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Thread: so what were YOU doing at quarter to 1am last night?

  1. #16
    Nothing I would love more, would be to turn this dungeon over to the hired help so I could relax and let them make me money...

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    A customer/friend of mine has owned a very successful molding shop here in town for near as long as I've been engraving. About 4 years ago he introduced me to who he was leaving in charge, as he was handing over the reins so he could relax and and enjoy some free time...

    That didn't last long. Everyone wanted to be the boss, but nobody wanted any responsibility. That was more stress than just going to work every day...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt McCoy View Post
    The bonus advantage is having a turnkey business, with value beyond the sum of its parts, that can be sold down the road.
    I was at bar with some friends in business, two sisters that have a business that they have owned for 30 years, and a guy who was a business advisor. He asked them "So what's the plan when you retire, what will you do with the business" and they said "Lock the doors, walk away, and enjoy life". He was stunned. He explained that their business had great value, and that they had spent 30 years building this business and couldn't understand how they'd just close it and lose revenue. He worked with them to setup the business so that it was attractive to a buyer, so when they walked out, they could lock the door, but they'd have a big fat check in their hands too. They haven't retired yet, but they are close. Great point, I thought.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Shepherd View Post
    I was at bar with some friends in business, two sisters that have a business that they have owned for 30 years, and a guy who was a business advisor. He asked them "So what's the plan when you retire, what will you do with the business" and they said "Lock the doors, walk away, and enjoy life". He was stunned. He explained that their business had great value, and that they had spent 30 years building this business and couldn't understand how they'd just close it and lose revenue. He worked with them to setup the business so that it was attractive to a buyer, so when they walked out, they could lock the door, but they'd have a big fat check in their hands too. They haven't retired yet, but they are close. Great point, I thought.
    I think so too.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    1,843
    Let's see, the night/morning of the 26th... I stayed up and finished running a government job. At $500/hr, it was worth losing a bit of sleep. I'm happy with the paycheck, the customer is happy for the overnight turn-around.
    Tim
    There are Big Brain people & Small Brain people. I'm one of the Big Brains - with a lot of empty space.- me
    50W Fiber - Raycus/MaxPhotonics - It's a metal eating beast!
    Epilog Fusion M2 50/30 Co2/Fiber - 2015
    Epilog Mini 24 – 35watt - 2006 (Original Tube)
    Ricoh SG3110DN
    - Liberty Laser LLC

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Minnesota
    Posts
    305
    Morning All,
    Maybe, ‘time for ‘fresh “thread” on the subject, uh?
    I found it intriguing, someone touching on the topic of “retirement planning”, and the “value” of our businesses. If, when the times comes, we were to attempt to “sell” v.s. just “locking up ‘n walking ‘way”?
    I’d think it all kinda depends upon what’s actually “salable”? (As for that “business adviser's” comments to those ladies, guess I don’t see where someone’s years spent running their business would matter to a buyer; ‘least not in dollars ‘n cents?)


    Bypassing the building/property itself, there’d mostly be your equipment ‘n useable inventory; right? I briefly Googled the subject of selling; seems a business’ annual & anticipated revenue plays some role in establishing “value” (But, I’m thinkin’ that, for an engraving business, for a buyer, what’ a crap-shoot that would be?) A well-established “business name” might be worth somethin’ - still, for a buyer, this could be a two-edged sword! - depending upon the community’s perception of the business’ reputation. Providing a list of your most prominent customers (intellectual property?) might have value; wouldn’t it? - so that a new owner wouldn’t have to start from scratch.
    But, other that that ... what’s to be sold? Guess I’m thinkin’, it’s mostly “you” and “me” who represent “value” to our businesses: our extensive knowledge, learned skills, our experiences, our contacts? Don’t really see how a a seller’d able to assign a dollar/selling “value” to these points? Anyway, just rambling thoughts! - As a 1-man operation, operating out’ a my home’s main floor, ‘n ‘bout to turn 70 - selling off whatever equipment I have, ‘n inventory, is ‘bout as far as I can envision - some day! And, that, of course, sure wouldn’t pay for “retirement”! BILL
    (Using Epilog 35W Mini 24)

  6. #21
    If you have customers, repeat customers, and a proven history of generating $500,000 in sales each year (picked a random insignificant number out of the air), then your business certainly has value to someone, especially if your profit on that is $125,000 a year, after paying for everything, including wages. It takes a lot of hard work and time to build a business to have long term, profitable customers. That's worth a lot of money to someone looking to start a business.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  7. #22
    Because of my -- abilities?- My business totally useless to anyone else. Not to sound like a blowhard, but there MAY be 2 or 3 people in this country who could single-handedly produce what I do, with these machines, and service all my customers. My BIL, as long as he's been here, his abilities only allow him to service maybe 8-10% of my customer base, which is pretty much his job at the moment. Hiring people isn't an option, because while I make a good living at this, all wages paid to anyone else would come directly from my pocket, and then no one makes a good living. Tim can back me up on this one -the only way someone else could make this biz work is to tell 70% of the current customer base 'sorry, beyond my capabilities' and try to build a whole new customer base dependent on his actual capabilities. And then there's the fact that the combined ages of all my 15 machines is very close to 300 years. My newest CNC rotary machine is over 10 years old...

    So what's going to happen is, exactly one year from now, many of my customers are going to get some bad news, because 1.5 years from now I turn 65- at which time I'll be taking my SS... I'll be out of debt except for this house, which I'm going to reverse mortgage. I'll be keeping 5 or 6 quick/good money customers, which will keep me busy 15-20 hours a week. My BIL is welcome to use these machines to service any and all other customers, and deal with all the income and expenses that comes with. Getting a check for selling this biz has never been in the cards.

    But I'm not complaining
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  8. #23
    In all fairness, Kev, you are in that position because you put yourself in that position. I suspect when you leave, your customers won't go out of business because no one else on the planet can do what you do for them, they'll source out new vendors, and probably have to pay more for it. While we all might like to think we are irreplaceable, we, in general, aren't. I can't tell you how many people I have seen think "If I leave this place, it's going to go out of business. No one here knows what I know", and they leave, and the businesses carry on, 10,15,20 years later.

    If you set up your business right, document everything you do, even the tricky stuff, and put it all in manuals, then your business, even if it's important work, can be done by other people. Will they get it right the first time? Probably not, but neither did any of us.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  9. #24
    Oh the woes. I guess it feels good to know most here are in the same boat except for Tim, who's landing those dreamy $500 / hr jobs that I used to get on occasion. I figured I would have a few full time workers by now, but the longer time goes by, it seems that's less likely. The only guys available on a per job basis are only useful for carrying stuff and shop cleaning. One guy that wants more full time work can't even discern 120 grit sand scratches when polishing. None of them understand decimal equivalents. But boy do they understand social media.
    I've come to the conclusion that once I'm ready to hire, I will need to offer an insane salary ($50K per year?) to woo someone from their own successful business, as only business owners are really sharp enough to do the type of stuff I do, or recruit someone else's dream worker.

    At the very least, I plan to test new hire's thoroughly by asking to convert decimal equivalents and have them mill, smooth and polish several materials (acrylic, wood, stainless, etc) to size specs just to prove their basic skill sets.

    The closest guy that ever appeared worth the time to train, left me to go back to family in W. Virginia. Left on good terms, but all my time spent training was wasted.
    john.blazy_dichrolam_llc
    Delta Unisaw, Rabbit QX-80-1290 80W Laser, 5 x 12 ft laminating ovens, Powermax 22/44, Accuspray guns, Covington diamond lap and the usual assortment of cool toys / tools.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    1,843
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Shepherd View Post
    ...Will they get it right the first time? Probably not, but neither did any of us.
    I've never screwed up a job...... well, "maybe" 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or .......... If you never make mistakes, you are not really pushing your skills and/or machine's capabilities.

    I do think we are the larger part of our companies value. However, I would pay good money for an established engraving shop. Had a cherry deal a couple years ago. Fell through the day I was to write the check. Owner sold to her landlord for cash, who probably ran the company into the ground. That customer base & location would have pushed me to the next level, overnight.

    A lot of my early business was due to other shops going belly up. Now, I offer services no other engraver in my area will touch. My business could be much larger right now if I hired, but working from my house makes that a non-starter. Besides, I'd micro manage them to death. I'm extremely picky about the quality & the service.
    My plan is to work this business another 11 years & at 70, either sell off a well established/loyal customer base & equipment, or just walk away.

    I'm sure in the next 11 years someone will rise up and tap my current customer base. Hasn't happened in the last 10 years, but wouldn't surprise me if it did one day. I don't consider the hobbyist to be competition. Just because they are willing to do it for almost nothing is no real threat. I believe skill, quality, and reliability will keep me on top. In the past 10 years, I've seen at least half dozen laser shops open & close in my area. Each time one opens, I loose one or two customers, but never the big ones. Every time one of these shops closes, I get my couple customers back PLUS any new customers they had developed. Maybe an odd business model, but it has worked for me. Like Steve said, we are all replaceable... but I'll be damned if I'm going to make it easy.
    Last edited by Tim Bateson; 11-01-2017 at 1:01 AM.
    Tim
    There are Big Brain people & Small Brain people. I'm one of the Big Brains - with a lot of empty space.- me
    50W Fiber - Raycus/MaxPhotonics - It's a metal eating beast!
    Epilog Fusion M2 50/30 Co2/Fiber - 2015
    Epilog Mini 24 – 35watt - 2006 (Original Tube)
    Ricoh SG3110DN
    - Liberty Laser LLC

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Posts
    3,922
    I have a business that employs 20 staff ..

    My staff is : manager , 2 sales ladies , 1 marketing lady , full time designer , 2 in the doming room , 3 laser operators , 1 cnc /fiber operator and then general staff for assembly , making up medals , packing etc..and myself brings it up to 20

    5 or so years ago , I "worked" myself out the business and made myself almost redundant..a good thing since I had a quad bypass last year and am still recovering
    I come in 3x a week from 9 am to 12 ... and basically do nothing

    My business runs BETTER without me , I gave 25% to my right hand man and my staff are part of profit sharing.

    The business is older than 50 years ..I bought it 43 years back..was a one man type show selling jewellery , arms and ammo and had a few trophies and parleyed it to what it is now
    It has huge goodwill value and anyone that buys it gets a ready to run profitable package.

    However even if I die ,, my wife has instructions not to sell as the income generated by the business would require 3x the business value on a sale to provide the same income.

    ALL my staff are cross trained , the laser operators can run the cnc machines , the doming ladies can do sales and so on..so no reliance on a single person

    One thing I did not relinquish is access to the bank accounts .. my partner who has a 1/4 share can pay recipients , but any unusal transaction requires my approval

    The springboard to building my busines was when I started employing competent staff instead of being a do it all .. yes..maybe they cant do as well as I could , but thats life.. I have to be happy with 95% of what I could do myself and oddly , some are better than I at their jobs
    Rodney Gold, Toker Bros trophies, Cape Town , South Africa :
    Roland 2300 rotary . 3 x ISEL's ..1m x 500mm CnC .
    Tekcel 1200x2400 router , 900 x 600 60w Shenui laser , 1200 x 800 80w Reci tube Shenhui Laser
    6 x longtai lasers 400x600 60w , 1 x longtai 20w fiber
    2x Gravo manual engravers , Roland 540 large format printer/cutter. CLTT setup
    1600mm hot and cold laminator , 3x Dopag resin dispensers , sandblasting setup, acid etcher

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodne Gold View Post
    I have a business that employs 20 staff ..

    My staff is : manager , 2 sales ladies , 1 marketing lady , full time designer , 2 in the doming room , 3 laser operators , 1 cnc /fiber operator and then general staff for assembly , making up medals , packing etc..and myself brings it up to 20

    5 or so years ago , I "worked" myself out the business and made myself almost redundant..a good thing since I had a quad bypass last year and am still recovering
    I come in 3x a week from 9 am to 12 ... and basically do nothing

    My business runs BETTER without me , I gave 25% to my right hand man and my staff are part of profit sharing.

    The business is older than 50 years ..I bought it 43 years back..was a one man type show selling jewellery , arms and ammo and had a few trophies and parleyed it to what it is now
    It has huge goodwill value and anyone that buys it gets a ready to run profitable package.

    However even if I die ,, my wife has instructions not to sell as the income generated by the business would require 3x the business value on a sale to provide the same income.

    ALL my staff are cross trained , the laser operators can run the cnc machines , the doming ladies can do sales and so on..so no reliance on a single person

    One thing I did not relinquish is access to the bank accounts .. my partner who has a 1/4 share can pay recipients , but any unusal transaction requires my approval

    The springboard to building my busines was when I started employing competent staff instead of being a do it all .. yes..maybe they cant do as well as I could , but thats life.. I have to be happy with 95% of what I could do myself and oddly , some are better than I at their jobs
    This is what I'm working toward!
    Trotec Speedy 300 - 80 watt
    Synrad 30 Watt - CO2 Galvo
    LaserStar 3804 - 50 watt fiber - SPI Source
    Tykma Minilase - 20 watt fiber - SPI Source - (MOPA)
    CorelDraw X7

  13. #28
    at that hour (1/4 to 1am) and through to 4 am I was working on a quote for an upcoming job in Feb. If the builder I gave the quote to gets the job, the signage component is about $33k worth. Some 20mm lasered acrylic letters, 30mm routered acrylic, 150mm deep 1.1m high fabricated letters, and a heap of smaller 3 & 4.5mm lasered stuff, and 2 double-sided illuminated plinth signs... routed & lasered & installed... plus assorted graduated window tint film applied, digital print on window film, and patterns routed in wall MDF panels.

    Staff: just me! (+ my wife and occasional help from our grown-up kids on weekends if I'm lucky. We've had apprentices, and employees, and they mostly ended up making more than me after I ended up spending my time teaching them... no regrets though, but when work dries up, then funding others' wages is hard.
    I'll be putting a couple of kids on during the upcoming holidays though...
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
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    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  14. #29
    SO-- I'm wondering if I forgot to hit the 'post reply' button last night, or if it was deleted...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


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