Thursday, December 29, 2016


I am really of the opinion that good advice is worth what you pay for it; however, I am wondering whether, at 70, do I have any advice to give?
In the last five years, since my retirement and survival with the battle of cancer, I have attempted to train three different apprentices.  All of them, one female and two males,  became "pretty good" welders and all three of them, as they were learning the process of fabrication, Quite!  Each came from a minimum wage job and rose to upwards of $20 per hour.  A good fabricator can easily make double that.
As I look back on my life I realize that being self employed is not easy.  There is a lot of responsibility and no one to tell you to get out of bed.  We have a natural tendency to work harder for other people than for ourselves.  Being self employed can be an opportunity for a two hour lunch and being late for work.  The real truth is you have to work harder.  You have to have a Huge sense of
"Obligation, Responsibility and Work Ethic".
   Pay Day is no longer Friday.  Often a client will pay a deposit to initiate the project and this money is Not yours!  As tempting as it is to buy milk or diapers, pay the rent or utilities, this deposit is to fund the job and can only be spent that way!  Nothing is more embarrassing than to go back to a client and ask for more money!
   The self employed will soon discover it is like working for the Mafia!  A good job or a bad job, profit or a loss, the Government wants money!  If you have employees count on 40 percent for their share!  and if you work by yourself, it is at least 25 percent.  You will now pay both sides of Social Security, 15%
   Wouldn't it be nice to get that "Final Check" and keep it!  But there are bills to pay:  Material suppliers, Shop Rent and Utilities, Commissions and more supplies.  Then, if there is money left over, it will be yours.  Construction workers, Artists and the Restaurant Industry have the Highest Rates of failure.  They just don't get this.
   I have been told many times that a particular client requested three bids on his project and I was the only one to show up!  This seems so simple it doesn't have to be listed but it is probably the #1 customer complaint!  Be on Time and Do What You Say You Will Do! and when you say you will do it.  It is a question of Honor and Your Word.  The Two Most Valuable components to being Human!
Communication is critical.
    There is a saying:  Do a good job for a client and he might tell one of his friends.  Do a bad job and he will tell ten of them.  Believe it, it is true.
    There must be more but it is of little consequence if you don't get this first part.


Clipped Wings said...

You just haven't met that apprentice with the passion to match yours. Wisdom isn't always appreciated by the young, but our own growing knowledge is always beneficial to ourselves. Happy New Year, Jerry!

Bill R. said...

Words of wisdom, Jerry, nicely spoken. At our age reminiscence is part of the territory and mostly a pleasant and integrating thing to do. I hope things are well with you.
Bill Ryan