"another" and "better" career alternative?.....

Arthur Sowers arthures at magpage.com
Wed Jan 10 12:16:00 EST 2001

When you are young, health plans are cheap. When you get older, they get
more espensive. However, for the numbers I gave, I imagine some guys
getting "average" wages and socking a large fraction of the rest into
401ks and having a lot left over for health plan payments which are also
deductable. I have a BCBS health plan for myself and my wife, through my
one man corporation, which has lower premiums than if I bought it as an


On Wed, 10 Jan 2001, Jeffrey J. Potoff wrote:

> The truck driver and movers from North American that I spoke with on our
> move also seemed to make some good money.  But in the case of an
> owner/operator, what do you do for health insurance?  That can get
> expensive real fast.  Now you might argue that many under-employed PhDs
> don't have health insurance so it's a moot point, but I think it's still
> relevant.
> Jeff
> Arthur Sowers wrote:
> > 
> > On mainly sci.research.careers I have, over the last couple of years
> > occassionally posted information about jobs/careers that are: i) low
> > tech,, ii) blue collar, iii) etc., that pay as well, and sometimes more,
> > and require less formal education and credentials than sci-engineering
> > jobs and have more long term job security and more immunity to
> > age-discrimination.
> > 
> > For those who don't know me, I am a 57 year-old, formerly grant funded
> > ex-research professor who lost his career in 1995-6 throught the "grant
> > lottery" where funding is dependent more on what is trendy than what is
> > competant reserch.
> > 
> > Here is another one: small company movers. Yes, as in moving furniture,
> > belongings, etc., from one house to another. We just had a load of
> > belongings moved from our old house to our new house and I asked a lot of
> > questions about the business. Here is the lowdown:
> > 
> > The company is made up of essentially two guys (the owner/manager and his
> > "sidekick"). There is a wife or sister who answers the phone on weekdays
> > and sets up some scheduling. They own a truck with a 22 foot box, and the
> > truck is a six wheel job that can carry about  8,000 lbs. The
> > owner/manager has been in this business for 19 years and in response to my
> > question, not complaining about anything. The sidekick has been doing this
> > for 9 years and in response to my question is not looking for anything
> > better in the line of work.
> > 
> > Our "move" took them just under 2 hours to load, about 2 hours road time
> > from old house to new house, about 2-3 hourse to unload. Total bill: $750.
> > 
> > The main overhead is the truck. The guy uses about $7,000 in diesel fuel
> > per year, and puts in about $8,000 in maintenance on the truck. They are
> > working continuously 6 days per week. The owner/manager, a quite
> > intelligent and articulate guy (I did not ask if he had a PhD in
> > anything), bids low on jobs and gets most of the jobs he bids on. Assuming
> > the truck is working 265 days per year, then his primary overhead is about
> > $50 per day for the truck (cf. Uhaul rates for a medium sized truck which
> > would be a daily fee plus per mile fees that might run up to maybe $100+
> > but surely not over $200 for a run such as ours). This leaves, basically,
> > $750 minus $100, or 650 per two guys, or basically $325 each for a basic
> > day of sweatwork that is roughly eight hours in length. I think most of
> > the guys on this NG should be able to do a rough back-of-the-envelope per
> > hour estimate of what these guys might be getting on an hourly basis. They
> > surely make a little less because they are paying the girl back in the
> > office (at someone's home) something to answer the phone, pay for adverts
> > in the local yellow pages (a few hundred per year), and pay for business
> > cards, and maybe payments on the truck (such trucks, if you buy one
> > outright can be from $50K, used, to $100K new, but you could rent/lease
> > one for roughly $100 per day, too).
> > 
> > A United Van Lines rep came out to bid on the same exact job and gave us
> > an estimate for, believe it or not, $1700, and gave us the exact same
> > "time and effort" estimate for doing the job. UVL surely has more overhead
> > costs to pay for national advertizing, pay for some overpaid and
> > underperforming CEO/executives and their entourage, and high rent district
> > office building wherever they have their national headquarters.
> > 
> > One last item: we packed all boxes ourselves. They just loaded &
> > unloaded. The bulky heavy furniture, including washer, dryer,
> > refrigerators, etc., they carried onto truck and wrapped in mover's
> > quilts. The local guys were very good, very professional. I did a lot of
> > schmoozing with the owner/operator and when I asked where he lived, he
> > gave a community of mid range housing where I know the houses are in the
> > 300K-400K price range and this is not a high rent district area of the
> > country like Silicon Valley. So, I'd say the guy is doing fairly well and
> > certainly better than many PhDs (and laid-off programmers, engineers, and
> > others that, when they reach an age of 40 or so, start having trouble
> > finding new work AND are exposed to company/economy induced layoffs).
> > 
> > The owner/manager also told me that he previoulsly worked as the
> > "sidekick" in another small company situated about 20-30 miles away and
> > then split off on his own many years ago and he sees, and has seen in the
> > past, nothing but growth ahead in this business. He never gave any
> > indications of worrys or concerns about crap, politics, concerns, etc., in
> > his line of business.
> > 
> >   Arthur E. Sowers, PhD
> >   -----------------------------------------
> >   | Science career information website:   |
> >   | http://www.magpage.com/~arthures      |
> >   -----------------------------------------

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