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 Post subject: SC/Coord/ArcFlash study specialization practice?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:10 am
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Hi, I'm an electrical P. E., with about 40 years of experience, most of the last 15 years in the power industry. I've been working with SC/Coord and ArcFlah studies almost exclusively for the last several years, often on old and exotic systems. Retirement is not too far on the horizon and I have been thinking of going on my own and specializing in power quality analysis, including SC/Coord/ArcFlash studies. I'd be interested in hearing anyone elses stories and experiences along these lines. How you started out, how you developed your contacts, how you deal with the insurance issues, etc. I'm familiar with EDSA. Etap, and SKM, and have created a business plan draft, with the intention of approaching the bank for a small business loan to purchase computers, plotters, printers and software. What are your opinions? What are the pitfalls you've seen. Any advice or even anecdotal knowledge would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

FH


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 5:11 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Connecticut
As with any business you need liability insurance. Most companies require contractors to provide proof of insurance. Usually 2 million dollars minimum. Depending on the state you live in setting up your business as a LLC. A lawyer can do this or if you are savvy enough can file the paper work yourself. Next biggest expense is analysis software which can run $2k to $4k depending on how crazy you get. You can setup a website and use direct mailings. Laser printers are cheap and used plotters can be found on Ebay. The biggest problem is convincing customers they need to comply with NFPA70-E. Most people I deal with have mechanical back grounds and really don't understand the importance of arc flash protection for their electrical staff. They usually see purchasing PPE as a unnecessary expense. Although OSHA requres employers to provide safety equipment.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:27 am 
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Thanks

Thanks, geh, for the advice. I'm pretty aware of the insurance and business set up requirements, and your advice fits with what I was expecting. I was hoping for a few more responses from people who had actually made that step, and could recount some of their experiences and practices. I appreciate the advice about using the internet as a advertising medium, that hadn't occurred to me. I've made a up a couple of sample mailings, just for the practice, but I'm not sure who to target. The area I'll be working in is very under-served by the engineering community, it's pretty remote, and don't expect to get much business locally. I'd be trying to work with owners directly, possibly offering my services to other engineering firms as a sort of out-sourced service, and also directly to contractors, and possibly the equipment suppliers and reps for companies like Russelectric, GE, SqD, etc. They don't have local representation in my area, so there may be a market there for someone to work with them on projects here in the UP. Again, thanks for your response, it was much appreciated. FH


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:25 am 
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Location: Connecticut
GE and Sq D market arc flash studies and have their own engineering staff so I don't think you will get a response from them. I've successfully bid against Sq D because they are high priced with allot of overhead to support. Being a small business I can offer a better price, faster service and a better quality product on a personal level. I've heard stories of people waiting six months or more for a Sq D study. Actually, I was hired by a company that got tired of waiting for Sq D. Good luck with your business venture.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 5:00 pm
Posts: 676
Location: Rutland, VT
I am in almost the same situation. I am in the process of loosing my job thru the sale of the company. I also have a PE, 28 yrs in the power industry and for the last 6 years have been performing AF, protection & coordination studies on the side. I already have the software and have been thru the LLC setup process. I used the family lawyer to do the articles of organization and file with the state. I am in the process of marketing.
Best of Luck to You!

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Barry Donovan, P.E.
www.workplacesafetysolutions.com


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