Starting a home shop?

I had a 30X50 building at my previous residence but have no shop building at
my current residence. I have a good bit of machinery for a home shop, 2
manual mills, 1 CNC Bridgeport mill, 1 manual lathe, 1 CNC lathe, these are
not mini hobby size machines, the lightest of the above machines is the 13 X
52 South Bend manual lathe. I also have welders, stick, mig, and tig, a
drill press, a hydraulic press, 4X6 band saw, power hacksaw, wood working
machines (planer, jointer, band saw, table saw, scroll saw), and a forklift
to move it all with.
If I get a building at my current residence, it will probably be around $20K
debt for the building, concrete, and electricals. I'm pretty sure I can get
some work from my workplace (a 60+ acres under roof tire factory), not
taking work away from other shops, but making new parts to repair items that
we currently don't repair, saving the company money, making me money. When
we are busy and I get enough overtime (most of the time), I wouldn't need to
make any money in the home shop to make the payments. If things get slow as
far as overtime, I can make parts for work and/or to sell projects over the
internet or locally.
I guess it boils down to that I'm a little uneasy going into more debt
because of the economy but yet I think the shop would pay for itself. For
the most part, I should be in the position that I don't require the shop to
make any money, I just don't want it to be a total burden.
Tomorrow I plan to try to get an updated estimate on a building and talk to
the bank about it, see what my estimated payment would be, etc. If the
plant cut out overtime, I could work in my shop for paying jobs (stuff for
work or to sell).
Just looking for advise or recommendations, do you think it would be
difficult to get enough work to make $200 or so per month with older CNC and
manual equipment? Also, I consider that I could sell my backhoe after I use
it to unload machines at my new shop building, if I get the building.
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Lots of things to look at. First off, are you going to get hit with zoning restrictions or similar? Lots of guys have set up some sort of money making thing at their residence, the local 'officials' get wind of it (usually when some disgruntled neighbor turns you in) and you get hit with a cease and desist order. turns your money maker into a money pit.
2nd thing is to look at how much you can realistically make per hour. Pick a number, can you make say $50 an hour for low end, one of a kind CNC machining things? If so, your $200 a month would take only 8 hours of work. Not too bad. But how much running around to you need to do to fill those 8 hours? And what about the overtime at work that just eats into the hours at your own shop.
Cost of money is an issue: Your $20k at 7% for 10 years would run $232 per month. At the start, about half that is interest, the other half is principle. If you think about it, the $116 a month interest is the money you need to make to buy the shop now. Lots of loan calculators out there, here's the first one I found:
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And last is risk: You have a decent job now with lots of overtime. What's the chance of that disappearing? And how far in the hole will you be if it does disappear? Is the building a plus (income producing) or minus (just another place to send precious dollars)?
RogerN wrote:
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First off I am not disrespecting you or trying to be insulting or derogatory.
I really can't advise you specifically, but I can say this. This is why you chose to work for somebody else instead of just starting and building your own business. With potential for gain comes potential for risk. If you choose to work for somebody the worst risk you have is one pay period's pay check or maybe losing your job. If you choose to start a business the potential is to lose everything, and wind up in debt and working just to get even again. The potential for gain is a steady paycheck every week and maybe a small periodic raise or increase in benefits if you work for somebody. Work for yourself and the potential for gain in unlimited.
In your case it sounds like you are trying to do both. There is risk. Its your choice how much risk to accept, and how much belief you have in yourself to overcome the risk.
I would caution, that I have done both myself. The problem with having two jobs is that at some point they will conflict if only for your time. If you get busy at your wage job your own customers for your home shop business will suffer. If your home shop gets very busy your wage job could suffer.
I am a licensed communications contractor. At one point I started an on-line store selling many of the pro grade components to DIYers not easily available to the average DIYer. It picked up, but DIYers need a lot of hand holding and tech support. At one point I was working all day in the field and most of the night in front of my computer. Sometimes I had DIY clients with legitimate queries that went unanswered for a couple days. Sometimes I put off service calls in the field to catch up on my DIY support queries. Both businesses were making money, and had good potential for growth, but I was unable to do both well. Finally I gave up the on-line store.
You have to decide if your home shop is going to be mostly a hobby or a business. Then you need to plan ahead on how you are going to deal with the issues that will come up if you run it as a business.

Reply to
Bob La Londe
Would it make sense to build a lengthened two car garage for this that might be more valuable if you sell? That sounds like a lot of machinery to make room for when you aren't sure you have work for any of it.
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
I live out of city limits, no close neighbors. I don't plan on doing any kind of business that anyone would notice. Maybe machine some parts on the weekend, take them to work with me on Monday. Other times I might ship some stuff UPS if I sell items over the internet.
If the overtime was there, I would just pick a few parts I could make for work, and leave equipment set up for those parts. Some of the parts I done on my manual lathe took me an hour and I made maybe $80 or so, I can do the same part in less than 15 minutes on the CNC lathe (err- 15 minutes plus tinkering time).
As a part of the plan, my 11 year old son is interested in learning the machines. The idea is that maybe he can learn a skill and get some experience, if the business is successful he'll have a job, if not, he'll have experience. I also plan to expand the shop with homemade equipment, maybe a CNC router, CNC burn table (laser, plasma, oxy/acetylene?), and I'd like to make a plastic injection molder and make my molds with the CNC mill. I have enough Allen Bradley PLC controls to make a manufacturing line. If things go as I hope, I could teach my son to run manual machines, program CNC, understand CNC controls to retrofit or build CNC machines, program PLC's and whatever else we can learn. And if things went well, he would have the start of a business, if not, he'd have experience and hopefully an education to go with it.
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I don't plan to quit my day job, for now I'd just like the home shop to pay for itself. My son is 11 now and if he's still interested in the future, it could become a full time job for him in the future. If the thing takes off, I think the roll I would take is maintaining and repairing the equipment and perhaps building new equipment or retrofitting old iron.
Sounds like you have some good insight, part of my plan that I didn't mention in the original post is that it could become a shop for my son to work at and run later, if the work is there.
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/ /Would it make sense to build a lengthened two car garage for this that /might be more valuable if you sell? That sounds like a lot of /machinery to make room for when you aren't sure you have work for any /of it. / /jsw
Besides the shop machinery, it would also be nice to have room for the 2 small tractors, backhoe, mower, kids go-cart, jon-boat and whatever else I can get in there. I thought about cutting costs by having part concrete and part rock but it doesn't seem that it would save enough to be worth it. What I could do is make a lean to on the back side to park the tractors. I figure if I had to I could sell enough stuff to pay the building off it things went bad.
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I work where we have a tech that has a brother with a machine shop. Guy is always looking for things his brother can make as repair parts.
The thing is, we have a fairly well tooled machine shop inside a production machining facility so making a repair part that said tech's brother can make is something we could often make.
As a mater of fact, I often repair things by making my own repair parts using company tools and tooling at work.
Now if I suddenly wanted to use my tools at home to make extra money using my employer as the target customer would I be working for my interests or my companies interests? It seems like a conflict and as an employee of the firm, my interests in the area I'm responsible for should match theirs.
I try to avoid slippery slopes and conflicts of interest.
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All the stuff about the son sounds nice looking at it when he is young. But I have seen enough of similar situations to tell you that about all you can plan on is having some quality time with the kid from now until 16 or so. The chance of him wanting to, being able to, and having the aptitude for such things is smaller than you would like.
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Not difficult, if you have the right mind. They are all wonderful tools, but tools are necessary, not sufficient.
It sounds like you have all the means to have tried this already? Have you tried and failed?
The basic idea is to make some niche item(s) that people with money want, or that saves money for somebody already spending it. This pretty much rules out any products for hobbyists.
I sell my most profitable part by taking a $10 stock item and drilling 3 very precise holes in it. Then I sell it for $550. It's like the old joke about the $5000-per-piece diamond-cutting craftsman: $1 for tapping with the hammer, $4999 for knowing where to tap.
Reply to
Richard J Kinch
I've tried and suceeded sort of. I bid some jobs and most of my equipment paid for itself. Since the overtime and not having a home shop at current residence, I quit looking for/taking jobs. I had some lathework for a while but it came to an end. I should be able to get it back if I ask. The work was making rods for water hydraulic cylinders, turn the ends, thread, cut flats, collect $60 + material or so. If I have a few CNC jobs, I can mess with it a few hours or so per weekend.
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--FWIW I've got a webpage, a Yellow Pages ad and biz cards I hand out to all and sundry. I made $40.- in January and $5.- so far this October. YMMV but don't count on shop paying the bills...
Reply to
My experience was a 2% return on mailers, a couple of Yellow Page calls that amounted to anything, but business cards passed out to property managers on slow work days brought me more work. Personal contact with target markets are the best thing.
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I second that. I'd keep the backhoe, but that's me, and I don't have one, but have backhoe envy. You know the market where you live. There is a lot of work to load up a backhoe and take it to a job. Then either bring it back home every day, or take the chance it will be there tomorrow morning. And things seem to me to go out on machinery that's only used occasionally. Then there's insurance, fuel, and on and on and on. A tire for those puppies can cost as much as a used car.
I personally think that if you can find a market niche, that you can make the best rate per hour in the CNC/machining area. Iggy sez you should do buy/sell/trade business, and that can be a good business. But, just for a business where you work with smaller items, it pays a high hourly rate, and it takes a small shop space, I vote for CNC/machining.
I weld, and don't know how to do machining. But I think that a good machinist/CNC machine can make a lot more money in a days work than I can welding, and it's not as hard on a guy. Welding is easy if you have people putting stuff in front of you. But the real world is not like that. Welding is hard work, as is a backhoe for a one man band.
Just my thoughts.
Reply to
Roger, I think you are rationalizing because you want a home shop. You can and probably will convince yourself that it will pay for won't ....period. I have had a very well equipped shop several times in my life, but the advantage it provides is convenience doing your own projects and it is expensive. It is always cheaper to buy what is sold than to make it yourself. Use your own experience as a guide. Additionally, please consider your available time outside of your current obligations. You will find that it will be less than 500 hrs a year, if you are lucky. Plus I cannot think of a better way to trash a perfectly good hobby than to turn it into a business. Steve
my current residence. I have a good bit of
lathe, 1 CNC lathe, these are not mini hobby size
lathe. I also have welders, stick, mig, and tig,
machines (planer, jointer, band saw, table saw,
debt for the building, concrete, and electricals.
tire factory), not taking work away from other
saving the company money, making me money. When we
any money in the home shop to make the payments.
sell projects over the internet or locally.
of the economy but yet I think the shop would pay
require the shop to make any money, I just don't want
the bank about it, see what my estimated payment
paying jobs (stuff for work or to sell).
to get enough work to make $200 or so per month
backhoe after I use it to unload machines at my new
Reply to
Steve Lusardi

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