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What's a good way to advertise your (machining) services to small companies?

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  • What's a good way to advertise your (machining) services to small companies?

    For a little while now I have had a Craigslist ad running advertising machining services. I realized that the best group to do work for are small start-up tech companies. They often need stuff in hurry, still pay industry-like rates, and usually you will get to speak to the actual person who made the drawing, and can ask them if it was ok that this hole got misplaced and a corner got chopped off. The atmosphere tends to be more informal. Sometimes it leads to independent contractor work.

    I usually don't like working for individuals because a lot of the time they have no clue what they are doing. Nor do I like working for big companies that only pay net 60 or some such and require all kinds of authorizations.

    What are good ways to reach these companies? The ones that found me via craigslist must have been desperate or something, lol.

    One big caveat is that this is only supposed to be short/medium term work for me to fund my recreational projects and help pay rent. I don't have a life goal of being a machinist or running a shop. So in a way, I have held back from going all out.

  • #2

    You might want to check with some local shops that supply big industry. Let them deal with all the red tape of dealing with a mega-corp. and see if you can get any small jobs from them. I recently got a job from a shop that supplies an auto-maker that was in the 5 digits $$,$$$. They had a contract to finish the job by a certain date and were running behind. I helped them get the job done in time and they were very grateful.

    Another thought is to see if there are any freelance designers in your area. A friend of mine is a designer and told me that he often designs things only to have his customers ask him where they can get it built. I told him that I was willing to be that place and further told him that if he wanted he could contract with me to build things and he could be a one stop designer. As in design and deliver a finished part. It has led to several jobs in the medical industry that has been popping up around here.

    Hope this helps you.





    • #3
      If you're talking abut small companies one of the best things you can do is knock on some doors. Take a sample of your work with you to demonstrate capabilities along with some kind of brochure listing your services, and talk one on one with either the owner or managers of the departments most likely to require your services, R&D production and maintenance departments, for instance.
      Visiting companies, knocking on doors and talking to people takes time, but this old school method can pay big dividends, particularly in instances where your contacts prefer the "personal" touch.

      Although it isn't machining related, I know two women who started an advertising company with nothing more than a card table, telephone and the clothes on their backs. One of the two women did nothing but knock on doors of companies that might require their services.Today that company employs over 30 people and is a multi million dollar company. Knocking on doors in this high tech world may seem old school but it still can get results.


      • #4
        I would think that mosdt of the companies mentioned to date would have IRS registration and would require its contractors/sub-contractors to be similarly registerd with the IRS and that all income be advised to IRS.

        Some companies that you might be considering working for may require that you register and comply with all OHS and Statutary legislative requirements.

        Will your local municipal/planning authorities have any concerns about your industrial activities.


        • #5
          Originally posted by beanbag View Post

          ...One big caveat is that this is only supposed to be short/medium term work for me to fund my recreational projects and help pay rent. I don't have a life goal of being a machinist or running a shop. ...
          Look at this from a potential customer's perspective ...

          That statement sure doesn't give the impression you'll be dependable! I know some companies will end up going out of business because they can't make it but I'd be leery of a company that states it has zero plans to maintain a business from the start.

          Ask yourself... What if you were trying to start a business and you asked the potential employee why he wanted the job and his reply was "For beer money". Would you hire him? Although, you are not saying as much, your attitude is implying it!

          Last edited by Mike Burdick; 11-20-2012, 06:02 PM.


          • #6
            If you don't want to be a machinist or run a machine shop, then you're shooting yourself in the foot from the get-go.
            Most 'small' companies that you are seeking, will want 5 or 10 parts per week.
            Then if you deliver good work at a fair price, they will want more, on a regular basis.
            I started doing work in the evenings, and before I knew it, 'Small' companies wanted more and more parts. I had to turn away several jobs because I couldn't handle the volume.
            Be careful what you wish for.


            • #7
              That hasn't been my experience at all. Usually these companies have me start by making a token part to test my competence. Then the workload and parts complexity increases. Then it suddenly stops because the project is over, or they have moved over to production volumes and it becomes cheaper to have somebody with a big fast CNC machine do it. I have never turned down subsequent work from one of these companies. I also never sensed any of these companies "testing" my long term loyalty. They are just happy to get a part cheaper and faster.


              • #8
                Not exactly the answer to the question you asked, but, for what it's worth ...

                Whenever a customer compliments my services either for price, turn-around time or free design advice I had given, I have one standard reply - "Would you be willing to put that in writing on your letterhead?" To date I have about ten such letters of recommendation ranging from a local inventor to NASA. I take a set of copies of these letters to a prospective customer along with a few samples of my work. [EDIT] In tandem this serves as a sort of impromptu presentation which doesn't have the ring of an excited used car salesman's pitch but rather an honest and quiet "what you see is what you will probably get too" presentation of facts.
                Last edited by DATo; 11-21-2012, 04:30 AM.


                • #9
                  I printed flyers and left them at hardware stores auto parts stores with farely good
                  results. Back in the day all the real auto parts stores had a machine shop. They are
                  all gone now. Like someone buys a set of king pins and no one to fit them. So my
                  Napa friends send them here. Valve jobs,, left hand bolts ,,etc. And yes there are
                  machine shops around here, the big but is, way over priced per hour and the customer
                  needs it now not next year. Many times I will do while the customer waits and for shop
                  rates that are within reason. Once I thought of knocking on the big guys door, but that
                  amounts to long boring runs, the same ole day after day, thats not for me. My sign
                  says it all :Walk in's welcome: