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Are there to many 1 man shops for young folks to compete?

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Spittingchips

Plastic
Joined
Dec 20, 2021
I'm getting a new job in the new year , I am young and have alot of experience and I know enough about quoting that I have a hard time finding anyone that can do small or big parts with the same speed because I stress about making the company money on top of my wage.

For my age I have yet to meet anyone with the experience in cnc machining atleast in ontario and if you sit me infront of a cnc machine and any software, my understanding of the fundamentals and the use of machine I can figure out atleast any mills large or small , horizontal or vertical and 3-5 axis no problem.

I have ran and helped a company understand there new 7 axis double arm plasma cutter for structural beams aswell as got a taste of the 3 spindle and auto saw machine for the same purpose. ( they over bought being new to the automation)

Lathes do not scare me and I have ran them but the last few companies they clearly scared the owners so they never acquired one even though we clearly had the work to do it.

I am tempted to sell my house thats nearly paid off and buy a shop now that shops are seemingly dropping in prices or atleast plateau ing and appearing on the market while house prices are still sky rocketing.

I have good chances at getting work and I know another companies word is essenty meaningless untill you have the work, but I have got good work for a previous employer, but im not sure if its just a fluke.
I can get some decent work from a couple companies and I can most likely afford a 2.5 or 3 thousand square foot shop with high ceiling paid for and maybe a new smaller 5 axis and a larger used 3 axis.

I know I can get some work enough to possibly not need to work for someone else but all I hear is the older guys running shops saying it is impossible to make a living but they have massive overhead and they all rent shops and don't put in alot of hours and most importantly do not buy new fast machines and alot dont even go beyond small or 3 axis machines for some sort of fear factor .

I feel like there's big opportunity for a young person with a bit of money to put up, and a hunger to put in the 20 hour days every day and undercut everyone and never send out, out of tolerance parts because they can get away with it. But a part of me feels like maybe there's something I dont see and these old guys are right , but when I know I can get work and I see the crazy over head and lack of investing and staying ahead of the curve and putting in the hours I feel like there wrong.

Anyways im just asking because there is a ton of 1 man shops out there who do charge lower rates because they are doing the work themselves not employing people but I also notice they all have used and small machines and outdated equipment.

Is there opportunity for young people with the balls to try and out compete and constantly invest in the best equipment while working at a fast pace to make a company? Or is it as terrible as it seems and there's no money and work is impossible to find and I just have some sheer luck that won't go further? Or are these older and in my opinion dinosaurs right and thats why alot of folks don't put capital back into there shops because these isn't anything to make aside from a comfortable wage going on your own. And are overhead costs Killing alot of small shops as well as not understanding today's best hiring practices and finding half decent workers?

I dont know if I need to just throw out this comfortable living and take the leap or if im gunna look back and regret not listening. I really believe there is and also needs to be for manufacturing to thrive in this country people with a real vigor for this industry but its hard not to pay attention when every shop owner says its shit
 

Bondo

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 14, 2011
Location
Bridgeton NJ
What EmanuelGoldstein said rings true with a lot of younger, more productive people because they just dont know a lot about a lot.

If a house and a shop are both valued at 250k and next year the house would be worth 300k and the shop 250k, it would seem best to keep the house and finance the shop. So why sell the thing that will make you more money later.

When I started my business being only 23, I was so cheap on quotes because I knew how to do a 10 hr job in 3 by simply modifying something, quoted for 7 hrs. The problem is, the whole rest of the industry doesnt do that, and now I look just like a little kid because of my quotes. I've managed to buy a lot of machinery by being smart, but I have lost a lot of jobs because of being "too" smart.

I'm also in the welding/fabrication industry so my customers have to see me doing the job instead of doing it at a shop.



Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

DouglasJRizzo

Titanium
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Ramsey, NJ.
I feel like there's big opportunity for a young person with a bit of money to put up, and a hunger to put in the 20 hour days every day and undercut everyone and never send out, out of tolerance parts because they can get away with it. But a part of me feels like maybe there's something I dont see and these old guys are right , but when I know I can get work and I see the crazy over head and lack of investing and staying ahead of the curve and putting in the hours I feel like there wrong.

Anyways im just asking because there is a ton of 1 man shops out there who do charge lower rates because they are doing the work themselves not employing people but I also notice they all have used and small machines and outdated equipment.

Is there opportunity for young people with the balls to try and out compete and constantly invest in the best equipment while working at a fast pace to make a company? Or is it as terrible as it seems and there's no money and work is impossible to find and I just have some sheer luck that won't go further? Or are these older and in my opinion dinosaurs right and thats why alot of folks don't put capital back into there shops because these isn't anything to make aside from a comfortable wage going on your own. And are overhead costs Killing alot of small shops as well as not understanding today's best hiring practices and finding half decent workers?

I dont know if I need to just throw out this comfortable living and take the leap or if im gunna look back and regret not listening. I really believe there is and also needs to be for manufacturing to thrive in this country people with a real vigor for this industry but its hard not to pay attention when every shop owner says its shit

There is ALWAYS room for one more. ALWAYS.
You're at the age where you could tuck a VMC and maybe a lathe into a garage someone, and make some coin. Build a business.
I did it later in life and I'm glad I did, but thinking back, I should've done it years sooner.

DO IT.

One little job here, another there, and you've got a great secondary income that eventually becomes your primary business.

Go for it.
 

BT Fabrication

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
being here in ontario, there are a crap ton of small shops, local to me in woodstock i can count more of them then my fingers and toes can. problem is everyone thinks they can get into it and make a good living, yet unless you have massive orders already or make your own product that is selling like hot cakes that is currently outsourced, then there isnt a reason to buy your own machine in huge debts just thinking there will be a ton of work because you have a machine like everyone else. i dont beat around the bush, its straight to the point and harsh, need a massive fund to just even think about getting started, and a huge fund you are willing to loose if it doesn't work out like planned.

also, you buy a machine, it will always end up being the wrong machine for the job, like a lathe for a mill job or a lathe for a mill job, punch press. etc. most machines are bought for a specific job first, which dictates the size and specifics of the machine if its a swiss, 5 axis, etc.
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
QT: [I am tempted to sell my house thats nearly paid off and[/U] buy a shop now that shops are seemingly dropping in prices or atleast plateau ing and appearing on the market while house prices are still sky rocketing.]

If you have a house near paid off then you have been doing something right. To continue doing that may be best.

If you knew a shop and an outsource something then to focus on that one thing could be desirable..but not with selling your house.

Common work is bid on so tightly that a start-up there is not a good idea..shops will bid down to bread and water just to keep doors open at shops that have little debt.

OT Op:[I can figure out at least any mills large or small, horizontal or vertical, and 3-5 axis no problem.}

Perhaps farm out your talent to shops as a CNC programmer..on your off hours..you set the times..and save that money for your start-up stake.
Meeting people in the business you will make contacts where work/jobs/parts may be found...and you will be building your credentials with the people who send out work.

Then come to Michigan and choose/buy a pristine machine for your first part/job.
 

Screwmachine

Titanium
Joined
Mar 8, 2001
Location
Switzerland
Keep your house, finance your equipment.

I feel like there's big opportunity for a young person with a bit of money to put up, and a hunger to put in the 20 hour days every day and undercut everyone and never send out, out of tolerance parts because they can get away with it.

Undercutting is a race to the bottom and the destination is not negotiable. Don't compete on price, compete on quality.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
It's easy to say it looks easy without any experience.

Earn a dozen lessons in how shitty human beings can be in business and you're enthusiasm might wain a little.

Toss in a health problem or two (brought on by stress from the above).

Realize your priorities change from big business success to family and relationships with people you care about.

15 or 20 years in you can look back and be perfectly happy without the latest greatest machines and race to the bottom bullshit.


And if you think you're never going to ship a bad part or make a mistake somewhere you're full of shit. You'll have times where you make many mistakes. How you handle it is what will define you in business.
 

Mebfab

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2003
Location
Mebane North Carolina USA
Way to many shops. Why do you think almost all shops top out at $100 hour billable at most. Every single trade I know charges more, has less invested (relative to billable $$) and pays employees better. Currently the local McDonalds is hiring full time entry level, with better benefits and the same or even better pay then the local shops are paying for entry level or just above.
 

Mark P.

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 1, 2021
Way to many shops. Why do you think almost all shops top out at $100 hour billable at most. Every single trade I know charges more, has less invested (relative to billable $$) and pays employees better. Currently the local McDonalds is hiring full time entry level, with better benefits and the same or even better pay then the local shops are paying for entry level or just above.

Finding that out with each interview I go to. By the time I factor in the amount I'll have to pay towards health care, it's like a gut punch. I may have to find a new trade.
 

Mebfab

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2003
Location
Mebane North Carolina USA
I must have 12 companies near me that are constantly searching the area for startups. They all make comments like "we use a lot of shops" or my favorite "we use the right shop for the job". What they are doing is looking for the cheapest possible price, often from someone who thinks they can make a living by being the cheapest. Then most of them pay in 90 days. Some pay in 6 months if you call nonstop.

We have an unbelievable number of big box store support warehouses moving in. They start at $15 an hour for unskilled labor. And they go up pretty fast into the low $20s an hour. My job shop neighbor pays $13 to start. Another paid about the same then reduced everyones pay to $11!

I understand that as a trade we are in competition with automation and overseas. But if we dont stop cutting eachothers throats on bids and do something about the pay, in way less then a generation we will have "ZERO" manufacturing left.
 

mkd

Stainless
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Lathes do not scare me and I have ran them but the last few companies they clearly scared the owners so they never acquired one even though we clearly had the work to do it.

Ignorance is bliss. The one CNC that'll reach across the shop and kill your a$$ is the one you're not afraid of.:nutter:
 

Kingbob

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Location
Louisiana
Go for it, just don't quit your day job. If you are willing to work 20 hour days that means you can put in 8hrs at a day job and still have plenty of time to build your business on nights and weekends. Just don't overextend yourself. Fancy new equipment is nice but most of what most industries/companies need can be made on used equipment(especially ones willing to buy from a guy in his garage).
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
Selling the house seems like a bad idea. Pretty sure like in most areas if home prices are soaring so are rents, your rent payment could exceed your house payment, and your paying down your landlords mortgage not yours.

As others have said I would start slowly, not dive in with both feet. Promises of work can be worthless. You almost seem to be overconfident, no idea how many shops you worked at or what you have been exposed to. Starting out no one is going to drop the gravy work in your lap, you will have to earn someone's business. You could end up with the job all the other vendors failed on, you will take some lumps, when you bid jobs you have never done before. New shop owner is the epitome of learn by your mistakes.

You could find a great building, that looks perfect, priced great, with plenty of room for expansion, then find out the local, small power company is terrible, treating you to long outages, voltage drops, and spikes.

Good luck, but expect a rough ride, I am an admitted pessimist, but when the worst comes it doesn't phase me, I consider it par for the couse.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
To true.
All lathes ever want to do, is throw things out the chuck at you!

That only happened to me once. The first machine I bought was a Hardinge HCT, I did a lot of don't try this at home things on it. I was always the guy who pushed the limits. I have this 4" diameter couple inches long chunk of aluminum I am making a pulley out of that if I remember correctly was for something on a custom golf cart. Taking the lazy way out I kept the 5" chuck on with the short jaws, instead of putting on the 6" with the longer jaws.
I had a bum elbow that also influenced my decision. I end up getting too aggressive roughing the stem and the part comes out of the chuck. I was wondering where it went, it must have been slow motion. It got me in the nuts!
I used to box, and have been in scraps mostly protecting people from bullies, I have been hit in the head with the fists of large strong men, shovels, frying pans, etc, never knocked off my feet. That shot to the nuts dropped me in no time flat. I checked for blood and when I did not see any, went in the house, got an ice bag and laid in bed for about 3 hours, not moving. I still have that old Hardinge HCT.

That happened like damn near 30 years ago, I still am aware where my nuts are in relation to a part I have in a chuck on a manual lathe.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
That is not true at all, they like to first suck something in, wrap it up tight with some other stuff and then throw the whole mess at you.

Trying to visualize, are you eluding to when a bird's nest of swarf wraps around the chuck and your arms get flogged with it?
 
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