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  1. #1
    DF PwNagE Mario87's Avatar
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    Question Self Employment Noob!

    Right, I currently work for a large organisation, but really want to go down the self employed route. Will be specialising in tuning cars (as in remapping them). All started off as a bit of a hobby, but have recently been getting quite a few folk asking me to do their cars because they don't fancy paying £600+ for the local tuners to do it. Now there is quite a good market around here, and not only that, I have recently obtained software for doing the Nissans that no other tuner in Scotland has from what I am aware of. So this has put me in a very good position, and now that my reputation is building I want to move into this full time at some point.

    Thing is, I don't have the slightest clue about being self employed when it comes to taxes, NI, public liability insurance (do I need it?), etc, etc. Last thing I want is the tax man knocking at my door. Basically just coming here to ask for tips, advice, etc on what to do when starting my own business.

    Cheers

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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Public liability insurance is recommended mate, mine went through today so I am insured up to £1,000,000 as an IT consultant/technician and that's £150 per annum.

    Have a look through this forum for a thread about IT created by DejaVu, it had all the info I needed about self employment I would link to it but I'm on the iPhone in a slow Internet zone.


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    DF PwNagE Mario87's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Cheers mate, will do a search for that thread you mentioned. £150 per annum for insurance? That's pretty good! Who are you with? What companies do public liability insurance?

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    DF VIP Member Nikki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by HermaN View Post
    Cheers mate, will do a search for that thread you mentioned. £150 per annum for insurance? That's pretty good! Who are you with? What companies do public liability insurance?
    endsleigh
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    i have used these three in the past
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    DF PwNagE liveseytowers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Do you need to drive the car to map it on the road? If so i'd imagine that will cost a fair bit.

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    DF Super Moderator Over Carl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    I have no idea about this, but I'm wondering if an insurer would expect you either are qualified to do what you are intending to do, or will be testing maps on spare engines first.

    Reason being I'm not trying to piss on your parade, but I'm sure you are very well aware of what could happen if you send a punter's car out running lean, especially if you're dealing with turbos. I may eat my words, but I'm thinking an insurance company would be nuts to insure someone who may not have a clue and is doing no testing.

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    DF PwNagE Mario87's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by liveseytowers View Post
    Do you need to drive the car to map it on the road? If so i'd imagine that will cost a fair bit.
    Nope, don't need to actually drive the car to do it. Well not on the road anyway, on the rolling road/dyno, yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Over carl View Post
    I have no idea about this, but I'm wondering if an insurer would expect you either are qualified to do what you are intending to do, or will be testing maps on spare engines first.

    Reason being I'm not trying to piss on your parade, but I'm sure you are very well aware of what could happen if you send a punter's car out running lean, especially if you're dealing with turbos. I may eat my words, but I'm thinking an insurance company would be nuts to insure someone who may not have a clue and is doing no testing.
    Are the other 20 or so cars I've done not enough to kinda show I know what I'm doing? Also, if they want, I will happily donate my car to test on seeing as it's already been done by me anyway...

    As I said, been doing it as a hobby for over a year, so not toally new to this.

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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by HermaN View Post
    Nope, don't need to actually drive the car to do it. Well not on the road anyway, on the rolling road/dyno, yes.



    Are the other 20 or so cars I've done not enough to kinda show I know what I'm doing? Also, if they want, I will happily donate my car to test on seeing as it's already been done by me anyway...

    As I said, been doing it as a hobby for over a year, so not toally new to this.
    Not sure on my firm for insurance tbh mate but they did require a full CV as well as qualifications specific to my work which I have.


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    DF Super Moderator DJ Overdose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Do you not think that your recent shenanigans will affect things, like insurance, loan acceptance and possible customer credibility?

    Not trying to put you off, but if you are not sure how it all works you might be better off getting professional advice, if you actually want to make a living off it.

    Starting any business, even just being self employed at something, is not as easy as people think. Best bet would have been/would be to work for someone in that exact trade or at least speak to someone who is. To find out exactly what needs to be done to make it work. There is quite probably a reason re-maps are the price they are I would say...

    I doubt using torrent software will be wise given that's not legal...


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    DF PiMP Copex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Bussiness link is where you should start give them a ring and go and see one of their advisers, they will provide you with all of the info you require and on going support.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    don't be put off take the jump you will either sink or swim, everyone has a opinion about starting up but it's not all way 100% correct info so get some provisional advice to get started and ongoing support, just been able to pic up the phone to ask a question or going out and meeting other people starting up or been able to attend free talks on marketing, finance ect is invaulable , you never know you may also be able to get a grant to help in your start-up. (depending on where you live)

    even if you talk to someone and desied its not for you at least you had a go.
    Last edited by Copex; 7th October 2010 at 11:53 AM.

  11. #11
    DF PwNagE Mario87's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Overdose View Post
    Do you not think that your recent shenanigans will affect things, like insurance, loan acceptance and possible customer credibility?
    Not in the slightest. I'm the one in the passenger seat pressing all the buttons, that's about it. Also, how could it affect customer credibility?? Credibility is all about the quality of workmanship, nothing else!

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Overdose View Post
    There is quite probably a reason re-maps are the price they are I would say...
    You wouldn't be saying that after seeing some of the "professional" maps I have personally pulled off. Basically a 100% bone stock map with the boost cut limit removed and the customer was charged £600, hardly justified is it?

    Have even seen "pro" tuners rip off other peoples work! The expensive part is the dyno time, hiring a dyno is not a cheap thing, but it can still be done for a lot less than what most others would charge.

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Overdose View Post
    I doubt using torrent software will be wise given that's not legal...
    Who mentioned anything about torrent software?? All the hardware and software I have is 100% above board and I am an official distributor for one of the companies so I can re-sell their hardware and software all above board.

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Overdose View Post
    Starting any business, even just being self employed at something, is not as easy as people think. Best bet would have been/would be to work for someone in that exact trade or at least speak to someone who is.
    Hmm, well I know the lads at the place I use to rent the dyno, so could have a word with some of them and see what they say. Also, another idea I have had is to form a partnership with this company, because they are Evo specialists and don't have the software for Nissans. As a matter of fact, there is no tuning shop in Scotland that does have the software, however I do have a 100% legit tuners licence, so a partnership might be an idea.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Copex View Post
    Bussiness link is where you should start give them a ring and go and see one of their advisers, they will provide you with all of the info you require and on going support.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    don't be put off take the jump you will either sink or swim, everyone has a opinion about starting up but it's not all way 100% correct info so get some provisional advice to get started and ongoing support, just been able to pic up the phone to ask a question or going out and meeting other people starting up or been able to attend free talks on marketing, finance ect is invaulable , you never know you may also be able to get a grant to help in your start-up. (depending on where you live)

    even if you talk to someone and desied its not for you at least you had a go.
    Cheers mate, some good advice there.
    Last edited by Mario87; 7th October 2010 at 04:09 PM.

  12. #12
    DF Super Moderator Over Carl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by HermaN View Post
    Nope, don't need to actually drive the car to do it. Well not on the road anyway, on the rolling road/dyno, yes.



    Are the other 20 or so cars I've done not enough to kinda show I know what I'm doing? Also, if they want, I will happily donate my car to test on seeing as it's already been done by me anyway...

    As I said, been doing it as a hobby for over a year, so not toally new to this.
    If you feel happy to put your name and charge then good for you. If I paid £600 for work like that to be done on a car of mine, I would expect massively more throurough testing. How can you claim long term reliablity when you've only been doing it a year? Melted pistons aren't cheap to replace.

  13. #13
    DF PwNagE Mario87's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by Over carl View Post
    How can you claim long term reliablity when you've only been doing it a year? Melted pistons aren't cheap to replace.
    End of the day, everyone has to start somewhere. There was a time when these guys with 5 or 10 year experience were also in my shoes. There is no testing that can be done really. Every car is different, and you have to give the engine what it wants so-to-speak, it's all about knowing what the "safe limits" are and staying within them. Getting the fueling setup so that it's at 12.5:1 AFR on spool up quickly dropping to about 11.5:1 AFR from 4000 RPM onwards, makine sure there is no knock, etc. Now I personally run my own car at 12.0:1 AFR, it is a little leaner, and will make a little more power, but not something I would run on someone elses road car where that tiny little bit extra might get a few more BHP, but also puts it on the edge of what is safe.

    I always factor in a safety margin. Also, the fact that 1 car I have done in particular is used as a drift car and is on full load all day without going bang is also a testimant that I don't spit out rubbish that will kill the car.

    The worst that I have had is 1 lads gearbox went after it was mapped, but that's not my fault if his gearbox can't take the grunt, and the lad agreed. I asked him if he wanted it dailed down, but he said no, he likes it as it is, so I left it and he simply got another box.

    Also, I have had to re-map a car that did go bang just 2 hours after another "professional" mapper did it. Car was re-built and I sorted the mess that was left behind. The so-called "pro" made it so bad it wouldn't idle, it wouldn't cruise without bucking/jerking and when on full chat the fueling was at 13.5:1 AFR, which is what an N/A car needs, not a 2.0L turbo with lots of head work producing about 350 BHP.

    My thread was not meant to be about whether or not I know what I'm doing or can do this, it's about general info on starting a business. I know what I'm doing and so do all the people I have dealt with and the guys I liase with on tuning forums. That's not what I came here for.

    Also, I have 4 guys waiting for me to do their cars over the next week....I must be doing something right. Just want advice on taking this to the next level.

    Oh, and £600 is what a tuner charges (inc the "pro" that had the engine go pop 2 hours later), I don't charge anywhere near that, because at the end of the day, I am still new to the game and don't have the overheads they have (ie, shop, dyno, lighting, paying people, etc, etc).
    Last edited by Mario87; 7th October 2010 at 06:27 PM.

  14. #14
    Argyll's Apprentice TwoPlAnKs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    The technicalities of being self employed are pretty simple. I did it when I was doing maths tutoring.

    You register as self employed on the HMRC website, then keep all your receipts for money you've spent on the business. I find a Stella box is ideal for this. Also write everyone an invoice and receipt (you can buy a book of 100 duplicating invoices and receipts for a few quid if you can't be arsed doing them properly on the PC).

    At the end of the year they send you a tax return and you just need to add up what you spent on the business from your Stella box of receipts and subtract that from what you took in. You then pay tax on that.

    National insurance bills get sent to your house every quarter automatically when you register as self employed.

    Of course, this means you are personally liable for the finances of the business if you get into debt - it's your bank account after all. It's more hassle but better to set up a Ltd company with a business bank account, then you can seek investment and won't be as liable if it goes tits up. Being a director of a bankrupt Ltd. is still a pretty bad place to be though so it's not completely safe.

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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    My insurance firm is hiscox mate.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoPlAnKs View Post
    Being a director of a bankrupt Ltd. is still a pretty bad place to be though so it's not completely safe.
    As long as you haven't traded fraudulently then nobody gives a monkeys these days tbh.

    As you are going to be messing on potentially expensive parts of other peoples cars a ltd co would give you an additional layer of security to the insurance - if the worst happens and something fucks up they will be suing the company and not you personally.

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    Argyll's Apprentice TwoPlAnKs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by hoponbaby View Post
    As long as you haven't traded fraudulently then nobody gives a monkeys these days tbh.
    Do they not ban you from owning future companies and stuff for x years? My knowledge of Ltd.s is a good 5 years out of date as it was covered in a course back then, I was always just a sole trader.

    I didn't even have insurance because I figured the worst thing I could have done is damaged something in a student's house accidentally, which I could just be careful not to do. Looking back, that was actually a bit foolish as one of them could have failed and sued me for some teaching deficiency, and although it would have been very hard for them to prove, I had no qualifications to defend myself with either. I think damaging somebody's car accidentally could be the same, and if it was going to go full time and a permanent job (mine was always meant to be temporary for beer money at uni) then definitely worth having the insurance.

    You could be stung by people's cars just breaking by chance after you have touched them too. Anything that goes wrong which could be even remotely related to the mapping is likely to cause blame to head your way, and most local garages who either couldn't fix the problem or fully explain it would point the finger just to avoid trouble. Insurance would be almost vital for that alone I think, because it means you could trade without worrying about somebody's engine falling off on their way home.

  18. #18
    DF PwNagE Mario87's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoPlAnKs View Post
    You could be stung by people's cars just breaking by chance after you have touched them too. Anything that goes wrong which could be even remotely related to the mapping is likely to cause blame to head your way, and most local garages who either couldn't fix the problem or fully explain it would point the finger just to avoid trouble. Insurance would be almost vital for that alone I think, because it means you could trade without worrying about somebody's engine falling off on their way home.
    I agree that insurance is important, and I am looking into it, but funny thing is with all mappers. If it lets go on their hands, you will NEVER find a tuner who will admit it was the map. They will say something along the lines of the engine is 12 years old and was probably already weak, or it was contaminated fuel that caused it to det it's head off and let go, or some other reason that is not the maps fault. Problem for the customer is that without spending thousands stripping it down and checking there is no way to proove it. Would actually be cheaper to replace the engine than it would be to get someone to strip the whole thing down and proove it was 100% sounds and the fuel was good, etc in order to show the courts it had to be the map and nothing else that killed the car.

    If a customer were to spend all that money stripping it down, they could end up being told that it was simply a faulty injector that caused a cylinder to run lean and melt the piston, which would in turn mean they spend a load of money stripping it down trying to proove it was the map, when it actually wasn't. It can be VERY hard/virtually impossible to say and engine died due to a bad map and absolutely nothing else.

    Do you really think the likes of a judge is gonna understand what people are trying to explain to him/her either, which would mean they would also have to get an expert to come in an testify that from their knowlege, this damage could have ONLY been done by a bad map and nothing else. It is pretty much impossible to proove the map alone is what killed it, and that's what they would need to do if it went to court ,etc.

    As I said, I'm still on the look for insurance, but thought I would share the info above, from what others have experience when their engines let go while being mapped. It's always something else that gets blamed and the customer is left to foot the bill for either a new engine, a rebuild or stripping it down and getting it inspected if they want to take it to court.
    Last edited by Mario87; 9th October 2010 at 11:00 AM.

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    DF PwNagE liveseytowers's Avatar
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    Default

    I think some kind of disclaimer would be a very wise idea as everyone knows the risk of putting their car on the dyno and having it mapped.

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    DF VIP Member Little John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Self Employment Noob!

    Is it possible for you to do this as a part time thing to test the water? Its great to say you have 4 people lined up but what after that? It is very easy to work part time in what you do for fun, but make it your main bread winner and it very quickly looses the enjoyment even quicker when you have no money to feed yourself due to a quiet week.

    As you said maybe a partnership with someone? get in with someone who does everything but Nissan and you go in to do the Nissan stuff as a contractor, no hassle for you just charge the guy for your time he is the one responsible for everything get to see if the market exists before you jump in with both feet.
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