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Small Engine Repair,after Retirement


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#1 drbish ONLINE  

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Posted May 29, 2014 - 07:03 PM

I am not real close to that age yet but was looking into this as a part time,pass the time or whatever
I really have not had much to do with the newer stuff but am giving it a thought

Small Engine Repair
Distance Learning Course
Here is the link
http://www.scitraini...CFXTl7AodEHoAjw

#2 shorty ONLINE  

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Posted May 29, 2014 - 07:14 PM

It looks to be an interesting course. 



#3 WHdbJD ONLINE  

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Posted May 29, 2014 - 08:19 PM

My son suggested I do repairs on small equipment, when I retire....but that would make it Work

which is what I plan to avoid after retiring. :D


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#4 petrj6 ONLINE  

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Posted May 29, 2014 - 08:24 PM

   I have never had much faith in school's, I have always learned by hands on work.  Still looks looks like it may be a good course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Peter S



#5 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted May 29, 2014 - 08:31 PM

I did it for a couple of years after I retired from the Army in 1989 but with six kids it just didn't pay enough in the small town I live in.  Went to work as a Golf course Equipment Manger, high class and higher pay than a Golf Course Mechanic,  for about 20 years.  When I tried it again when I started drawing Social Security a couple of years ago.  Just plain got tired of dealing with folks who pickup a $10 walk mower or $100 dollar rider at garage sales and wanted me to put it back together for $50.  The the entire paperwork trail the Feds and State legal robbers you want to keep up with was another issue. 

I am still doing some work on the side, don't tell the old lady since she thinks I bought all the stuff that shows up in the shop, for some of the older guys and gals.  But if it comes to the shop in piecs it goes out with the owner real quick in the same number of pieces.  Also doing some buying as low as possible and selling as high as possible but the deals are getting few and far between.  Turned in my sales tax license and instead of buying parts from Stens I now get the same parts off eBay for less money plus free shipping.  Takes a couple of days longer though.

 

Maybe this is the year to put my George Workbird back together.  As long as it doesn't interfere with our camping trips.  Been wanting to go down to Shipshawana for years and this is the year for it.

 

Whoops forgot to add that many of the new higher dollar LTs and GTs have computers in them and and are a plain PIA to work on without the OEM scanners and readers.


Edited by GTTinkerer, May 29, 2014 - 08:36 PM.

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#6 HDWildBill ONLINE  

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Posted May 29, 2014 - 08:33 PM

After I decided to retire, after about a month or so the wife said that I needed to get into something.  So I have always enjoyed working with my hands and mechanical things so I started a small engine repair shop.  I do little to no advertising and keep my client base fairly low but enough to just stay busy.  I enjoy it because it gives me some money to play around with, some of the equipment are a challenge to work on or figure out what the problem is.  Especially when the owner has done some of the repairs.

 

Keeping my client base small make the clients I do have happy because I can usually return their equipment to them in a lot shorter time then those that are trying to make a living doing it.


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#7 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2014 - 07:28 AM

You can often find courses offered by local schools at night as "Adult Learning" for little or no cost. A regular repair business will have you working for a lot of overhead. Proper insurance and licenses are expensive. 15 years ago a guy in CT lost his business because a customer cut a finger off (he reached under the running mower). The mechanic didn't have the latest B&S engine brake tool(even though the customer had tied the brake bar so it couldn't shut off). The stupid jury ignored the actions of the customer and awarded because the mechanic was "negligent".

 

I'm just picking up, fixing and selling. Unfortunately, picking up is easy and selling is not. Good Luck, Rick


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#8 HDWildBill ONLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2014 - 08:42 AM

I did some of that buying and selling.  Your right trying to sell at a profit or even just to cover your cost's is hard.


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#9 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2014 - 10:14 AM

I think most people believe that it is easy opening up a small engine repair shop but most forget all the behind the scenes work that is involved with opening a legitimate business. Lots of paper work and record keeping is a must to keep all taxes and fees in order. Plus now with most people having their grass cut by someone else that takes a lot of potential revenue from the market and most people today will want you to fix their mower for under $50 and do not like when you tell them that its more like $200 to fix their machine which they bought at home depot for $300 new........

One thing to remember is the main customer base is using new throwaway machines not old repairable machines like most of us use here and the ones that use the old machines are doing their own fixing anyway.

 

Just My 0.02


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#10 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2014 - 10:25 AM

I think DR B hit the bullseye for anyone considering this. The other aspect is that you will get some really nasty problems that are hard to fix without experience and factory manuals etc. That can make for a bad day in a hurry.

  In some areas you may be better off offering to do property maintenance. That way you get to use your equipment and keep it maintained yourself.


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#11 dodge trucker ONLINE  

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Posted June 01, 2014 - 07:54 AM

I did a whole lot more of this sort of thing in my teens and 20s and just the difference in part costs the difference in what can and can't be actually "fixed" vs thrown away and replaced, is huge. 

Back then (this would have been 1980s time frame) I was PO'd about usualy having to go right back to the Briggs or tecumseh dealer for literally everything; there was no Prime Line, Stens or Rotary to get parts from. yeah Kmart had "Arnold" blades and tune up kits but thatw as the extent of it.

 

  i mean auto parts stores were plentiful and mandatory trips to the actual dealer for car parts were minimal. but everything for small engines and tractors was dealer only.

 

but back then things were made so much more to be fixable and not thrown away. Mahinery was made of thicker metal and much less plastic so it held up so much better.  People had more "common sense", we didnt need blade brakes or near as much "idiot proofing" with safety lockout switches,  people were more likely to take responsibilty and not blame others and sue for what was often their own stupidity,

 

but today if you touch someones machine and they take it home, put a zip strip on the handle bail, then stick their hand in the discharge chute to relieve a clog and their fingers become hamburger, somehow its not their own fault? Warning labels dont help people don't bother to pay attention anyway.

part of that problem is how decks are designed as compared to back then. They used to be so much more "open" without blocking the lower half of the chute to keep clippings from blowing clear...

 

China had little/no part in our daily lives; todays parts, even OEM ones are often imported crap that isn't meant to last. and even some of todays crappiest parts cost more than the OEM stuff did back then. the difference was that back then that OEM stuff could be counted on to last at least as long as the parts that wore out lasted, but no more.

Todays gas compared to 30 years ago is another problem.... I could more likely put a machine up in the Fall with gas in the tank and come spring it would fire right up without issue.  When a carb did plug up it was either because water got in or because the machine had sat more than just 1 offseason   and the way carbs plugged up it was a better chance of being able to clean them out without replacing the whole carb; part of this was the difference in chemicals available to do the job vs today.

 

what's with a small part now a days costing 85% of the price of buying a whole new machine if you can even get  just the part that you need? and  no name engines that equipment makers do not even want to identify (admit) that they built the thing because they know they sourced a POS just because they got it a couple bucks cheaper than something that might last?

Look at Kohler. They made their name building tough durable engiens that would take a beating and last what seemed like forever. Having discontinued about everything K series or Magnum it's like they were embarassed about having made some of the best stuff available at one time, today's Kohler is a far cry from those days.

 

I will occasionally pick up a machine to try and fix and flip but that was how I made my spending money in High School and several years afterwards. Fridays I'd cruise the town I lived in with Mom's old Plymouth wagon and pick up a few machines that were put to the curb for the garbage man, bring them home/ and more often than not all that was wrong with them was the need for a tuneup or to dump the water out of the gas tank and replace it with gas, clean it up a bit and by Monday it was out in my yard for sale. Now a days people want nearly new price for sheer crap. No money to be made on these old machines any more.

I no longer actively look for people that need their machines fixed, but if someone I know asks, I will still fix their machines when I can...


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#12 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted June 01, 2014 - 01:32 PM

Part of the carb issues with the new mowers is that the engines are much more fuel efficient so the internal passages and the jets openings are much smaller and therefor much easier to become plugged.   That coupled with the gasoline on the market today makes many carbs throwaways.

 

One thing that really cracks me up when someone would bring in a newer plastic tractor and brag about it having a 25 horsepower.  I would ask them if they want to hook it to the JD 140 and see which one has more pulling power, no one took me up on it yet.


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#13 WHdbJD ONLINE  

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Posted June 01, 2014 - 06:09 PM

I did some of that buying and selling.  Your right trying to sell at a profit or even just to cover your cost's is hard.

 

True, unless your name is Mike or Frank and you have a camera crew following you around!


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#14 skyrydr2 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2014 - 10:55 AM

The negativity is overwhelming!! LOL I even hear this from my local small engine dealers too. What a shame!! Truly what a shame....

#15 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted June 02, 2014 - 11:05 AM

The negativity is overwhelming!! LOL I even hear this from my local small engine dealers too. What a shame!! Truly what a shame....

Yes, it is a bit discouraging, but it's a result of the way the consumer power equipment market has developed. Prices are cheaper in real terms than they were 30 years ago and as a result the equipment is not as durable or serviceable as it was. If you want equipment that lasts you've got to pay much more for commercial grade stuff. The price of commercial equipment is probably more in line with the inflation corrected cost of our favourite GT's built in the golden age.


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