truly needy and disadvantaged. You see them drive up in a $50,000+ diesel dually truck, carrying a $500+ cellphone, wearing $200 sneakers, yet crying poor mouth and how bad they have it. It is hard to have sympathy for these people. I say they are fair game, as a good gouging is what they seem to want.

Regards

WC

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Post by willy3486 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:07 pm

Wildcat from what I have seen a lot of folks play poor pitiful me , trust me I know. My sister was like that. There was always someone or something else to blame for her woes. My parents probably spent over 250k from 1980 until last year when she passed away. They even signed a note for a trailer then they wound up having to make payments on it. The way it was written the bank would take my parents house as well if the trailer was defaulted on. Now her son has taken her place. He talked my mom into letting him tearing down the trailer for the metal. He got a load of metal and sold it. He found out it was a lot of work for very little money so now he has quit tearing it down. I got a call from my uncle fussing about it. I had to go up there to see it with my uncle to calm him down. He asked me if I ever saw such a big mess and I said yes,every time I tried to help my sister or her bunch. I don't get it, we were not raised that way. I learned to work hard to get what I want but she always played poor pitiful me to get what she wanted.

The folks I am talking about are the folks doing the best they can and people taking advantage of them. I got so tired of telling folks the high prices the guy wanted us to charge for plumbing work. We would get fussed at and told to leave. I don't blame the folks for not wanting to pay high prices. I remember one job I went to. It was a elderly couple probably in their 80s. The old mans hands shook so bad he couldn't hold anything. They had no family around. The guy wanted us to charge 300 to 400 for replacing the part in the toilet that holds the float ball. I forget what its called. Most plumbers in this area charged about 50 bucks for that. You have to remember where I am is rural and prices are a lot less, most of the time.

I was with another fellow he told her the price and they said they couldn't pay that much but asked what we would charge to put in the new one they had got. They even had one, all they needed was it put in. We had a check out fee that was what others would charge to put in the owners part. So I told her that we had to charge her a checkout fee and that I was sorry we couldn't fix it. But I told her I felt like we owed it to her to show her what she needed to do to fix it. She told me they were not physically able to fix it. I said I understand but please listen and I would show her what to do. So I took the old one out and explained what to do "when she changed it out". I checked out the new one and made sure it was fine. I then gave her the old one and told her when she got ready to put a new one on do it just like I did. The guy I was working with told me he was glad I come up with that. He said those folks were really hurting and it was good we could do that.

They got it fixed, the guy we worked for got the checkout fee he wanted and we did not feel guilty for taking advantage of those elderly folks. This guy I worked for took advantage of everyone,even us. He only paid us if we were working, but he expected us to stay at the shop without pay waiting on someone to call. One day I remember I got to work at 8 am, and did not get home until about 9 pm. I only got paid for about 5 or 6 hours. So the way he done every one I didn't feel guilty for helping those folks out.

There is a lot of folks hurting. But most out there needing help will never bother anyone for help. The ones who scream the most for help I have seen are the ones to lazy to help themselves.

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Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:25 pm

There are practitioners of almost every trade whose mission it is to take advantage of the vulnerable. I was an auto mechanic for years, and my profession was noted for that. I used to cater to the "suckers" like the elderly and women and others who were not auto-savvy. I treated them reasonably, so earned their trust. I found them dependable and loyal customers. Anyone who takes advantage of someone just because they can is an undesirable person. It is too easy to make an honest living to have to cheat somebody. And you sleep better at night.

Those who will not help themselves, and who feel they are entitled to live beyond their means, are a different matter entirely.

Regards

WC

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