What are one-man operations earning per year?

JoeNorm

Senior Member
Location
WA
Just curious. This is obviously extremely variable depending on location.

And I understand not everyone will want to volunteer their salary so maybe a better question is what is the higher end of the spectrum for what a one man shop can earn in a year?

Let's imagine a higher cost of living area where work is plentiful. 40 hours per week give or take.

thanks
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
That’s easy. Your rate per chargeable hour times 2000. Then - 30% for taxes.
A rate should reflect the reality that nobody has 2,000 chargeable hours in a year unless they're awake until 2am doing bids regularly, and stopping in the evening and weekends to look at new prospective work.

I would guess that maybe 1,200-1,500 hours of chargeable work will be a yearly income
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
Just curious. This is obviously extremely variable depending on location.

And I understand not everyone will want to volunteer their salary so maybe a better question is what is the higher end of the spectrum for what a one man shop can earn in a year?

Let's imagine a higher cost of living area where work is plentiful. 40 hours per week give or take.

thanks
Not enough. Also one man shop = no vacation or sick days.
 

Amps

Electrical Contractor
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical, Security, Networks and Everything Else.
Yep. One man shop has it's limitations for income. Vacations days are days when there is no work. When you add up all the time spent doing estimates, phone calls, getting materials, permits, organizing the truck, posting on social media, it reduces that nice hourly rate to something you could earn just working for someone else. And yet, the liability is 100% on you. Just spoke to a NJ attorney yesterday. His firm's rate is $650 an hour.
 

JoeNorm

Senior Member
Location
WA
I understand there are drawbacks, just like with anything. But there are plenty of people(even on this forum) doing it successfully.

Just curious what numbers look like if in a well paying area of the country.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Small business is subjective.
IIRC, the small business administration defines "small" by industry segment. Some segments small is by number of employees (in some cases 500 employees is "small"), while in some industries it is by annual sales.

I am pretty sure though that a single person would be small no matter what.
 

Amps

Electrical Contractor
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical, Security, Networks and Everything Else.
So an electrician I know working for a school system in NJ gets his hourly pay with raises, an annual stipend for having an EC license, health benefits, dental, eyeglasses, pension, 10 sick days a year that accrue, all school holidays off (really off), and gets to work from 7:30 am to 3pm, no weekends. Basic jobs are replacing fixtures, maybe install a new circuit once in a while, classroom renovation once in a while. Any large jobs get contracted out. And he doesn't touch anything that has to do with CAT6 or fiber cables. His salary is $80k plus everything listed above which puts it over $100k. A one man electrical contractor could make $100k a year, but when you divide that by all the hours put in, it probably comes to less than $20/ hr, then there's the added liability.
 

Another C10

Electrical Contractor 1987 - present
Location
Southern Cal
Occupation
Electrician NEC 2020
A one man electrical contractor could make $100k a year, but when you divide that by all the hours put in, it probably comes to less than $20/ hr, then there's the added liability.
I suppose it boils down to .. for me .. I worked prevailing jobs for over 10 years had benefits, retirement and could stop the clock when I got home.
I drove 2 hours in traffic both ways for an 8 hr. days wage. I really had no tax write offs and had to work many 10 - 12+ days some of which where graveyard shifts, when being a foreman for 2.00 more, I grossed on the take home pay 38.00 hr and the other 30.00 per hour went to benefits which I never really used. I didn't like the fact that I had to jump when told to jump or eat when told to eat, not a rebel just a person with better horizons I suppose. Oh .. and when work ended many times you got a pink slip and told to collect unemployment while waiting for your number, 1 year later I said enough.

As a independent I make about the same if not more, I work hours into the night researching supplies for bids or design, I drive maybe 15 minutes to various projects in my community, I get incredible tax write offs as an Inc. I have a lot of freedom, I can only blame myself for not working.

So I suppose aside from the money aspect, those electricians wondering what's the best route, its really only a decision they should weigh out, the pro's and cons.

I chose Independent, don't like the politics of prevailing wage with their last hired /first fired ways. Besides I'm getting pretty old to compete
with the energy of 25 year olds.
 
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Amps

Electrical Contractor
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical, Security, Networks and Everything Else.
I suppose it boils down to .. for me .. I worked prevailing jobs for over 10 years had benefits, retirement and could stop the clock when I got home.
I drove 2 hours in traffic both ways for an 8 hr. days wage. I really had no tax write offs and had to work many 10 - 12+ days some of which where graveyard shifts, when being a foreman for 2.00 more, I grossed on the take home pay 38.00 hr and the other 30.00 per hour went to benefits which I never really used. I didn't like the fact that I had to jump when told to jump or eat when told to eat, not a rebel just a person with better horizons I suppose. Oh .. and when work ended many times you got a pink slip and told to collect unemployment while waiting for your number, 1 year later I said enough.

As a independent I make about the same if not more, I work hours into the night researching supplies for bids or design, I drive maybe 15 minutes to various projects in my community, I get incredible tax write offs as an Inc. I have a lot of freedom, I can only blame myself for not working.

So I suppose aside from the money aspect, those electricians wondering what's the best route, its really only a decision they should weigh out, the pro's and cons.

I chose Independent, don't like the politics of prevailing wage with their last hired /first fired ways. Besides I'm getting pretty old to compete
with the energy of 25 year olds.
I agree, especially about being told when to jump and the pink slip. I hear ya about getting old. Many other electricians I know have retired and I'm still plugin away at it. I enjoy the work, the challenges and being able to set my own hours. I have had to turn down some jobs that were too large for me to do by myself but that's how it goes.
 

JoeNorm

Senior Member
Location
WA
I suppose it boils down to .. for me .. I worked prevailing jobs for over 10 years had benefits, retirement and could stop the clock when I got home.
I drove 2 hours in traffic both ways for an 8 hr. days wage. I really had no tax write offs and had to work many 10 - 12+ days some of which where graveyard shifts, when being a foreman for 2.00 more, I grossed on the take home pay 38.00 hr and the other 30.00 per hour went to benefits which I never really used. I didn't like the fact that I had to jump when told to jump or eat when told to eat, not a rebel just a person with better horizons I suppose. Oh .. and when work ended many times you got a pink slip and told to collect unemployment while waiting for your number, 1 year later I said enough.

As a independent I make about the same if not more, I work hours into the night researching supplies for bids or design, I drive maybe 15 minutes to various projects in my community, I get incredible tax write offs as an Inc. I have a lot of freedom, I can only blame myself for not working.

So I suppose aside from the money aspect, those electricians wondering what's the best route, its really only a decision they should weigh out, the pro's and cons.

I chose Independent, don't like the politics of prevailing wage with their last hired /first fired ways. Besides I'm getting pretty old to compete
with the energy of 25 year olds.
I think this is it. Maybe you can charge in a way that allows you to earn the same amount as working for someone else. But some of that time will be lighter work like billing and looking at jobs.

And you are free to choose how to use your own time.
 

AC\DC

Senior Member
Location
Florence,Oregon,Lane
Occupation
EC
I read an article once by some business professor who had done some kind of study of such things. He concluded that virtually all small business owners would be financially better off working for someone else.
virtually all? Doubt that. I am one man shop and make twice I did as a journeyman plus tax benefits. Some benefits I don’t, but i would rather have that money to invest the way I chose.
I guess if there unmotivated and lazy then they should stay an employee
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
If you bid jobs against others, you will have to bid a lower rate than for service calls or you won’t get many projects. Also, when U had my business, the market was very bad & I still got less than half the jobs I quoted. The customer either didn’t do the project or hired a leaf raker who also did electrical work.
 
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