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Unread 07-18-2010, 10:01 PM   #31
DannyRoark89
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i am just soaking up knowledge here and im thrilled about it, and ironworker ill definitely keep that in mind it probably wont happen for a while that i get around to building an oven like that but thanks for showing me how cheap the set up is todo it,
Bersk if you dont mind me asking what is the average price for you to ship something like a bumper, or a rack, i went down to the loacl UPS store to ask them what they thought it would cost and when i said Bumper for whatever reason the little girl behind the counter thought i was talking about a baseball bat and she told me like 15$ i had to explain what i was talking about and during the process of that she answered about 30 txt messages and blew me off by saying "ya umm im not sure" anywho just trying to get a rough estimate of how that will work, can they be put in a box or do they have to have a crate?

also i have been thinking about it and i think i am going to set my website up so that only 5 orders can be taken per day and each Monday i ship those orders. then get started on the next 5 orders, giving me 7 days to complete 5 products, i think that will be the best way for me to not fall behind and guarantee that i make every ship date that like you were talking about. Just notify the customer that the following Monday from the day they order will be the day it ships. would like to hear any input on this idea, would perhaps setting up a waitlist for future weeks be expectable too, if that were the case i feel like not taking any payments until the designated week of the particular build would also be the best route incase someone wants to back out or for whatever reason does not want to through with it that way i wouldnt have to refund the money, but at the same time what is a reasonable way to go about a warranty policy, being a small buisness obviously i wouldnt be able to refund someones money who bought say everything for the jeep from me ie sliders, bumpers rack and what have you, but at the same time trying to keep the customer happy is what its about right, is it just one of those things were you pick and choose your battles? could use some helpful knowledge in this area too.

Thanks again for the advice guys hope this discussion continues.

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Unread 07-18-2010, 10:54 PM   #32
stanware
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I like your front bumpers, especially the ones with a light bar built in. I would recommend opening a vendor account for sure
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Unread 07-18-2010, 11:49 PM   #33
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My bumper from AJ was $65 to ship (72lbs), via fedex I think. You dont need a box on items like that, but they still charge you based on the length width and height, like it was in a box, plus a mild odd item charge.

I shipped a front hitch and just walked in to a UPS store and was like, I need to ship this. I had the hardware taped to it. He weighed and measured it and then stuck and taped a label on it. The Fee was 11.75 for odd items. Total shipping was $30.87 for the hitch.

That should give you some idea.
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Unread 07-18-2010, 11:52 PM   #34
DannyRoark89
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oh sweet man so they just slap the shipping label right on the bad boy huh? thats great news, maybe i will talk to FedEx Tuesday (since they don't work Mondays) and get the down low from them since UPS has obviously rendered useless to me at my local store. Thanks for the heads up man i really appreciate it.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 12:14 AM   #35
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My take on it is that you have to have an attention to detail and make everything the best you can. It's hard when you start if you want it to be your "job". you have to be able to mass produce everything to both save money and time. Which means you need good jigs ( don't go cheap, use strong material so they don't get all tweaked with time.)

The number 1 goal in a business is to make money! If you don't make money there is no business and there is no customer service, no high quality anything at that point. with that in mind I feel like the number 2 goal is customer service. I try to be as straight foward as possible with my customers and I stick to my numbers with everybody. I collect the same deposit from everybody and do my best to meet the same time line with everybody. There are people I sell to at a discount, But it is people that will bring me more business.

When it comes to quality, You have to make sure that everything that leaves is the best you can do. I read earlier that you had some friends that rushed you, and things didn't come out well. That is you name that didn't come out well. No matter who it is, they need to wait till you can do it right. I get a lot of business on word of mouth and stickers, I make sure our clients have the best product to show off.

Also I don't know if your going to stick with purely XJ's, But don't try to expand your market farther than you can handle to fast. I used to produce a lot of stuff, But I just couldn't keep up with all the different orders. Now I produce a few parts and I do custom work for everything else. I simply keep a portfolio with me most of the time. A lot of places have nice looking leather folders and just leave one in your console. I have gotten a lot of business walking into a grocery store or Lowe's. vista print makes business card for about $15 shipped and you'll have them pretty fast, Great tool!
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Unread 07-19-2010, 12:48 AM   #36
DannyRoark89
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Quote:
When it comes to quality, You have to make sure that everything that leaves is the best you can do. I read earlier that you had some friends that rushed you, and things didn't come out well. That is you name that didn't come out well. No matter who it is, they need to wait till you can do it right. I get a lot of business on word of mouth and stickers, I make sure our clients have the best product to show off.
done and done, in fact sometimes just looking at the pictures of crap shoot that was their builds make cringe. you are entirely right and thanks for your advice it is greatly appreciated and yes i will be strictly sticking to XJ's until i really figure out what i have going here. if any body has some pictures of the jigs they have built i am curious to see how they look compared to the ones i plan on building this week gearing up for this whole
endeavor.

thanks again guys all the comments and ideas are really making me feel good about this.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 06:19 AM   #37
Area.3.Fiftyone
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If you decide to do this, sign up for a FedEx account and ditch the UPS store at all cost. They are only there to rape you and they don't even kiss you first.

Shipping will vary greatly depending on zip code and weight so there is no real average per se.

I ship a LOT of stuff and have found FedEx Ground to be the most economical. Not only that, they are very good with their customer service and insurance claims when you file one (and you will). It's just a matter of time.

It looks like you do really good work, but in all honesty (and not trying to discourage you) there are too many vendors already IMO and it's really hard to make any money on this kind of stuff any more. It's even harder when you are a new-comer trying to get your stuff out there. Your best advertising and ability to round up work is word of mouth. Build yourself a nice rig, take it out wheeling with a club and show them your stuff so they can see it in action first hand. You can then explain why your stuff is better and more economical than what is currently available.

By the time you factor in all of your expenses and aggravation, you will find that most people are not willing to pony up the coin for you to make a profit.

Just my $.02
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Unread 07-19-2010, 06:47 AM   #38
VanBCguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BESRK View Post
Of course I'm gonna say open a Vendor Account.. But I really do believe in it. Although I post and Moderate as "BESRK" on here, I have a vendor account as well. Even if I weren't a Moderator, I'd pony up for the Vendor Account simply because it's an awesome advertising platform and a great way to reach out and pimp your stuff to other Jeepers.
However, as mentioned.. you've got to be willing to lay it on the line with your customers. Honest, consistent, fair business practices coupled with good communication are the name of the game.

Also, selling bumpers is the easy part. Trying to make a profit while doing it is a whole nuther ballgame.

Things I try to work toward in an effort to make a profit...


Speed.. Not talking about sloppy building practices. I'm talking about trimming "fat". Mass production of parts will help you cut time. If you don't have CNC ability, look at outsourcing to help. Sometimes, it will make you more money to pay a CNC cutter to make parts for you instead of trying to cut/drill/grind things by hand.. and the parts will look better which will only help your reputation. Many of the big fab shops outsource a bunch of their cutting/bending because it makes them money.

Bulk Purchasing... you gotta spend money to make money. 99% of your vendors will give you a price break on larger purchases. I realize most people can't start off spending thousands of dollars monthly on material/consumables/equipment. However, it is vital to turn the money you do make right back into the endeavor. I used to buy one stick of 2x4 at a time.. I'd make 4 bumpers from it. On the 4th bumper, I'd buy another stick. However, by purchasing several sticks at a time, I got a much better deal. That means more profit without having to raise your price.. which makes you more competitive... which allows you to sell more.. which allows you to dump more money back into the business.. and so on.

Alot of my buddies think I make a killing doing my bumpers/cages. I tell them, "I don't make alot of money per hour.. I just work alot of hours." Be prepared to kill yourself with work for a long time. Granted, the longer I do it, the more efficient I get.. and the more $$ I make.



But.. um.. yeah.. get a vendor account
BESRK says everything I wanted to say except two things:

#1 - get a vendor account and use it as a tax write-off for advertising.

#2 - get out of that math class and into a small business education class. Or order books on it. Even the Dummie's handbook how-to.

Go for it and good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckRider View Post
Those are some sweet designs. I think there is a real market for quality XJ bumpers and sliders. BESRK makes great stuff, but he doesn't do XJ. He also gives good advice there.

I am interested to see how it turns out for you.
Pay no attention to Luckrider. He'd be interested in watching grass grow. Slow things amuse slow minds.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 06:53 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kettles View Post
My bumper from AJ was $65 to ship (72lbs), via fedex I think. You dont need a box on items like that, but they still charge you based on the length width and height, like it was in a box, plus a mild odd item charge.

I shipped a front hitch and just walked in to a UPS store and was like, I need to ship this. I had the hardware taped to it. He weighed and measured it and then stuck and taped a label on it. The Fee was 11.75 for odd items. Total shipping was $30.87 for the hitch.

That should give you some idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMaiden View Post
If you decide to do this, sign up for a FedEx account and ditch the UPS store at all cost. They are only there to rape you and they don't even kiss you first.

Shipping will vary greatly depending on zip code and weight so there is no real average per se.

I ship a LOT of stuff and have found FedEx Ground to be the most economical. Not only that, they are very good with their customer service and insurance claims when you file one (and you will). It's just a matter of time.

It looks like you do really good work, but in all honesty (and not trying to discourage you) there are too many vendors already IMO and it's really hard to make any money on this kind of stuff any more. It's even harder when you are a new-comer trying to get your stuff out there. Your best advertising and ability to round up work is word of mouth. Build yourself a nice rig, take it out wheeling with a club and show them your stuff so they can see it in action first hand. You can then explain why your stuff is better and more economical than what is currently available.

By the time you factor in all of your expenses and aggravation, you will find that most people are not willing to pony up the coin for you to make a profit.

Just my $.02
Long story made short:

I used to be a cross border trucker taking stuff down to Blaine Wa. to ship southbound and pick up northbound items from Blaine. I saw first hand how UPS and FedEx worked.

Keeping in mind the "long story made short" notion, UPS sucks, use FedEx.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 12:41 PM   #40
DannyRoark89
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Quote:
#2 - get out of that math class and into a small business education class. Or order books on it. Even the Dummie's handbook how-to.
unfortunetly i need the math class to get into the Utilites program i am going for, and it every small buisness management/ education class i have took ( this is 3 of them by the way) really only goes over the extreme basics of running of a buisness and is mostly centered around creating a buisness plan and trying to persuade investors to give you money, alas this is not the case for me i do not need investors i have just about everything i need short of a plasma cnc and of course i really don't have everything but a couple good welders, torch, tube bender, notcher yada yada yada, and i can do just but about anything however like in the thread CNC aand the powder coat oven are desirable but feasible at this time

And i do believe you when you say there is no market to get rich off, but heres my game plan in a nut shell, i was laid off a few monthes ago and have been collecting unemployment ( sounds like one of those lazy americans i know, but honestly the construction industry took a huge crap here in vancouver, we went from being the most booming county in the state for however many years to when i drive down the road literally seeing like 4 job sites in all of vancouver) anywho thats what i have been doing and almost immidieatly after being laid off i started building bumpers and posting them on craigslist. Now i am at the point were i am getting tired of dealing with all the dopes on CL. so here i am about to become a vendor hoping to just up my sales a little bit, honestly if i could sell 5 a week i would be tickled and making pretty good money i think. while even keeping my sale prices down. ( when i lost my job i had to come crawling back to the parents, so thats were i am not posted up in my step dads shop with only a few bills a month ie, insurance, cell phone, and storage were i keep all my stuff from my old place, which it is very depressing to go there and see my life in a box) anyway what im getting at is that i feel i am able to take this risk because in the end if it doesn't make money well i will be able to turn my unemployment back on to cover my minimal bills and continue to do just fine till this December when im out of school. so i appreciate what you are saying but like i said i am not trying to get rich, but if i could make the amount of money i made as a carpenter per week i would be thrilled. and heres the next step of my plan, i have already kind of built a small yet good reputation for myself through our local 4x4 store just by word of mouth from those guys, and when i get on here i plan on doing nothing but the same in the quality of product i send out. and another thing i was thinking would be a good idea, is once a month ( this ill greatly depend on sales but if i sold 5 i week i figured it and i would be able to afford this with no problem) i would offer a free bumper up in some sort of drawing or something just to show the customers that i am not here to tear everyone a new one and be competitive in the market with craftsmen ship and prices. then after that still considering things are going well for the buisness, once i get my new job at the Clark PUD i would then have my buddy who is basically here everytime i build something helping me out taking over the building portion of the operation while i am at work giving him the oppurtunity to quit his job and go back to school as i did, and at that point the work would be split me mostly helping out on the weekends and after work (depending of course) and then continue to see it grow or not all while having school completed both of us, then both of us investing in this buisness full time if it turns out we can continue to make money off it, and if we cant we will both have a college education to fall back on. that to me seems likes the safest plan for me and him while still trying to do something we have talked about since highschool which is starting a small fab shop. and in the end if it doesnt work out well we can just go back to work for the man. however i am becoming more and more anxious to get the ball rolling on this and see how it turns out, i have 3 bumpers to build this week and i will use that money to open a vendor account and purchase the material for my jigs, and get those going and hopefully completed by the weekend or early next week,

again if anyone has any pictures of their jigs i would greatly appreciate seeing them to see if my ideas are moving in the right direction.

and just doing the math real quick on average if i sold every bumper at 250$ and then subtracted the amount of money in material and consumables which i have figured to be real close to 60$ that is still 190 in my pocket per day times 5 bumpers a week thats 950$ profit per week, thats way more than i made as a carpenter and i do believe 250 is a very fair price for a bumper as well. and since i dont have to pay rent on a shop or buy "toilet paper" for the john like bersk said since my mom does that (hahaha sounds so lame i know) i believe that initially i could start off very well, obivously in the future gathering more tools the operating costs would go up but to start i think its a descent weekly pay. didnt break it down hourly yet because sometimes things dont work how you want and a 6 hour bumper build could turn into a whole day event dragging *** into the house by 2 am. been there done that.

Still hoping to hear from more people and i dont think any of you know how much this means to me to be able to talk freely about this especially with those of you who have already worked your way up outa the mud.

looking forward to checking this tonite and seeing some more great posts.
thanks again for everything guys.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 02:12 PM   #41
Area.3.Fiftyone
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I have a jig.



It's called a "spare" YJ. I use it all the time for mocking up stuff that I'm going to be putting on another rig.

One day it will move under it's own power again, but for now I just use it as a test bed instead of taking my other YJ out of commission to fab something up.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 02:18 PM   #42
DannyRoark89
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see i have an extra XJ to i can use, but i would rather have something that i can work off to make sure everything is centered and square instead of just eye balling it off the look of the jeep, since its a known fact that no two jeeps are the same.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 02:52 PM   #43
BESRK
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Shipping.... I use Fedex.. make yourself an expert.

I'm in Virginia.. for my typical Bumper/Tire Carrier (bumper, swingarm and hardware box.. totalling about 120lbs) it costs approx..

$160-$180 to the West Coast
$110-$130 to Mid West
$85-$100 Up/Down East Coast

Those are just averages.. it really depends on weight, dimensions and exact zip code. You might ship to 2 different zips in the same state and pay a big difference because one of the locations is a long ways from the "hub".

Bumpers/swingarms frequently get hit with "additional handling fees" by Fedex and on occasion, "Oversive Fees" or "Dim Weights".. that can tack on $50 to your Fedex Bill per item. That's due to the cumbersome size/weight of the steel pieces.

True story.. Back in 2007, I was shipping bumpers via Fedex (had been doing it for a few years) and they weren't hitting me with any "additional handling fees". I could pretty much charge what the calculator said and I was good. Keep in mind, this was with a Fedex Account so Fedex would take the $$ directly out of my bank account every few weeks.
In one month, they changed some policies and hit all my shipments with "additional handling" which I hadn't been charging the customers for. My Fedex Bill was $1000 more than what I had charged in shipping to the customers.. so guess who ate Ramen that month? I was on the phone for a week with my Fedex Rep and eventually got some of the charges dropped since she was able to see how I never received any type of warning after having already shipped quite a few bumpers.

Don't forget.. tape, bubble wrap, boxes, labelling, pens, etc. If you have to drop the bumpers off at Fedex, don't forget gas/time to make the trip. It all adds up.
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Unread 07-19-2010, 04:29 PM   #44
DannyRoark89
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Quote:
Don't forget.. tape, bubble wrap, boxes, labelling, pens, etc. If you have to drop the bumpers off at Fedex, don't forget gas/time to make the trip. It all adds up.
that is noted for sure, i am picking up the material for 2 jigs tomorrow so i will post some pictures up after i get started on those,

another question so it would be reasonable then to put on my website that each product that ships is subject to its own shipping costs and having a flat rate of lets just say 75$ would not be the ideal way to go about it because trying to ship something back east would cost me most of my profit to ship the darn thing.
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Unread 07-20-2010, 10:57 PM   #45
DannyRoark89
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here is what i got done on the jog today plan on being able to build front and rear bumpers from it, no sliders or racks on this one though

used 2"x2"x1/4"









made sure the whole thing was level, flat and square. will lay out for the holes and the rest of the jig tomorrow hopefully

please let me know what you all think of this
please
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