Wanting a change of career

Hi guys,my trade is in the electronics field.A few years back I did a electrical installation course at college in the evenings because I wanted a change in career.I gain a full City and Guilds plus 16th Edition.
But I found that this course doe's not prepere you for whats out there.
They drum into your head loads of theory on magatism,which I've been told by electritians that they don't use.
It's just not enough just going to college.I've see advertisement saying go to college and train to be a electrician,plumber and earn 30k.I wish.
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i left a very secure job because i was sick of it and i always wanted to run my own business. I have never regretted a minute of it. Heres a few things i have picked up along the way that may be of help

Dont be afraid to ask for advice
build up a core of good local suppliers. explain that you are a new business, they know you will grow and they will bend over backwards to help you. Dont waste time going between different ones for different materials to save a few poiunds here and there. Its a waste of time, effort and money.

Keep records of all the stuff you buy, before you get going and during. get a decent accountant, theyll save you money.

most local areas have schemes to give advice eg learn direct etc. theyre normally free and worth talking to.

be punctual and professional. A phone call to confirm an appointment or re-arrange an appointment goes down very well. not turning up doesnt

always do a decent written quote and get people to sign a cpy of it, and you terms and conditions before you start the work. Your t and cs only need to be simple, but they are essential. eg ownership of materials payment terms etc.

try and be efficent. think ahead and try and plan buying materails ec so your not running around like a headless chicken.

decent tools cost money. they cost money because they last longer (in the main) and they allow you to do a job easier and quicker (in the main!) if its a choice between spending a few quid extra, then do it. it will save money in the long run.

mistakes happen, its inevitable. Its how you put them right that counts. do all you can to avoid them, but put them right when they do happen. Dont worry when you do, it costs time, but a customer who gets an error put right with no fuss will come back to you. they trust you.

Have pride in your work and dont rush things. If you do youll be back there in a few days to put it right!

be polite, courteous and presentable. tidy up after yourself. your in someone elses home, always remember that. neighbours will watch you as well and are a good source of business. leave a mess and you wont get asked back.

do some decent letterheads/cards etc. it looks professional.

decide wether to be a sole trader or a ltd company. speak to your accountant. my wife is one and always advises people to be go as a ltd company. there are many more tax breaks and more protection if it all goes wrong. you can set one up for under £100

dont let people beat you down on price. youve priced it, you know how much its cost. any fool can get out of bed and work for nothing.

be confident. that takes time however. you will look back at something you did 6 months ago and think god i wouldnt do it like that again. its all part of the learning curve.

advertising pays. be careful where you spend the money though. these days there are 1001 different companies all after your money for advertising. go with tried and trusted ones. dont forget yellow pages, thomson local will give you free one line entries. If you are going to have a website, even if its a simple one, then make sure it works and its finished. people like to see work youve done. make sure you put a link to your website on any advertising you do. Avoid any new gimmicky advertising publications and avoid 118 trades at all costs! e have always found the friday ad a very ggo dsource of advertsiing and cheap compared to the rest. signs on your vehicle are also very cost effective. people notice them.

watch your turnover. its very easy to go over the vat threshold without realising it. Whatever you do always put money aside to covber your tax etc and leave it alone. put money aside for a rainy day. most banks will give you free banking for a period and good advice. if you dont need to borrow money from them then dont! Its a very simple process if you dont want to borrow money to open the account. Once you do start paying charges, use electronic banking as much as possible to save on charges.

keep your tools sharp, clean and organised. smae with your vehicle. time spent sorting them out on a job is wasted time and money.

ask questions of other tradesmen if you not sure how to do something. have a look on here and see how many of us ask for advice on something. if a job sems too big for you, sleep on it and see if you can break it down into smaller managable jobs. If you cant then its too big for you and dont quote on it. Be honest with people. If your booked up and cant fit them in, again be honest.

dont run before you can walk. it takes time to build contacts, customers, suppliers. there are lots of people out there willing to help or give you work/a break. dont let people down and they will come back to you.

expect to work some long hours/evenings etc. Dont lose sight of why you are doing it though. Dont be afraid to take days off, have the odd early finish. Family life and enjoying yourself are very very important.

It may sound a lot to take in but most people that work for themselves do it for the same reason. most of them wouldnt go back to working for someone else. Its a different way of life and theres nothing nicer than a satisfied customer and a cheque in your pocket at the end of a job that you have earnt and that is all yours (well and the taxmans!)

give it a go, youve got a skill you can fall back on if it doesnt work out.

good luck :) :)

(thats my 4000th post hope it was of help! :D )
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i know, better to say too much than too little on this subject though!
rommy said:
They drum into your head loads of theory on magatism,which I've been told by electritians that they don't use

You might not if you are purely a domestic spark, but if you are in the industrial side of things then magnetic theory crops up every now and then.It is one of the fundumental principles of basic electricity (transformation, motor effects, solenoids etc)
How many times does a industrail sparks use flemings left hand rule.Or uses the equations for working out back emf.I did loads and loads of equationsfor different type of motors and generators,now I'm not saying it bad,it would be helpful if you're going into design,but there is loads of stuff that you don't use.I've put in contactors,as long as you know what system you on,single phase,3 phase and you got a diagram no problem.
What would be useful if they teached about electric on central heating systems.More on alarm systems.I spent 6 weeks of the coursein a classroom learning about magnetic graphs.Best regards