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Finding Customers

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Simple really....PO needs 20 years experience.....You can spot a bad payer by the way the hairs on the back of your neck stand up....or the psycho customer who will have tantrums like a 3 yr old.....or....the customer expects you to do hours of development engineering correcting his dumb ideas....free.
 

Doug

Diamond
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Location
Pacific NW
....or....the customer expects you to do hours of development engineering correcting his dumb ideas....free.

I had a customer like that. They were always working on cool projects so it was fun to deliver parts to them. Sometimes we'd sit around talking about their projects, they'd pick my brain about the best way to design for manufacturing and so on. No big deal, it was just a nice break in the day for me.

Then one day I get a call from the accounting woman at the company. She's sounding a little pissed because I hadn't billed for my "consulting" work on a timely basis. Huh? So we ended up agreeing I'd spend 3 paid hours a week at their weekly design meeting.

Boeing was another one. I worked at Boeing a couple times so I knew how they operated, you can never make a mistake as long as you don't make any decisions. Boeing engineers could go outside the company for help on prototype projects. You could make some good money "consulting" on projects.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
I had a airplane customer .....sold him a few machines .lots of stuff ,parts for a light plane he made, etc......he had a "Pitts Special".....then I got the bad news ...loop the loop ended up in a hole in hard ground....Took a backhoe to dig him out.....Also made a lot of parts for rider mowers ,no fatal crashes there.Fortunately.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
I had a airplane customer .....sold him a few machines .lots of stuff ,parts for a light plane he made, etc......he had a "Pitts Special".....then I got the bad news ...loop the loop ended up in a hole in hard ground....Took a backhoe to dig him out.....Also made a lot of parts for rider mowers ,no fatal crashes there.Fortunately.

You could not pay me enough to ride in a small plane, too many crashes.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
A Pitts Special is a small colourful biplane made for aerobatics....I d hazard a guess that owner survival rate isnt over 50% per annum........anyhoo ,one time I went to see a customers "plane"...it was actually an autogiro....and could take off in the back yard.......he wanted me to come up with him.....this must have completely slipped my mind ,and I left......got a call from the guy about a hour later asking when I was coming back to fly in the autogiro.....he was offended ,and never gave me another PO.
 

Jashley73

Titanium
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Location
Louisville, KY
You could not pay me enough to ride in a small plane, too many crashes.

Most important is the pilot. A close friend has/had a private license. I'd ride in an Apollo rocket with him at the helm. Not for his skill, but rather his good sense.

I'd happily turn down rides in a Ferrari, if I thought the driver was going to be a fool...




Indian, not the Arrow...
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
I like small planes. Everything feels right. The sensations, the noise. Big planes are hard to wrap my mind around. I like sitting near the wings so I can watch the wings bend and twist around. Watching the wings flop around like they're made of rubber in bad weather is fascinating. Not real comforting though.
 

couch

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Location
Anaheim, California
Jump on Instagram, make an account and post whatever you can from your shop on there. Network, and word will get around fairly quick. Lot of guys running shops solely off of work they're getting on there, I did for years. There are tons of guys looking for small shops to do exactly what you are offering.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
Here is a fellow who runs an ad on craigslist. I dont know him, or if he gets any work.
CNC Machining Service Offered - skilled trade services

Agree his photo should not be set on a cracked driveway.. He could have moved a little to look like on a surface plate.

I actually think that is a great craigslist ad. It shows nice looking work, it's not technical, it's friendly and concise. I bet that guy gets a decent number of responses and a real job or two every now and then.

I have ran craigslist ads in the past when times were slow, but never had any great success with it. Local word of mouth is 1000% more effective than a craigslist ad.
 

dkmc

Diamond
Way back in the early 1980's I put a "Welding" ad in the local shopper paper. Huge mistake. Many responses from financially challenged rust bucket auto owners needing their rust welded back together. One woman called every week for a month about the drivers door falling off her Pinto. And when the ads in print, you can't kill it, it just keeps on giving.

Got a call from a hermit looking guy who was vague on the phone, ended up stopping by in his 1950's rust bucket Jeepster. He opens the hood, pulls out the dip stick. The "washer" spot welded on it that determines how far it goes down in the tube broke free. He asks "how much to weld it"? At this point I'm seeing nothing but humor in the situation, and I say "I can TIG weld that no problem, TEN dollars" which was not even worth my time. He says "I can get a good one at the junkyard for SIX". I said "Happy motoring"! and went back in the shop and locked the door.

:rolleyes5:
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
Way back in the early 1980's I put a "Welding" ad in the local shopper paper. Huge mistake. Many responses from financially challenged rust bucket auto owners needing their rust welded back together. One woman called every week for a month about the drivers door falling off her Pinto. And when the ads in print, you can't kill it, it just keeps on giving.

Got a call from a hermit looking guy who was vague on the phone, ended up stopping by in his 1950's rust bucket Jeepster. He opens the hood, pulls out the dip stick. The "washer" spot welded on it that determines how far it goes down in the tube broke free. He asks "how much to weld it"? At this point I'm seeing nothing but humor in the situation, and I say "I can TIG weld that no problem, TEN dollars" which was not even worth my time. He says "I can get a good one at the junkyard for SIX". I said "Happy motoring"! and went back in the shop and locked the door.

:rolleyes5:

Most pic a part types charge a small admission fee, a buck or two. His refusal to pay $10 doesn't make economic sense, he really is not saving $4 by going to the junkyard, some people are not too bright.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
From craigslist ad responders I have made a production run of brass bong parts, a dozen very large steel support columns with bases to shore up the wood trusses in a warehouse used to dry hemp (they started hanging the hemp and realized the building was coming down), I've removed hundreds of broken bolts usually with drill bits or EZ outs snapped off in them, I've done lots of steel inserts into aluminum block GM engines like the Northstar V8's and the Trailblazer Atlas 4.2, lots of automotive and AG drivelines, custom 4x4 axle housings, lots of custom tools for heavy equipment like hydraulic piston nut wrenches, big diesel injector and precup wrenches. I definitely had the same experiences of weeding out the cheap folks. It's hard when they're a nice older person that cannot comprehend just how much stuff costs today.

Not from Craigslist, but I recently had a guy in his 80's bring me all the guts from a model T transmission to true up and re-bush everything. I estimated $1200 and he threw a little tantrum like I was his last hope and I insulted him. While he jabbered on about how it should be $100 job I loaded the parts back in his car and wished him a great day. I know when I was starting out I would have spent an hour talking to that guy and probably done the job for a few hundred. I think I had his parts back in his car inside of 3 minutes. Funny the things you learn after you're in business for awhile.
 

dkmc

Diamond
It was a $100 job....when the 80 year old was in his 30's. I have a bearing distributor nearby. They've thought they're doing me a favor selling the 'old guys' bearings and bushings for their mowers, rototillers, and snowblowers, then they used to send them to me to 'change it out'. Old guys come in, expect immediate service like I'm standing here waiting for them, and 'it shouldn't cost more than 2-3 dollars, only take ya a couple minutes'. Of course they're pissed when I say no, or point to the labor rate sign by the door. I finally had to tell the bearing house, 'thanks, but NO THANKS'. Don't send any of those time wasters to me anymore!



It's hard when they're a nice older person that cannot comprehend just how much stuff costs today.

Not from Craigslist, but I recently had a guy in his 80's bring me all the guts from a model T transmission to true up and re-bush everything. I estimated $1200 and he threw a little tantrum like I was his last hope and I insulted him. While he jabbered on about how it should be $100 job I loaded the parts back in his car and wished him a great day. I know when I was starting out I would have spent an hour talking to that guy and probably done the job for a few hundred.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Me and other shops used to send charity cases to each other for a joke,but we d never rip off doddery old guys like the scumbag auto electrician in the shed next to me...he was a POS thief for sure.....He was perv ,used to get girls working for him and grope them.....his wife was a monster ...I had many clashes with her......one time she came over and tells me one of their apprentices has left outside overnight the the aircon regassing gear.....Yeah ,I knew ,I told a mate about it ,he was round in like 10 seconds to pick it up.
 

CITIZEN F16

Titanium
Joined
May 2, 2021
If you find an elderly person who hasn't purchased a particular item or service in quite a while they seem to forget about the effects of inflation over decades. Also it seems as we age we think less time passed than actually did.
There is no reason though to be rude like the old guy that threw a tube of gasket seller at the kid behind the counter when he said "that will be $5 please." That was a good many years ago and if I was his age I would have told the old guy off.
 








 
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