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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by millNchill View Post
    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!
    There have been some really good comments here. I especially agree with those advising you to double up on a used machine you can buy with cash being thrown off by the business that is the same as the one you know. Everything from spare parts to your own knowledge of the troubleshooting and maintenance is maximized. You don’t need debt at this point.

    You said, “I’m a redneck trade school kid and the world of business and money is very new to me.”

    I’m all for humility and being grounded. Just don’t sell yourself short in the process. Take small steps. Ask for points of view (as you did here). Inform yourself. Make sure your balls are always on-board but also make sure they’re riding shotgun to your brain.

    When it’s time to hire, start small. Bring on a retirement-age CNC machinist looking to supplement his income. Be a sponge and soak in every ounce of story-telling experience he has to tell.

    Align with a CPA that has been around the block to come in at least quarterly. That person will also be another source of valuable knowledge and will protect you from any number of things that you (and most of the rest of us) don’t even know that you don’t know. Your CPA may be able to point you to a part time office assistant to help with the books.

    Align with a good business insurance provider. Same as the retirement-age machinist and CPA, this insurance provider matters. When it comes to the professional service providers, take multiple meetings with different companies. Just the process of meeting with them will expand your horizons.

    Work safely – always (but especially when you’re tired). It is no fun at all driving yourself to the ER with your left hand only because your right hand is wrapped in a rag and you’re not completely sure if everything will be there when the rag comes off.

    At the end of the day, the evidence here is that “redneck trade school kid” doesn’t come close to defining you. You’re a young entrepreneur with a very bright future that you get to define. As long as you never lose touch with who you are today when you start to see real success tomorrow, you will be a pleasure people of any age to work for.

    By the way… there are some real snakes out there. Just sayin.’

    I’m excited for you! Good luck!

  2. #22
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    Let's not forget to get some ISO habits formed early rather than later.

    A well rounded ERP like shoptech can go a long ways to tracking how profitable jobs really are or aren't. Most likely aren't.


    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    I spent too much time and effort in my early job shop years making due with sub par equipment. "If you need it and don't buy it, you will have paid for it and not have it" was applicable for me.
    IMHO, buy a machine that suits your current needs that can be unloaded easily without much loss if things take a turn for the worse.

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    Add another fadal, maybe bigger, maybe smaller to fit the work you mostly do. Or get for work you want to get into more. Either way, you can get a refurbed Fadal so it is less work and do the control upgrade in it. You could then pull a small bank loan through a credit union local to you. You can talk face to face which is always a plus. Downturn is coming, if you get a machine , get one you can pay of QUICK.

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    I say ,you got no wife ,kids ,house....push your luck to the limit ,build as fast as you can ,then sell out on top......remember anyone can buy machines....a good business is the guys who can operate them profitably for you.This is the midas touch in business....finding good people who will work cheap.....They will make you rich.

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    When I was in that position some years ago I borrowed money from family. Specifically my Grandfather. Made me work even harder after, but it was the right call.

    Also I think of all the family that's borrowed money from him I'm the only one to actually pay it back.

    Nothing wrong with a Fadal. Parts are cheap, the machines are cheap, and they'll do a lot. If they fit the work you're doing, matching machines is way better than eight odd-balls. Especially once you get to hiring employees.

    New machines still break down. You just get a lot angrier when they do it, and the parts always seem to cost more.

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    Shakespeare said it best -- "neither a borrower nor a lender be."

    If you don't have to make that monthly nut, you have a lot more freedom. Have a good idea for a product but it won't make any money for three months ? You can do it. Sick of working with cast iron, want to change to all aluminum work ? You can do it. Want to pick up welding but that's not gonna bring in any cash ? Can do it anyway. If you have to make that monthly payment, lots less choices.

    Except for real property, that seems to be one you can't get around time payments, but that's where the long-tem money for your retirement is.

    Another Fadal sounds fine to me ....

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    If you can swing it, and do indeed another spindle, I would go Haas all the way, small down payment then monthly payments.

    Choose Options (didn't save what I picked, but you get the idea I think/hope)

    That ^ is well optioned for $80k. Haas is not the fastest or best, but it will run circles around your fadal, and once you start using probing, well yo u will be in love and wonder how you did it before without.

    1200-1400 (not sure new models) ipm rapids, about 4-5 seconds chip to chip with the smtc, did I mention probing? (: Easy to use control, easy to load programs, easy to edit, etc etc.

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    Although not that young these days (mid 40's) all of the hires I have ever had, bar one, have been older than me and of the semi retired age. One of the 1st questions I asked em is, "can you handle someone younger telling you what to do?" Very few probs to date. Approaching em with a degree of respect for their experience goes a long way, but ultimately your the guy with his nuts on the line.

    Learnt heaps from them over time, and sometimes have taught em a thing here and there. A combo of "youth" and experience can really work well, so yeah the prev mentioned idea from others of getting in semi retired gets my nod.

    If you find even with a hire you are still as consistently busy and pulling the same hours, then I would start going thru the jobs and see whats not paying so well. Recon u will be surprised by what some jobs are actually making in real terms. That's what I did. Started knocking back the stuff that was making sfa.

    In my line of work there's no shortage of work around here, but a lot of its crap and barely worth doing. Was spending more of my time tearing my hair out than what it was worth.

    From there look at ways at making what you do more efficient.

    Well that's my 2 bobs. Good luck with it.

    Don't be afraid to invest in decent equipment. Im only a few months off paying off my automated cutter. It really sped up my production type jobs and improved the accuracy of my work. Also opened me up to doing some other work. The monthly payments hurt a bit at times, but that's the nature of things.

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    Mike have you run a Fadal? Don't misunderstand I loves me some probing, but every Fadal is set up to take a touch probe for tools, and with a $400 taster and their setup macros, I'm pretty sure you can get a workpiece set up faster than the probing routines on my Brothers (which run the protected moves between positions super slowly.)

    Don't get me wrong, once the door closes there's lots of places a Fadal could be faster, or more accurate. But they're really quick to set up. Yes, a new Haas at $80k will run circles around an old Fadal at $20k. It won't run circles around four of them, though.

    There's a time for shiny and new, but this isn't it, IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Mike have you run a Fadal? Don't misunderstand I loves me some probing, but every Fadal is set up to take a touch probe for tools, and with a $400 taster and their setup macros, I'm pretty sure you can get a workpiece set up faster than the probing routines on my Brothers (which run the protected moves between positions super slowly.)

    Don't get me wrong, once the door closes there's lots of places a Fadal could be faster, or more accurate. But they're really quick to set up. Yes, a new Haas at $80k will run circles around an old Fadal at $20k. It won't run circles around four of them, though.

    There's a time for shiny and new, but this isn't it, IMHO.
    Idk about that. I'd put my Haas dm2 with pallet changer up against 4 fadals. Those old dinosaurs have their place somewhere but we couldn't use a single one here.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    ... the probing routines on my Brothers (which run the protected moves between positions super slowly.
    That's a programming issue, not a machine issue. It is straightforward to speed up the probing macros.

    GKoenig, show him the video :-).

    Regards.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Let's not forget to get some ISO habits formed early rather than later.

    A well rounded ERP like shoptech can go a long ways to tracking how profitable jobs really are or aren't. Most likely aren't.


    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    Agreed, AS - especially on the shop software front. I know what you mean when you say "ISO habits," but if the various discussions here prove anything, it is that wording matters.

    I think a lot of pushback comes from people that spend a lifetime getting great at our craft and doing all of the right things (that were "right" long before ISO came on the scene) only to be given the impression that ISO is an easy substitute for their hard work and talent. It isn't. Instead, it is simply a common structure. The things each of us plug into the structure are what make our companies unique. Just as before ISO, the cream will rise to the top. ISO simply provides the structure to demonstrate it for the owner and make an somewhat informed buying decision for the purchaser. Performance is always where things get proven, of course. The thing is that not having the cert means that there is a whole segment of the Customer base that won't even give you a chance.

    Properly done, ISO definitely drives efficiency and growth potential in ways that make the owner's life a lot easier. Improperly done, it is just a certification that has use as a sales tool but is a chore to maintain.

    The *right* shop management software is a great tool to help it be properly done.

  16. #34
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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

    I completely disagree with hiring someone at this point.
    It sounds like you are able to run more machines yourself.
    You don't hire help until yourself is maxed out.

    The higher % of your work that is overflow - the more you don't get into payments - b/c as has been said - when the well starts drying up - you will be the one going thirsty!

    I would be for buying another USED machine.
    It sounds like you can pay for a decent used one right off.

    I also agree that it is good to have multiples of the same, but only if you really like the one that you have now.
    It sounds like you can afford about any decent used commodity mill, so make sure that THIS one is one that you may want to duplicate down the road.

    If you buy used now, you will be able to buy the next one soon if need be, even if you need to finance that one, at least you won't be locked out of a future opporntunity b/c you bought new and are maxed out already.

    Glad to hear of a young'un making it today.
    Many of us started at your age as well.



    EDIT:

    BTW - I wouldn't be agginst hiring a part time fella - preferably semi-retired, looking for Florida money, to help days, but the thought of hiring someone to run the shop in your stead is a whole nother game! You aint there!

    ---------------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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  18. #35
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    For sure. I wouldn't hire until you have the following in place.

    1) three machines
    2) proper inspection equipment
    3) ERP software to track jobs and materials...even if it's QuickBooks
    4) enough cash to do a proper payroll with insurance and everything needed to be legal with Uncle Sam.



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Comatose View Post
    Mike have you run a Fadal? Don't misunderstand I loves me some probing, but every Fadal is set up to take a touch probe for tools, and with a $400 taster and their setup macros, I'm pretty sure you can get a workpiece set up faster than the probing routines on my Brothers (which run the protected moves between positions super slowly.)

    Don't get me wrong, once the door closes there's lots of places a Fadal could be faster, or more accurate. But they're really quick to set up. Yes, a new Haas at $80k will run circles around an old Fadal at $20k. It won't run circles around four of them, though.

    There's a time for shiny and new, but this isn't it, IMHO.
    To be fair, no I have not. BUT I have heard their rapid is 400 ipm? and tool change is sllloooowww.... As I said, Haas isn't the fastest bestest machine around, but I am sure it will make the fadal look like a tinker toy (sure Bobw will fight me on that! )

    And I think it would outperform 4 fadals... in the right circumstances (everything is different I understand ) If you are straight hogging material, ya, but if you get into HSM paths, and program your backfeeds at 800ipm....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    To be fair, no I have not. BUT I have heard their rapid is 400 ipm? and tool change is sllloooowww.... As I said, Haas isn't the fastest bestest machine around, but I am sure it will make the fadal look like a tinker toy (sure Bobw will fight me on that! )

    And I think it would outperform 4 fadals... in the right circumstances (everything is different I understand ) If you are straight hogging material, ya, but if you get into HSM paths, and program your backfeeds at 800ipm....
    What about back feeds of 1800ipm growing very fast, new equipment purchase advicegrowing very fast, new equipment purchase advice

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    Tool Cat hit the nail on the head. If you are really that busy, the new payment doesn't hurt so bad. In fact, it hurts a lot less than losing production because of the issues that come with old machines. Just squirrel away as many extra payments as possible for when/if things slow down.

    I would much rather have one good, fast, new machine than 4 Fadals... There is a tremendous amount of hidden cost that goes into the maintenance and floor space requirements for an army of old machines. They can be fun to tinker with, but it's often not cost effective if your shop is busy.

    Also, some customers will notice the quality and age of your equipment. My "good" machine has brought in a ton of new work for the "bad" ones.

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    Just wanted to add a little more perspective on top of the previous post.

    I started out with a new machine and almost no work. That was a huge mistake; wish I had started with something used. When you are new, every penny counts.

    However, once I had enough work to justify it; buying the second new machine was easily the best business decision I have made.

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    Also, some customers will notice the quality and age of your equipment. My "good" machine has brought in a ton of new work for the "bad" ones.
    For sure. Inter to watch some cust being drawn to my computerised gear buzzing around like, "kids in a toy shop". Recon some modern, high tech gear running in the shop gives a good vibe to customers.

    Now I'm not saying its the only reason to have it, but put yourself in their shoes. They see my first press (works fine, but quite old), then the spot the fancy stuff. Hmm fairly modern shop. No ones commenting to others about my ancient press!!!


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