Going for it


Senior Member
For those of you who do not know I have been attempting to get my ducks in a row. I want to become a part time installer. I am starting off by attempting to get my electrical License. I go in front of the board of master electricians 2 days from now to pleed my case. With me I am taking the following to prove my experience

High School(4 Years):
-Diploma stating that I attended a tech school
-Report Card proving that I was in the electrical/construction technology field
-Pictures of the Module School that I wired (Did 99% of the wiring my self)

College(2 Years):
-Transcript showing my 3.8 GPA in electronics computer and telecommunications
-A.A.S. Degree in the above

Work(3.5 Years):
-Profile showing my experience in the electronics field
-A letter which validates the work profile
-A letter from an Electrical P.E. who I have worked with from day one

With this I hope to get a local restricted license or better. I am prepared for the worst since I have serious doubt that this will get me any where but I am going with the idea of asking them for a restricted License that allows me to replace existing recepticles, switches and thermostats and I am hoping for the ability to run low voltage wires as well.

If I get this license then I am going to start investing time and money into geting training on product lines such as leviton and creston.

Some words of wisdom would be really helpful right about now :rolleyes:
Thanks guys!


My wife said that I will have to do the training soon because she doesnt want me away in Feb. Thats when our baby is due so it will have to between now and the end of the year. I checked out the creston and leviton sites and nothing is scheduled as of right now for those times.
I have been in the Telecommunications industry for 30 years. Here, in the state of CT, you have to take a Low Voltage test in order to get a Low voltage license. There is stuff on the test that you have to know that hase nothing to do with Communications cabling.

I wish you luck.
On the side for now. Maybe in a fe years it wil become more but I don think there is enough demand for it to be a full time job right now and I dont think i know enough to compete with the 2 existing installers here in maryland. Its more for my own enjoyment since I like to do electrical work and I like home automation.

I have had a job offer working with one of the installers here in MD and I would only be working on my off days of my current job. I still have this option open but am waiting to see how dificult it will be to get my own license. If I work for the other installer it will be alot more electrical work than HA installation which is fine with me but he is located 40 mile away which would be a major hike to make on my days off. Plus who doesnt want to be their own boss :rolleyes:

I also have a friend who is an electrician who will be helping me if we can get the proper licensing. If we cant then we may just do side work together until he gets his license which would be a few years from now.

I am trying to be legit so that I can advertise but if not then I will still probably go forward but only by word of mouth and doing installs for people I know. Not sure how I am going to play this but I am sure I will know more after wednesday
Well, I'm not trying to be negative on your new ambition but you may want to look into liability issues. Licensing is only half the battle. If you don't incorporate (I would recommend creating an LLC) you may be exposing your personal assets to any possible legal conflicts!

I would bounce this off an expert in business law before you start. All states are different. Maybe talk to others in the business there and ask how they would handle this aspect.

Also look into possible state, city or county business license and DBA ("doing business as") requirements. I know a lot of contractors here that are "licensed" in their trade, but do not carry the proper "city" & "county" credentials.

Also, what about obtaining a "tax permit" so you can purchase items at retail (and pay a reduced tax as well)? Again, not sure of your state's requirements. It's also never too early to learn about IRS filing needs (schedule "C" or "Cez" forms).

Good luck in your new endeavor,


Thanks for your concern and keep the comments coming. I actually have a little bit of business background. My brother started a resturant from scratch and a Co-worker of mine started a LLC in housing rentals. My brother also holds a BA in business managment which includes law. I have already dug up all the information I need to form an LLC which is the way I plan to go. Also if i do get a license I will need a signifigant amount of insurance mandated by the AHJ.

So I guess you can say that I am prepared for that part of the deal also. I am taking baby steps so it will probably be a while before I do professional installations. To be honest I feel that I need more education and training in the practicle world. I wouldnt dare step foot in a strangers house without first having confidence.

My state has an easy to follow set of guidlines for starting a business.
1)Register with the Department of Assessment & Taxation
2)Obtain EIN from Internal Revenue Services
3)Register the Business with the Comproller of the Treasury
4)Obtain Licenses
5)Obtain More Licenses
6)Obtain More Licenses

Steps 4-6 deal with obtaining licenses from state and local officials when applicable and these licenses mandate the amount of insurance you need. I think I am going to need about $400,000 coverage. This is alot for someone who is just starting and may not get much business. I think it will be about $2k a year but I have not actually checked yet.

The good thing is that I can hold a license in as inactivewhich means I cant perform the work because I have not paid for my insurance but I still paid the dues for my license so I can activate it at any time. So that is why I am trying for my license first. I figured I could hold it until I get my ducks in a row. Odds are I am going to have to find atleast a part time job working with a Master Electrician before they will give me a license of any kind. I simply don't have the residential and comercial enviroment experience that would be understandably required.

What I dont think is understandably required is a full 7 years of working with a Master Electrician just to be able to switch out a light switch. That is the requiement that my state imposes. My local AHJ is atleast willing to meet with me to discuss options.

So my business is a long ways away. Depending on what happens tomorrow I may start getting my name known as the handy man that does electrical on the side. Sure its not legal but for friends and family I am sure running a few wires and installing a few switches wont hurt. This will atleast give me some confidence.

Just last weekend I helped my partner install 4 recessed lights and a two way switch in his sisters house. I did the work for free because I wanted the experience. Then I built a wall at my brothers house, Wired up his projector and ran some telephone wire for his new vonage service. To be honest that little bit of work has already built my confidence a little. I am confident enough that if I have formal training on a product that I will be able to install it in a timely fashion and do a professional job.

I just wish I could do the same work in my own house. :rolleyes:
Does a partner count as an employee? We will be going in 50/50. I have not yet figured out if I should start the LLC with him or hire him as an employee. I am sure he wants his name on the company but I have to way the pros and cons first.
Squintz said:
I have not yet figured out if I should start the LLC with him or hire him as an employee.
If he doesn't mind being an employee instead of a partner, IMHO, you are much better off being your own man. This is from someone who's had more than his share of partners.

Advantage of having him as an employee:
It's YOUR company. You can fire him, if you want.
You get to make all of the decisions. No heated discussions on how to spend the measly earnings.
You get the glory (and maybe the profits) if things go well.

Advantages of having him as a partner:
You don't have to get an EIN, and file all of the nasty payroll paperwork (state & fed).
You have someone to share the startup costs with.
You get to share the blame (and maybe the debt) if things don't go well.

It really comes down to how compatible the two of you are. If you are the least bit incompatible, there is nothing like co-running a business to highlight the incompatibilities. At the same time, it's a great feeling to have support and not feel like you are going it alone.

As far as the EIN and the nasty payroll paperwork, it's something to avoid. The legalities of having employees is a learning curve unto itself. However, you do want employees at some point, so you will want to get into it eventually. But to put it off for now would be a good thing. Especially is you can wait until you have an accountant or bookkeeper to handle it.
Thanks for the words of wisdom....

So I went to the Master Electricians Board meeting today and I was the only outsider there. There were about 10 guys and 1 gal sitting around a long table in a small room. When I went in the first time they told me in a rather powerful voice that I needed to wait outside because the meeting has not started yet.

I waited outside for about a half hour and when they called me in they asked me questions about the type of business I plan to start. I was very nervous but I kept my cool. I respoded with something like "I want to start a business in Home Automation installation". The guy running the show then started asking questions about what it would involve. I explained that it simply meant removing existing light switches receptacles and thermostats and replacing them with RF controlled devices. He then proceeded to ask me if I would be installing any boxes or running any wires. To keep things simple I said that I would not need to as of now but in the future that may be needed as my business expands. He explained that running wires would require a who new level of licensing. I took that as a hint that I better keep the work I want to do sounding very simple. So I basically siad that I would take just about anything they would give me at this point in time.

Turns out that a license for replacing devices does not currently exist. But I am going to be the model for one to be made. The board is planning on developing a license and a test for people just like me who want to replace existing devices. I will be restricted to working in that one county only since its a local license. They said that they will work up the test but they have to check with their law department first to make sure it is legal for them to offer such a license. It sounds as if it is legal but they just want to make sure.

They mentioned that insurance would probably not be required but if something should happen then they could come after my house and such so its probably a good idea to have insurance. My business license would probably require something I imagine.

They will be contacting me via Mail when the license is available. This to me sounds like it might take a while. I will check back in 2 or three months to get the progress.

The good news is they didnt say NO like i had expected and I dont feel as if they were giving me the run around. They sounded pretty willing to help me out.