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Thread: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

  1. #1
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    How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Hello, Iím still new at this ďbusinessĒ stuff. Iím actually the guy that quoted a guy almost $4k to build a bike rack 🤦🏻*♂️ I got a lot of (good) **** from you all that time. Iíve since learned better quoting strategies and have dialed it in and have had a more than consistent flow of work this summer. Itís still a side hustle, I still work my normal welding job in aerospace, but I canít help but shake the butterfly feeling of waking up and going to a shop that is mine, set up how I want, etc.

    This summer has been more than busy for me, Iíve installed railings almost every week, as well as taken on other fabrication and welding jobs too. Well, where I live, railings are unfortunately not a 52 week a year type of job. Itís getting colder where I am, and within a few months there wonít be a way of installing them till the spring.

    I have been working with this customer from a large company that makes biomedical chemicals and been making a bunch of dollies and racks for their storage containers, with still more projects coming in from them. It would be great to have a couple of companies like them for winter work, but again, Iím still not doing this full time so I canít just take everything that comes in.

    When the time is right and my wife finishes her masters program and becomes full time in her field with the ability to have health insurance through her field, will be a better time to go full time on my own. The thing that holds me back is how to sustain a business in an actual winter climate. I wonít be on my own building structural beam work right away or anything like it, so itís hard to tell if itíll ever be a right time. Also, please donít say ďoh I make these little roses and sell them on Etsy.Ē Those will not support a nearly $2,000 average garage rental in my area and a $1,500 mortgage and other overhead costs.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    There are slow times with every business . Most use that time to build tooling or equipment to make their work easier/faster. The other part is that most shops do more than welding. Like machining/mechanical repair. This takes more investment and knowledge. For the short time you have been doing it I would say you are doing quite well.

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  4. #3
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    If it is anticipated/seasonal slow time, then plan a vacation. The irony of slow might be lower quality jobs or nuisance jobs to keep busy. That can be wearing. Keep your sanity.

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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    I would charge enough for your work during the busy season, that it doesn't really matter if you slow down in the winter. Speaking as an accountant that does a little bit of business consulting as a side hustle, most people grossly undercharge for their work. They convince themselves that they can't charge more or customers will get mad and leave them. Most of the time this just isn't true.
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  7. #5
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Move your stuff home so you don't have a $2,000 average garage rental

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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Quote Originally Posted by 12345678910 View Post
    Move your stuff home so you don't have a $2,000 average garage rental
    That might work if he has the space at home and there are no regulations against doing this where he lives.
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  10. #7
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    You have already found that some diversification is somewhat important to ensure a steady cash flow.
    As you build the various projects, especially in the beginning or with new items, keep accurate track of time and expenses. As mentioned, you may find you are not charging the same or your profit margin is different per item. You may be able be able to focus your time on the more profitable areas.
    If your larger company that needs racks has competitors or neighbors that might need similar items, hit them up. What other businesses in that area need a similar item?
    If I remember your earlier threads correctly, one of the ideas proposed was to find other customers that need similar items. Did that work out and are the racks one of these offshoots?


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  11. #8
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Thatís what I was thinking! I got a lot of jobs in the beginning where people wanted their $99.99 patio furniture special welded. Even being up front with them that itíll be more expensive to fix than to buy new they still get mad at the price!

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  13. #9
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Quote Originally Posted by 12345678910 View Post
    Move your stuff home so you don't have a $2,000 average garage rental
    Thatís what Iím doing now. Unfortunately my house is in suburbia, not that I get noise complaints or anything like that. But, I donít have a ton of land to build a shop that I need.

    You are right though, ideally Iíd like to stay in my 1 car 260 sq ft garage but Iím severely limited in what I can do other than railings and small trailer repairs and whatever in between. I also hate if I need to have someone bring stuff to me and they know where I live. Luckily was able to secure a PO Box for people to mail me contracts/checks so thatís alleviated some anxiety around that issue.

  14. #10
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Even being up front with them that itíll be more expensive to fix than to buy new they still get mad at the price!
    Walk away from those customers, they want everything for free. You don't want or need them.
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  15. #11
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Quote Originally Posted by J93Welder View Post
    That’s what I was thinking! I got a lot of jobs in the beginning where people wanted their $99.99 patio furniture special welded. Even being up front with them that it’ll be more expensive to fix than to buy new they still get mad at the price!
    Did you say , "that'll be more expensive to repair than it's worth" or did you give them an estimate for the cost of repair. Big difference, especially if you don't know what they paid, regardless of appearance.

  16. #12
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    you can either spend your life trying to please the ignorant public, or you can get in with a few bigger companies as a sub contractor. Easier said than done! I've had to give up lucrative work as a subbie in the last couple of weeks simply because as I'm working only part-time at it, and if I could acheive it, it would be at the expense of my health, sanity and marriage.

    Some artsy type work can make good money from the public. You need the right customer. But it's hard going, even still.

  17. #13
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    Did you say , "that'll be more expensive to repair than it's worth" or did you give them an estimate for the cost of repair. Big difference, especially if you don't know what they paid, regardless of appearance.
    No I definitely donít know what they paid, usually Iíll hear a bit of a back story like ďoh I bought this outdoor set a few years back and a weld brokeĒ and Iíll say something like ďokay, but I charge a minimum of $150 for service. Iíll just be honest, if you either paid a ton of money for this, or it holds sentimental value, I donít know if itís worth it to you.Ē

    Funny you say ďyou donít know what they paidĒ because I had a guy call me about fixing some tray mount on his grill, and I go itís probably going to be between 150-200+ (because it looked to be a precision cut piece and if he wanted a precision cut new piece itíll be more) so I say that, and say I mean some grills cost that much but itís all what itís worth to you, and goes ďwell itís $5,000 grill...Ē hahaha. So youíre right, you never know.

  18. #14
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Quote Originally Posted by J93Welder View Post
    No I definitely don’t know what they paid, usually I’ll hear a bit of a back story like “oh I bought this outdoor set a few years back and a weld broke” and I’ll say something like “okay, but I charge a minimum of $150 for service. I’ll just be honest, if you either paid a ton of money for this, or it holds sentimental value, I don’t know if it’s worth it to you.”

    Funny you say “you don’t know what they paid” because I had a guy call me about fixing some tray mount on his grill, and I go it’s probably going to be between 150-200+ (because it looked to be a precision cut piece and if he wanted a precision cut new piece it’ll be more) so I say that, and say I mean some grills cost that much but it’s all what it’s worth to you, and goes “well it’s $5,000 grill...” hahaha. So you’re right, you never know.
    You are pretty big for your britches at $150 minimum and you want to work out of a 1 car garage. Good luck getting liability insurance and house insurance welding out of your garage. Do you have liability ins. now?
    Last edited by thegary; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:41 AM.

  19. #15
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    Quote Originally Posted by J93Welder View Post
    I also hate if I need to have someone bring stuff to me and they know where I live.
    I agree, it is very unpleasant, because as always there can be some abnormal client, who after the work, will cause inconvenience and anxiety in every detail.

  20. #16
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    Re: How to navigate the off seasons of a business?

    1) Pay off your home
    2) Change your Business License for portable welding.
    3) Insulate your garage for sound.
    4) Learn to work quickly in your garage.
    5) Your Hobby welding
    6) Try to most of work on site. Most companies and people like see you do work at there place.
    7) Only do your hobby work in garage from 9 AM to 3:30 PM. Most time everyone is at work and if make any sound no one is at home.
    8) If any ever ask your working on a your for your Aunt.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by J93Welder View Post
    Hello, Iím still new at this ďbusinessĒ stuff. Iím actually the guy that quoted a guy almost $4k to build a bike rack 🤦🏻*♂️ I got a lot of (good) **** from you all that time. Iíve since learned better quoting strategies and have dialed it in and have had a more than consistent flow of work this summer. Itís still a side hustle, I still work my normal welding job in aerospace, but I canít help but shake the butterfly feeling of waking up and going to a shop that is mine, set up how I want, etc.

    This summer has been more than busy for me, Iíve installed railings almost every week, as well as taken on other fabrication and welding jobs too. Well, where I live, railings are unfortunately not a 52 week a year type of job. Itís getting colder where I am, and within a few months there wonít be a way of installing them till the spring.

    I have been working with this customer from a large company that makes biomedical chemicals and been making a bunch of dollies and racks for their storage containers, with still more projects coming in from them. It would be great to have a couple of companies like them for winter work, but again, Iím still not doing this full time so I canít just take everything that comes in.

    When the time is right and my wife finishes her masters program and becomes full time in her field with the ability to have health insurance through her field, will be a better time to go full time on my own. The thing that holds me back is how to sustain a business in an actual winter climate. I wonít be on my own building structural beam work right away or anything like it, so itís hard to tell if itíll ever be a right time. Also, please donít say ďoh I make these little roses and sell them on Etsy.Ē Those will not support a nearly $2,000 average garage rental in my area and a $1,500 mortgage and other overhead costs.

    Thanks!

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