A machine shop would not be a real shop if it did not have at least one lathe and one milling machine.
The problem (or perhaps we should call it the opportunity) is that these machines are not being used in a way that is maximizing their profit potential. Here’s how to put money in the bank with a lathe and milling machine.
Five Steps to Putting Money in the Bank When You Have a Lathe and a Milling Machine
#1. Realize that the profit is in the marketing. You need to be able to bid (and get enough profitable jobs) to allow you to be selective about future jobs.
# 2. Win the hearts of your customers by delivering ahead of schedule. Most shops provide acceptable quality and workmanship, but most don’t deliver on time and if they do, it’s barely on time. Meet the scheduled deliveries and you will impress the customer.
#3. Communication is key. Keep your customer informed. For example, if the customer makes a change and it is delaying the promised delivery date, let them know when you make the change. Don’t deliver late and then blame the change he made.
#4. Realize that customers want a turn-key solution to their problem. You should have that solution. For example, if the project involves painting and you don’t do the painting, you can subcontract it and deliver the finished product to the customer.
#5. Own your customer and be their only machine shop. Almost no customer needs just one machine shop job. A key part of your marketing is that when you get your foot in the door on a job for a company, take care of numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 with a vengeance and you will be your own client.
The most important part of making money with lathe and milling machines is #1 above – Marketing. Don’t think of yourself as just a machinist or an engineer. Put on your VP of Marketing hat at least half a day a week (even if you’re just a one or two man shop, you still need to be VP of Marketing part of the time).
Call your past clients and see if they have any current or upcoming jobs open for you. Take the time to meet with your customers if they are local. Make sure they are aware of all the services you can provide them. This is all part of marketing your lathe and milling machine operation.
Ground Level: When you take care of everything mentioned above, soon your customers won’t even be calling other machine shops to bid on jobs – they’ll just be calling you and then you’re really the customer’s boss and you’ll have the most The more profitable the lathe and milling machine will be in the universe – at least, in your part of the universe.