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  1. #21
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    Make a product dont think you are going to earn anything but beer money with an old mill and a lathe in your garage. I tried that, I took in all sorts of bull shit work. I maxed out at about a hundred bucks a day doing jobs from craigslist adds and posters at hardware stores. A product will allow you to compete and make use of your machines even if they are not the greatest.

  2. #22
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    ^ having your own product line is the key thing. Weather that be tourist key chain fobs or rocket motor nozzels, Job shop by all means too, but its a tough way to make a living, with the web selling globaly is near effortless. I have never been upside down numbers wise, but then i took a small very limited hobby shop and built a business on that. It can be done, the more skills you have the easier. Your own product you can make around your own free time, got a couple of hours to kill in a evening? Go make some bits, sell em and turn thoes dead hours into profit. When the job ends - you may - may not have enough work to get by, but having some income is always going to help buy you time to find some other job - gig - part time work to fill in the gaps.

    Loads of people think the only way is big money on big new machines in a big new shiny building, trust me there’s lots of other ways, hell my lathe is over twice the age i was when i started, I could retool my shop tomorrow with change from 5k and be were i am now again. Its really not what you have but what you do with it that really counts in this game. its really easy to end up machine - equipment heavy and end up just giving machine dealers all your profit's especially at the start. All the while the goal is to make you money, not make others money and work your ass off. Hence subbing stuff out, sourcing wisely and making stuff even if it takes 4x longer than buying it can all help make you make more per hour.

    Remember its not what you charge a hour that matters, its what you profit - keep a hour thats the truly significant bit!!!

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  4. #23
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    Starting a business takes a ton of follow-through, I don’t see that here in this thread. By now you could have told some of your resources. Skills, free time hours, shop space, cash free to spend. From searching your past posts it seems you can weld perhaps your job, have a manual lathe. have been working at a lower pay job…
    The manual lathe likely can’t kick-but with what it takes to make much over 10/20 an hour with wasted time averaged in like talking to customers, It is not efficient enough to run production work. It is great for the learning experience. By now you should:: know how to go to between centers in less than 10 minuets, How to 3jaw a part and have a good thread in 10 minuets. How to put on the 4 jaw and have a part trued .0002 and ready to turn in 10 minuets, how to step bore a part perhaps 5” long and get ID to OD running within .0005 concentric, how to get a step length with in .003, how to turn a bearing shaft so the ends are with in .0002 for size and concentric..*But this just for learning because the manual lathe cant produce to make $60K a year.
    Welding is the same..a one guy shop likely can’t make $60k unless you are crazy lucky and get a production welding job and they deliver and pick-up. But with trucks coming the neighbors will shut you down.
    Some one said make a product.. that is a good idea..can you think of a product?
    Making/selling products its good to keep books and be square with the tax man.

    Got to go now..Grinder waiting..$150 two hour job.. and I want to hit the road but can't until it is done..Darn.

    What? .. just opened the box..a $400 job..double Darn
    Last edited by michiganbuck; 01-31-2018 at 10:57 AM.

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  6. #24
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    Good the darn job done.
    Yes you can make 50K with most any decent grinder.. or $60 to $100 an hour for the better jobs..this job about 5 hours...oh that including a half hour lunch.

    Yes it may take 30 years or more to learn how to grind..but this job a apprentice with perhaps 1/2 hour training could do it.

  7. #25
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    The OP's "about me" description doesn't read like some one lacking in money.....

  8. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    The OP's "about me" description doesn't read like some one lacking in money.....
    Yeah had to google that because the first thing i got from "perfusionist" was "tea boy", not heart lung by pass machine operator!!!!!

    One tip for yah, whilst that may be correct typical name for that position - profession, reading about it on yah cv when you spent say the first 20 years of your carear as a "perfusionist" just has a diffrent meaning in this trade over here in the uk!!!!

  9. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwelo62 View Post
    Is there any chance of people giving a short spiel on how they got started? I doubt I am alone.
    The "Members and Shop Photo's" board down at the bottom of the library is full of those.


    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    So you're 55 and employed, and have presumably been employed for 35+ years, but you don't have the money to buy a mill and lathe and dump them in the garage?

    I'm not sure self employment is going to help you.
    Man, that is blunt and cruel, but likely the most honest answer he's ever gunna get.


    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    I think a decent 13-40 or better engine lathe with a turret and a slide bar cutoff could make some money

    I can't imagine trying to make that fly in 2018.
    Very few of today's parts or quality standards are going to support a turret lathe anymore.
    That dog hasn't hunted in 20 years now.


    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    The OP's "about me" description doesn't read like some one lacking in money.....


    Quote Originally Posted by adama View Post
    Yeah had to google that because the first thing i got from "perfusionist" was "tea boy", not heart lung by pass machine operator!!!!!

    One tip for yah, whilst that may be correct typical name for that position - profession, reading about it on yah cv when you spent say the first 20 years of your carear as a "perfusionist" just has a diffrent meaning in this trade over here in the uk!!!!
    Somehow you two lost me back there in the dust somewhere...


    At the end of the day I hafta go with Wes on this. If to this point you haven't had the drive to work all the O/T available, or find a better job - maybe one that DOES have available O/T, or start your own shop 20 yrs ago, then I Shirley kan't see you breaking even on your own.

    I hafta think that most guys that are >50 yrs old and are going to start out on their own - with any hope of making real bucks are guys that are already "someone" in the shop that they are in, or have been through many shops over the years, and they have a lot of connections that they can call on already. Folks that already know them by name. Know their work. Are not afraid to give them real jobs for real $. Many times - these guys will have an "in" on a job that someone is looking for - likely at their day job, and they may just take that job on the way out the door if it is big enough.

    Trying to start at zero is a young man's game. I would say that you should try to find a second part-time job and bank that. That will at least show you if you are up to working at your own shop those extra hours routinely.


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    Ox

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    I think OX has some good advice there.
    Snag a second job and see if your up to the hours needed. I'm 33 with a garage startup and f/t job. It's hard mentally, physically and socially.

    Worst that can happen is you see your not cut out for it but you'll have some extra cash to start an investment fund with.
    Best case it turns out when your underslept your a mad scientist and can double your productivity after midnight plus have banked some capital to purchase equipment.

    Anything can be done, but do you really want to do it?
    I've spent around $100,000 on equipment in 3 years. Looking at it, I should have invested in bitcoin and weed. And I'm not joking, I would have been way ahead.
    But I love machining and business. I'll see where my passion takes me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stirling View Post
    Looking at it, I should have invested in bitcoin and weed. And I'm not joking, I would have been way ahead.
    That's not a productive way to think. Hind sight is always 20/20. You could have invested in Juicero or Pandora or Blue Apron or Under Armor or many many others and lost 50 to 100%

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    That's not a productive way to think. Hind sight is always 20/20. You could have invested in Juicero or Pandora or Blue Apron or Under Armor or many many others and lost 50 to 100%
    A good friend told me, "I have two balls, and neither one of them is crystal".

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    That's not a productive way to think. Hind sight is always 20/20. You could have invested in Juicero or Pandora or Blue Apron or Under Armor or many many others and lost 50 to 100%
    Oh I totally agree, just makes me laugh a bit.
    I actually have a hard time with stocks. Popularity market shifts often move prices more than realistic value it seems.
    But that's why I bought cnc's instead, it's tangible. I can hold it. I can sell it. (Parts)
    Love it buts it's a lot of work, I got lucky with a small in with a company. I could not imagine slugging it out starting without a customer and getting beer money jobs.

    I learned at a good size jobber shop, (30,000sq ft) no clue how the boss kept it running (something to do with sleeping at his desk 7 nights a week?) man had a big heart and bigger work ethic.

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    Here's a different but related idea : rent 2,000 square feet near a crane shop, maybe pick up a 15,000 lb lift for the small stuff and buy an 8" Skilsaw. Do export packing.

    Those people are off their rocker. One machine a month would bring you $96,000 a year. And that's undercutting the competition by 40%.

    I think I could build one plywood box a month, and load one container, for $65,000 a year net.

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  20. #33
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    Get a new job. At 55, & presumably working for 20-30 years at this, you should be making over $30 an hour before overtime, and with benefits. If you're not there, start job searching. And/or pick up a 2nd job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    Get a new job. At 55, & presumably working for 20-30 years at this, you should be making over $30 an hour before overtime, and with benefits. If you're not there, start job searching. And/or pick up a 2nd job.

    Boy, that's a pretty broad stroke yuhr painting there.
    Sorta emulates a spray gun.


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    I would pick up a second job somewhere maybe three days a week say 4 hours each of those days. Save all the income from this second job. If after a year of doing that and you still haven't spent any of that extra money...then decide if you want a business you then will have some capital… if not… put that money in a personal IRA for your retirement and or the retirement 401K plan at work.

    At your age you can’t afford to make mistakes, so if you’re not disciplined enough to save that money and work at least all those extra hours, I don’t think you will make it in your own business.

    A 12 or 13 hour day is the norm after your business is thriving. At the start, 16+ hours, 7 days per week likely... a divorce very possible.

    BTW – I’ve started two businesses and both still are around… the first wife is not. I’m basically retired now for almost 5 years. I admit to starting the second business older than you but I had a 100k in capital.

    Good luck on whatever you decide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Boy, that's a pretty broad stroke yuhr painting there.
    Sorta emulates a spray gun.
    Did I miss a spot or something...??



    But seriously, I don't know the guy's financial situation, work history, or personal life story. It could be that he had a family health/death issues that wiped out their finances. Or maybe they just spend frivolously. Or - Who knows...

    I re-read the OP - He says he & the wife are frugal, but can't spend what others near them do...

    I'm not sure what the issue is there. It doesn't really matter. The guy wants more income, possibly even into "retirement" years.

    Would you advise a 55 year old to start a machining business in hopes of generating positive cash-flow in a reasonable amount of time, while also holding down a full time job? Knowing that retirement age is approaching, and failure (financially) at this point leaves very few years to correct.



    Seriously - What's you POV/advise on this?



    My take - because I have done it several times - is to take a different job, and move up the ladder regarding wages/earning. A nice cushy factory tool-room job usually pays pretty well, will come with benefits, and possibly an off-shift premium.

    He would then have the "golden hours" of daylight free to build up a side-hustle & make sales calls, if he chose.

    Or, polish the resume' again, and take another step up on the ladder. His choice.

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  26. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post
    Did I miss a spot or something...??



    Seriously - What's you POV/advise on this?


    Did you not read my post prior? We're on the same page on all but the fact that [seemingly any] 55 yr old should be making $30/hr anywhere in the USA.

    I get the feeling that he doesn't live in Wheaton.


    On another train of thought, Maybe the friends are living beyond their own means? (no surprise there!) Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Frugal will be in much better shape 15 yrs from now?


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    Quote Originally Posted by scadvice View Post
    A 12 or 13 hour day is the norm after your business is thriving. At the start, 16+ hours, 7 days per week likely... a divorce very possible...I’ve started two businesses and both still are around… the first wife is not.
    This says it all. It's a typical profile for a guy between 30 and 35, before the business makes it, but when there's still time to recover from bad decisions. Fifty-five is about 20 years too late if you don't have the capital. Seriously, don't do it—get a second job.

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    Nature Vs. Nurture.
    if it is not in one's nature to strike out on their own in their 20's i don't see how attempting a mid life turnabout is going to offer safe retirement income.
    Not to dissuade anyone from trying, i'd just not take any big risks. Invest as is if you were a poor 22 year old.
    Having went all-in @40 it is not working out great for me, but i'm not the best example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jashley73 View Post

    Would you advise a 55 year old to start a machining business in hopes of generating positive cash-flow in a reasonable amount of time,
    No, but I don't think I would start a machining business either. The age matters to a most, but can be knocked off the concern list by drive and desire. Ray Kroc was 52 when he opened the first McDicks franchise...but he was an unstoppable force. Big or small, old or young, that's the most important thing to launching a business imo

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