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Do you make better money off easier or harder work

cgrim3

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Location
Baltimore
I suppose most of the work we do could be considered difficult to another shop. Most of it is lathe work in titanium, inconel, mp-35 and 316 stainless. Parts aren't extremely complicated. They generally require 1-3 more ops on the mill after the lathe. We've just been making the parts for such a long time that I guess it is easy to us. We do have a niche. Our main customer which accounts for 85 percent of our work is a place where my dad used to work years ago. After he quit that company and went out on his own, he got them as a main customer. We even do repairs and maintenance on some of their equipment and parts since their service department bare bone staffed. Most of the parts we make for them, they buy in quantities of 3-10 about every month. So all the parts we sell them, we make 100-200 parts and when the orders come in, we put the parts in a box and ship them. We stock parts for them. I guess that is what I mean when I say easy work. It is work we are familiar with. It seems our margins are a lot better with this customer. We don't have to do quotes. They just send us the PO and we adjust the price to what we want and we put the part in the box and ship it. They also don't quote us against anybody else.

With other customers, gotta quote it, then they quote you against others. Pain in the ass but that is how the industry works. This is the norm. But other people here are correct, once you find the niche, that is where the real money is.
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
About 20 years ago I quit that quote it every time game and lost a lot of work for a couple of years, a fair bit came back, now they send a PO and we let them know what the increase will be if the material cost has gone up, sure took away a lot of stress. Seems there can be problems associated with the low bidder some times that you may not have with the folks that know how to do it and the other stuff we don;t miss anyhow. If you can't make good money on it you night just as well go fishing as wear out machines and toolbits.
 

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
In hard work comes problems. Problems mean downtime. Downtime can cost a lot.
One makes a lot more money but stops, The other keeps plodding on.
Tortoise and hare?
Personally I like the difficult or impossible. May make more income off the simple and standard.
One is more fun and challenging and may pay off big, one keeps the taxes and power bills paid day after day and month to month.
Some question comes in on why is a job hard work and not easy work. What part of your system makes it hard?
There are people that make the most insane hard to do parts and they think it simple to do although perhaps complicated.

Medical guys in a nuts world, micro machining to numbers that can't be seen, auto world with millions of part held to tolerances only dreamed about 30 years ago.
All this is simple everyday work to someone.

We all have things that fit and get some that do not fit. Sometimes the do not fit carry attractive price tags.
Bob
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
In hard work comes problems. Problems mean downtime. Downtime can cost a lot.
One makes a lot more money but stops, The other keeps plodding on.
Tortoise and hare?
Personally I like the difficult or impossible. May make more income off the simple and standard.
One is more fun and challenging and may pay off big, one keeps the taxes and power bills paid day after day and month to month.
Some question comes in on why is a job hard work and not easy work.
Bob

I recon a big factor is how many are we making, are we making a handfull then going on to something else or are we getting it fixtured, working right and running it for years?
 

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
I recon a big factor is how many are we making, are we making a handfull then going on to something else or are we getting it fixtured, working right and running it for years?
Now we get to customer loyalty. That runs all over.
The person buying from you now and all friendly may not be in that position or company for long and then who knows?
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
In our case there are tens of thousands of them the world over, not just a few. Some we hear from every month and some every few years, others only once.
 

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
In our case there are tens of thousands of them the world over, not just a few. Some we hear from every month and some every few years, others only once.

Going so way off but with customers in the thousands how do you keep track?
How is this handled on the software side?
is this 10,000 one piece orders per month?
Bob
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
Going so way off but with customers in the thousands how do you keep track?
How is this handled on the software side?
Bob

In the morning, we open up the email, print the orders and decide if we have everything packaged and ready to go or if we need to assemble and package so she can start boxing and shipping, usps, ups, fedex. Around noon we look at the email again and start over after lunch. Slow email days she helps me make parts, busier ones sometimes I end up assembeling and packaging all day with her. Not much software involved other than shipstation, worldship etc.

We average just under $400 per box
 

jackal

Titanium
Joined
May 4, 2006
Location
northwest ARK
I do a lot of electric motor work.
The seal fits and bearing fits get sprayed.
One these I can make good money in warm weather.
They can be sprayed, and a fan will clear out the shop of fumes. Usually the price is $75 each, and can do 2 per hour.
 

swarfmeister

Aluminum
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
We had a job that was a relatively simple part that we made reasonable profit on. Basically 4 ops per part, semi automated. Material was always a concern as the first op was a cut-off operation, and if the part length was botched we had to cycle back around. WIP parts travelled through the machine shop on carts and would often sit until an operator was freed up for the next operation. Now we do it in a two step process with a bar feeder and a CNC lathe with a manual secondary. Raw stock in, secondary as the parts come off the lathe and directly into the box for shipping. Far quicker, far more accurate, and considerably shorter cycle time from raw material to finished part. Sometimes making things easier makes them more profitable.
 

DouglasJRizzo

Titanium
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Ramsey, NJ.
Easier work is fast money for me. Harder work is larger dollar amount but takes longer to get. I have one or two challenging jobs in the shop that are bringing home a real pay day when complete, and lots of easy work that pay the bills.
 








 
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