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Business making GT equipment


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#1 fordmustang1984 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 25, 2011 - 09:16 PM

So me and my brother were talking today about starting a small business making GT attachments and outfitting tractors for people. Anyone think it would work? I have plenty of fab ability and am equipped to make almost anything I could think of to put on a tractor with the parts and material.

#2 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 09:55 AM

I have spent the past 25 yrs in the Video Distribution busines and talk daiy with people wanting to start a new business. Yes it is possible to start a successful and profitable small business. However there are a lot of things to consider. There are a lot of legal things to consider at a local and state level there may be licensing anf tax permits.
If you need financing the lender will expect a complete business plan that projects businesss growth and revenue flow over the course of the note. And Market research to determine a demand for the product you produce.
There would be product development and patend research to assure your not infringing on another manufaturers patends.
I have seen people who were avid film fans who's interest were in a narrow field.
They only wanted to sell Good Movies. Their business failed because the buying public wanted trash, not good movies.
What I'm saying is you need to produce what the customer wants, not what you want to build.

I would in no way minumise your skills as a fabricator, but in starting a succesful business it is the least of the skills required.

Are you a people person, Communication(speaking and most importand listening) and your ability to relate to your customers is the most importad skill in running a sucessful business. Estimating a product cost and building in a reasonable profit margin is importand. Determine what it would cost to start the business, then double it! 70% of all new businesses fail because they are under capitolized in start up.

I am in no way trying to discourage you, I'm simply saying think through everything and make detailed plans before you lay down your life's saving.
Because I not only see this everyday, a couple times have started businesses that worked for a short time and went under. Now at 61 I finally rhink I have developed the knowledga and business skills to make a succesful business work.
And will be putting that together over the next 5 yrs.
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#3 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 11:01 AM

Well put JD. LOTS more to it than the product itself. Getting my milk out of the cows is one thing....the hassles to even attempt it are staggering.

#4 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 11:10 AM

As a small business owner, and somebody who has made at least part of my income through self-employment since I was 16 or so, I have to say that it's worth a shot. JD covered a lot of important things, so I won't repeat them. Instead I'll give you some thoughts and some of my experience.

The first thing you need to be aware of is that you aren't going to make a lot of money...may even lose money...at first. I forget the stats, but most small businesses fail during the first few years. Once you are established there are likely to be lean years too...sales will drop and/or equipment will break and so on. Mostly you will generally do okay if you put the extra time in.

When I first started in the business I'm in now, I had a partner. He had skills that complemented mine instead of having the same skills, which was good. Between the two of us we could offer complete home renovations, top to bottom. I had some health challenges though, and the money situation wasn't good, so I turned the business over to him and took a job. I made sure it was an amiable split and we still use each other as sub-contractors. I rebuilt my own business...no partner and usually no workers...on the side, but specialized in things I could do. I also expanded my knowledge and skills in those areas. I started watching those stupid home shows to see what was in style and so on. I reached out to whoever I could. I also started working really hard at writing for money, since the other business is seasonal and income gets thin in the winter. I'm never going to get rich doing this, but I do make a living.

Another thing is that you have to keep adding to your business. It sounds kind of strange, I know, but you have to specialize and yet be a generalist at the same time. When I started the business I have now, I did strictly decks and fences. That expanded into general landscape carpentry. Then I added general yard maintenance and light landscaping (trimming trees, planting flowers, building sheds etc.). Now that I have the 420, I'm adding a light tractor service to that.

Finally, know your client base. I specialize in larger lots in upscale areas and in working for single women. Those are my two big client bases. The larger lots in upscale areas is pretty self-explanatory...that's where the people with money to pay me live. The single women part kind of started by accident. I built a deck for a woman who was recently divorced. She had a bunch of friends who were divorced, widowed, or had just never married. All of those friends had friends. They all have some money, not a lot, and they don't have the skills, tools or time to make their yards what they want. One of their big things is that they don't want anybody ogling them or their daughters, they don't want to be talked down to, they don't want to be ripped off. Most of them have had bad experiences with contractors (and many with men in general) in the past. Now that they know me, some of them want me to teach their kids (usually teenage sons) as I work, which is fine with me. I always make sure that crowd gets lots of extra business cards to pass around. I make less profit off the single women, but they give me a lot more work.
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#5 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 11:19 AM

Reverend Blair and JD, great input for someone starting out. Thanks to you both for offering good, sound advice.

KennyP

#6 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 11:21 AM

Well put JD. LOTS more to it than the product itself. Getting my milk out of the cows is one thing....the hassles to even attempt it are staggering.


Heh. I had a friend ask me about farming because he knows I grew up around it and he's looking for a semi-retirement project. Of course my knowledge kind of stops in the early eighties (I have no idea how zero tillage works, for instance), and I never did deal with the business end of it. I told him I'd be happy to drive his shiny new tractor though.

#7 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 03:47 PM

Another question you should ask yourself is doing something you enjoy doing, going to be enjoyable if it is your job and livelyhood.
When you have to deliver the goods when you would rather be fishing, that's work.
Back in the 80's I had a lawncare business besides my full time job in the factory.
That's one of the businesses I mentioned above. And it failed because I did not put enough money into upgrading the depreciating equipment.
In the spring there were a lot of highschool kids competing for the jobs, by July I was picking up those jobs because it was too hot and humid to be fun anymore. I had two kids that needed shoes and to be fed so I took on the extra jobs.
One thing I learned from that experience was never make your hobby your job.A hobby is something you do to enjoy and put aside the stresses of life. Work is work any way you cut it.

Edited by JD DANNELS, March 26, 2011 - 03:58 PM.


#8 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 05:29 PM

Work is work any way you cut it.


Amen Brother!

Something else to consider is to do this some of the time, like for extra money, instead of as a full time business. If you have a decent job, start small and see what happens. Don't be in a hurry either. Patience is an absolute must when it comes to being a success. And lastly, don't be afraid to make mistakes and fail (on a small scale) from time to time, and don't be too proud to see these for what they are, but learn from them and make the necessary changes. As has been stated above, When you've gotta do it when you'd rather be fishing, then it's just work!

#9 fordmustang1984 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 06:58 PM

Okay, small business wasnt the right choice of words. It would be something to do for two highschool guys to make some money. Would we do if forever, no. One year or two, maybe. We werent really looking for a full on business, just some side work to do after school and on the weekends.

#10 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 07:55 PM

Okay, small business wasnt the right choice of words. It would be something to do for two highschool guys to make some money. Would we do if forever, no. One year or two, maybe. We werent really looking for a full on business, just some side work to do after school and on the weekends.


Now that's a whole different game. YES, a good idea once you know what's the most in demand. What type of attachments did you have in mind?

#11 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 07:58 PM

Okay, small business wasnt the right choice of words. It would be something to do for two highschool guys to make some money. Would we do if forever, no. One year or two, maybe. We werent really looking for a full on business, just some side work to do after school and on the weekends.


Yep you can do it, Just be sure your charging enough to make a kittke money at it. Working too cheap just ticks off the local Blacksmith/Welding shop and can result in WAY MORE Work than you want or can handle while going to school.

#12 fordmustang1984 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 09:14 PM

Mostly snow plows and yard trailers. The local shops here are wicked expensive, and usually dont take jobs so small.

#13 ducky OFFLINE  

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Posted March 26, 2011 - 09:34 PM

Mostly snow plows and yard trailers. The local shops here are wicked expensive, and usually dont take jobs so small.

Jobs too small.
I here you on that one, but why is the job to small?
Any job should pay time/material + profit.
No profit don't take the work.

#14 fordmustang1984 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 27, 2011 - 11:01 AM

The places around here are some pretty big shops and a GT plow or trailer is just not something they do.

#15 Reverend Blair OFFLINE  

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Posted March 27, 2011 - 09:18 PM

When you have to deliver the goods when you would rather be fishing, that's work.


And even in work you like, there are parts you won't. For me that's estimates and paperwork. Hate those things. If I want to do the building part, I have to do the paperwork though.

Okay, small business wasnt the right choice of words. It would be something to do for two highschool guys to make some money. Would we do if forever, no. One year or two, maybe. We werent really looking for a full on business, just some side work to do after school and on the weekends.


That's fine...an excellent way to start out because you'll learn. I'd suggest still treating it as a business though. If you say you'll deliver, you have to deliver, even if you'd rather be out doing something else.

The places around here are some pretty big shops and a GT plow or trailer is just not something they do.


Something that happens as places get bigger is that they stop doing small jobs bot because they can't profit from it, but because it gets in the way of more profitable work.




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