Hi Forum,

I am looking for a bit of constructive advice about starting my own CM business. I currently work for a CM consultancy in the UK. I have operated in this line of employment for almost 16 years and have a little bit of understanding behind me.

In the past and recently I have done the odd bit of vibration analysis for friends and friends of friends. I have always viewed this work as a favour or sometimes it operates on the barter system.

Lately I have been approached by a maintenance manager of a food processing plant regarding some vibration analysis work he requires doing on his plant. There are about 70 machines requiring survey's (monthly). Most of these are standard motor/pump assemblies and axial flow fans. Further to this I have also been approached by large sailing club, who require someone to analyze their diesel engines/pumps and whatever nautical equipment my present itself for vibration analysis.

At present my requests have only been for vibration analysis/balancing. Just as well as I do not own any other equipment for CM i.e Thermography etc. However the people I am in contact with do not have the vast amounts of cash to pay the people I work for, hence this opening to do my own bit of work has presented itself to me.

I am fully trained by IRD, in balancing, VT1, VA1&VA2. I am also level 2 thermography trained by FLIR.

The thing I lack is the understanding and requirements needed to carryout the aforementioned work on my own as a small business and in my spare time.

Does anyone out there have any knowledge of such a scenario or the requirements for setting up and advertising my services.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks.
Original Post
Spike, I took early retirement last year aiming to work part time for myself. I attended seminars at the local Enterprise Trusts in Grangemouth (F.E.A.T.) and Stirling (S.T.E.P.). I found their advice to be very good. They covered all aspects of starting up a small business and brought in specialists in company law, internet, safety and Inland Revenue.
I opted to be Limited and VAT registered, since I wanted to maintain the option to do machinery maintenance and workshop machining. You may not require the above.
As for charges, maybe three pounds per measuring point per survey may be a reasonable starting point, adjusted up or down for numbers, spread, overheads etc.
Good Luck
Joe Mc Cormack
However the people I am in contact with do not have the vast amounts of cash to pay the people I work for, hence this opening to do my own bit of work has presented itself to me.

How is your current employer going to feel about you undercutting his rates? If your future 'employers' can't aford to pay your current employers rates, what makes you think they will be good payers at your (reduced?)rates in future?

If you are going it alone, figure how much you need/want to earn each year. Don't forget to include stuff like pension/401k contributions and anything else your government might care to take from you. What about sickness pay? That wil be on your tab too, as well as equipment maintenance (calibration etc)

As a starting point, divide the number you get by 200 to get your minimum daily rate (allowing for weekends, holidays, non-chargeable days etc)

I don't think you can build a business relying on a food processing company that are reluctant to pay an existing company their going rates - 70 small machines, monitored once a month - being generous, after initial setup, thats about 2 days site work and one day reporting. A sailing club with occassional business isn't going to pay the rent either.

You need to get into a power station, or something similar with high value capital assets where the benfits of CM are appreciated as added value and not an overhead which needs to be done as cheaply as possible.

As Joe M suggests, get proper guidance before you go out on your own
Spike, The Enterprise Trusts seems to come under the umbrella of 'Business Gateway' Google them. My sister used them in Dumbarton and found them to be very useful.
I can understand the reluctance to charge 'full' price. That is my position, also, I don't ask for a contract. I have to have confidence in my own abilities to maintain a presence. I concentrate on covering safety issues and prompt payment (the latter is more difficult).
You should continue looking into working for yourself. It's worth doing.
Joe Mc Cormack

thanks for the help.

I am happy in my day job (which pays the bills and i dont plan to leave this job) but as described i am finding that more and more people are asking me to carry out work for them and im keen to help them out when i can. At first i viewed this as a hobby, however due to increased requests and interest i do think i have an opening to start a small business for myself in my spare time. I shall have a look at the web pages you highlighted and update the forum with my findings.

Many Thanks
Does your current employer(the day job one) know (and approve) of what you are planning to do? No matter how you get your remuneration (cash or barter) you are entering into competition with him.

If you are a full time staff employee, then what you are proposing sounds at best unethical and at worst, possibly illegal.

You should look closely at your employment agreement to see if you are breaking any of the terms and conditions.
My employment agreement allows me to do start my own business. The agreement says that i am not allowed to use any of their info, data or equipment.

None of which i would use anyway. I have all of my own.

Nothing unethical, thats business and nothing illegal should i take some business advice to set myself up.

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