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  • Advice wanted

     shawnforan updated 1 month ago 4 Members · 14 Posts
  • shawnforan

    May 29, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Currently I work for a very small rural school district in Middle Tennessee. The restaurants in the area dont have a local service company that they can turn to for help. Most have to come out of Nashville and that is about 2hrs away. I have been thinking about starting up a one man operation for our local area, granted this would be a part time thing unless things got really going. There are plenty of resturants in the area I would like to service. I wont need an office and I have a van I own I could put into action.

    I’m curious if anyone has experiance with this type of venture, what some of the pitfalls may be, type of insurance needed, should i get just general liability, should i add professional liability and any other help one may be willing to offer.

  • ectofix

    May 30, 2020 at 9:53 am

    <div>The restaurants in the area dont have a local service company that they
    can turn to for help. Most have to come out of Nashville and that is
    about 2hrs away.</div>


    LOL! Yes, I know that drive very well. I did some work for The Dip Dairy Freeze several times years ago.

    I’ve never started my own business, although I seriously thought about it at one point. The initial investment, the bookkeeping and such was just a bit beyond my reach at the time.

    Here’s a comprehensive little guide I found on the web about starting a business.

    How to Start a Business in Tennessee

    Keep in mind that if you go into business for yourself, even as a part time gig, you want everything to be legit and in place before you start. You will need will need completely separate accounts, assets and inventory which are completely dedicated to your business. For instance, business bookkeeping for tax purposes reflecting details on EVERYTHING all the way to your very own wages.

    There are so many other details that can lead to an endless line of questions.


  • shawnforan

    May 30, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Any and all insights are appreciated, if I decide to move forward I will also seek legal advice. I’m hoping to find questions I haven’t thought to ask.

  • shawnforan

    May 30, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Also, the Dairy Freeze is still here. Whaley has a tech that lives in Paris, TN. I have apoken with him once and he is looking to retire soon. Even so, Paris is still an hour away.

    • ectofix

      May 30, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      I’ve thought about driving up there just for some “Taco John’s”, since they’re the only ones around in mid-TN. Heck of a drive just for a lunch though, so I’ve avoided it.

      Someone at Whaley’s who’s as old as ME? I thought I’d met all the guys from this Nashville branch, but that fella probably stays busy in/around Clarksville.

  • fixbear

    May 30, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    I did this in 1972. I did have to work for others to keep afloat at times, but never regretted it. Only you know how good you are at troubleshooting. And that is the primary skill one needs to be successful. I did it by a DBA, but had everything important in my wifes name. Today one might explore a LLC. You will need some kind of space for a office that can be deducted on your taxes, Government paperwork and tax reporting is a time consuming part of it. Keep good records of vehicle cost, and mileage. It’s one of the things that trip’s a audit. You also have to be good at reading people. Goes a long way to keeping customers. Your banker is one you may want to talk to before you start. They can help with a lot of things.

  • ectofix

    May 30, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Here’s an IRS link to something else for you to look at. Note the stuff listed under Businesses and Self-Employed in the left panel as well:

    Gig Economy Tax Center

  • shawnforan

    May 30, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Thanx, I do have a room I could dedicate as an office but these are kind of insites I’m looking for.

  • shawnforan

    May 30, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    The Whaleys guy told me ha had a service company in Chicago and sold it. Bought a house down here and then him and his wife desided to build a new dream house so he went back to work. Now he is ready to retire again.

  • ectofix

    May 30, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    I’ll just add one more thing.

    For how you have described it, the level of work you’re speaking of MAYBE teeters into the category of “side work”. But then AGAIN…maybe not. Either way, I just want to add some food for thought on that.

    I did some myself MANY years ago. Some really light, minor, after-hours work for some businesses close to home and out of the trunk of my car. They were acquaintances who simply asked me to help them save some money. They STILL compensated me in some form. If not just handing me a couple of twenties, then a few free meals or (dare I say it!) drinks on the house for a night.

    However, I was being too naïve at the time to realize the risks. I am not saying the same about YOU. I am just simply using that as a lead up to when I smartened up.

    You see, several places that I had done work for at some point or another while on-the-clock for my service company…had a incidences – one of which made the news.

    1. The one which made the news was a McDonald’s that burned down after-hours (Goodlettsville TN).
    2. ANOTHER was…well – another McDonald’s where their entire four bank fryer caught fire.
    3. Then there was this place where their gas convection oven virtually blew its doors off and sent an employee to the hospital.

    Thankfully, NONE of those incidences were related to any work that I or my company had performed. But after my thoughts weighed in on ALL the possible ramifications if those problems COULD have been related back to my company (or ME!), I was horrified!

    As it was, so long as the work that I did as an employee of service company was in accordance with their policies, I was protected under their umbrella of insurance. Otherwise, any SIDE WORK I was SOLELY ON ME!

    So, I wised up and curtailed ANY thoughts on doing ANY sort of side work.

    Some years later I DID entertain ideas on starting my own business. I even purchased a vehicle that could serve that purpose. However, for ME – I didn’t commit any further because the complications and other factors.

    As for YOURSELF?

    You sound like you have the right ideas, the youthfulness and willingness to commit to it. Given your location, you might be able to cover a market which presently lacks any LOCALLY-based service companies. The service companies that DO cover that area are (as you’ve said) Nashville-based. Unless things have changed, I know for a FACT that trip charges to even cover Clarkville are FAR above what those companies charge the local, Nashville businesses.

    Chain restaurants, hospitals, corporately-owned and other larger venues might simply shrug their shoulders at that extra hundred dollars tacked onto the trip charge. Otherwise, for those mom-n-pop restaurants, convenience stores, the VFWs & American Legions, etc. – that extra $100 would be something they’d rather hold on to.

  • shawnforan

    May 31, 2020 at 8:40 am

    You have touched on many points that I am considering. Most of the small family resturants I would serve are people I know, my wife is an RN and overnight House Supervisor at Henry County Medical and I have been offered work. However, friendships and relationships fall to the way side when money, damages, liability and blame come in to the picture. That is why I have not already started to offer any service or suggestions/recommendations for a service company.

    I am however trying to ascertain the potential cost and expenses of getting something like this off the ground, estimate the length of time to recover that money and possibly start making some.

    One another note, and I will try to post a more complete picture later, my journey in to the industry started with a high school basic electric and electronics class. Unfortunately or not I dropped out of high school, but because of that class scored well enough on the ASVAB (military entrance exam) to join the in the mid 80s. There I becam generator repair man and served for 11 years eventually finidhing HS and attending college. (Why did not not do a full 20? Bill Clinton and the military draw down of the late 90
    s). With my final duty station being a Depot Level assingment with NATO forces in The Netherlands. From ther I milled about mainly doing retail management type work before retuning to something I was good at and enjoyed.

  • techtownmayor

    June 4, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Some really insightful stuff here, thanks to everyone for sharing your knowledge!

    • fixbear

      June 4, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Scott, I’m not saying I did it right, I’m saying I did what was the method for the early 70’s Then the real education begins as you gain expirience. I’ve been through tax audits, multi million lawsuits, Repossessions, and even a seizure. But when it all comes down to the end, I was only off $12 dollars in the audit. The seizure was returned at no cost, The repo was returned after a payoff, And the lawsuit (7 mill) went to the lease company’s insurance.. No business goes through there life span without a few bumps in the road. Your banker and lawyer are your best support in this.

  • shawnforan

    June 5, 2020 at 8:37 am

    I appreciate the advice and insights you have posted here. I am really considering moving forward. We will see what the next few months hold…

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