Still going w/ "trash" machines 3 yrs on- a commentary on privilege and work - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Well I don't know id you are an artist or a frikkin hack from here, but the part about you being responsible for the closing of _ what _ 3 other businesses?

    Just how much werk are you turning out by yourself that you made all these other guys starve?


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    Ox

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    Give it hell dude but you need to learn to loose the slave driver (an hourley rate) that is some fucked up shit that the unions forced on us to help the slackers.

    No need to leave money on the table you need to learn to charge by the job.

    Also work smarter not harder.

    Sounds like you have made a dam good start though.

    Also about having to make do with less than ideal machinery remember that it aint the size of the dog in the fight that determines the outcome but the size of the fight in the dog.

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  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Well I don't know id you are an artist or a frikkin hack from here, but the part about you being responsible for the closing of _ what _ 3 other businesses?

    Just how much werk are you turning out by yourself that you made all these other guys starve?


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    Ox
    Surely some other economic factors in play here.

    I think it's tempting to look at the guys with the big shops an inefficient and wasteful. Your one man show is no doubt lean. It has to be. But, many times a large shop has all that "waste" for a good reason.

    Your little one man band is never going to be able to make parts for a big OEM that needs ISO certs and has single orders big enough to tie up 50 guys on 3 shifts for a month. They need the big delivery truck, the fancy CMM machine, the inspectors and all that "attitude" to make their big time customers happy. They are not better or worse than you. They are just playing at a different level.

  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Well I don't know id you are an artist or a frikkin hack from here, but the part about you being responsible for the closing of _ what _ 3 other businesses?

    Just how much werk are you turning out by yourself that you made all these other guys starve?


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    Ox
    Perhaps it wasn't he took the work, but his rate compared to their rate (to the ignorant) may have caused the purchasing agents to send the work out of town.

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    I didn't see where he said he was responsible for those other 3 guys closing. He just said that he's there, and they're not. He makes an intelligent statement about the things that make it tough for the big shops - that is, he's in a county with small population that doesn't have the need for 3 big shops. I think other people are reading stuff into what he says that isn't there.

    Good on ya, geardoc. Thanks for sharing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Well I don't know id you are an artist or a frikkin hack from here, but the part about you being responsible for the closing of _ what _ 3 other businesses?

    Just how much werk are you turning out by yourself that you made all these other guys starve?


    ------------------

    Think Snow Eh
    Ox

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  8. #26
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    I'm not going to go back and re-read the novel, but I'm pretty sure that the "Big shop guy" jumped him about it - no?


    The fact that there wasn't enough work to support the masses was more to my point. How can one guy be blamed for running all the work too cheap? He's just one guy...


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  10. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    I'm not going to go back and re-read the novel, but I'm pretty sure that the "Big shop guy" jumped him about it - no?


    The fact that there wasn't enough work to support the masses was more to my point. How can one guy be blamed for running all the work too cheap? He's just one guy...


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    Ox

    The problem was that they were trying to run 3 small manufacturing level plants in an area that couldn't support it.

    The big dog came out of Illinois and ran his business into the ground there. Then he went to Florida.

    There was a huge building boom in my area from 1999-2008. Spec houses out the wazoo. People came here and they believed they would open a small business and there would be a population to support it. When the housing growth was houses, not people living in them.

    The three big shops got together and they set a price floor, and that came to bite them in the ass. Where I am is 2 hours from any major city- so I went out to places and requested they send me RFQ's. I was honest that I didn't have the CNC to volume production, but I did have the ability to produce small runs.

    The big three had a rule- depending on who was asking for the quote- 25 min production, up to 100 min production. No prototypes, no one offs.

    They cut their own throats turning away work.

    Two of the shops had a large sign they had made cooperatively; it said "We are not a scrap yard. We do not repair junk or scrap. Please take your scrap to: " and it had the names and addresses of the scrap yards. If your equipment was old, rusty, broken, or they just didn't like you- they told you to throw it away.

    One of the first jobs that broke me in was a TD-18 that had broken some parts, was stuck, and needed block and tackling to get it off the hill side. It had an ungodly winch on it, and there were two other large TD's in the forest- there were also some old growth threes I could use to rig with.

    Pretty soon it was up the hill, a collection of 20ton air/hydraulic jacks had it up, it was blocked up, and I ended up making a bunch of pins, retainers, clips, and pieces to refit the new bull gear that came from Oregon.

    The other three shops at that time had told him to call a 18 wheeler recovery service and get it sold for 12 cents a pound.

    It needed work. Dirty, hot, sweaty, work.

    They have told people we were competition. That I ran them out of business. I did not such thing.

    So far as I was concerned and am- if there is work, and I have the skillset to complete it- I will. There's a reason it's called work, the shit can be fun, but it's not guaranteed to be fun, that's what we call play. I'm in business to work and get my fatass paid as my secondary motive and do a good job as my primary motive.

    There is one other shop going- he has a 150ton press, a J-head bridgeport, and a fairly serious manual Colchester Clausing that came from the base at Fayettenam.



    I may be a fuckin' hack,

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  12. #28
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    The more you type, the less I understand. There is no manufacturing in your area, but they are hard up for bull dozer mechanics?

    So the three shops are in cahoots and won't do prototypes? You are not legally required to do prototypes and low volume work.

    I get that someone from these big shops hurt your feelings, but I'm not seeing how your business has anything to do with them...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    The more you type, the less I understand. There is no manufacturing in your area, but they are hard up for bull dozer mechanics?

    So the three shops are in cahoots and won't do prototypes? You are not legally required to do prototypes and low volume work.

    I get that someone from these big shops hurt your feelings, but I'm not seeing how your business has anything to do with them...
    His business doesn't have anything to do with them, other than the fact that he does things that they don't with lower overhead. Thus, he stayed in business and they didn't. I didn't read much about his feelings being hurt.

    What part of no manufacturing and a need for bulldozer mechanics escaped you?

    You sound a little critical for no reason.

  14. #30
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    It's the heat ....


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    Ox

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    When you hear one side of the story, it's easy to go "Yay You!" and "Boo Them!", but it sounds to me that their business model was unsustainable. They tooled up to do larger runs, and then couldn't
    get the work. From the OP's description, there wasn't much work of that sort to be had locally, and perhaps they didn't have the connections, or know how to compete on a larger stage. Even had they been willing/able to take on
    smaller jobs, or odd assignments like rescuing a bulldozer, It probably wouldn't have brought enough revenue to sustain a shop like that.

    There did seem to be a market niche which the OP occupies that is sustainable, and I hope it works out well for him.
    I don't think they were ever in competition at all.

    Jon P.

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    Well - I have never heard of someone expecting (or even letting) the repair guy to fetch the broken rig fro the bottom of the lake before...

    That is definitely a niche' market - and I doubt he finds much competition there!


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  18. #33
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    TD18 that is beyond obsolete, parts haven't been available for well over 30 years, except for the collector market.
    well it's worth scrap price.
    not going to be much competition in that market.

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  20. #34
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    [QUOTE=Ox;2316698]Well - I have never heard of someone expecting (or even letting) the repair guy to fetch the broken rig fro the bottom of the lake before...

    That is definitely a niche' market - and I doubt he finds much competition there!

    That kinda work is right up my alley. Sweaty, dirty, and often bloody work, but it pays good and earns you life long customers as long as your fair with the pricing. 45/hr is way low for my area for that type of work, but it might be on par for his area. The more rural you get the more willing to barter and deal you have to be.

  21. #35
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    Enjoyable read......can't wait to see the movie!

    'Bout time there was a positive themed movie about a machinist-done-well for himself.
    Something better than that creepy one that came out few years back....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0fuHY4U1UA


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    Has anyone here actually considered the more logical answer as to what is going on here? It takes a lot of strength in life to admit to failure and and even more to be honest about your self as to the reasons why you failed when it is something you have worked so hard on. Usually it is easier to just blame someone/something else than admit to your own faults/failures.

    If the story is true the failed shop owners sound to me like the types of people who will blame everything else under the sun for their failure then themselves! It doesn't matter that the shop owner who lost his shop was competing in a different league than geardoc but I am sure for the upset former owner he felt much better knowing geardoc was the source of his downfall rather than himself who of course was perfect.

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  24. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    The more you type, the less I understand. There is no manufacturing in your area, but they are hard up for bull dozer mechanics?
    In my area of 10,000- there are several diesel shops, there is 1 diesel mechanic- he's 71. The rest can change a track and maybe change filters. Diagnose a basic engine problem- compression, pump line pressure, injector spray. If there is internal breakage, all except #71 charge you flat bed to where ever the closest dealership is. If the brand is gone, they give you a business card for the two local scrap yards that pay $.06 a pound.

    There are thousands of farms, millions of trees, construction, there is still mining going on, certainly quarry work.

    Now, there is no manufacturing in the area any more, however you drive two hours, and there is. 15 years ago, the last of it closed in the immediate area.

    15 years ago, the big three could pick up work from OMC, Western Forge, Moog, Clifton Precision, others- so there was business 15-20 years ago. In the Clinton boom years, they invested everything whole hog in infrastructure and CNC.

    Now what is left in a couple hundred mile radius: There are millions of acres of trees, 1000's of farms from me to Macon GA, thousands more over to the birthplace of plant nursery's in McMinnville TN, and the a whole bunch more over towards Black Mountain. Manufacturing is scattered hither thither and yon and is barely holding on by a thread.

    The next county's over final manufacturing plant- which made budget American made furniture- is no more. 400 jobs in area where 400 jobs crippled that area.

    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post

    So the three shops are in cahoots and won't do prototypes? You are not legally required to do prototypes and low volume work.
    Who the hell said anything about legally required ? I'm quite grateful they cut their own throats and didn't do it. They chose to refuse work and try to gouge work from people who didn't want it. It did me a favor. I shake my head at it, because I'd sure as hell rather do a job with a small profit margin and scrape together the payments on my $500,000 building and $650,000 in equipment, and hope to earn more lucrative business later. Instead, what literally happened was they refused business and refused business and refused business until literally they had nothing to do and hardly anyone came to them- and then they had no money to make payments on their business. And even for the guy off the street-usually their quotes ran $75 to $95 an hour, with a one hour evaluation fee on whatever you brought in. With a median income in the county of $30k people balk at $75 to $95 an hour.

    As someone else said- their model was not sustainable, and they refused to adapt.

    Finally as I've said before:

    I'm judging anyone, and the last thing anyone from the three closed shops did is hurt my feelings. In business, I have no feelings. Cash come in, customer happy, Geardoc smiley face. Cash going out, customer not happy, cash not coming in on jobs the work was completed on- frowny face. I am in business, with that comes part time shrink, part time medical doctor(that's not how you use a drill press, boys), part time financial advisor(let's figure out how many hours this bitch has to put in to clear the cost of parts and repairs), part time mechanic- I built and sometimes modified damn parts and I'm not letting a 19 year wet behind the years kid with absolutely no idea of what a bullgear is or what a planetary drive system is install it, and then there is the job shop where I take big pieces of metal and make these neat piles of swarf.


    Pre-1998 there were 3 manfacturers of blue jeans and clothes, there were several manufacturers of parts and machinery, I wish that was still the case. I'm not happy those guys lost their ass. Actually, I need to clarify that- they didn't lose their ass- the American people lost their ass, because the banks that cut the loans on those buildings and machines got their debt written off by Congress and 270 million Americans are ending up eating it. Along with the 20,000 spec homes and 11,000 vacant lots that exist in my county with a stable population of 10,000 people, and maybe a few thousand more snowbirds in summer.

    Business is not personal, I learned that long ago at 16 years of age wheeling and dealing to buy my first Dodge Charger. In business, the only feelings you better have are: hungry, thirsty, empathy, sympathy, and here is your invoice and thank you for your work which may evolve to fuck you, pay me. Don't get mad in business, get even- cut the non-paying bastard off or take off a day to go to small claims and get a summary judgement when the coward doesn't show or warn others that may do business with him. In an area of 10,000 people, it can be pretty easy to find yourself frozen out.

    I feel lucky I was raised the way I was, I feel lucky I learned the lessons I learned early, and I feel damn lucky I have the freedom I have and that I can continue to survive. And I pray I am blessed to be able to continue to do so. And I will stick to my 1959 block building and my philosophy that if I can't save up cash and pay cash for something, I don't buy it, and I don't truly have a need for it.

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  26. #38
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    This guy is not bashing anyone or putting anyone out of Biz. He's just working his ass off, building something from nothing and living his life free. He was feeling proud of himself and wanted to share. Good job !

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    if his customers want low per hour charging and a shop that does low quantities of work and thats what he gives them that is a successful business model
    .
    as quantities rise and the cost per part becomes more important then of course he will need more modern cnc machines.my guess is he can buy some used cnc machines fairly cheap at the businesses that closed down.
    .
    even where i work i hear the programmer complaining about making a program to make only 1 part. for myself i would not complain as if paid by the hour, work is work. i would rather have too much work than no work and loose a job.
    .
    i have seen businesses that wanted to charge $150 to fill out the paperwork on them making something. The first $150 bought nothing but the paperwork on the work order started. Obviously for somebody looking to save some money they will look else where. Maybe thats what the $150 is really for to get rid of the small customers that are bothering them with small jobs.

  28. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    It's the heat ....


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    Sweatin' to the Oldies!
    Ox
    It must be. Something about this thread is nagging at me. I don't know why.

    To the OP, good for you. You are getting by and even growing while other shops are leaving the area. I hope it continues.

    If you intend to continue doing field work and recovery, you need insurance that covers it. If you had lost that dozer in the pond, you'd be paying the customer. I'm really surprised they did not require proof of insurance before even letting you on site. But, if a TD-18 is their main equipment, maybe it doesn't matter.

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