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.
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
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
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*
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
==========================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
The internet is your friend, and you need to get a domain name
registered and website up ASAP.
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
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
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
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
Exotic Machine INC.
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.
You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
=================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
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
Anyone see something wrong with this picture???
On 6 Jul 2006 04:18:31 -0700, "Andrew VK3BFA"
====================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
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
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....
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
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
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