Business Expansion Plans - am I crazy?
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  1. #1
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    Default Business Expansion Plans - am I crazy?

    Friday my business partner and I signed papers on the purchase of light industrial land after a 1 year 9 day process. Building in the city has given me an education in land development that I never expected. Lets just say that it took roughly $600k to get to the point where we could close on the property with the confidence that we can go forward with building the facility we need.

    Light Industrial Land with sewer, power, and decent freeway access is unobtainium in our county. This particular piece of property was in a perfect location, the right size, with a $1.00, indefinite lease of an additional 3 acres adjacent to it (BPA land under power lines). But . . . it had street access challenges (280 feet of street frontage with a signalized intersection on one corner and utilities at the other corner and a city code that states that our driveway needs to be 250 feet away from any signalized intersection). This along with neighborhood CC&R's related to building aesthetics, land use, etc. made for a few challenges. Traffic studies, concurrence fees, and a number of engineering studies combined with numerous efforts to get easements from adjacent property owners which were rebuffed . . . we put food on the table for a number of attorneys, certified arborists, architects, city planners, engineers, etc. before getting a variance from the city allowing full access from a secondary arterial within the city limits.

    We worked through all the issues (like I said, 1 year 9 days + $600k) and we will turn the first shovels of dirt on Monday. I took my Kubota and brush hog out today and mowed a swath of land from the adjacent Park and Ride facility across the BPA land to the back of the property to make an easy path for people to walk. Monday we will close our business for a few hours so all the employees can drive over for a ground breaking ceremony. We will set up a coffee and pastry cabana, take photos, etc. Should be a good event that will boost morale for everyone as we get ready for construction and eventual move to the new building.

    This building will double our size to roughly 50,000 square feet and allow us planned future expansion. We can grow to roughly 100 - 125 employees at this location and easily handle machines in 30 ton segments with the new cranes with a designed hook height to 25 ft. We will also have a 2000A 480V 3-phase service for testing systems as well as two 55 ft x 175 foot machine assembly bays with aforementioned crane coverage.

    We moved into our existing 25,000 square foot facility 16 years ago with 8 employees and I thought we would never run out of room. I am hoping this new facility will last until I retire. (and I am hoping business remains strong to allow us to make the mortgage!) We got word this last week that our company was selected as the standard for drive systems for a large glass container manufacturer (displacing their own wholly owned division [our competitor] from this position). We have also recently achieved DPD compliance for Boeing in addition to having an approved quality program which has opened the door to a lot more business. And we have been working on a nice LIGO project as well as beginning to work with a local large rocket company as new business ventures for 2017 so our customer base is broadening as well.

    I have hesitated to post about this because the process of getting to the point where we are has taken roughly 3x longer than I thought it would and it seemed things would fall through at any time. But perseverance and patience has paid off and the Logger will begin taking out 200+ 2nd growth Fir trees next week. We are excited to finally be kicking this project off. We should be moving by November 2018 if all goes well.

    Sometimes I think about how what started as a way for an introverted engineer to work by himself in his garage in Yacolt has evolved and I am humbled by the scope of the work we get to do, the companies that have entrusted us with their production lines, the people who have cast their lot with me, and the things we have accomplished in the last 20 years.

    I guess if this building project ends up being too much to bite off for us we will go out big!!

  2. #2
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    Good for you if that's what you want.

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    fortune-favors-bold.jpg

    I would add that fortune favors the persistent, especially when dealing with government agencies.

    Good Luck to you !!

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    Good on yah, Motion!

    If it was EASY your competitor(s) wudda done you already!

    Stay alert for fools texting while driving, mind yer diet, keep the "key men" on the team(s) alert, clued-in, up to press-on-regardless and succession capability, and it should go well.

    Regards,

    Bill

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    Wow. I remember the last time we spoke ( on the phone, not email ) and how busy you were. I remember discussing this with you ( and the frustrations you were dealing with at that point ) and coming away with the distinct curiosity of just HOW you were able to stay sane during the whole thing. I may have even said that out loud, back then...

    But you've done it! Congratulations! I do admit to LOVING hearing about other PM member shops that evolve and succeed. Absolutely love it. I try and glean as many tidbits as I can, trying to learn and hopefully get to some point of success for ourselves.

    So, well done and congratulations! Keep fighting the good fight, well. You're obviously doing something correctly. And that's to be celebrated, for sure.

  9. #6
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    This is wonderful news Motion Guru.
    When do you begin with the hiring of lowly Canadian toolmakers?

    Asking for a friend, eh

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    Quote Originally Posted by macds View Post
    This is wonderful news Motion Guru.
    When do you begin with the hiring of lowly Canadian toolmakers?

    Asking for a friend, eh
    Ha, I am one of three American siblings (my mom and eldest brother and sister are Canadian) with many relatives strung out from Manitoba to B.C. . . . and I have already have a Canuck who hails from Ontario in my employ. His dad was a toolmaker and he is my CFO.

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    Mate if it was easy, every Tom, Dick & Harry would do it.
    Dealing with local govt....hmm been there before (small subdivision), and about to do it again. Lets see if I'm still married by the end of this one!!!

    This time with a couple of industrial sheds on land purchased a few months ago.
    The experience one gains better prepares them for any further works/developments.

    But it does make one shake their heads how some of these govt types manage to draw breath. There is a lotta perfectly good oxygen being wasted in City Hall!!
    Last edited by jatt; 01-21-2018 at 12:11 AM. Reason: typo

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    I am happy for you, What I don't understand is why the bureaucrats can jack you around and cost you 600,000 when you are just trying to build your business and hire people that will allow said bureaucrats to collect a boat load of taxes. How many people just say to hell with it? That is what I did, I found a building that was just right for my business. Instantly zoning was all over it and it would have nearly doubled my costs. I just stayed at my home shop, Outside the city limits = low taxes and no hassles from city BS. The building is still there, empty, looking more decrepit every year.

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    Yeah some folk question why I run my operation out of town. Say I would be better off if I'm "closer to the action", so to speak. Basically got the run of 4 acres (~170000 sq ft) out here. A lot of my work is done on stuff you tow, like truck trailers and the kind you live in of various sizes etc.. Plenty of room to navigate. My rents very cheap, so don't have to spend a fortune to buy/rent a large yard in town.

    Wasn't until recently found just under half an acre ~ 20000 sq ft in town that was reasonably affordable. But that's without a shed. Not to mention its a bit of a squeeze getting stuff like trucks in.

    Build couple of sheds on to rent out with a bit of luck. Got house down the back rented to help pay mortgage.
    Bit of an insurance policy as well. Owner of block out here is getting on in years, and may wanna downsize.

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    Congrats Guru!
    I wonder if you new Assm. area is going to be big enough?
    serious.
    Greg

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  19. #12
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    Congratulations Ken!

    You guys are a first class operation, and deserve every bit of your success.

    To answer your question: No, I don't think you're crazy. I'm a big believer that if you're not growing, you're dying. Both from a business perspective, and a personal one. So some people might look at where you are and not understand why you need to keep pushing, but I get it, and I think a lot of folks here will too.

    Dealing with zoning and regulations is always, always, always a headache - if you can figure out how to fix that, you'll have a Trillion dollar business selling it

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    Congrats, its nice to see businesses do well and grow and I think you'll definitely need the extra space/capacity.
    Just a few days ago someone was telling me the big multi-national he works for is pulling work out of mexico to bring it back to its US plants and a bit into Canada as well.
    Hopefully in time some of these foolish hurdles and expensive unnecessary costs/delays in the way of trying to build and grow a business that employs people will be clipped back as well...





    There's quite a few of us Canadians looking into what it would take to head down south if the US keeps on the way up.

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  23. #14
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    Congratulations and best of luck. Looks like you fought some hard battles before you even broke ground. We will all keep our fingers crossed everything goes smoothly from here on out.

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    it is eye opening to read the challenges required to build in some areas.

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to pictures and video when you move to the new location.

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    Congrats. Sounds like a great plan. 50k ft sounds pretty healthy.

    Just be glad you didn't have to deal with the butterfly people. That's enough to push one over the edge.

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    The $600k number includes site engineering, detailed building plans, landscaping, storm water mgmt plan, etc. plus traffic studies, level 1 environmental impact study, diseased tree removal plan, and all the legal fees to show due diligence to seek alternative property access easements from a multinational corporation on one side, and a county owned property on the other side that had been funded with federal dollars. Add in traffic impact fees and various permit submittal fees, etc. and it adds up pretty fast.

    A lot of our employees commute from Portland and we wanted easy freeway access for painless commutes. Same for semi traffic access. There are no facilities in the county that have high ceilings and suitable foundations for the cranes we need in addition to having enough class A office space for our engineering, customer service and admin staff. We looked and studied for a year before deciding to build.

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  31. #18
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    Congratulations Motion for expanding your biz but also but also your outlook on life!

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  33. #19
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    Congrats!

    And of course we want progress pics of the new building

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    Are you crazy? Only you can answer that question. The more important question is "Am I having a good time"? All your posts suggest that answer is a resounding YES!

    Congratulations!

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