MACHINE SHOP STARTUP

I have noticed a few posters seem to own or be top members of small shops. I am curious as to how you got started. also some of the associated cost
rental avg utilities avg machine size and type no. of employees taxes avg thanks ahead for on topic non-political responses Terry
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Terry wrote:

The easiest way is to have a contract in your hand, buy the machinery and rent space and make parts. Don't get over extended where one hiccup will put you on your ass.
Good employees are hard to find. Labor is your biggest expense so buy it and use it wisely.
Have good business plan and stick to it.
John
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thanks for your reply did you use projected hours in calculating profit forecast 85% 65% ??
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Most of all, always conduct yourself with class. Try your best to keep your shop and office clean. Present your employees and yourself as hi-tech professionals. This includes not using neaderthal language with your customers and colleagues.

JMO
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Subjective definition of what exactly constitutes 'class'...

White pony >> little red wagon....
We choose our customers quite carefully ( not the other way around )

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SVL




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Ya, okay...you friggen putz...you can go ahead and deal only with the one's that's ridin in on bicycles that are....wearing them fancy assed suits and all....
Go ahead....Fuck the rest em, breathe deep, then just.... let em go--off to someone like *me*--someone that actually has a command over the *entire* English language...
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SVL




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Suggest don't ever quit your day job.
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Those questions are very dependent on your location, and the type of work you intend to do.
Where are you, and what do you know?
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northern kentucky, southern cincinnati for a location turning, milling, grinding, in aerospace mtls, engineered mtls (thermoset and thermoform plastics) prefer to do one-zy two-zy complex milling and close (.0002) turning
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wrote:

==========================A particularly insidious "occupational hazard" when you are both a "toolhead" and owner of a machine shop is the "over-investment" in "neat stuff."
Buy only what you need, with possibly a *LITTLE* potential for expansion. Just because the tool/machinery salesmen shows up does not mean you have to buy something, even if the bank or leasing company will let you do it.
"Easy" credit isn't.....
Exact answers to your questions will depend on where you are located, and what market niche you intend to fill.
Expenses such as rent, taxes and labor costs will be lower in small towns and rural areas but so are the markets (other than machine repair), and you may have problems getting highly skilled employees.
The internet is your friend, and you need to get a domain name registered and website up ASAP.
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Terry wrote:

These days it is more difficult to become a job shop, every 2 bit company demands ISO rating. Nontheless, I would consider if you have space, buy a machine you like and would keep even if it doesn't earn money. sub 10k cnc mills are common.
It is not what you know, it is who you know. Between 2 good friends, I owe over 80 percent of my business, one way or the other. Getting someone to dial your phone number the first time is the hard part.
Most businesses fail , not because of lack of skill in their chosen profession, but because of money, or the inability to handle it. When I started out I had a WW2 era bridgeport and an atlas 6 inch lathe[!] and the first thing I bought was a computer. I have been with Quickbooks since version 1 for DOS.
I agree, don't quit your day job. I contracted[temped] for 2 1/2 years when I started out. Important source of cash flow, and also decent source of work.
Go with the flow. I expected to do proto work, but found there was no money in it. I quickly got into production work, but now make mostly my own products.
If you have an interest, and can come up with a product, do it. You make so much more money per unit, it makes machine work feel like minimum wage.
Mid low volume products where the competition is overpriced are nice spots to be in
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yourname wrote:

Hear, Hear! I hope old 'Terry' listened to what you just said. When you start a shop you will very seldom find the most profitable work is what you thought it would be.
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Terry, Good questions you have asked.And the bank will want those answers and also a complete business plan if you plan to take a loan to purchase machines.
1) I needed 100K as start up money. I purchased 2 HAAS VF-2 verticals and a SL-30 CNC lathe. Cost is what they cost but HAAS will cut the price for a multi machine purchase. 2) Rent for 5000 square feet is roughly $3500 in the New England area. 3) Electric costs and heat, air conditioning etc. are around $1500 to $2000 depending on how much run the equipment while we are there and any lights out machining we can do. 4) Computers, software, wireless DNC links.(software is Master Cam, solid works, quickbooks, Cimco.etc...)costs ran around $30 K 5) Tooling,inspection equipment,benches,grinders,belt sanders was purchased at auctions when possible new when not...costs where taken from 100K start up money but they where around $30 K 6) Cutting tool discounts were negioted up front with MSC and they offered upwards of 40 percent off on all cutting tools.$9 K 7) Start up stock costs if you want to get the 1 and 2 part protype style work that you mentioned (It's what we started to get the ball rolling) were around 10 K We had customers lined up so we knew what we needed to stock to do rapid turn around. 8) Taxes vary..Insurance is very expensive. Say around 12K a year. 9) You can,t do this alone. My wife runs the front office and helps with EVERYTHING......She is part runner,shipping department and stock ordering. My business partner is someone I trust completely and he is my setup guy,inspection depatment and my right arm. My kids run the CNC millis if I have a production job. I spend most of my day chasing sales leads networking with other small shops, programming and setup of machines. We started out doing the jobs no one else would take IE: 1 and 2 part runs tight tolerance and short lead times. I have been in this business for 30 years and started my company last year. I congradulate you for wanting to do your own thing but warn you to be ready for many head aches and be ready to work upwards of 80 hours a week and 7 day a week work weeks for a long time. Somedays I love what I did starting my own place and some days I regret giving up my cushy programing job at a large company. My advice to you is what all the other posters have said as well as make sure you know they small shops in your towns and surrounding cities. They can feed you some of their cast off work to get you started...after you prove yourselve to them you can approach the large companies and talk to the purchacing agents and sell yourself......it takes time and effort and doors will slam in your face.....but some will open.and maybe you will catch some breaks.maybe you won't.anyway.good luck....
Charlie Exotic Machine INC. www.exoticmachine.com
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Charlie,
Followed the link to your web site, very nice, good job.
Tom
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

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Nice website, but.. On your resources page, I suggest either dropping the picture of the height gauge and replacing it with a group picture of some of your gauging and a caption regarding your gauge certification and calibration procedures.
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Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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thanks for all the replies!!! though i did expect more. seems y'all are more politicaly motivated than i expected.
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wrote:

=================In one sense this is the personal bent of the posters here -- however in another sense, because of the huge increase in governmental regulation, e.g. zoning, epa, immigration control, and other regulations, business is increasingly a political activity.
In the larger scheme of things, political activity is non-productive in that it produces nothing. Thus we are forcing our business owners, particularly our small business owners/operators, to devote increasing amounts of their limited resources such as money and especially time/attention to non-productive activities.
Anyone see something wrong with this picture???
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On 6 Jul 2006 04:18:31 -0700, "Andrew VK3BFA"
<snip>

<snip> ====================While this is "tongue in cheek" it has been observed, "Many a truth is oft spoke in jest."
While this philosophy/world-view is correct in the "right" time and place, it can be dysfunctional and even fatal in other times and places, which seem to be in the much larger majority.
Consider a baby -- there is no chance of survival without the help of others, such as their mother.
There are other complications such as "selective memory" and "file drawer bias," which ignores the factors of luck and chance. A close reading of history shows that a large number of the "rugged individuals" were simply the lucky survivors comparable to lottery winners, and became "legends in their own minds" in their later years, after retelling their stories many times.
The almost universal uncritical acceptance of the value and even "moral superiority" or virtue of "rugged (Darwinian/Spencerian) individualism" in the United States does not appear to me to be the result of any "nefarious plot" but rather the collective impact of highly entertaining legends and tales. When we are young, we are very susceptible to indoctrination, even when this is unintended, because we lack the experience and critical faculties to evaluate what we are told. This is especially true when the legends and lore is presented in highly entertaining and all-encompassing formats, for example wide-screen color John Wayne movies, or for that matter "The Godfather."
We all would do well to take time to examine our beliefs and values to see how many are based on legends and lore, and how many are based on observerable/verifiable "facts," or at least plausible inferences.
Habits, assumptions and attitudes that were once fully functional, and indeed helpful at one time and place may be useless and even counter-productive in another time/place/culture/economy.
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F. George McDuffee wrote:

George, I can only agree with you. Alas, this is the heart of the human dilemma - how can we set up a political/religious system that deals fairly and equitably with ALL participants. Nearly all the political systems I have read about have noble aims, and look great in theory - but get 3 people in a room, and 1 of them will want to be in charge and tell the others what to do.....
Start discussing "politics" and it hits peoples hot buttons, pretty soon it degenerates into abuse as each party insists that, all evidence to the contrary, that their system is superior.
Note - this group is FAR friendlier than most, people can agree to disagree, and leave some topics alone...(except for Gunner when he gets bored and starts trolling...) and not much abuse happens. Thats good - if we could but do it that way in the 'real" world....
And my posting was tongue in cheek - eminently laudable aims, but what do we do for the people who, for whatever reason, cant do this - infirmity, accident, born to "bad" parents, lack of opportunity, not competitive enough - how do we provide a "safety net" for those people ....there but for the grace of God go you or I.......
its interesting to speculate/debate about such matters, but if it was simple to work it out, it would ahve been done LONG ago....
Andrew VK3BFA.
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Terry wrote:

Sorry Terry - for some reason my first sight of this topic was Cliff and I responded politically - not what you wanted. Read the "real" replies with interest - good luck with the project, wish you well.
I am running my own small business (electronics servicing) -and its much like others describe, you eventually wind up doing all sorts of things different from your original intentions. And yes, the first few years are huge amounts of time, very little income, some potentially disastrous mistakes, and frequently a "why am I doing this" feeling at 3am.
The only advice I can offer is - Trust your gut instinct with customers, its almost NEVER wrong. I learnt the hard way. Or if it is wrong, the times you lose a job will be a LOT fewer than the horrible jobs you take on. If they sound suspicious, or you just plain get a bad feeling about someone, trust yourself - either decline the job, or quote it out the door. Its just not worth dealing with nutters and rip off merchants...
Andrew VK3BFA.
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