I want to start own shop in the next 2 years
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  1. #1
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    Default I want to start own shop in the next 2 years

    Iím sure this has been answered before, but I want some real input into my specific situation.

    Iím a pretty versatile machinist, and Iím in my 19th year of cutting chips. I started in my dadís shop when I was 12. Iíve worked as an hvac and facilities maintenance guy, and Iíve also held a mechanical design position as well. Also, my wife and I started a photography business 5 years ago thatís now making 6 figures. I just went back and got a job machining again, not for the money, but because Iím good at it and I enjoy it, as long as Iím not working in a sweatshop for morons. A mechanic has never touched any vehicle Iíve ever owned. I say all this not to be cocky, but to communicate that Iím not scared to try stuff or get my hands dirty to make sure that things keep rolling. I know that thereís TONS that I donít know (that probably should scare me).

    Iíd thrown around the idea 5 years ago of starting my own shop, but when I compared the overhead of starting a shop to the cost of one camera... photography obviously won. Since then Iíve learned a WHOLE lot more and Iím glad I didnít start the shop Iíd planned back then.

    I will only start this at the speed of cash, I will absolutely not take on any debt whatsoever. Iím a Dave Ramsey fan and those principles are what has made our other business so successful- we donít owe anyone anything and never have and never will.

    My thoughts are to buy a good knee mill and a good engine lathe, and retrofit them later on with a Siemens 828D kit. I have run just about every controller out there, and Siemens is hands down best. For the work I want to do, I want at least 60Ē between centers and 15Ē swing on the lathe, and I wonít be doing more than 2axis simultaneous with the mill, so a CNC knee mill is what I want.

    I just want to know from all the one man shop owners out there what I need to consider that Iím not considering. Whatís a good introduction shop rate for a guy like me? I donít expect it to ever make what photography does, but I want to make more than what Iím making working for someone else. Itís pretty discouraging when my wife books one wedding and it pays 1.5X what I make in a month. And I make close to top machinist dollar.

    So, in a nutshell, I want to build this from the ground up without ever borrowing money. Iím totally cool with renting machine time and starting super small. I just want to do this as smart and strategically as possible. The goal is to replace my income 2 years from now.

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  3. #2
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    I can only say one thing...do not mention a word about it at your current employment....to anyone.

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    Default

    Keep your current job.

    Buy second hand manual machines in good condition but cheap.

    Collect measuring tools and cutters etc until your workshop is busting at the seams with tools

    Keep EVERY receipt and get a good tax accountant.

    Rebuild the machines from the ground up in your afternoons after your bread and butter money day job is finished.

    If you tell me you wonít have time for this because of kids or other commitments, then you donít have time to build a business, and I recommend you keep your day job. You literally build a business from the ground up.

    Make notes of all parts and seals/bearings that make up these machines etc. Build up a kit of spares for these machines. You WILL wish you had done this when youíve got a shaft due at 6:00am tomorrow morning and your lathe leadscrew shear pin is snapped and itís 11:30pm at night.

    Donít tell the neighbours ever.

    Insulate the fuck out of your shop if doing this at home so no one hears or smells a thing.

    Donít take out a mortgage for shop space when you donít even have customers

    The customer is always right, sometimes it hurts but you can not get into fights with customers you wish to keep.

    If they want it tomorrow, they get it tomorrow.

    Never make anything from ďyeah Iím pretty sure this was 304, or was it 303. Nah pretty sure itís 304Ē

    Keep 2 months stock of inserts and cutters ready.

    Buildup an impressive collection of BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF, BSP and BSPT taps. Maybe for you yanks the special taps are the metric ones??

    Check every job a second time before it leaves the shop.

    All measuring tools are calibrated on a schedule.

    If it isnít right, it goes in the bin. End of story.

    Get liability insurance

    Donít tell anyone who doesnít need to know

    Donít be afraid to turn down old mates job for $10 to spend 2 hours fixing his cracked mower deck.

    Everything made to a drawing.

    If the part is revised, ask for a revised drawing and keep it.

    Always email or text, even after a phone call so you have evidence of verbal instruction.

    Be honest with lead times.

    Know your price and stick by it. You donít have the overheads of a 50 man shop, and your customers will know this.
    You also are not a charity.

    Prioritise the good customers

    Donít be afraid to ditch the bad ones, youíll still be able to pay the house bills cause ya still got ya day job.

    When youíve worked 16 hours a day working both jobs for a year, consider dropping the day job.

    Good luck.

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    Some may disagree with my above statement.
    Some have built great businessís by renting a shop, leasing machines and putting the family house up as collateral if it all goes pear shaped.
    Iíd rather not. And it sounds like you are in a similar mindset.

    All my manual machines are paid for in cash.

    I owe nothing.

    I still work part time at the steel mill.

    Iím lucky as my town of Wollongong, NSW is still quite industrial with the steelworks, for now.
    Lots of repair work and I make a good living out of hydraulic parts and repair work which suits my manual machines fine.
    I wouldnít try and compete for 10,000 peices orders on aluminium trinkets when the shop next door is running a 5 axis pallet machine with a robot.
    That shop however may be perfectly happy to give you the jobs of ďoh can you weld up this bearing housing bore, machine it to suit this wrong sized bushing we bought, and also can you make this shaft and make the threads to suit this nut, and oh can we have it day after next?

    In addition to the machine shop, I am working as an employee 2 days a week fitting (or millwrighting you call it?) and welding in the steelworks. This is critical to how I built my business. My foreman is flexible and helps me whenever he can swapping work days etc.

    Some argue go the whole hog, quit the day job, loan out half a million and go for it. But I have a mortgage to pay and sometimes you WILL have slow times, thatís your time to build jigs, repair machines and tools, or work a day job to pay the bills etc.

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Themanualguy View Post
    Keep your current job.

    Buy second hand manual machines in good condition but cheap.

    Collect measuring tools and cutters etc until your workshop is busting at the seams with tools

    Keep EVERY receipt and get a good tax accountant.

    Rebuild the machines from the ground up in your afternoons after your bread and butter money day job is finished.

    If you tell me you won’t have time for this because of kids or other commitments, then you don’t have time to build a business, and I recommend you keep your day job. You literally build a business from the ground up.

    Make notes of all parts and seals/bearings that make up these machines etc. Build up a kit of spares for these machines. You WILL wish you had done this when you’ve got a shaft due at 6:00am tomorrow morning and your lathe leadscrew shear pin is snapped and it’s 11:30pm at night.

    Don’t tell the neighbours ever.

    Insulate the fuck out of your shop if doing this at home so no one hears or smells a thing.

    Don’t take out a mortgage for shop space when you don’t even have customers

    The customer is always right, sometimes it hurts but you can not get into fights with customers you wish to keep.

    If they want it tomorrow, they get it tomorrow.

    Never make anything from “yeah I’m pretty sure this was 304, or was it 303. Nah pretty sure it’s 304”

    Keep 2 months stock of inserts and cutters ready.

    Buildup an impressive collection of BSW, BSF, UNC, UNF, BSP and BSPT taps. Maybe for you yanks the special taps are the metric ones??

    Check every job a second time before it leaves the shop.

    All measuring tools are calibrated on a schedule.

    If it isn’t right, it goes in the bin. End of story.

    Get liability insurance

    Don’t tell anyone who doesn’t need to know

    Don’t be afraid to turn down old mates job for $10 to spend 2 hours fixing his cracked mower deck.

    Everything made to a drawing.

    If the part is revised, ask for a revised drawing and keep it.

    Always email or text, even after a phone call so you have evidence of verbal instruction.

    Be honest with lead times.

    Know your price and stick by it. You don’t have the overheads of a 50 man shop, and your customers will know this.
    You also are not a charity.

    Prioritise the good customers

    Don’t be afraid to ditch the bad ones, you’ll still be able to pay the house bills cause ya still got ya day job.

    When you’ve worked 16 hours a day working both jobs for a year, consider dropping the day job.

    Good luck.
    do not tell anyone you are starting a business.
    start the business but keep your job.
    should not be that difficult, as there will be very few customers......

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by janvanruth View Post
    do not tell anyone you are starting a business.
    start the business but keep your job.
    should not be that difficult, as there will be very few customers......
    What a silly reply.
    When I say donít tell anyone, I donít mean going around telling your neighbour Phil, the butcher Bob and banker Bill.
    You approach the right customers and ask they donít go spreading the word that you operate in your garage.

    Putting an ad in the paper is likely going to attract the ď$10 mower deck repairĒ crowd.

    I have never advertised, I have never blabbed about my business during crib time at my former machine shop day jobís.

    Never did I imply ďshould not be that difficultĒ so what a dumb thing to add in there. Youíd do well at Fox News.

    It is difficult. It is fucking hard. I should know. Iím currently fucking doing it. But THIS is hard, this is the real deal. He asked for honesty and he got it.

    I have 4-5 customers and they provide me with enough work to keep me busy 80 hours a week.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Themanualguy View Post
    What a silly reply.
    When I say don’t tell anyone, I don’t mean going around telling your neighbour Phil, the butcher Bob and banker Bill.
    You approach the right customers and ask they don’t go spreading the word that you operate in your garage.

    Putting an ad in the paper is likely going to attract the “$10 mower deck repair” crowd.

    I have never advertised, I have never blabbed about my business during crib time at my former machine shop day job’s.

    Never did I imply “should not be that difficult” so what a dumb thing to add in there. You’d do well at Fox News.

    It is difficult. It is fucking hard. I should know. I’m currently fucking doing it. But THIS is hard, this is the real deal. He asked for honesty and he got it.

    I have 4-5 customers and they provide me with enough work to keep me busy 80 hours a week.
    now where did he state he was going to operate from his garage?
    and why would that need to be a problem if he were?
    you can get all the nicest machinery in the world but without customers you are just doomed to fail.
    in this case it would not matter because in fact it is just a hobby business in a sense that it is not vital to produce an income.

  10. #8
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    I gotta say, Java, so far...Themanualguy is making a lot of sense and you're just treading water...

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    Use the search function. This comes up every other week. The truth is too many shops, to similar equipment. Too many deadbeat customers.

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    Don't do it....

    Unless you plan on buying a CNC machine first, don't do it.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Don't do it....

    Unless you plan on buying a CNC machine first, don't do it.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    That depends on the work you do. If production you definitely want cnc's. If it's job shop and repair work cnc's aren't so important. I use almost all manual machines and make good money with manual machines. Just don't try to compete head to head with cnc shops on production work.

  16. #12
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    Photo biz is makin 6 figures?.........................dream up a widget and make/sell it. Don't bother job shopping..........................

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    Quote Originally Posted by david n View Post
    Photo biz is makin 6 figures?.........................dream up a widget and make/sell it. Don't bother job shopping..........................
    Exactly. But a Haas mill new and get to work.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Exactly. But a Haas mill new and get to work.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    You could use some ISO9001119XX on your post.

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    Iso habits for sure!

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    If you can make money in photography, any other business should be a piece of cake. I'd certainly do a survey of who your potential customers might be and equip accordingly, not choose equipment for a business you can't fully quantify. Better yet, don't equip at all until you actually have business, even if you have to job some out until you can gear up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    If you can make money in photography, any other business should be a piece of cake. I'd certainly do a survey of who your potential customers might be and equip accordingly, not choose equipment for a business you can't fully quantify. Better yet, don't equip at all until you actually have business, even if you have to job some out until you can gear up.
    Bingo like I've said before, get work and play middle man to build up customers.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Default I want to start own shop in the next 2 years

    Not to be a smartass, but how in the hell do you make 6-figures with a photography business?

    If thatís sustainable, why not just run with it?

    In general, it takes a lot of machinery, usually a few good men, good machining and sales skills ó and some luck, to make a 6-figure salary (not gross sales, but actual ownerís pay) in a small machine shop.

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  27. #19
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    He likes machine work. He's not doing it to make tons of money, just wants it to be profitable and do something he enjoys. I can relate to that.

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    If I were you I'd develop a photography related product, buy a small industrial grade CNC, and make quantities.


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