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Thinking about opening a shop!!!

MAVINS

Plastic
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Location
Massachusetts
Hello Group!
Just wanted to introduce myself a bit and say that I find this site to be a pretty good resource for much info in Machining world.
I'm a 40yo old, been in machining since i was in early 20s and in manufacturing since 19. I have experience in all sorts machinery, manual lathe, Bridgeport's, a bit of surface grinding, centerless grinding, CNC lathe of all sorts, Swiss machines, Large vertical lathe, few different CNC mills, a lit of bit 3d Printing, CNC Laser cutters, Laser welders and markers, etc. in my early ages in manufacturing i was in Inject molding world.
Unfortunately most of my experience is from working for Big Corp companies and some small shops. I worked for one small shop as a part time for almost 10years, should of stayed there full time.
The company I'm at now, used to be great to work for until it got sold to a big corp, and now its a typically big corp BS. Its been almost 9 years here and last 3 years are taking a toll on me, I'm tired of a corporate world, I'm miserable here, hate it. And last thing i want to do is go out there and get just another corporate job. Honestly if 9years ago i would of not get this job i would of had a shop then. I almost made a deal with a retiring shop owner that was selling his shop, but i was second guessing everything, and this job offer came kind of out of nowhere. and at that time with 2 little kids it made more sense to have a regular 9-5 with benefits then risking it all owning a shop.
For past year i have been lurking around with an idea of my own Shop. I haven't decided of a niche i want to go with, But ideally i want to do a Full service type shop, at least eventually. And of course my number one concern is "WHERE DO I FIND WORK?" . I'm definitely will be starting with a lathe and a mill. maybe a surface and centerless grinders. will see. Cash is kind of tight now, may have to do a business loan or heloc.
I really like an idea of coming up with my own product line, as I saw few discussing that subject on this forum and others, and i already have some ideas. Also i kind of like an idea of making parts, that constantly are in depend, replacement parts.
 
Start your business on the side, and grow it until you are forced to jump ship by either your business expanding, or bureaucratic BS.
That's a plan!!! But my Garage space and/or power source might be a big Hiccup. I have an electrician scheduled for next week to see what can be done in terms of power. Once we'll figure that out, I'll know what type of machinery i can put in there, so i can figure out what can be made on those and we'll go from there.
 
That's a plan!!! But my Garage space and/or power source might be a big Hiccup. I have an electrician scheduled for next week to see what can be done in terms of power. Once we'll figure that out, I'll know what type of machinery i can put in there, so i can figure out what can be made on those and we'll go from there.
Lots of stories of guys here working first shift, and running a shop on the side. Plenty of them had to rent shop space, for reasons you are already aware of (space, power, nosey neighbors). You need to treat it like two separate entities though. Your full time job money supports your family, your retirement, your health insurance. Skim a little spending money off of the shop account every once in a while if the fruit is ripe, if not, dump everything back into tooling/fixturing/machinery. That way, when shit does hit the fan, you are tooled, and ready to go to work on Monday morning. If your personal shop doesn't pan out, you still have your day job to full back on should your business plan fail.

*proverbial hot dog cart wheel squeaks*
 
Do it on the side until you can't.

If cash is tight right now just wait until you don't have a steady income. Find a way to not take on debt to make it happen. I think things could get unstable in a hurry and you'll feel pretty dumb if you bet your house on a business that doesn't have any customers.

I haven't had to find a new customer in a long time and I wouldn't want to have to right now, and I'm fully established.
 
"WHERE DO I FIND WORK?" .
As a small startup you find it locally. But, that brings up the question, is there work locally? Are there lots of manufacturing and smalls startups in your area?

Cash is tight, that's not a good sign, in fact it's awful.. Think about it, that will likely have a major effect on your ability to borrow or a home equity loan. Lenders will be most concerned about your ability to repay the loans. And a machine shop startup won't give lenders a whole lot of confidence. Go talk with some lenders to see what they have to say about lending you money.

Statistically the odds are way against you.

Save your money, buy a machine or two for cash and operate on the side keeping your day job.
 
Lots of stories of guys here working first shift, and running a shop on the side.
It is MUCH better the other way around. Work 1st shift for yourself and 2nd or 3rd for someone else. It's hard to visit vendors, order stock or even go to the bank if you work 1st. There are also too many people in general.

I like waking up rested and refreshed, starting the day with my business. Then jump in the shower at 2pm and head to work for the evening.
I tried doing the opposite and working 1st shift for about 6 months. I always got to my shop worn out and had to push much harder to achieve anything.
 
I would also say, don't be afraid, a lot of people on here will scare the will out of you.
learn about business, you know machining, but your not starting a machining, your starting a business.
make educated decisions.
the info from others on here is invaluable, as they have done it already.

Sometimes the slow crawl might not work, it didn't for me.
I said "if I don't start a business by 40 I never will" and I'll be screwed, no retirement.

Was making decent money at age 44 at a shop, then it burned down.

I was the sole provider at our house and was jobless.
wife went finding a job as soon as we saw the shop fire on tv that morning.

Took out a home loan bought machines and goodies, and off I went, no choice! I had to make it work!

5 years still going, zero debt, 2 shops full of machines.

everyone's story isn't the same, just sayin.
 
Can you sell? You can run every machine there is. Are you good with people?

I am a shit salesman for job work. I can get lots of overflow work from friend's shops, but it's not enough to pay bills every month. I tried driving around, inquiring about machinework and handing out cards a few times when I had extra capacity. I've gotten a bunch of nopes and a few prints for nightmare jobs I don't have the machines or skills for.

Thankfully, I went into business to make my own products and I'm a pretty good salesman when I know the stuff I make inside and out. I can manage a large product inventory, I can pack and ship stuff so it always gets there, I'm pretty good at customer service and keeping customers happy.

I would rather own a mechanic shop and do brake jobs and timing belts all day than own a job shop. You can setup a nice mechanic shop for $50k. Your customers are all geographically captive to your services. Customers pay you before their car leaves. Repairing vehicles is a lot easier and pays way better than making parts for other companies and being their bank with 90 day terms.
 
Can you sell? You can run every machine there is. Are you good with people?

I am a shit salesman for job work. I can get lots of overflow work from friend's shops, but it's not enough to pay bills every month. I tried driving around, inquiring about machinework and handing out cards a few times when I had extra capacity. I've gotten a bunch of nopes and a few prints for nightmare jobs I don't have the machines or skills for.

Thankfully, I went into business to make my own products and I'm a pretty good salesman when I know the stuff I make inside and out. I can manage a large product inventory, I can pack and ship stuff so it always gets there, I'm pretty good at customer service and keeping customers happy.

I would rather own a mechanic shop and do brake jobs and timing belts all day than own a job shop. You can setup a nice mechanic shop for $50k. Your customers are all geographically captive to your services. Customers pay you before their car leaves. Repairing vehicles is a lot easier and pays way better than making parts for other companies and being their bank with 90 day terms.
This.

As a one man job shop your main jobs are Saleman and Office Admin.
The 2nd worst thing being self employed is not having work.
The worst thing is having work and not being paid for it.

Old iron is cheap. Fusion 360 is cheap. CAD/CAM tutorials are free on youtube.

If you can make do this on the side while working at your day job, and your family wont be homeless if it goes sideways, go for it.
 
Great! Welcome to being in business. There are only four questions that matter.

Who are your customers?
What do they need?
How can you meet that need?
Can you make money doing it?

Answer all of those questions, and you'll do fine. "I think I might start a job shop" answers exactly zero of them.
 
The business part is............FINDING PROFITABLE WORK!!!!!!!!!
If you have work you don't even need machines. There are tons of guys you can sub out work to. The hard part is getting the orders. If you don't know where to get work, stay an employee and work for those that can find the work.
 
Lots of stories of guys here working first shift, and running a shop on the side. Plenty of them had to rent shop space, for reasons you are already aware of (space, power, nosey neighbors). You need to treat it like two separate entities though. Your full time job money supports your family, your retirement, your health insurance. Skim a little spending money off of the shop account every once in a while if the fruit is ripe, if not, dump everything back into tooling/fixturing/machinery. That way, when shit does hit the fan, you are tooled, and ready to go to work on Monday morning. If your personal shop doesn't pan out, you still have your day job to full back on should your business plan fail.

*proverbial hot dog cart wheel squeaks*
I'm afraid I'll have to go renting a shop space route. I don't think I'll be able to get much power from what I have for electrical in my house, but electrician will tell me. Maybe I'm wrong.
 
Great! Welcome to being in business. There are only four questions that matter.

Who are your customers?
What do they need?
How can you meet that need?
Can you make money doing it?

Answer all of those questions, and you'll do fine. "I think I might start a job shop" answers exactly zero of them.
You sure right about the fact that Thinking About a Shop gives an absolute zero answers to any of the questions. That's why I'm here reading on, on all of the experiences, opinions, suggestions and advices people have or give. So I can build a better understanding how to go about it. And THANKS to people like yourself, I'm already rethinking how to go about it. And i Mean it in a Good way!!!
 
This comes up 2x a month. Search the forum.

Consensus is too many shops. Can't charge enough. Customers want it for nearly free and pay when they feel like it.
Before even posting anything I have spend few days reading through a lot of different threads. And yes I do see that a lot shops have issues with people paying. That's why I'm here gathering up all the info I can, so I can make a good educated decisions on my journey.
 
The business part is............FINDING PROFITABLE WORK!!!!!!!!!
If you have work you don't even need machines. There are tons of guys you can sub out work to. The hard part is getting the orders. If you don't know where to get work, stay an employee and work for those that can find the work.
I'm here to learn. I have been employee long enough, with a little to no feel of an accomplishment. I mean yes I went from a Temp employee Packer/Floor Sweeper, to a Lead Programmer/New Product Development, In between I did all sort of other roles too, Department Supervisor, Set-up Lead Person, CNC Programmer, etc. I could go finish up my degree and grow higher in a company, but I have an absolute ZERO interests in it. I left a supervisor position because of all the corporate bulls**t i had go through each and every day, instead of just worrying about running my department.
I'm here to gather up ideas, I'll find work, and like you say a Profitable Work.
 
Can you sell? You can run every machine there is. Are you good with people?

I am a shit salesman for job work. I can get lots of overflow work from friend's shops, but it's not enough to pay bills every month. I tried driving around, inquiring about machinework and handing out cards a few times when I had extra capacity. I've gotten a bunch of nopes and a few prints for nightmare jobs I don't have the machines or skills for.

Thankfully, I went into business to make my own products and I'm a pretty good salesman when I know the stuff I make inside and out. I can manage a large product inventory, I can pack and ship stuff so it always gets there, I'm pretty good at customer service and keeping customers happy.

I would rather own a mechanic shop and do brake jobs and timing belts all day than own a job shop. You can setup a nice mechanic shop for $50k. Your customers are all geographically captive to your services. Customers pay you before their car leaves. Repairing vehicles is a lot easier and pays way better than making parts for other companies and being their bank with 90 day terms.
I'm good with people, and yes I can sell, am I really good at it, probably not, but I'll learn, lol.
If not a secret what kind of your own products do you make? I'll understand if don't answer this, no hurt feelings.

You Are Reading my mind about a Mechanic shop, That is an option for me too. as a typical guy, I love Cars! And I fix my own cars, and I don't mean Oil Change or Brake job, I mean Fix them when shit goes haywire. I'll have to dig deeper what it will take to open up a Mechanic shop in my heck of the woods.
 








 
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