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Messages - mike802

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 37
1
General Discussion / Re: What would you do?
« on: July 20, 2017, 10:36:45 AM »
As customer supplied fabrics became more common I had to change my billing method.  My shop hourly rate now covers everything and fabrics sales are all gravy.  I also have a policy that the customer gets in writing and must sign that states, customer supplied fabric cannot be guaranteed in any way including yardage estimates and human error.   

2
General Discussion / Re: Ideas/Sugestions for a newbie
« on: March 22, 2017, 07:57:00 PM »
A James:  Take a look at my video series, should answer a lot of your questions.

https://youtu.be/OOM7FTJfeG8

3
General Discussion / Re: Rush Jobs
« on: March 22, 2017, 07:51:50 PM »
I have this little post on my blog on my website:

Quote
I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone, if you have a project that you would like to have built, or reupholstered please donít hold off getting in touch with us. I say this because it only takes a few projects to tie our work shop up for months. It is not uncommon for us to be booked ahead by 6 to 12 weeks, and thatís before we can start a new project, not finish one and this does not take holidays into account. As a master craftsman, I do not relish the stress of deadlines. As a business man I understand work must be completed in a timely manner, bills have to be paid. It is always a balancing act between the two. But with proper planning the two can and do work together, so please plan accordingly, I really donít like to see people disappointed, but I refuse to let deadlines become the master. Your years of satisfaction with quality workmanship and art are worth far more.

And I stick to it.  All timelines given are estimates only, it's hard sometimes because we all realize the importance of making our clients happy, but in the end my business seems to run more smoothly when I run it not my customers.

4
General Discussion / Digging out from Stella
« on: March 21, 2017, 10:13:11 AM »
Hi everybody:  Vermont got hit pretty hard with Winter Storm Stella.  That's always a good excuse to play a little, I got the old 1938 Allis Chalmers Model B out and moved some snow.

https://youtu.be/f-vj4F22qdY

5
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: supply prices
« on: March 16, 2017, 02:18:33 PM »
Sofadoc:  The only advantage I can see for paying the extra price from my regular supplier is they will stand behind it if it is defective, not always sure about the cheap sellers.  But yea, regular wholesalers selling on ebay, or other sites cheaper than what they sell to their regular customers is discouraging.  It leaves a feeling of betrayal, they make you jump through all kinds of hoops, tax numbers, references, credit reports etc just to buy from them and go ahead and sell cheaper to the the general public, the only way to explain it is greed.  In the end they cut their nose off despite their face in a massive rush to the bottom.

I was born and raised in the service station business, my father owned and operated a Texaco for years.  Towards the end he expanded into a convenience station with a deli.  He ended up buying most of his supplies at Walmart and reselling them because his wholesalers could not come close to Walmart's pricing.  Yea have to do what yea have to do to survive, but sometimes it really stinks.

6
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: supply prices
« on: March 14, 2017, 10:18:42 AM »
Thanks Gene:  I'll give their prices a good look over.

7
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: supply prices
« on: March 13, 2017, 08:19:28 PM »
That's the spirit I like Chris, well send the boys over to work something out!  ;)  It's obvious that I am going to have to go over my suppliers head so to speak if I want to pursue this.  Unfortunately I don't have the volume sales that you enjoyed to give me some bargaining chips, I might be able to make a good deal with my current supplier, but I don't think they would discount 50% or more, which is what it would take to be competitive.  I am going to have to do some research, I don't even now where to buy supplies in volume, I'll have to start digging.  It will be interesting to find out just how much I would have to buy to get the pricing I need.

Quote
Sometimes buying from a standard supplier is not going to get you the best price. A quick search on ebay will show you this. If you need to find the best pricing you have to do more research.
 Agree, for regular reupholstering my suppliers prices work, but for selling retail on the web not so much.

Hi Doyle:  Nice to here from you also.  I also am not selling fabrics like I used to either, same situation as yourself and more and more people are buying off the web and bringing me their own fabrics.  I have adjusted my labor prices to reflect this and the customers do not seem to mind, their paying just the same but feel they are getting a deal.  I am in a very rural area, most of my clients are second home owners who are here for skying, or the country.  The majority of my supply sales are web based and I ship all over the US I have also sent orders overseas.  As nice as these sales are they are a very small part of the total operation.  The locals here are always strapped for cash, reupholstering used to be less expensive than buying new and that reputation has not died here.  Unfortunately that has not been the reality for decades! LOL  Anyway, if I advertise an upholstery class I can fill it with about 6 students in no time, so the locals here are not afraid of tackling a project by themselves.


8
The Business Of Upholstery / supply prices
« on: March 13, 2017, 04:06:10 PM »
Hi Folks:  If any of you remember about 7 months ago I was ready to throw in the towel.  Things have picked up a bit here and I have been busy lately. But I am still planning on doing something different eventually, but I guess I am going to keep on keeping on for the time being.  Anyway, I have been adding upholstery supplies for sale on my website a little here and their when time allows.  My YouTube channel has been sending people to the website to buy upholstery supplies, I can't say business has been brisk, but I sell a few things here and their.  If it wasn't for customers coming into the shop telling me they saw me on YouTube and checked out the website, the website wouldn't be worth the expense.  I offer free shipping on the website for the smaller items and this makes my prices a little higher than sites that don't offer this.  But I did a basic search and found this company.
http://www.diyupholsterysupply.com/
These people are selling retail for less than I can buy from my wholesaler.  I suspect I am loosing a fair amount of business from this site.  Granted, I buy in bulk from my supplier and they send a truck my way every other week and I get free shipping if I use the truck, which helps with my overall cost, but I still cannot compete.  If I want to get serious selling upholstery supplies my wholesaler is not going to cut it.  The diy upholstery people must be buying from the same people my wholesaler is buying from.  I can only imagine what kind of investment it would take to compete with these people, any advice anyone?

9
General Discussion / Re: Carrs corner
« on: August 24, 2016, 12:27:41 PM »
I used to post at carrs corner, but I just liked this site better.  My first web site was done by Jack and although he did a good job and his prices were fair he wasn't able to offer a more than just a web presence and I really wanted something more.  I have a better site now, but I also spend a whole lot more also.  I also did not like that I couldn't call Jack and had to rely on email for our communication.  I remember when I found these sites I wished they had existed back when I first started out, it would have been so helpful.  But like everyone is saying, participation is these sites is dropping off and I think it is because cheap throwaway furniture is killing our industry.

10
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Facebook members
« on: July 28, 2016, 03:42:05 PM »
Most of my facebook fans are past customers, I have never had someone tell me they stopped in because they saw my facebook page.  But I have had plenty of people stop in, or send me jobs because of my YouTube Channel.

11
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Facebook members
« on: July 26, 2016, 10:57:26 AM »
I have two facebook pages, a personal one and a profession one.  Mostly by mistake, I only wanted a profession one but did'nt know how to make it and ended up with a personal one, from their I made the profession one.  I keep the professional one only about upholstery and woodworking, mostly what I have done, or am up to.  In all reality, I can't stand facebook!  I haven't updated my professional one lately and I try really hard to not post on my personal one, but some of the stupid sh#% I see on facebook makes it really hard not to.  But I know there are people out there who think the stuff I post is stupid sh#%!  The joy of social media, best to just stay away, unless you really like cute kitty videos!

12
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Every ending is a new begining
« on: July 26, 2016, 10:50:41 AM »
Working with horses is making a come back.  This spring I saw one farmer plowing his field with a two horse team, that was really neat and he wasn't Amish.  Horses are expensive, to buy and keep, but on the other hand when did a tractor give you a new model?  I have absolutely no clue how to train a horse and would have to buy one already trained.  As much as I like the idea and the romance of using horses, it sure is nice to park the tractor and not have to worry about feeding it, or it getting sick, but if gas ever becomes nonexistent it sure would be nice to have a horse around.  Pros and Cons to everything I guess.  When I was a kid there were not many horses in Vermont, but today there are horse boarding farms all over the place, the popularity of horses has just exploded here in the last 20 to 30 years.  A lot of people who are into horses are fanatical about it, I know three people who keep horses and live a life of poverty to keep them.

13
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Every ending is a new begining
« on: July 24, 2016, 11:37:33 AM »
I would really like to use horses, but I dont know much about them.  My son has a friend who is into horses and I am sure would be more than happy to teach me, but I think her knowledge is mostly based around riding, I'm not sure what she knows about draft horses.  It would be quite a learning curve for sure.   I think if I wanted to sell maple syrup and just label it Uncle Mikes and sell it in mason jars I could do just about anything I wanted and could do it on the cheap.  It's when you put it in those fancy bottles labeled "Vermont Maple Syrup" that you run into all kinds of regulation.  The state passed this law after they found out large company's were buying sap from all over New England and Canada, processing it in a huge plant in a city some where and bottling it up in those fancy bottles that say "Vermont Maple Syrup".  Maple producers felt it was important for the state to do something to protect the Vermont brand and I don't blame them.  There is a lot of help available from the state for people like me, also the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association can be very helpful.   

14
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Every ending is a new begining
« on: July 23, 2016, 11:40:48 AM »
Chris:  Very well said, you are fortunate to have such business savory people to bounce ideas off and get sound advice.  Sound like that son of yours has a bright future ahead of him! 

Darren: I don't think I could be happy anywhere else, probably my down fall.  My sister left the state for greener pastures and is doing very well for herself, but I would spiritually die where she lives.  The marble industry was the big employer here back in the 20's, 30's and into the 40's but is just about dead now.  The town I live in never really recovered, the holes and cranes are all over the place.  When I was a kid we used to climb up into a huge gantry crane and ride it back and forth, should have got my but kicked good for that one.

I have most of the equipment needed to clearing the land.  I bought a chipper to chip up all the brush and limbs.  The chips will be applied over the garden space.   The Back To Eden gardening method uses wood chips as a heavy mulch.  Which in turns creates compost, compost tea and retains and regulates soil moisture along with protecting from soil erosion.  I don't have a sawmill yet, new ones are to expensive for me at the moment, my son is chomping at the bit to start building our own, I do have some old cars sitting around that are starting to look like a sawmill LOL.   At the moment all my efforts are going into rebuilding a dump truck.  It was one of those purchases where half way into it you realize it might have been a better idea to keep looking.  But I'm stuck with it now, it will be a good truck when I'm done, but it's holding me up right now.

Quote
Granted you need to reduce 40 pints of sap to get it, but that doesn't have to be an expensive operation.
   Unfortunately in order to be Vermont Certified you have to have some very expensive infrastructure in place.  Although expensive is a relative term, it would be expensive for me and I will have to ease into it slowly over time.  Most everyone today uses plastic hose and vacuum pumps. when I do it I want to do it the old fashion way with buckets a wood fired evaporator and turn the operation into a destination for tourist and locals who want to see what Sugaring in Vermont used to be like.  I might even use horses to pull the collection tank, but that one is to be determined at a later date, at least an antique tractor. 

15
The Business Of Upholstery / Re: Every ending is a new begining
« on: July 22, 2016, 06:08:00 PM »
Gene:  You would get an A in business class, I cant argue with your answer its always good to have a plan on paper.  My wife is the same way, she loves to see it all written down, in alphabetical order! LOL I guess the point I was trying to make is that having to have a business plan was being used to discourage the woman, some people become very intimidated by things they know nothing about.  I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from making a formal business plan, or if they don't know how, to research it and learn how to do it.  But I would never tell someone they cant be successful without one either, which is just what the posters were implying. I have actually written several business plans for my upholstery business when I needed to borrow money from a bank.  But I'm not looking for money this time and would rather work for myself than the bank. Yes the points I made are what one would find in a business plan, I just tend to go about it a little different, but thats just me.  Yes we have SCORE in our area and I have also used them in the past, it sounds like you had a better experience than I did, unfortunately the guy I talked with did not understand the upholstery business at all.  I have some friends who are doing a similar business that I am contemplating and I will defiantly be bouncing ideas off them.  Nutritional info on beer bottles?  What a joke.  Maybe they should list if they use GMO's, bet that would nip that in the bud.    I agree they are trying to push the little guy out.   Why don't they try to gain market share by offering a Superior product?  I guess thats to hard.   Vermont passed a law a few years ago now, that lets farmers sell raw milk and we have been buying it ever since.  I don't like that we have to sign a card with our names and address that stays on record with the farmer, but it's a steep in the right direction.  Good info here for anyone who is interested  http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/

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