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Before you buy.
Of course, sometimes a market appears that is not the one you thought
you had and the tail ends up walking the dog, if your eyes are open and
you can take advantage when opportunity presents itself.
Even in my own experiance with having a machine shop, even if you set up to do
a specific job say a lathe and tooling. This does not mean that you will get
lathe work. Get the work and all of the rest will fall in place as you go. Its
not quite the field of dreams "if you open it they may not come" Sad but true.
Some of the most successfull shop I know were started by salesmen. They had the
contacts for what they needed to sell. Its the secret..
>Production? General repair ? Specialized repair (Farm, Marine)? Custom
>There's machine shops and machine shops... In any business, the clearer
>you are about what you want to do, the better your chances for success.
>Of course, sometimes a market appears that is not the one you thought
>you had and the tail ends up walking the dog, if your eyes are open and
>you can take advantage when opportunity presents itself.
Excellent point! I dont know how many of my customers started off doing one type of part/industry,
but wound up making completly different stuff, in totally differnt ways... quite sucessfuly btw.
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an
invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write
a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort
the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone,
solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program
a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die
gallantly. Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
>Remember there are some other little things that go with running a
>taxes, insurance( health, liability, building, equipment, etc), utilites,
Things that cost money... yeah.....
customers who aren't
and on... and on.... and on...
> Of course, sometimes a market appears that is not the one you thought
> you had and the tail ends up walking the dog, if your eyes are open and
> you can take advantage when opportunity presents itself.
> Good luck
Yes, the first year+ in operation is often best described as "Market
research". Keep enough capital and capacity around to be responsive,
maybe even opportunistic. It's chicken and egg, you won't see the
opportunities to do 'B' until you try to do 'A'.
Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
sp...@interlog.com Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
Contributions invited->The AVR-gcc FAQ is at: http://www.BlueCollarLinux.com
Hmm. Actually at the shop I work at at night, this number is
about right. This is for an established shop, with a built-up
For a startup I could imagine doing it for somewhat less, and grow
into the work.
> I'm thinking about opening a machine shop. What
> do companies look for in a machine shop? Would
> they look at experience? Should I go to nearby
> companies advertising my service? If so, who
> should I talk to?
He can avoid at least a few of these by pitching his tent in Bulgaria. See
related thread elsewhere. It's a sure-fire way to get Gary Coffman as a
I have been involved in quite a diversity of business ventures over the
years, and I counld't help but notice that not matter how good a
machinist (software developer, hand weaver, painter, underwater welder,
engineer, musicical instrument repair man, baker, chef, etc, etc...) you
may be, you also need to be, or to hire, or to partner with, an
accountant, a bookkeeper, a salesperson, a marketing person, etc, etc.
Even if you can do all these things yourself, you don't want to, aren't
interested in all of them, and don't have the time. There is a lot more
to any successful business than one person who is good at some
In article <391E3CF3...@home.com>,
<oddjo...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
A guy that I know that has a machine shop was asked what he would do
if he won the lotto. His reply was that he would keep running his
shop until the money ran out. Two person shop with about forty
something machines in a old building on prime waterfront property.
You can barely move from one end of the shop to the other because of
all the machines.
A local machine shop owner recently won about $3.6 Million in the state
lottery. The local television station sent a crew went out to get a
report on this heart-warming human interest story for the evening news.
The talking head asked the inevitable question, "What are you going to
do now that you have all this money?" The man thought about it for
about five seconds, and wearily replied "Well, I guess I'll just keep on
running my machine shop. As long as the money holds out."
Jack in Sonoma, CA, USA (ja...@vom.com)
No sane man wants his offspring to follow in his footsteps ...
wherever you go - there you are
Having recently opened my fourth Machine Shop, I have been thinking long and
hard about how to answer this question, in a meaningful and useful way...without
running to about two hundred pages of closely type text!!
The first thing to understand about opening a machine shop, or any other type of
business, is that 96% of ALL new businesses fail!!! At the end of ten years, out
of every 100 new openings, 96 have failed, three are struggling and only one can
be deemed to be "A Success"
It is important therefore to understand WHY this is so if you are to have any
chance whatsoever of survival.
My first advice is therefore, to go out and buy a book called "The E-Myth
Revisited" by Michael E Gerber..available from any bookstore...ISBN
0-88730-728-0. My last copy cost $15.00 (I say "last copy" because I have
bought several copies in my time and keep giving them away to friends who
express the desire to open businesses!!)
Next you have to ask yourself (and honestly answer) the question " Why do I want
to open my own business?"
So you can be your own boss?...You will find you have more "Bosses" as a small
business owner than ever before!!
It has often been said.."Having your own business means working 80 hours a week
for yourself..so you don't have to work 40 hours a week for someone else" That
can be a very true statement.
To me, the objective of a business is, as quickly as possible, to reach a stage
where it produces an ongoing stream of income, more than sufficient to meet your
needs..WHETHER YOU ARE THERE OR NOT!!!!!!
(My latest new venture has achieved that position in less than three months!!)
Anything else is not a business..it just means YOU OWN YOUR OWN JOB!!!!!
To achieve this, you will need to reduce the details of how to run your business
to a "SYSTEM" You (or someone else) runs the "SYSTEM" and the "SYSTEM" runs the
business. It is for this ONE SINGLE REASON that business people are so willing
to buy a franchise type operation...Franchise businesses have the exact reverse
track record in new start-ups...96% succeed and less than 4% fail. What you
primarily pay for in a franchise is a Guaranteed, Turn-Key System. You run the
system, the system runs the business and the business makes money. It really is
as simple as that.
If you can't buy a working system then YOU have to develop it..Gerber's book
will hammer this concept home and teach you how to do it for yourself. What
Gerber's book will teach you, is how to work ON your business..rather than IN
Now! Having said all that, you need to understand that you will need enough
working capital, not just to buy or lease the space and equipment to start up
with..but to be able to cover your operating costs, fixed and variable, for up
to TWO YEARS, including YOUR living expenses, without counting on taking a dime
of income out of the business.
What do machine shop customers look for?
If you have to ask that question you are in Deep DooDoo before you start. Yes I
could tell you..but it would take the afforsaid megapages to do it. Yes I could
teach you and I will make you the following offer..
Assuming you are a pretty damned good Machinist or Tool and Die Maker..Come to
Atlanta and work for me for THREE MONTHS..I will pay you 2/3 of what I regularly
pay my top people ($23 to $30.00 per hour) and I will undertake to teach you the
BUSINESS from top to bottom!! That is about as close to "Turnkey" as you will
get in this business.
Think I'm kidding? :^)
"Dan Caster" <dca...@my-deja.com> wrote in message
>Assuming you are a pretty damned good Machinist or Tool and Die Maker..Come to
>Atlanta and work for me for THREE MONTHS..I will pay you 2/3 of what I regularly
>pay my top people ($23 to $30.00 per hour) and I will undertake to teach you the
>BUSINESS from top to bottom!! That is about as close to "Turnkey" as you will
>get in this business.
Heck...If I could afford to, I'd come out and do it without pay just
for the additional knowledge. I do fine on the mill and lathe. Where
I'm stuggling is trying to decipher all the information from my die
making books. There is a lot of science to it, but there is also a
considerable amount of personal majic to it.
Also, You 'll want to put a counter in your shop, or somebody
will walk right up to you, and usually into the path of some
flying metal object, or into the fast-return backstroke of the
You're going to get a high signal-to-noise ratio. For every ten
people that say how much would it cost to make this, one will be
able to answer all the questions you need to ask to make a
reasonable estimate. Don't work for free.
.. It's easier to toss newspapers.
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I've been told 3 years minimum, and I believe it. When Mark took over
the shop(which had been in business for 20+ years already) he didn't
make a dime for the first 5 years, they lived off his wife's income.
He's been there 20 years now, and makes a good buck, but he also
spends 80 hours or more working every week.
Custom machining; Tool & Cutter grinding, prices at
Peter Drumm, Wausau WI
Dual Celeron 466's, Abit BP6, Matrox AGP, OS/2 Warp 4, Linux, BeOS
Take Teenut up on his offer. That is some of the best advice I've run
across both on and off the net for some time. Those three months are
worth more to you and your business plans than taking classes for an
MBA! I also expect that he'll keep you busy learning things that you
never thought would make a difference - from tax law to calculating the
hidden job costs down to a nat's patutie... Hell, if I had not just
returned to grad school I might have asked him if I could come learn,
and I really don't want to open a machine shop either. I have however
been doing contract programming for a while and would benefit IMHO from
such instruction myself. Much, if not most, of the business end is
On Mon, 15 May 2000, Robert Bastow wrote:
> To achieve this, you will need to reduce the details of how to run your business
> to a "SYSTEM" You (or someone else) runs the "SYSTEM" and the "SYSTEM" runs the
> business. It is for this ONE SINGLE REASON that business people are so willing
> to buy a franchise type operation...Franchise businesses have the exact reverse
> track record in new start-ups...96% succeed and less than 4% fail. What you
> primarily pay for in a franchise is a Guaranteed, Turn-Key System. You run the
> system, the system runs the business and the business makes money. It really is
> as simple as that.
I can see it now:
- Machine shops with golden arches in front of them
- Signs that say, "Over 26 billion set up and milled"
- Coupons for a free McTurning Job with every 20 holes drilled
- Ronald McLathe Operator commercials
The possibilities are endless.
I wouldn't know what to do with that much extra
space!!!!!!...............on second thought....YES I WOULD....fill it up
with more toys!!!!!!!
Peter Drumm wrote:
> In message <r9KT4.3199$t4.3...@news1.rdc1.ga.home.com> - Robert
> Bastow <"teenut"@ hotmail.com>Mon, 15 May 2000 03:28:23 GMT writes:
> :->Now! Having said all that, you need to understand that you will need enough
> :->working capital, not just to buy or lease the space and equipment to start up
> :->with..but to be able to cover your operating costs, fixed and variable, for up
> :->to TWO YEARS, including YOUR living expenses, without counting on taking a dime
> :->of income out of the business.
> I've been told 3 years minimum, and I believe it. When Mark took over
> the shop(which had been in business for 20+ years already) he didn't
> make a dime for the first 5 years, they lived off his wife's income.
> He's been there 20 years now, and makes a good buck, but he also
> spends 80 hours or more working every week.
Then..As I stated..He doesn't own a "Business" he owns his own "Job"!!
Yes they are...if you are not too dumb to see it!!
No-one (Yet) has ever turnkeyed and franchised a succesful machine shop!
Go read "Grinding it out" by Ray Krok..the guy who showed everyone the way with
Then go look around at all the successful franchises and turnkeyed business that
soak up your hard earned dollars every day From Wendies to Minuteman Press, to
hotel chains to hardware stores To Mailboxes Etc...etcetera, etcetera,!
Go learn something about how BUSINESS really works and then come back and I'll
discuss Macdonalds and Turnkeying with you!
Sorry to be snippy..but don't bring a knfe to a gun fight!
> Sorry to be snippy..but don't bring a knfe to a gun fight!
I think he was being humourous there. You missed the [implied]
And you didn't seem snippy. The discussion is quite interesting
to me, because my wife's law practice eventually closed down after
many years simply because she could not wear 'all the hats' at once.
She is a great lawyer, but the strain of running a one-woman band
was just too much. As has been said here, running a business is
a *lot* more than must knowing the area of specialization. The
irony of her situation was that she did all of the ancillary functions
as a legal secretary while she put herself thru college. And did
a damn good job of it too.
I would dearly love to open a shop, but the standard line I have heard
is that one has to realize that, as an employee, your employer is
_making_money_ off of you. He pays you 20 or 30 dollars an hour
for your work. But he bills the customer a hundred or more per
hour for your labor.
So when thinking of going it on your own, you have to realize that
the *starting* point for revenue has to be the _larger_ number.
Starting point. (don't forget that profit)
I seem to recall that you yourself made this point originally, Robert,
but felt it was worthy of mentioning again.
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Just another fart in
Watch link rot in action! : the Elevator of Life...
---Decks a-wash in a sea of words---
> signing one. F'rinstance the county retains the right to enter your
> premises at *any* time, unannounced, to inspect the shop and the work
> being performed there.
This is generally true of *all* businesses, various inspectors (especially
fire inspectors who have far-reaching powers) can enter at any time.
The fire department was doing a house-to-house tour here a couple of years
ago, they said you could invite them in and they would inspect what was
wrong, but if they found anything you would be *compelled* to fix it
promptly. Some people were taking them up on the offer, but then this is