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Finding work, what am I missing? Full disclosure

Sounds like you are an interesting guy, if I was in your town likely I would team up to get you some jobs.
likely I would wish add a good surface grinder to your shop and add "Next Day Surface Grinding”. That is an advertising ploy to get a customer on the hook. You seriously try to make it or admit up front that you have one job ahead, or two. Yes, buy another grinder and grinder hand if needed.
Percision shafts and shaft repair is good draw likely nee an OD grinder for that..
A whole shop of machines seems a lot for one guy.
But I am retired.
 
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First the full disclosure part.
I have been a member of this forum for 18 years, although its been a while since I was active.
I'm 65, a retired, disabled vet, collecting SS with an annual income limit of $21k. I've never worked in a machine shop or have been paid as a machinist. I moved from NJ to FL (just outside of Jax) 5 years ago and built my retirement shop.

My shop is all manual machines with the exception of a 5x12 plasma table. I have a Bridgeport, Monarch 10EE, Pacemaker 14x54, B&S horizontal mill, 5 drill presses ( the largest is a DoAll DTR28), small surface grinder, vertical and horizontal band saws, hydraulic sheet metal sheer, break, notcher, hydraulic tube bender, Mig, Tig, Stick welders up to 300 amps, and various grinders and support machinery. All of my machines are well tooled and I'm proficient in using them.

Circumstances beyond my control require me to need additional monthly income and $400-$600 a week would suit my needs.

I spent my entire life in various parts of marine industries and quite frankly I'm totally burned out in the marine industry and if I went back there it wouldn't be good for me or the clients.

I'm trying to generate my needed income from my shop. I spent about 3 months making a minimum of 3 personal cold calls each week, stopping in shops and introducing myself and my shop, and handing out cards to just about anyplace that I thought might be able to use the services that I can provide with no luck. I have done a few jobs that I got through word of mouth and only one repeat customer that I bore and bush hydraulic cylinders for but that is like a once every 6 weeks kind of job. Craigslist is dead and FB marketplace is filled with morons.

What am I missing in trying to find work? I don't need 40 hours a week in the shop but 8-10 hours would be a game changer for me.
I could clean shitters a Buc-cee's for $23 and hour but that's a last resort.

I'd appreciate any advice.
Well, if you aren't in sales, you aren't in business.
Those jobs don't walk in by themselves when you are starting.
You have to actually leave the shop, and even sometimes, talk on the phone.
I realize, that is a PITA...
Ok, get over to Caterpillar, find the shop foreman, and ask him what he has that is broke.
And every other outfit that you have around you.

Machinists' are awful Salesmen. We are Trade guys.
If you can't do it, Hire an Office Manager like I did, and she does Cold Sales, all the time and her $25 an hour drags me in MINIMUM $150 hour jobs, all day long.
Looks like I have 30 of them on the board right now.
You, stay away from the front door, and only speak to those that are trying to spend a buck.
Live ones.
My Office Manager has strict orders not to even SPEAK to me unless someone has a dollar in their pocket and is trying to spend it.
" I am sorry, Mr. Richardson is not available right now.
Oh you have a dollar??
I'll get his dead ass up here in a second"
Otherwise, get yer tail back to the machines and crank out some product.
 
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Repair work is what will likely be what you can find, like other have said. Unfortunately, that narrows you down to pretty much industrial and construction work if you don't want to get near marine work.

I used to do a lot for custom work for very well off homeowners. They always wanted something custom and better than what their friends have.
 
Hire an Office Manager like I did, and she does Cold Sales, all the time and her $25 an hour drags me in MINIMUM $150 hour jobs, all day long.
If you have an office manager who also does cold call sales for you, and is effective at both for only 50k/year, then you are both insanely lucky and an unreasonably cheap employer.

I pay my deburr guy more than that, and my office manager almost double that. Either you are full of crap, or got really, really lucky. Just because you captured lighting in a bottle doesn’t mean it’s an option for the rest of us.
 
This shop was indeed built to be my hobby shop. I like to build cool toys
I think you're barking up the wrong tree, and already answered your own question.

You like to build cool toys.

Other people like to buy cool toys.

Your cool toy projects will make you twice as much money as designing and fabbing a custom bumper hitch for some cheapskate who thinks it took too long, it's just a bumper hitch.

Whatever you like, someone else does too. In my case it'd be model airplane radials or triple-expansion steam or S scale flex track but I know plenty of people are making the wonderfullest knives, there was a guy here just recently trying to figure out how to make giant toy swords for cosplayers ... anyway, there's so much stuff to do. I'd for sure be looking in that direction instead of trying to pope dat barge, tote dat bale, yassuh massa suh.
 
I think you're barking up the wrong tree, and already answered your own question.

You like to build cool toys.

Other people like to buy cool toys.

Your cool toy projects will make you twice as much money as designing and fabbing a custom bumper hitch for some cheapskate who thinks it took too long, it's just a bumper hitch.

Whatever you like, someone else does too. In my case it'd be model airplane radials or triple-expansion steam or S scale flex track but I know plenty of people are making the wonderfullest knives, there was a guy here just recently trying to figure out how to make giant toy swords for cosplayers ... anyway, there's so much stuff to do. I'd for sure be looking in that direction instead of trying to pope dat barge, tote dat bale, yassuh massa suh.

I agree.

All I really do is come up with new shit for all the different cars I like.

I only need 30 people annually (worldwide) willing to buy one of my $6000 products to make a good living. I make a good income off just the < $100 stuff I sell alone.
 
Your shop sounds like my shop, with more stuff. Find racers. Drag racers, bike racers, rock crawler/4x4 types, roundy-pounders, (altho those guys are always looking for "sponsors"... 🤣 ) and farmers.
Hang your shingle at the automotive machine shops, as they generally don't do the regular lathe and mill work, but the farmer and racer types always call there looking for info. Also at the farm and feed stores and equipment sales places.
All those types like cool stuff, too.
 
Doesn't the 'vet' title entitle you to some preferences? Find all the 'vet run' businesses and see if they need your services, or know someone who does.
 
If I were you, in Florida, I'd ignore the shop entirely and spend a couple weeks studying to get your EPA 608 cert. How many people around you need machined parts? Probbaly a few, at best. How many people need minor AC service? A ton. $600 a week is about one service callout. If you an weld you can braze, and your total marketing could consist of a nextdoor post every week saying "Retired Vet, AC Service for less (than the big guys)"
 
Doesn't the 'vet' title entitle you to some preferences?
Not really, have to get pretty deep in the gov't contracting for that to help.

The A/C idea is probably the most sure way to make money, but I'm guessing @mac13 doesn't want to be crawling around in 120 degree attics working on air handlers. If he were half the age with a family to feed then sure, suck it up and make the cash, but I don't see A/C repair as a fun retirement job.
 
If you have an office manager who also does cold call sales for you, and is effective at both for only 50k/year, then you are both insanely lucky and an unreasonably cheap employer.

I pay my deburr guy more than that, and my office manager almost double that. Either you are full of crap, or got really, really lucky. Just because you captured lighting in a bottle doesn’t mean it’s an option for the rest of us.
I got really lucky, and she started at $20.00 but I threw in a $5 raise in a week.
Jobs are pouring in, there is plenty work.
Raises around the house are in the immediate future.
And she tells me I have to start paying myself too.
Hiring a girl to free me up was the smartest thing I have ever done.
I'd been harping at my Wife for 10 years to find me a girl.
And she was a half-owner of a Veterinary Clinic. You'd think she would get it.
" Oh, but where is the money going to come from? " she would always say.
And she'd never do it.
I finally got pissed and did it myself.
Now, I can go be a Machinist, and kick some tail.
 
true ,if you have a pretty woman in the office who deals with customers ,she will drag in work no worries........seen this many times .
This Gal is as pretty as a mud fence.
But, she is recovering from open heart surgery, she has ran more than one small business office, and is habitually fixing everything I have screwed up in the Administration side.
A Vet. Seasoned, and battle hardened.
And she can get the money out of the deadbeats as well.
She is a gift.
 
I said she would drag in work .....not necessarily do any herself ...........my bosses used to try to sneak pretty girls into the office ......about once a month the wives would come in to check out the office staff ,no more pretty girls ...for a while.
 
It may not be the case with the OP, but the above sentiment that machinists and business men are often not in the same shoes is very true. Lots of guys will go out bidding quotes by telling people what tools they have and how good they are with them, and while that's good, what clients in any market or industry REALY want to hear is exactly what kind of work you do, how cheap and how quick you will be. Repair work by nature covers a broad spectrum, but most often the clients don't want to sift through potential shops to find the one they are after. Even in the job shop world, I'm surprised how many shops will advertise a list of machines and certifications on their website, but when you ask for a quote they tell you it's not the kind of work they do or something of that nature. In the end, your machines and skills are just background resources, while making premium go-kart seats, large pump castings by the thousands, small pocket watch stems per order, or fixing Craftsman router switches are the jobs that you should market.

It's unfortunately all too often that a machinist is hoping to put his skills and machines to work, when ultimately jobs work in the other direction. Whatever the job is, you find that first and then fill whatever skill or tools are needed to do it. Otherwise it's a bit like the kids who come our of college with a degree in Medieval Poetry (because they were good at it!) who can't find work, while the ex-con who re-invents himself through night school learning to fix people's leaky faucets (because he heard there was lots of work/money in it) ends up with lots of work to do. That's not to say you can't put your existing machines and skills to work, but it takes a lot of business savvy to make the connection.
 
I spent my entire life in various parts of marine industries
Well....I know you said you didn't want to go there....however, it may be a lot easier to get something going since you
can talk the talk.
Nobody says you have to keep doing it, but it may just be the bridge to something else.
I mean if you really want to do shop work does it really matter what industry the part /work is for?
 
My 11 year old grandson found something he could make and sell on our homebuilt CNC machine a few years back, Fidgit Spinners.
He started making them and selling in school, only to realize he wasn’t good at sales. So he hired a popular kid and paid him a 10% commission. Suddenly he a ton of business and quickly made over $300, before ge got busted by the principal who sais he was profiteering and gave him 2 days detention.
We just attended his masters graduation in civil engineering. He has already passed the PE exam, landed a great job, and has over 100K in savings. He’s 20, and yes he has worked his ass off.
Yeah, subcontract the part you aren’t good at.
 








 
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