Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceSmall Business · 1 month ago

Is my business ruined permanently or try again?

I am about to turn 56. In the summer of 1982, I started work as a painter and drywall finisher. 24 years at the same company.  I got laid off and two months later, the company went under. My business started off  slow. When Irene hit and then Lee in 2011 I made a LOT of money. In 2012 Sandy was easily triple the work. Ripping out soaked drywall, cleaning studs, hanging, taping, finishing, painting. Six months after Sandy I was still doing work related to the storm. 2015 was a good year too. Not storm damage, but I had a 60,000 sf warehouse, including epoxy on the floor that took a month by myself. The client had a fairly long time frame. There were four 15,000 sf suites of the remodeled 1960's building, one tenant was ready to come in, the other three were completed in 3 weeks. I was blessed with several other commercial jobs.

Then I did something stupid. I hired a helper. I fired the first one in three weeks. Drug related. I went through 4 people 2015-2018. All turned out to be addicts. All damaged property of my clients. One after I fired him, stalked the receptionist at a medical office I repainted. That practice has three other offices, they used someone else because of him. One left my new $1,300 sprayer out so an accomplice could steal it. That was the end in 2018. Because I lost that sprayer, I lost a major real estate/apartment rental company client. I was knocking out a 2 bedroom in less than an 8 hour day. I could do a 3 bedroom in about 10 hours. 


I have an $850 sprayer that was a $1,000 sprayer in 2011. It is worn out. It is slower. It doesn't do as well. Its all I have.

Going alone in 2019 was terrible. The last time it was this bad was 2008. Part is my reputation, part the economy is in freefall, upstate NY. My credit union said they were very comfortable with an $8,000 loan. They could go much more if I secure it with my house. I'm not ready to do that. $4,000 equipment & $4,000 marketing. Risky? Do I just quit or try one last time?

Update 2:

My wife turns 65 in July. I turn 56 in July. She announced her intention of retiring. She will no longer be tied to her job, its pension or its benefits. I don't have insurance after that and I can't afford it. It will be easier to pay the penalty. Long ago, I went to the poor people's clinic. $5 co-pay. I have diabetes. They almost killed me with their incompetence. I'm getting ready to die anyhow.

6 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    The setbacks you face (the reputation damage your helpers inflicted, the upstate NYS economy in freefall, etc) are none of your doing.  Excellence excels.  You're the living proof.  You could retreat, rest, regroup then come back strong.  Independents will always face challenges from time to time.

    Now, I'm talking from a distance, from a general impression.  Reality may hold details that make my suggestion entirely wrong and the truth of what you should do might be the complete opposite.  You have everything, you're a winner.  I'm sure you will make the right choice.

  • 1 month ago

    No, the sprayer was only $1300; you can buy another one.

    You didn't have to lose the client; you could have bought another sprayer.

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  • 1 month ago

    Can you go get a job elsewhere?  I'm not saying you should...but you need to be aware of your options if you try to go back into the general workforce. 

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  • 1 month ago

    You can't afford to purchase a new sprayer?

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  • Eva
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    If you were doing so well, you could have bought another sprayer. It seems pretty short sighted to turn down good paying jobs because you don't have the equipment.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Your labor is primarily your business. So from that perspective $8k is not a lot to risk assuming you are still up to do the work. Because you should easily make 3-5 times as much as if you worked hourly for someone else.

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