Discussion:
Looking to go out on my own

Need serious advice on liabilty insurance(where to look, how much to carry, cost) Any other advice would be appreciated also.
I know I can beat all the big companies rates easily, I dont know of any small one man independants in my area. Have a few GOOD customers I believe will stay with me. I have several years experience on a lot of different types of equipment.(material handling, Construction, Ag and trucks)-----Input?----
  • Posted 18 Aug 2014 07:33
  • Discussion started by ohiotech
  • Illinois, United States
Showing items 1 - 7 of 7 results.
I am curious as to how this turned out? Did you manage to get out on your own yet or still working on it?
All the above are good points couple of my thoughts (Canadian based);

- legislative compliance. Any serious company requires it. Insurance (4 million+), WSIB, Health and Safety policies, WHMIS, Policies and Procedures manuals, etc.
- ^^ make sure any contractor/company you use has the same ^^
- Pick a goal. My goal is 6 billable hrs per day.
- hire an accountant, they will save you more than they cost.
  • Posted 2 Feb 2015 02:58
  • Reply by ForkLiftACE
  • Ontario, Canada
OT, you are getting some great info. I broke out on my own a little over 17 years ago and am happy I did. A couple of thoughts if you don't mind me offering. First of all, I suggest investing in rental uniforms and a clean straight van with some decals. It shows you are in the biz- and that you are professional and there to compete with the Big Boys. Use a Daytimer or planner of some sort and read the directions on how to use it effectively. I use an iPhone (as our techs do now) for contacts. When I score a new customer I get their approval to go in and assign unit numbers to all of their lifts- and I write the number on the mast with a paint marker. I start with Unit -, and get model, SN, fuel system brand, mast height, mast #'s if a Cascade/ Liftek, the sideshift brand and model and if applicable, the operators name. All of this goes in the phone for future repairs. And it shows the customer you intend to be efficient with their service times.
Then... This is important and hopefully you feel this way- set your labor rate within 20-30% of the Big Boys. And never sell the potential customer that you are "cheaper". You didn't go into business to be the cheapest, you are a Premium Independent Forklift Repair Company. Over the next 5 years or so, you can raise your labor rate $5-6 dollars an hour. Every year. Your value to customers is that you care, you do what you say you are going to do, and you work smart. As money allows, continue to invest in your van stock (ignition parts, common LP/ Impco parts) and good tooling. We are at $97 per hour which is actually higher than some of our Dealerships. And last- I'm not sure what it takes today to purchase from TVH, but do everything you can to satisfy their requirements if possible. My wife pays her salary and more with our parts profit.
A couple of last thoughts- when I started I purchased our first computer and Quick Books. And I read the book to understand how to set up QB. I talked to my attorney, set up a corporation and enlisted an accountant. I bought a new gas air compressor and an old Ford Cargo van for $1800. Painted it in the backyard and added decals myself. All of this with $5000 I borrowed from a finance company.
And last thing, I promise. I put a Credit Information Sheet together. And on it, I listed three vendors I had managed to get credit at through the years- a local Napa, a hose company I used- don't remember the other. Anyway, each month I paid those three vendors on time, no matter what. Before I paid me I paid those vendors I referenced on the sheet. You are gonn need credit. And as things progressed, I opened accounts with Joseph Industries, Hader, Midwest Directional, etc.
Good luck. And give us some progress reports!
  • Posted 24 Dec 2014 13:25
  • Modified 24 Dec 2014 13:28 by poster
  • Reply by Forkliftt
  • Louisiana, United States
Steve
steve at forkliftt dot com
thanks for the input, I greatly appreciate it... I have been collecting all the tech. data, books and so on that I can get for a while now.... You are right about the aftermarket parts situation... I'm an hour drive at least from any dealer in my area.......Also I know word of mouth is the best form of advertising, but what are some of the best ways to reach potential customers
  • Posted 24 Aug 2014 00:02
  • Modified 25 Aug 2014 01:40 by poster
  • Reply by ohiotech
  • Illinois, United States
I agree that 1 million may be low but when I asked for 5 million at the request of a nation wide truck carrier, my insurance agent almost spit out his teeth. My insurance is with Erie & they interpreted the request as possible insurance fraud. I found out that the amount of insurance is tied to your gross receipts & I didn't qualify for 5 million.

As far as the rest of your post I agree 100%.
  • Posted 22 Aug 2014 23:22
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
One million is way too low. Many companies are asking for 5 million liability....minimum!
2 years ago a dock technician was cutting studs at a dock, when the rubber ignited. Within seconds the whole loading dock was ablaze along with 3 reefers filled with food. Damage.....4.5 million. Contractor had 1 million. Now, most places demand 5 million. Other contractors' had to up their rates to pay higher insurance.
I wish you good luck Ohio Tech, I know that more companies will consider private tech's as costs for large lift truck companies are getting too high. But they need to know if you bring down their operation from an "accident" that your insurance will cover them.
Finding decent prices on aftermarket parts will be your biggest challenge. Not much to choose from in Lift truck parts. Chinese are getting better at "cloning" parts getting them here.
i would have your customers pre-purchase the most common parts so they will not have any down time waiting on parts. This is a big issue with lift truck companies lately....not letting the tech carry spare parts, then forcing the customer to wait on each item. As a Lift truck tech, you wont have too much overhead since you are mobile. A small van will do. Keep close to other techs, as you may need their help with laptops or service bulletins. A case of beer may convince a factory tech to do a "re-learn" or calibration. If you genuinely care about the customers needs you will do fine. It's something big company tech's cant give...good honest dedication. They will stick with you over the big guys. But make sure to have back-up help, for when you take holidays or sick days. Check these forums and make note of all trucks that you service. List all possible codes and issues that someone else had in your phone or laptop. It's amazing how many of the same issues occurred to someone else with the same truck. Having this info right at hand can make you lots of money and save time.
Wish all the best to you!
  • Posted 22 Aug 2014 09:50
  • Reply by EasiTek
  • Ontario, Canada
Mr fixit is correct- google insurance carriers in your area & start calling. Get as many quotes as you can before you sign w/ anyone. And 1 million should do it- ask for any more & you'll raise reg flags (learned that one the hard way).

Feel free to email me w/ any specific questions
  • Posted 19 Aug 2014 22:41
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
I would talk to anyone who sells insurance. Most customers want you to have at least $1 million. Your service truck should have that much too. I would also have a short meeting with a lawyer to discuss ways to protect your personal assets.
  • Posted 19 Aug 2014 06:14
  • Reply by mrfixit
  • New York, United States

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