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(EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:14 am
by Doc Hollywood
So after running my home based cnc business for 2 years, i've learned quite a few things, won some, lost some.
Below are a brief distillation of rules to follow to be profitable and have this be worth the time you'll spend at it. ( I reserve the right to add rules as i get my butt handed to me in the future haha)

1. No discounts

2. No Trades of any kind. Ever. (Trades don't pay to keep your shop running)

3. Cash only (except when selling on internet of course)

4. Customers cannot provide their own material. (what if you mess up their material and now you have to ask for more? or worse, go spend Cash to buy more!?!?!? Its not a way to make good customers out of people)

5. No custom jobs under $75 (its not worth the time and hassle sending 16 emails for approval of this type of work)

6. Discounts for Family/Friends only AFTER the regular price job is successfully completed, with out issues, problems, equip malfunctions, finish malfunctions, material waste etc. (all of which will kill your profit)

7. No shop tours. (Its disruptive and dangerous)

Hope this can help someone else in their journey in this business.
Cheers!
Doc

Re: My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:24 pm
by kb3gun
I really have to agree with #6. I just need to follow it...

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:21 pm
by DieselMonkey
I used to be the worlds worst about second guessing myself on pricing, always worried about being too high and not landing a job. Do not short change yourself on what your time is worth (or your tools' time) and don't sweat not getting that $80.00 job. There are always more fish out there and usually cheap fish tastes like crap (I.E. they want the best quality for nothing)

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:22 pm
by langdoniron
I own a fab/blacksmith shop and think your rules will fly for just about any small metal biz.

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:57 pm
by phillipd
Great advice and very true. Thanks

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:30 am
by wickedinhere
BOOM you nailed it!

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:46 pm
by michmetalman
When I do custom jobs I tell people I will only do them by text. When I send a proof...I get quick responses most of the time.
I've been in business 7 years and thats a nice list.

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:43 pm
by Doc Hollywood
Michmetalman, you and i are in the same market. (Michigan) Lol, but yes i do approvals any way, text, messnger, what ever. It is nice to have GOOD repeat customers. I have had people want to make 15 changes.

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:47 am
by Rtodahl01
Great rules, if you don't mind I will.print them up y o remind myself.
I have worked in fab shops and the field for 37 yrs.
Some clients are big enough that it is worth giving them a 20 minute tour.
A friend of mine almost lost a contract with Boeing for saying no to a tour.
Point is maybe that rule would be a case by case decision.

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:56 pm
by beefy
Rtodahl01 wrote:I have worked in fab shops and the field for 37 yrs.
Some clients are big enough that it is worth giving them a 20 minute tour.
A friend of mine almost lost a contract with Boeing for saying no to a tour.
Point is maybe that rule would be a case by case decision.


I have not been in a position to offer a shop tour (my backyard shed LOL) but I have read on machinist forums about shop tours sealing the deal. Apparently, for the bigger customers it gives them some confidence that the contractor runs a professional shop and is capable of giving them what they need.

On the opposite side of the fence I've had several people ask if they can come and watch their part being cut. That's got nothing to do with the business deal, they just want the ooh aah of seeing the plasma table in action. And of course they get to see all the other expensive gear you may have painstakingly accumulated, then they can go excitedly spreading the word and who knows who it will reach.

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:51 pm
by Rtodahl01
100% on point.
According to people that know me casully all my work is accomplished with scissors and JB weld.
;-)

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:36 pm
by Doc Hollywood
Right on guys, yes the shop tour rule can be bent, absolutely. But i do metal art almost exclusively, and work out of my garage, so i just don't want strangers looking at my expensive stuff. If it was a qualified customer looking for a production run, i'd do it. Please feel free to print/use/adapt the rules haha!
Cheers!
Doc

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:58 am
by acourtjester
For those that want an "ooh aah" look see a simple video of their part being cut may be easier. I have supplies a few as I too am not a production shop.
I did some gifts for family members and put a CD in with it when I mailed it to them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fErYc7W ... wq0KTKpuRw

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:57 pm
by EdG
I'm looking into starting a side business with a plasma burn table. My hope is to build parts and art pieces to pay for the cost of the table. And hopefully to build into a retirement income. Would love any advice. I'm wanting to buy a arclight table, It's just the cost to start is more than I can do at this time. Is there any web sites that post work for these services, like parts or etc. any info will be greatly appreciated.
THANK YOU Ed

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:14 pm
by motoguy
If you want to build one, look into building your own frame, and buying a Precision Plasma gantry system. Also, check Facebook for the (several) CNC Plasma groups. You'll find a lot of the same people as here, but many additional as well.

Re: (EDIT, 7 NOW) My 6 rules for cnc plasma business

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:11 pm
by Doc Hollywood
EdG wrote:I'm looking into starting a side business with a plasma burn table. My hope is to build parts and art pieces to pay for the cost of the table. And hopefully to build into a retirement income. Would love any advice. I'm wanting to buy a arclight table, It's just the cost to start is more than I can do at this time. Is there any web sites that post work for these services, like parts or etc. any info will be greatly appreciated.
THANK YOU Ed


ED,
if you want to build a frame, make it into a cnc plasma table via kit, de-bug it, calibrate it, learn the software, and all that goes into THAT process, do that. Its quite a process.....

But if you want to cut metal, make art and parts, buy a turn-key machine. I bought an LDR motion systems table, for a very fair price, which i worked into my business plan to be able to afford and be PROFITABLE.
Now... if you go this route, BOOM you've cut out this first metal shape, you need to know how to finish it. That's where you make your money. Finishes. People don't often hang ugly s"""t on their walls. :-)
Good luck, dm me if you have an specific questions.
Cheers, Doc.