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Closing Business and relocating to USA

Closing Business and relocating to USA

Closing Business and relocating to USA

Hi everyone,

I have been running my own business here in Australia for approx. 4 years now. I am involved in HVAC design and drafting as well as some minor plumbing design.

A few years ago, we lived and worked in the USA for a couple of years. It was during this time that I fell head over heels with the USA. It is an awesome country with truly kind and wonderful people!

We returned to Australia and I then started working for myself out of my home office. As most of you know, starting your own business can be a challenge. After 4 years, I am just starting to get some of the rewards.

During these 4 years, I have had a constant desire to return to the US and live. This would mean closing my business (which is very successful) and me joining a Firm to work.

I actually have phone interviews lined up and there is some keen interest.

I am now wondering if this is the right thing... I wonder if anyone has gone from being self employed back to working for a company. Is this hard? Am I nuts to even be looking at this?

With the Visa process, there is a bit of risk in that if my position with the new company became redundant I would have 10 days to leave the USA (unless the company gave me 2-3 months notice and I could change my Visa to aother company). This risk would be ongoing until we applied for permanent residence.

I am keen to know people's experience and advice.

Thanks in advance...

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

"I wonder if anyone has gone from being self employed back to working for a company. Is this hard? Am I nuts to even be looking at this?"

Well, it depends on priorities. If you want to live and work in the USA then you'll just have to accept the rest, in the short term.

"gone from being self employed back to working for a company"

I did exactly that. Yes, it is hard, in some respects, and a doddle in others. There were no real surprises for me.


Greg Locock

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RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Thanks Greg.

What were the negatives with going back to a company?

What were the positives?

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Positives - lots of money (in comparison), interesting job, social life, sleep, holidays

negatives - having to pay attention to manager's opinions, projects getting canned just as they were getting interesting, less control

I don't think I was really cut out for running my own engineering business, large lumps of the management side just do not interest me. I don't mind the financial stuff, but sales, marketing and HR bore me witless, by and large. But I did learn a lot, and gained a lot of experience and confidence.


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Being self employed in AU is way better than being an employee in US.

Although I would like the US lifestyle up to a point though, the corporate politics is just to much.

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA


I have been an employee in the US before and generally had a pretty good experience. It was with a small Firm.

I am keen to know your experience some more.

Have you been self employed in AU as well as been an employee in the US?

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Lets look at it from a different angle.

If you are moving to the US, your chances of succees may actually better if come in as a businessman (a Maverick of sort). Your visas may even be easier to get that way. All you need is invest a million dollars and create 10 jobs and you get an automatic green card (something like that). Does one really need to work if one can invest that kind of money? worth investigating the real rules though.
Why don't you open a US branch office of your Aussie company instead?
You may need to take a partner or tow to pull it off (one in AU, one in the US) but hey, Rupert Murdock did it, why can't you?

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Rupert Murdoch... Now, that is one smart dude! It is great reading about his story and seeing where he has gone over the decades.

I would love to do something like you suggest, but you need a lot of money as well as be very business savy. Unfortunatley, I have neither. To be honest, I still have a lot to learn in the world of HVAC engineering and that is where I am trying to focus.

I appreciate your e-mail is it is an "outside the box" reply.

I will look into some more options for sure.

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Being an employee in AU is better than in US (my view) more job security, less stress a better lifestyle all around.( education, medical etc .( With kids I would prefer AU)(Without kids and single:  US - in places like south beach or daytona beach....hihihihih)

In business though I believe US is a better place, less regulations, less redtape and more money potential. ALL THIS for way more more stress.

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Thanks again...

My experience as an employee in North Carolina was great! I never wanted to leave. I think it depends on the city and the size of the Firm you go to. I have some real horror stories for companies I have worked for here in Australia. Some I honestly feel that I still feel the effects from (another story another time).

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

So one question.  

Presumably working in HVAC will probably require you to have PE, at least eventually?

Do you have a clear path to obtaining this in the state you're looking at locating to?

I moved to CA from the UK (because my wife is US citizen) and have discovered that getting PE will likely be time consuming and expensive.  

My degree from the UK doesn't directly count toward EIT/PE, as far as I can work out looking at the licensing requirements.  The degree has to be from an accredited US or Canadian college.

Also much of my experience in the UK may not count as it wasn’t under a PE and some of it was Drafting which again doesn’t count.

I’m not saying don’t do it but consider if you’ll need the PE and if so do you have a clear path to get to it.

Hope it helps.

Also, I’m sure you’re aware there are bad employers in the US too!

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA


I made the move (temporarily) to the US from Australia.

A few things to consider:

1. To practice as self employed in most states you will need a PE licence, but many of the states will not let you get one unless you are a citizen/permanent resident (e.g. greencard). This would make it difficult, if not impossible, to set up your own business straight away.

2. I found when I was in the UK with a sponsored visa that I felt stuck in a job where I would not have stayed otherwise. If you are the sort of person that values freedom and the ability to move around then you may find it very constricting to be stuck with the one company.

3. Moving countries is expensive, and a lot of hard work. Even when you have financial assistance you can still incurr a lot of out of pocket expenses that all add up. Look into your financial situation before you think of doing it because if you have financial difficulties when arriving in the US, you will not be able to get a loan until you have a financial history here. Make sure you have sufficient funds in the bank to allow you to purchase a car (outright), put a deposit on a house, and cover you until your first payment.

4. 2 weeks holiday a year.

5. You will probably need to keep paying your professional liability insurance for your Australian company for some years into the future (its normally 10 for structural consultancies).You may want to look into selling it or passing your company onto someone else who can take over the indemnity insurance for you.

Despite all of this I say go for it, just make sure that you do it fully informed and have all your bases covered.

Good luck


RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Thanks csd2 for your post.

We are pretty aware of what a move involves as we did it back in 2001. It was a real eye opener!

I do not think I will be self employed for quite some time if we come back to the US.

I intend to join up with a quality Firm for the long haul and gain more experience and ultimately my P.E. liscence.

The struggle that I have is closing up my business here in Australia. It is just a small business (just me), but quite successful. Long hours and lots of hard work, but it is rather rewarding. I am sure I should be making more money for what I do though (another post another time).

Having worked in the US in the HVAC and Plumbing Engineering industry, I was constantly impressed with the varied projects as compared to Australia. HVAC is my forte mainly and when in the US, we did radiant heating design, hydronic design, boiler systems and the list goes on. In Australia, I mostly deal with CHW/DX split and package systems with cooling mostly in mind. More variety in the US I feel. I also like the idea of learning more about LEED and energy efficient designs. For career, I feel the US has the most to offer me with learning more and getting my P.E.

Giving up a business can be hard though in that it is something you have created and it is successful.

I wonder what it is like to go through the process of not being your own boss and joining up with a Firm again. It has been 4 years since I have worked for somebody. I do know one thing though, after running your own business you can never "free wheel" along. You have this drive to excell, learn and prove yourself all the while with objective of operating in a cost effective manner.

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Csd72 summarised well the difficulties of moving countries.

I moved to Canada from UK and would l like to add also:
it takes time to build up your network
it takes time to build your reputation.

You know about the two-year itch? It takes two years to settle into a place and avoid the yo-yo effect. Resist the yo-yo at all cost. The transition time can be difficult and I know many people return home to what they know and that move is the worse. They realise they've gone back to their original problems, only more broke. When you move, keep in mind it's a permanent move.

From all of this I am trying to say if you're young and it is your dream, do it now than later. It gets harder with the years. The US does sounds attractive to you in respect of challenges and that's very important.

I did the move late, survived the yo-yo impulse and it has taken me three years to build respect, reputation and be financially secure.

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

Do you realize you only get 10 days of vacation a year in the US at most companies for new employees?  I know there are a lot of overweight people here but we do work quite a bit LOL  smile.  I wish I had more vacation time like people from other countries sad

Sea Water Intake and Jetty Construction

RE: Closing Business and relocating to USA

You may be working at the wrong place, or ignorant of one aspect of the US corporate life. In the US, everything is negotiable, even vacations. When I move from one company to another, I let them put the offer on the table, after that, I say by the way, I have this 4-week vacation package at my current position that I'd like you match.

It works every time. I have not had less than 4 weeks anywhere for the past 12 years. How do you get to 4-weeks to start? skip the raise one year at your current employer, and ask for vacation instead. After that it becomes your standard package. Try it.

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