I think most farmers are used to what the dealers charge for parts and service. Nothing is cheap like the old days. And neither is a machine shop's services, if properly equipped to handle the work coming in. Make a point of quoting a high price, even if not asked for. You can always come down in the charge and look like the hero.
If you are not equipped to handle a job, but are pressed for service anyways, best to disclose that it is going to cost more for you to do it, than a better equipped shop might charge. Make it their choice, not yours.
Your business model is nearly what supported me for 40 years. BUT I am a "dungeon" or maybe more accurately a "junkyard" type. And "bring me only the part you need worked on, clean", may work for enough customers in your area, but would never work in my extremely rural, timber-and sawmill-and farming area. My customers will often break stuff taking it apart. They work in the woods or on the farm, and have no facilities to clean parts. And, if I am to repair a shaft, or a bore, I have to have in my hands the bore or shaft it fits with, because the mfr's specs if available no longer apply, and if I ask a customer to measure it, I get +- a quarter inch. Here I HAVE TO deal with the whole machine, if I am to make it work again.
Customers will show up at 6:00AM and 10:00PM, with hay in the field or a 'dozer in a swamp. Their emergency does not have to be yours, but neither does their good-will.
"Find the rich customers and charge the moon and stars" sounds good if (a) they exist and (b) if you love money more than helping folks
Yes, you need a big lathe. You need a rosebud torch. You need a set of vees you can clamp on a long I-beam for indicating as you straighten stuff. 50 ton press is a good start, but I have needed bigger.
If making a living and becoming a pillar of your community, the guy people depend and brag on defines success for you, you are assured of it. If 7-4 five days and a comfy suburban lifestyle is your goal, it will be harder
Mechanics do not have to make any apology for not being able to weld up and machine worn out stuff. Neither should a machinist have to apologize for not being a mechanic. Guys running heavy equipment will have the facilities to take crap apart. And they will have paper towel and varsol. They might be too lazy to do so, particularly if they can slough the work off on some gullible dummy. Remember you are not the last man on earth, and if you are not there, the customers will find other ways to cope.
I find farmers want it laid out in no BS terms so they can make a quick decision. Usually it's "yes, I can do that, get it over here now so I can get it done for you today."
I find the best way to communicate is to ask them to text me pictures of the problem. Clears up a lot of confusion that way.
Farm equipment is every bit as expensive, or even moreso, than the machines we use. The thing the farmers really get the short end of the stick on is the equipment they have to use often times isn't built very well. It's disposable and any shop like mine can redesign it and build it 100 times better for LESS than the cost of OEM parts.
Somebody needs to shoot the fuckers that design and build Hazelnut machines. What a fucking joke.
Mobile repair guys bring me some work too. They need a lot of cylinders repairs.
I charge atleast $100/hr. Drop what I'm doing and fix it is $150+/hr.