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Who owns a larger shop?

Worked mostly by myself. I had a couple retired guys who would come in to work as needed. I dropped out of big corporation engineering because I couldn't stand sitting at a desk 8 hours day. Having a machine shop seemed like a good alternative.

I advertised "engineering services" along with machining. Having an engineering degree impresses some customers (it shouldn't, it does though). The engineering part of the business I did by myself. Some of the engineering work resulted in high dollar prototype work to prove out concepts. My machines were 4 CNC's, nothing to speak of. But you don't need the fastest, latest and greatest for the type work I liked to do.

The business was in three small buildings on the property where our home is. CNC in one building, basic fab equip in another and storage and so on in another. Got into the fab aspect because I liked to keep all the prototype work in house.

I was lucky in a sense since Microsoft is in the area which attracted in lots and lots of high tech prototype development work here.

For 35 years I made okay money and paid into my retirement accounts. The real money was in the appreciation of real estate.
 
Yep, there aren't a lot of people to trust with a lot.
The owner said on initial interview, you have a shit load of technical skills, I will pay you what your worth, and I mean it!
dude wasn't joking!

Even after the fire, and when I went out on my own, he still came by the shop every couple months to see if I needed anything to make sure I succeeded as he did.
dude was legit!

More proof that who you know is just as important as what you know!

Some days having a mentor would be real nice. Or at least someone who would drop in now and again and say; "yer fuk'n up kid. You should be focused on this, not that." 😄
 
More proof that who you know is just as important as what you know!

Some days having a mentor would be real nice. Or at least someone who would drop in now and again and say; "yer fuk'n up kid. You should be focused on this, not that." 😄
Could actually be looked at that way too.

It was kinda the other way around from what he said.
Was a 35 year company, he told me that profits increased 20% since me working there.
I did change how they did pretty much everything though, so..

And without him buying me a machine, once I thought I might not be given one, I had already ordered one myself,
He bought me a machine, I ran it two days!!, and he had the fire(in the second building, no damage to CNC shop), I thought he would claim it on insurance and they would take it.
So what happened with my business would have happened anyway.

He told me when I was sketched out about starting a business without any job or income in our house that, "you know more than I do, you'll do fine"
"you have all the advantages of knowing all the work also, I didn't have that"

So I am thinking in the scenario, from what actually happened, and what he said, it was kind of the other way around, he was lucky to have known me, from his point of view.
 
Worked mostly by myself. I had a couple retired guys who would come in to work as needed. I dropped out of big corporation engineering because I couldn't stand sitting at a desk 8 hours day. Having a machine shop seemed like a good alternative.

I advertised "engineering services" along with machining. Having an engineering degree impresses some customers (it shouldn't, it does though). The engineering part of the business I did by myself. Some of the engineering work resulted in high dollar prototype work to prove out concepts. My machines were 4 CNC's, nothing to speak of. But you don't need the fastest, latest and greatest for the type work I liked to do.

The business was in three small buildings on the property where our home is. CNC in one building, basic fab equip in another and storage and so on in another. Got into the fab aspect because I liked to keep all the prototype work in house.

I was lucky in a sense since Microsoft is in the area which attracted in lots and lots of high tech prototype development work here.

For 35 years I made okay money and paid into my retirement accounts. The real money was in the appreciation of real estate.
A little OT I guess but…
What you did was my intention as well. We registered the business with “Engineering and Machine “ in the name. The state board of professional engineers stopped it and said i couldn’t do that unless i was a PE. I worked for 35 years for various companies as an engineer and these slobs do this. I was pissed off for a month. 90% of the PE’s I ever worked with couldn’t build a chicken coop.
 
More proof that who you know is just as important as what you know!

Some days having a mentor would be real nice. Or at least someone who would drop in now and again and say; "yer fuk'n up kid. You should be focused on this, not that." 😄
To add

I know at least 5 decamillionaires and none of them succeeded because of, or had a "who you know"
actually every single one of them provided/invented/manufactured a product that had a decent value in a decent market.

I only know of one other person that actually sold his first company 3 years after starting for $3 million, and built a second one from that money that he sold for $90 million, and on to #3
and the "WHO YOU KNOW" was actually paid for, so he didn't know them.
He paid a large marketing type firm that had connections to show him all the marketing needed, all the info on presentations, and then set him up with their contacts in big industry
like Home Depot, and Walmart....
So as you can see it wasn't even a 'who he knew' he paid for "who they knew".

'Who you know' can help, for sure in instances.

I feel its more of a crutch for those who didn't, or haven't succeeded as much as they want to, or have failed,
claiming it's because they didn't know someone.

My 2 cents on "who you know"
 
To add

I know at least 5 decamillionaires and none of them succeeded because of, or had a "who you know"
actually every single one of them provided/invented/manufactured a product that had a decent value in a decent market.

I only know of one other person that actually sold his first company 3 years after starting for $3 million, and built a second one from that money that he sold for $90 million, and on to #3
and the "WHO YOU KNOW" was actually paid for, so he didn't know them.
He paid a large marketing type firm that had connections to show him all the marketing needed, all the info on presentations, and then set him up with their contacts in big industry
like Home Depot, and Walmart....
So as you can see it wasn't even a 'who he knew' he paid for "who they knew".

'Who you know' can help, for sure in instances.

I feel its more of a crutch for those who didn't, or haven't succeeded as much as they want to, or have failed,
claiming it's because they didn't know someone.

My 2 cents on "who you know"
You forgot how many viewers on youtube
 
I feel its more of a crutch for those who didn't, or haven't succeeded as much as they want to, or have failed,
claiming it's because they didn't know someone.

My 2 cents on "who you know"

You mean in a "started out with daddy's money" sort of perspective? As in people claiming that someone only succeeds because they received an unfair handout, they did not deserve, from a beneficial relationship?

When I say "it's about who you know", that is not at all what I intend to imply. I simply mean that when you engage in business, you will always meet people who are better, faster, stronger or have access to resources or market share than you do.

If you do genuinely good work and take an interest in the people around you, weird things happen... Maybe one of your customers sends you an email; turns out he is the editor in chief of a magazine and offers to do a feature article on your work. You stay in touch and help each other when needed.

A good vendor who is close to retirement. Maybe he watched you work hard building your shop and offers to transfer his work load to you while only keeping his favorite jobs for himself.

Maybe it's a tooling engineer you worked and went fishing with in a previous life, now he is the lead engineer at Bridgestone or something.

To me; "who you know" is not something you start out with. Those relationships are developed by just getting out and doing something to be engaged in commerce.

Its easy to do. People who own or operate a business are without a doubt the most inquisitive people I have ever met.
 
My business was going nuts in 2014. I never knew anyone who gave me a leg up, just made friends with a few local shop owners and we helped each other out.

When things were going very well for me I had had dozens of calls from people at the SEMA show that year, but I wasn't there. I talked for an hour with a well known/famous vehicle builder about collaborating. Other product companies wanted to sell my products and market companion stuff.

My health went to shit and I failed instead of capitalized, but I feel I learned some serious lessons. A big one being when you're on the right track it won't be hard to tell because all the "right people to know" come out of the woodwork.
 
we aren't small anymore but still try to fly low under the radar. pretty interesting ride going from double digit cncs to 0 and back to double digits again after a fire wiped us out. just brought in our 20th cnc in a little over 2 years from picking up the pieces. we are not your normal shop cncs range from mills, lathes, routers, knife cutters we do a lot of projects from start to finish and handle the entire mfg and warehousing/fulfillment for our customers. a lot of manpower in non machining areas. still trying to figure out if this was the best or worst decision i've made in life.....always wanted to stay small like most guys on the forum here just not how it worked out.
 
You mean in a "started out with daddy's money" sort of perspective? As in people claiming that someone only succeeds because they received an unfair handout, they did not deserve, from a beneficial relationship?

When I say "it's about who you know", that is not at all what I intend to imply. I simply mean that when you engage in business, you will always meet people who are better, faster, stronger or have access to resources or market share than you do.

If you do genuinely good work and take an interest in the people around you, weird things happen... Maybe one of your customers sends you an email; turns out he is the editor in chief of a magazine and offers to do a feature article on your work. You stay in touch and help each other when needed.

A good vendor who is close to retirement. Maybe he watched you work hard building your shop and offers to transfer his work load to you while only keeping his favorite jobs for himself.

Maybe it's a tooling engineer you worked and went fishing with in a previous life, now he is the lead engineer at Bridgestone or something.

To me; "who you know" is not something you start out with. Those relationships are developed by just getting out and doing something to be engaged in commerce.

Its easy to do. People who own or operate a business are without a doubt the most inquisitive people I have ever met.
this is EXACTLY what i meant by the 'who you know', thank you for putting it much better than i did.
 
You mean in a "started out with daddy's money" sort of perspective? As in people claiming that someone only succeeds because they received an unfair handout, they did not deserve, from a beneficial relationship?

When I say "it's about who you know", that is not at all what I intend to imply. I simply mean that when you engage in business, you will always meet people who are better, faster, stronger or have access to resources or market share than you do.

If you do genuinely good work and take an interest in the people around you, weird things happen... Maybe one of your customers sends you an email; turns out he is the editor in chief of a magazine and offers to do a feature article on your work. You stay in touch and help each other when needed.

A good vendor who is close to retirement. Maybe he watched you work hard building your shop and offers to transfer his work load to you while only keeping his favorite jobs for himself.

Maybe it's a tooling engineer you worked and went fishing with in a previous life, now he is the lead engineer at Bridgestone or something.

To me; "who you know" is not something you start out with. Those relationships are developed by just getting out and doing something to be engaged in commerce.

Its easy to do. People who own or operate a business are without a doubt the most inquisitive people I have ever met.
Yeah I thought you meant related to you cant get rich unless you know someone rich.
You were just talking about networking.
Gotcha!
 
A little OT I guess but…
What you did was my intention as well. We registered the business with “Engineering and Machine “ in the name. The state board of professional engineers stopped it and said i couldn’t do that unless i was a PE. I worked for 35 years for various companies as an engineer and these slobs do this. I was pissed off for a month. 90% of the PE’s I ever worked with couldn’t build a chicken coop.
Pete,

I got into a similar situation. Attending an open house at my university I told a representative of the professional engineers group I did consulting. He told me I could not do that without a PE license. That was news to me.

After that there was some informal back and forth with the state licensing board. What it appeared was consulting is allowed. What isn't allowed is advertising your services as a "consulting engineer" without the license.
 
I know large ones like Orange Vise,
We've actually contracted our head count over the past few years. We get turnover like any typical business, but more recently chose not to rehire some positions.

Efficiency is everything these days. We have lots of dedicated machines/pallets, redundant in-machine duburring, and of course tons of automation. Goal is to have nine spindle-gripping machines by early next year. Currently at three.

Just the other day, I ripped the sheet metal panels off a pallet pool on a UMC500. Now, instead of waiting a minute to access each pallet, I have immediate access to all 17 pallets.

For 35 years I made okay money and paid into my retirement accounts. The real money was in the appreciation of real estate.
This is how it goes a lot the time.

Reinvesting in a business often isn't really investing. You're increasing profits if done right, but eventually growth slows and you physically can't outcompete passive investments like real state or even the S&P500.
 
We've actually contracted our head count over the past few years. We get turnover like any typical business, but more recently chose not to rehire some positions.

Efficiency is everything these days. We have lots of dedicated machines/pallets, redundant in-machine duburring, and of course tons of automation. Goal is to have nine spindle-gripping machines by early next year. Currently at three.

Just the other day, I ripped the sheet metal panels off a pallet pool on a UMC500. Now, instead of waiting a minute to access each pallet, I have immediate access to all 17 pallets.


This is how it goes a lot the time.

Reinvesting in a business often isn't really investing. You're increasing profits if done right, but eventually growth slows and you physically can't outcompete passive investments like real state or even the S&P500.
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Been in the trade since 1972 (54 years) started my own business in 1984 (40 years). 10 employees, 8 CNC machines, lots of manual equipment also, strictly a job shop that makes tooling and gages (no products of our own, but we do a lot of custom design). 30% of my floor space is EDM and grinding, so we concentrate on the tight tolerance, hardened tool steel, one of a kind or low quantity stuff. Medical, defense, nuclear. Still come to work 4 days a week, 10hrs a day because I enjoy it. I'm 70 and my son is 36 (mechanical engineer, then 4 year apprenticeship in toolmaking, then 6 more years in the shop) now I'm teaching him the business end of the business. He's just about ready to kick me out of here. JK, we get along great.
 
3 cncs in a garage here. Been management in larger places. I think it’s really tough to get over the hump. Seems like you gotta have 5-10 employees to cover the extra machines/roof/etc before you get back to making what you did by yourself. I’m well equipped and everything is paid for, it’s easy to get comfortable in a low stress situation.
 
I did not look at this thread for a long time. I thought it was a philosophical question from the title. EmGo would jump in about the glories of the workers paradise where the means of production belong to the workers.
Not sure about his feeling about chinese gangs? bring fentanyl and marijuana to the USA.
BilLD
 








 
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