growing very fast, new equipment purchase advice
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    Default growing very fast, new equipment purchase advice

    Hope everyone had a great holiday.

    A little backstory, quit my 9-5 in mid 2019, bought an old Fadal and started my own shop in a rental space in town. Im a young kid (mid 20's) and was worried my age may affect the amount of work I could pull in. Turns out I was completely wrong and I literally have people beating my door down to get work done (mostly sub work a mix of gov and medical from previous employers). According to the guys i sub from, they collectively have about 80 jobs lined up for me through the year and they typically pay very well (I take that with a grain of salt, never know what could happen and nothing is guaranteed). As much as it is exciting to be doing well, it can be a bit overwhelming at times especially when looking into purchasing new equipment, and taking the next steps to really grow the business. Up until this point I have paid cash in full for everything I have in the shop. However when it comes to new equipment there is no way I can come up with 50-100k for a new machine on my own in any reasonable amount of time. My question to you all is what would you do in my shoes? Should I Finance a new machine? Lease? Borrow money from family? Buy another old girl and fix it up? Although I am doing very well, the thought of a several thousand dollar monthly payment scares me a bit, aside from a dirtbike and my truck I have never financed anything even close to that much money, and I worried my little credit history could make it harder if not impossible.

    Like I said before I am a bit overwhelmed and any help from the veterans here would be very greatly appreciated.

    Rock on guys, and happy new year!

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    Never go by what they "say" is going to happen. Especially don't buy machines based on that unless it's something you can afford with cash.

    When you say sub, I assume you're a job shop and you're probably running their excess jobs because they are busy.
    Trust me, when things slow down all that work will go back in-house and you'll be stuck in whatever position you allow yourself to get into.

    That said, I would just keep on running as you are, work long and hard to keep up with the jobs as they come in. Some times may be busier, other times slower. That's the nature of the business.

    Don't extend yourself until you feel absolutely comfortable with a workload that can support your extra expenses.

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    I think the most often overlooked option is starting another shift on existing equipment. You can push 3 shifts and work 7 days a week. That is always cheaper than buying more machines.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Booze Daily View Post
    Never go by what they "say" is going to happen. Especially don't buy machines based on that unless it's something you can afford with cash.

    When you say sub, I assume you're a job shop and you're probably running their excess jobs because they are busy.
    Trust me, when things slow down all that work will go back in-house and you'll be stuck in whatever position you allow yourself to get into.
    I completely agree. Like I said in the original post, I take what they say with a grain of salt. What people say and what people do are often two very different things. To add to my original post a bit, I can afford to put about 50% down on a new piece of equipment, or outright buy another used machine. I spent quite a bit of valuable time working out the bugs in the machine I currently own and at this point I would not have the time to spend that time fixing the thing. I suppose the question I should be asking is will a used machine owned outright potentially requiring much more maintenance time make me more money than a new piece of equipment with a warranty, but also a monthly payment?

    Sorry if what Im asking isnt very clear, Im a redneck trade school kid and the world of business and money is very new to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    I think the most often overlooked option is starting another shift on existing equipment. You can push 3 shifts and work 7 days a week. That is always cheaper than buying more machines.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    This is good advice for sure, but for now its just me at the shop. Im not quite comfortable hiring anyone at this point. However, I quite often work all 3 shifts here haha! My idea of "lights out" is shops lights on, my lights out sleeping at my desk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millNchill View Post
    This is good advice for sure, but for now its just me at the shop. Im not quite comfortable hiring anyone at this point. However, I quite often work all 3 shifts here haha!
    You're going to have to make a choice at some point in all this....do you want to earn a living for yourself or do you want to earn a retirement for yourself?

    If you only have one machine...you need more, ideally 3 machines per person maximum is my opinion. After that, consider hiring someone. Have insurance to cover any bullshit that will happen.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    You're going to have to make a choice at some point in all this....do you want to earn a living for yourself or do you want to earn a retirement for yourself?

    If you only have one machine...you need more, ideally 3 machines per person maximum is my opinion. After that, consider hiring someone. Have insurance to cover any bullshit that will happen.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    My thinking was at the point of having 3 machines I would start looking into hiring an employee. I think we are on the same page there. I would definitely like to make this a retirement for myself.

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    If you want this as your retirement you will need to hire folks. It's scary, it's not easy but people do it everyday and make lots of money.

    If I had to do it over again I would have bought a bunch of used cheap lathes and a few new mills and hired a few people instead of buying new.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Buy used, the same or similar machine as you have now. You know the machine and how to fix it already so you should be able to quickly repair another with the knowledge you now have.

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    When you put it that way, it does bring some things into perspective and give me some things to think about. Thank you.

    On a side note, how do you figure people would deal with working for someone who is most likely much younger than them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by millNchill View Post
    When you put it that way, it does bring some things into perspective and give me some things to think about. Thank you.

    On a side note, how do you figure people would deal with working for someone who is most likely much younger than them?
    You wont have an issue as long as you listen to them and do what you can to help issues or explain why you can't

    People respect a straight shooter. If you don't have that skill, learn to get it.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by millNchill View Post
    When you put it that way, it does bring some things into perspective and give me some things to think about. Thank you.

    On a side note, how do you figure people would deal with working for someone who is most likely much younger than them?
    As long as you come across as a good person and treat them with respect it would be fine. I like having semi retired machinist. You can usually learn from them. But don’t be afraid to tell them if you know something works better if your 100% but tread lightly you don’t want piss off your best asset! Speaking from someone who is getting to think about semi retiring. But I’ll be here till I die lol


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    Buy used, the same or similar machine as you have now. You know the machine and how to fix it already so you should be able to quickly repair another with the knowledge you now have.
    To add to that, having the same machine sitting next to your existing allows you the opportunity to run the same job in both machines at the same time using the same program, same tooling set ups and same pull studs (no need to for separate tool holders for each machine).

    Or 1st op in one, 2nd op in the other.

    Lots you can do having another spindle available. Even more so being the same machine.

    Best Regards,
    Russ

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    Buy used, the same or similar machine as you have now. You know the machine and how to fix it already so you should be able to quickly repair another with the knowledge you now have.
    This

    Then when you are ready to move up, get something fast.

    Watching these slow machines work makes my eyes bleed

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    Default growing very fast, new equipment purchase advice

    A new Haas vmc or lathe can be set on your floor with a couple of payments down, leased through Haas.

    For a busy shop, the lease payment should be almost inconsequential....if you are pricing jobs right, and getting paid on time.

    If you need to make chips and not make repairs, a new machine leased at an attractive rate is a viable option.

    Haas generally has top-notch service through their HFO’s.

    And, with a new Haas, if the bottom falls out on your business within a few years, the machines have very high resale value, and are in great demand.

    ToolCat

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post
    A new Haas vmc or lathe can be set on your floor with a couple of payments down, leased through Haas.

    For a busy shop, the lease payment should be almost inconsequential....if you are pricing jobs right, and getting paid on time.

    If you need to make chips and not make repairs, a new machine leased at an attractive rate is a viable option.

    Haas generally has top-notch service through their HFO’s.

    And, with a new Haas, if the bottom falls out on your business within a few years, the machines have very high resale value, and are in great demand.

    ToolCat
    Guess with xometry being available, you can at least guarantee that you will be paid on time.



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    What size parts and what quantities do you typically run? Something with a pallet changer can be helpful. It can help you keep the spindle cutting for a higher percentage of the day. It's like having two or three machines in some cases.

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    unless your doing large numbers of all the same part you would be a lot better off with a single table ( normal VMC )and some quick change pallets ... pallet changer mills are great at long run jobs but are not good at low production parts ,,, there a lot harder to setup and cost close to twice what a single table mill does ,,, better to keep one spingle running well your setting up the other mill than have your only machine down well your doing a setup ...

    most days I can keep 3 mills running well I am setting up a fourth mill .. Its mice to have money coming in and your just using your free time to do a new setup ,,, That is one "HUGE" selling point with Haas, all the controls are the same for the most part and I can swap tools/ holders and programs from the VF4SS to the new DM2 with "ZERO" editing ,,, I just turn down the spindle speed and feed by 20% and push the green button ...

    you might want to look at the VF2SS mills ,, I have found there a great universal machine for the money and the return on investment is about as good as it gets .

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    Quote Originally Posted by millNchill View Post

    On a side note, how do you figure people would deal with working for someone who is most likely much younger than them?
    I've been "the boss" since I was 16. Guys who are going to be dicks will use your age as an excuse for it. Either be a hardass about it or fire them, they usually don't change. Guys who aren't going to be dicks won't be dicks regardless. You need to be OK with being younger so they will be OK with it too.
    I've learned tons by hiring guys who knew more than I did.
    Machinists don't seem to care who they work for as long as the checks clear.

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    There is always outsourcing ... but now that I think of it, why are those other shops piling work onto your queue? You might be amazing, or you might be too cheap, or maybe both .

    How about try raising your shop rate before figuring out how to make your hamster wheel spin faster. Working 24 hours/day at a crappy hourly wage is miserable, and not sustainable.

    Regards.

    Mike


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