What Customers Look For In a Machine Shop

November 22, 2019 12:00 pm

Want to know exactly what consumers of the metalworking industry value? Here’s the breakdown. This list will place you in the mind’s of potential customers and help you better understand exactly how they select which shops to give their business. The more needs you’re able to meet, the greater likelihood of becoming their go-to.

Here are the questions your potential clients are thinking about…does your business offer aligning solutions?

Long-term value, not just the cheapest price

Low prices do not confirm quality work, which at the end of the day is your client’s priority. If your shop prices competitively, you’re sending the right message: you will produce well-made orders.

Make sure you have the capabilities they need

Especially these days, customers are driven to understand the scope of a given company’s capabilities. Since consumers have more power than ever before, this means their access and right to information is also higher.

Examples of questions they are encouraged to inquire:

– Ask about the type of equipment available.

– Does the company have the skills and tools required to mill, turn, drill and lathe?

– What about machining that has four- or five-axis capabilities for more intricate projects?

– Are there any machining needs the company cannot fulfill?

Make this type of information easily accessible on your website.

Is your equipment up to date?

Is your company working with off-brands or out-dated tools? If the answer is yes, you’re not as competitive as you should be. Well regarded brands have a better track record and reputation for producing high-quality parts. In addition, is your equipment new? Just because you have the brand name does not mean it is durable. If you’re a CNC machine shop, this means having up to date software.

Are you ISO certified? Do you offer exceptional quality control?

Are you ISO 9001 certified? Although voluntary, it goes noticed. This says to your potential customers: “We focus on customer support, offer high-quality products/services and have a clear means of communication within and without the company.”

Questions consumers will likely ask: “How long has your company maintained that standard of operation? Did the company update from older versions? What does the company do for quality control? Is there a guarantee or assurance of the job quality?”

Properly calibrated inspection equipment is also important to show that your company has a means of checking the accuracy of your work.

Who are your current customers and what are they saying about you?

These days, nothing goes unnoticed and seldom does it go “un-posted.” Your reputation is just a click away. One of the most common ways potential clients seek out information is through online reviews, so make sure yours are positive, and any negative ones are handled appropriately. You can be sneaky and scope out what your competitor’s customers are saying –  what are they loving? What are their complaints? This will help you understand what not to-do or what to start to-do.

Dig deeply into your business details

Again, the information access at your client’s finger tips (thanks to the internet) gives them a ton of power. They can dig deep into your history and details of your business. For example, how long you’ve been in business and the size of your facility. Does your history reflect growth? The size of your facility helps customers understand the type of income you bring in, which speaks on whether or not your business is invested in growing.  Information like this helps the customer think about if they should invest in future operations with you. It is also attractive if you are using the latest CNC software for operations, older software can indicate being out-dated.

Do you ensure on-time delivery?

Delays at any stage of your supply chain will result in a late delivery to your customer. Offering an on-time delivery guarantee speaks volumes. What does your shop do to ensure efficiency at every point of the production process on-time deliveries? Can the client track their order? Are you using software for project management or leaving a paper trail? Are you making the strengths of your business known to your audience?

Do you offer finishing services?

Lastly, does your shop cover the entire supply chain? If you can’t offer finishing services, there is another company that is capable of doing it all. It is highly desired to find a one stop shop that can complete every part of the process. This saves your client time, money and effort. There’s nothing better than receiving an order completely ready to use.


It may not be possible for your business to cover all of these bases, but even covering a couple is productive. Also, these are not over-night changes, this list can help create plans for the upcoming years so that your company transforms and grows with the times. It is valuable to understand how money spenders are thinking, then you can reverse engineer the psychology of their buying habits. Now you know what customers look for in a machine shop.


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