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  #1  
Old 03-19-2013, 10:42 AM
marat marat is offline
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Default Opening up a sheet metal shop

Hello everyone,
My father has been a sheet metal fabricator for 36 years. He has been working for various other shops his entire working life. After he was laid off from his last job, he decided it is time to take life by the horns and open his own shop. I'm doing my best to help him out, however this industry is very foreign to me. Can anyone offer me any help? We're trying to figure out a charging rate method and also how to reach out and find customers. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2013, 04:44 PM
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Bud Bud is offline
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First of all, welcome to thesheetmetalshop. Im sure you'll hear from others as they might also have questions about what type of sheet metal work do you do or focus on more.
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2013, 10:18 PM
marat marat is offline
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Thank you very much for the kind and warm welcome. My family comes from "The old country" so he grew up making everything from duct work to gutters to pretty much anything he can bend the metal into. Since we have no customers at the moment he actually made some dust pans, they look really cool. He plans to focus primarily on custom duct work, but is willing to do anything. Most of the work he does is by hand, we do not have a plasma cutter or any other CNC related equipment so most of it is drafted by him then cut out with an electric sheer or by hand. I hope that gives you some information.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:59 PM
device device is offline
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Default good luck

good luck and welcome to the site..

try posting adds in local papers or in local online used and forsale boards..
craigs list and such.. much of the advertising has moved from traditional yellowpage mentality to more social network..
i get much of my work from online adds and through my facebook pages..
it works wonders..
and all it takes is for me to post something like this here..
check out my page
https://www.facebook.com/stclairstainless?ref=hl
see even you went there ;0
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:59 AM
marat marat is offline
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Thanks Device,
I hadn't thought about using facebook for such an industry, but I suppose it is the new way to get in touch with everyone. I appreciate the advice and I'll definitely give it a shot. Thanks!
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:06 AM
Tucko Tucko is offline
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I can't imagine wanting to open a shop after 36 years in the trade. All I would be thinking about is retirement, not the headache of opening a business. A decent shop would need a lot of equipment before you can even open the doors, and not having the latest equipment could put you at a competitive disadvantage...
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  #7  
Old 04-01-2013, 11:58 AM
marat marat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tucko View Post
I can't imagine wanting to open a shop after 36 years in the trade. All I would be thinking about is retirement, not the headache of opening a business. A decent shop would need a lot of equipment before you can even open the doors, and not having the latest equipment could put you at a competitive disadvantage...
Tucko,
Retirement is not for everyone. My father worked for various companies over the years and is an incredibly highly skilled fabricator. Unfortunately no one in the area is willing to pay him what he is worth. As I mentioned before, he was laid off from his last job, so this is his only option. He has been collecting equipment for years and we have pretty much everything but a plasma cutter. We're not trying to start a billion dollar operation here but we are confident in the equipment we have for now. Some people would look defeat in the eye and lay down and take it. Others find another way.
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2013, 12:49 AM
b.c.tinbasher b.c.tinbasher is offline
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Thumbs up Customers: go get 'em!

Maybe go out and visit the general contractors in your area, that would probably generate some leads. We did a lot of fabrication work for local generals over the years, usually small jobs like forming flashings or Z bar, or custom panels.
In our area, there are several independent plumbing/pipefitting shops that sub out their metal work, but they usually want it installed too.
Not always, many just want plenums or transitions for a furnace re & re.
Also, glass shops that do aluminum storefronts always need flashings, many do not cut and bend their own, we cut and bent many tons of anodized aluminum for commercial window and door flashings, they installed them. Glass companies also need insulated sheet metal backpans for behind certain types of glass panels (curtain walls, I think)
Auto body shops that do restoration or rust repair, we built a lot of rocker panels etc.
Good luck in business.
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  #9  
Old 05-30-2013, 06:09 PM
cactassdupree cactassdupree is offline
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Wink Market

Target your market. Get out and hit the bricks. Maybe get some flyers so your potencial customers will know what you can do. Go to supply companies and tell them you can make their Standard size pans and custom ones too. That's just a small example. Plumber need pans for water heaters. Shoot you might get some overflow work from some larger shops or a shop that can't do what your Dad can. Roofing shops use a lot of metal. Get yourself in some kind of school and you can learn some basics. Then there is OTJ (on the job) training. I leaned more in my 5th year after turning out then the first four. Good luck!! dupree
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  #10  
Old 06-12-2013, 01:27 PM
ccrayjr ccrayjr is offline
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Go out and cold call your potential customers with a line sheet of what services and turn around times you offer... Get in front of them! Follow up every week and use social media. Remember... stay in front of your customers or someone else will!
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