KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Monday, September 17, 2007

Definitely a Two-Freelancer Home

After doing some intensive research and talking to cabinetmaker subcontractors that my husband Ed knows, he and I have discussed everything and decided that he will go "freelance" rather than seek a new job when his current job as a cabinetmaker ends in a couple of weeks. (I'm using quotation marks around the word freelance here because solo cabinetmakers speak of themselves as subcontractors or business owners rather than freelancers; my industry calls solo practitioners freelancers.)

We will have to sit down with our accountant, who, by the way, was Ed's accountant before he and I met, during the time that Ed was president of his own corporation, so the accountant knows Ed's work history. But this time, it looks like Ed will create an S corporation so that I can be his employee and handle his books and help him do estimates. Through the S corp, we'll be able to obtain health insurance more cheaply than through my sole proprietorship. Paying for the insurance won't be a financial shock to us because even though we currently have insurance through his employer, the employer contributes nothing toward the monthly premiums; those have been deducted from his gross weekly pay in installments. We will once again be able to write off the premiums on our income tax forms, as we did when we had insurance through my business.

His research has told him that he can charge and actually get much more as a subcontractor than he has been earning as someone else's employee. He'll be charging time plus materials, rather than the project fees he used to charge and lose his shirt on when he had his own company years ago, because cabinetmaking is a really time-intensive process. He's made a list of his startup expenses, which won't be much, compared with what they'd be if he didn't already have a wood shop here at home, and he'll be talking to a bank he's already done business with about a small business loan. I'll help him design some business cards, letterhead, estimate forms, and invoice forms and get them printed ASAP, even before his time as an employee is up, and all of his contacts have vowed to (1) subcontract work to him and (2) pass out his business cards to others. (One subcontractor is already bidding on a kitchen renovation and has told Ed that he'll use his services if his bid is accepted.) I'll purchase a domain name for Ed and set up a simple web site for him with plenty of photos of his work. I'll also write and get printed a flyer for him to mail to every single contractor in our county who works in the mansions that need the high-end work that Ed can offer.

Besides being a very skilled cabinetmaker in general, he has one skill that will be invaluable: spraying (with stains and lacquer) furniture that's already built into a home (e.g., kitchen cabinets, library cabinetry, home-entertainment centers, bathroom details). His contacts tell him that because it's such tricky work, just about no one wants to do this, so every contractor doing work with megamillionaires who need this done could be his client.

This time around with self-employment, he won't be dealing directly with the homeowners or mansion owners who need the work done; he'll do the work that the contractors bill the owners for. This will work much better for him because contractors know what his work is worth; homeowners will always, always—even if they're billionaires—try to dicker with individual professionals. The contractors will ask Ed for his estimates for the part of the work he'll be doing, and the contractors, not Ed, will have to negotiate with the homeowners for the total project, whether that's one room or an entire mansion.

Ed is greatly cheered about his professional prospects after having done his research, and he's back to the happy guy I know best and love.

I will keep you posted on how things go. I owe all of you who commented here and by e-mail a big thank-you for your suggestions, your confidence in Ed and me, and your cheerleading. I'm so grateful for your support.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful news, Katharine! Sounds like this challenging situation will turn out to be a blessing to your whole family.

Stephanie E. said...

Hi there. I'm just now catching up on blog posts from the last week and so am reading up on this latest news a bit late! I'm so, so glad to see that all is going to work out so well! I've been in awe every time you've posted a photo of one of his incredible, stunning pieces of work, and with you as his business partner and support system, it seems quite clear that this is going to be an exciting, successful venture. Congrats & good luck; I'll be sending out good vibes! :)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thank you, Melissa and Stephanie. Support from good people like the two of you keeps me going. And Ed says thank you for the compliment, Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

Good luck. I hope this interest rate cut keeps the housing market in business there. For a while it was looking like a redo of 1930.

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