Well, here's a doozy for you guys....

It seems that most everyone in this forum are big time professionals and leaving the rest of us small operators in the dust as you guys get bigger and bigger. I too would like a piece of that pie (LOL), but I'm like Tom Peerless in that I've been a one man show for all these years. This year though, has been a real ball buster for me with more work than I can handle, but I still don't see how I could afford to pay all that you guys claim to pay to have an employee and still come out ahead at the end of the day.

This year, I'd like to hire a full time employee (my son) and would like to do the right thing. My question is, how in the world do you afford:

1. work comp (roof cleaning is apparently about $20 - 25 per $100),
2. liability,
3. commercial vehicle insurance,
4. competitive wages (so that he can live and support his family),
5. payroll taxes
6. equipment replacement costs
7. vehicle payments
8. am I forgetting anything?
8. and still have money left over?

Is there a formula that you guys use to ensure that you make a profit at the end of the day?
Are you charging $150 an hour?
Are you benefiting more from the actual write-offs than the actual profits at the end of the day?

Because I'm a lone ranger, I've gotten by without work comp and been able to keep my costs down with the basic insurances, but when I hire an employee I can only guess that all my costs will sky rocket. At this point, 85% of my work is residential and the small percentage of commercial that I've serviced for years, haven't asked about insurance (yet) other than liability, which I've always carried.

A REAL answer to these questions would be extremely helpful to all the one man operators that read this board. I'm not asking for propietary secrets and I'm not looking to monopolize the industry here, but I would like more than a "vague" answer. And of course, going to business school is just not an option for me. My son has been working for a painting company in California, but business has dissipated to the point that he is having a hard time and I'd like to turn his misfortune into a successful venture for both of us.

I see you guys on here with your big rigs and would like to move in that direction mainly to be able to support both our families. Any advice for all of us one man-gangs out here?