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Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

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beefy
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Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby beefy » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:15 pm

I live in a quiet court, on a basic housing block. My "machine shop" and plasma table are in my garage at the back of the property. So far my toys have been used for supporting my little excavation business but when I'm at a stage to go and look for work for my shop, I'm wondering how difficult it's going to be.

Have any of you successfully ran a business like this online. The risks I see with customers coming to your property is neighbours becoming aware you are doing something "commercial" in your back yard, and calling the council (one already did this because of an old van I used to have on the nature strip). Or likewise one dissatisfied customer (which can mean they found it offensive that you asked for 50% up front) can call the council.

So I'm in a situation where discretion is very important and I as far as neighbours are concerned I just want them to think I'm playing in my workshop.

Have any of you managed to make money in a situation like this, or is this a complete losing situation.

Keith.
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AnotherDano
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby AnotherDano » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:09 pm

Find a local coffee shop with a Wi-Fi connection and meet there. Get a laptop and have it primed with meaningful sites on the desktop, like your website (if you have one) or P-365 for color choices, examples etc.

Pick a nice one - not a McDonalds - and get to know the owner. Hopefully you'll be bringing in some business for him/her too.

Sometimes it's best that the customer NOT see your shop and it's location.

beefy
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby beefy » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:16 pm

Thanks Dano,

I appreciate the input. Next time I'm out where some cafes are I'll have to check the noise levels too. Suppose a more tranquil environment is better.

Yes I know what you mean about the customer not seeing you premises. It's natural for someone to associate the quality of the product with how the place of manufacture looks. A backyard garage doesn't do well in that respect LOL.

Keith.
8 x 5 water table
Powermax 1250 with Duramax torch
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DPC Industries
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby DPC Industries » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:15 am

could try getting neigbours onside. give them a cut pic maybe. although some people
have a natural chip on there shoulder. some cheaper rent factorys around though, i pay
$1400 per month in Thomastown for about 320 sqm.

beefy
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby beefy » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:03 am

Actually the tool theft thing has also crossed my mind. As the saying goes - out of sight out of mind. That's also a good thought for down the track when hopefully I get some rented commercial space. Have a little separate office for the customers and no eye contact with the workshop.

There's a couple of people in the court I've helped out in the past and yet I have a suspicion it was one of them who called the council about my old van being on the nature strip. Getting pally with them has been suggested before but I think you need just the right type of neighbours for that to work. I'm worried that could work against me by advertising what I'm getting up to in my man cave.

Getting into a commercial premises would be great but I have to make sure I'm covering costs and making some profit before I can commit to that. It would be great to bang, grind, plasma cut whenever I want and not be stressing about what noise I'm making.

Keith.
8 x 5 water table
Powermax 1250 with Duramax torch
Candcnc MP3000 / Mach3
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Geomagic Design 3D solid modelling
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby muzza » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:49 pm

Beefy, I think you may have answered your own question.

I know that if I lived on a suburban block with a neighbor doing what I do that I wouldn't be all that happy. I'm a bit more fortunate in that I have my setup at home but on 6 acres in a separate workshop with the closest neighbor about 150 metres away. My wife can be inside the house and not know I'm working (or if I'm not ;) )

I do get customers visiting but probably no more than some of the neighbors get visitors. I don't have trucks delivering as I pick my materials up and I try not to cut or grind at night.

Murray

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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby beefy » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:40 am

muzza wrote:Beefy, I think you may have answered your own question.
Murray


Which part Murray ?

I seem to be noticing lots of people who are into this game either have acreage or a commercial shop, judging by a lot of the photos I see.

To be honest I don't think I make any more noise than when people are mowing there lawns. Only difference is the lawnmowing noise lasts a lot longer (but lawnmower noise doesn't get noticed :) ). I'm always looking for ways to minimise the noise (water table, acid removal of dross, rubber lined parts tumbler, close the shed door, etc). My issue is more with the business dealings when I wouldn't want customers coming to my property. Like I say, I wonder if it's a lost cause, and not having a shop customers can visit would dramatically decrease what work I could get.

Keith.
8 x 5 water table
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AnotherDano
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby AnotherDano » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:44 pm

This may not work for you, being in OZ, but here in the US we have 'programs' for everything!
Our tax dollars at work. For everyone doing anything, there is a small army of public servants on the govt. payroll who are there to help you succeed. :cry:

Here in Wyoming, I have at least 30 people on staff to 'help me'. Each has an office, government car, IT staff to fix their computers, and a long list of 'support staff'. But try to make sense of how they all tie together and you'll wind up in a looney bin. It would take months to get an organizational chart which would only be good for a week because they move people around under all the 'umbrella programs' they are funded by.

Anyway, I stumbled onto one of the working programs, Works of Wyoming (WOW), http://worksofwyoming.org/

a project of the Wyoming Women?s Business Center, was created for artists to increase their business knowledge as well as enhance their visibility. WOW was created to encourage Wyoming artists with networking, training and workshops, art community building. WOW works directly with artists to develop training in business and marketing practices.


The Small Business Adminstration and on and on...

They have a great staff of one, plus a couple on interns, who operate a small studio in a good (tourist) location. Their budget is partially covered by a 30% commission fee and I don't mind that at all. Pretty cheap advertising in my case, as the staff will actively try to sell the stuff they have. I'm told that every state has a similar program.

Another government program that is active is http://www.wyomingbusiness.org that produces a really nice catalog of Wyoming businesses. It all depends on the individuals who are in place to operate the program(s). Wyoming needs to work at it harder because our population is so small. Your results may vary and you have to do a lot of research to find these programs.

For me, it's a love/hate relationship. But they do send me a check once in a while and my stuff is on display five days a week.

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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby hacnwac » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:58 pm

I have a commercial shop so I cant help with the neighbour issue. The plasma art side of my business is fairly small but it is amazing how many customers come in for something not art related and see a bunch of different designs and have to have something.I agree about what the customer sees is a representation of yourself but I do not keep the most tidy shop and I dont believe this has cost me business. Quality workmanship speaks for itself. As for people eyeing up your stuff, a thief will try to take your things even if they dont know what you have.Just my (worth nothing)opinion
Mark

beefy
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby beefy » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:12 pm

Thanks very much lads, very good information.

I'm pretty sure the government has some little business assistance setups, and if I'm not wrong there may even be a local council one, but I wonder if it's dangerous to be listed in that one when they are the very guys that would shut me down LOL.

Seems a website with LOTS of art examples (and a tyrekicker repellant page explaining the upfront deposit) could be a strong ally in my situation. They see something then want it, then I meet them at the coffee shop and have my computer packed with every image of artwork I've ever saved, all logically organised. Think I'd get set up with a card payment device so I can collect a deposit there and then if they decide to go ahead. This might be a terrible time waster but it should give me an indication of whether there's enough business to warrant renting a commercial space.

Keith.
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby muzza » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:59 pm

Sorry Keith, missed your reply. Was really just saying that you answered your own question in relation to having your workshop at home in a quiet suburban neighborhood which you are already aware isn't quite legal in most shires and one of the neighbors has already ratted on you. Your in a bit of a dammed if you do, dammed if you don't situation.

Where I am it's a bit different being rural with conditional dual use application and the local council support cottage industries especially if you use the term "art" . Still if I have neighbor complaints piling up at the shire I could have restrictions imposed on me but I always try to do the right thing by respecting my neighbors right to a peaceful country lifestyle and don't make a lot of noise at unsavory hours. I know what your saying about noise by others, around this way it can be motor bikes, don't you just love the sound of 2 strokes? :evil:

Murray

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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby DPC Industries » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:31 am

be carefull what you apply for here from council or Gov. all the people who
claimed the rebate on there water tanks will one day be sorry too. its another
thing they could tax.

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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby minnfatz » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:07 pm

I run my business out of my home garage and I had two of my neighbors call the city on me when my friend and I painted an old pop-up camper that I use as a portable sales stand. One of the neighbors knew I was running a business out of my garage. I have to admit the fumes from the paint and hardener were pretty strong and it was obnoxious. Not being a painter, I didn't know it was going to be that strong. Anyway, a city inspector came over and asked about what I was doing and whatnot. I showed him my shop and what I did and informed him that the smells were from painting and not plasma cutting and welding. I told him the painting was a one time thing. He asked why I had fans in my garage windows and I told him that even though I run a water table, it is a good thing to bring in fresh air whenever I do any cutting and welding. He seemed skeptical, so I told him I would cut stuff for him to show it wasn't smelley and smokey. He decided that wasn't necessary. In the suburb I live in outside of Minneapolis, I am allowed to have a business, I just can't have signage or foot traffic. I also try to keep the noise down as much as possible and keep the doors closed, which is easy since winter doesn't want to end here, or I'll make noise while the other neighbors are making noise. :D Anyway, I haven't had any visits from the city since last fall and I hope to keep it that way. I just need to keep the neighbors at bay until I can move out to South Dakota.

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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby beefy » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:58 pm

Thanks Minnfatz,

I'll remember about the fumes from two pack paints. I think smell could be more of a council attractor than noise.

For my neighbors it was a huge relief when I came. The guy before me had lots of wild parties and all his mates would be doing burnouts in their cars at midnight or later. There even ended a punch up with two of the neighbours. I never let this fool me though, people quickly get used to the new environment and then just a little bit of noise can be reason for complaint. I actually did a lot more grinding and stuff before I ever did anything business related and never had any complaints. However as soon as someone thinks some noise is business related, that's when they might want to complain.

I think it's not so much the noise is affecting them but more they simply don't like the fact you're doing business at home.

Keith.
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby HammerDownJustin » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:55 pm

I have met customers at night time with my AR and very bright light on the end because they came over at night time unplanned...it might hurt business but it doesn't hurt keeping the tire kickers away. :lol: since then I always let them know to call first
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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby Bigbird48 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:29 pm

beefy wrote:Actually the tool theft thing has also crossed my mind. As the saying goes - out of sight out of mind. That's also a good thought for down the track when hopefully I get some rented commercial space. Have a little separate office for the customers and no eye contact with the workshop.

There's a couple of people in the court I've helped out in the past and yet I have a suspicion it was one of them who called the council about my old van being on the nature strip. Getting pally with them has been suggested before but I think you need just the right type of neighbours for that to work. I'm worried that could work against me by advertising what I'm getting up to in my man cave.

Getting into a commercial premises would be great but I have to make sure I'm covering costs and making some profit before I can commit to that. It would be great to bang, grind, plasma cut whenever I want and not be stressing about what noise I'm making.

Keith.
Tall fences make the best neiighbors

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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby i_r_machinist » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:54 am

Kieth,
My daughter set up a facebook page for my home business that now produces about 50% of my customers. Most never make it to the shop. The other portion comes from a retired welder who gets a commission on what he sells, plus he delivers. I keep the noise down on weekend mornings and hire the neighbor's kid to do odd jobs. I've gifted stuff for most of the neighbors. Helps grease the wheels.
Good luck
i_r_

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Re: Backyard operation, asshole neighbours, dreaded council

Postby beefy » Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:42 pm

i_r_machinist wrote:Kieth,
My daughter set up a facebook page for my home business that now produces about 50% of my customers. Most never make it to the shop. The other portion comes from a retired welder who gets a commission on what he sells, plus he delivers. I keep the noise down on weekend mornings and hire the neighbor's kid to do odd jobs. I've gifted stuff for most of the neighbors. Helps grease the wheels.
Good luck
i_r_


Thanks i_r_

I like the bit about the retired welder. Just been forced into full time employment again and work a 50 hour week. Doesn't leave much time in the evening.

I've basically got 2 sources of noise, the compressor and the actual plasma arc. Think I'll put a concrete pit in the ground and stick the compressor in there with baffled air vents and fan ventilation. Storm water pipe happens to be deep enough to connect a drain to the bottom of the pit. Then I'm going to play with a torch shroud idea to completely encapsulate the machine torch. If I can pull those two things off that should make things extremely quiet.

Keith.
8 x 5 water table
Powermax 1250 with Duramax torch
Candcnc MP3000 / Mach3
Sheetcam
Geomagic Design 3D solid modelling
Coreldraw X5


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