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| | |-+  A Business Direction to Discuss: Truck seats
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: A Business Direction to Discuss: Truck seats  ( 1311 )

« : June 22, 2013, 07:54:07 AM »

This is one that a customer actually suggested.

It came up after doing original seat upholstery on a Ford F350.  After paying the bill, he added the following:

The customer suggest getting a web site, setting up a specialty activity to actually manufacture truck seat original replacements.  Sell across the counter and go international via a web site, as well.  He indicated his experience finding high quality original reproductions for his truck persuaded him to say this.

The operation would be more equipped with software driven pattern drawing and cutting.  Sewing would be done as one would expect in a factory; common tasked grouped and sequenced in an assembly line fashion toward delivering a finished product ready for installation or shipping, the classic higher efficiency approach.

This isn't a new concept, let me clarify and it is already done with Mustang, Camaro, and other favorite cars.  I suspect or know without clarification that they are off shoring all the work already, most anyway.  The customer thinks there is still more room in truck covers.  I did reference the foreign competition aleady during discussion.

The truck seat idea was suggested because that segment of the market wasn't exploited as heavily as some of the cars, the customer explained.  He is a car guy if you know what I mean.

I believe I understand the process and marketing approach, it would make an interesting idea if one wanted to expand and put in some capital and add specialty labor, labor to do sewing is easier to find than labor capable of doing it all. 

Trucks (domestic) are popular and are one the best selling vehicles.

The idea of relating this customer's idea to readers,  came up as I thought some of the readers might have worked in this type of activity, mass production, and could offer some good points?

If so, feel free to comment any experience.

Start up cost would be more than some would expect, for facility expansion and more efficent equipments are involved.  I have no experience on internet marketing, so it is an idea that might make discussion interesting.

Mojo, your thoughts could be interesting to hear.  It is essentially now what a business like mine does on a one at a time basis (custom original reproductions and repairs to same).  The idea however would be far more efficient and have some positives in buying by volume.  In the car arena, the competition is tough already, like said they are using offshore cheap, but decent labor: 

For example, a set of seat upholstery for a Camaro can be bought from such vendors for under $400 bucks.  That doesn't leave any room to cut.

Ideas like this do require knowledgeable analysis.  Anyone with parallel type experience but different type of products would also be able to offer great insights.
Worth discussion?

YaBB God

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« #1 : June 22, 2013, 10:53:58 AM »

I believe there is a market for trucks. I know there is a huge market for semi's. A very close friend of mine owns a big semi repair facility and has begged me to move back to Bristol and open up my shop inside his massive building. It is tempting but to be honest it isn't a passion of mine.

I am very bored with what I am doing as the work is the same day in and day out. I would love to be able to create something rather then measure, cut, fold, crease and sew panels.

He said they have one guy about 50 miles from him and he knows he is the only guy in town so he is really charging them over the top prices. He told me if I wanted to come back he would throw enough business my way re-doing semi interiors to keep me busy for a coons age. We still have a second home in  Bristol so its tempting.

I think there could be a good business for someone who specialized in trucks. From a marketing standpoint I would recommend a two pronged approach. 1.) Establish the business on the website 2.) begin attending truck shows and getting to know people, while displaying your work and handing out cards and flyers. This is how Russ ( stitcher guy ) grew his auto business quickly.

The car market is saturated but the truck market and semi truck market is still open.


« #2 : June 22, 2013, 06:58:55 PM »

In perpective the car market is 25 to 45 year old vehicles.  In a word "restoration", while the truck market is mainly maintenance.  The drivers seat is the item worked on mostly.   These vehicles are largely work vehicles, so that has to be cranked into the equation of a shops marketing program.  The smart thing to do is pattern out the drivers seat, inventory the requirements and just target that market.  Most of this work is relatively local.  Expanding and marketing through the internet for complete seat interiors would be a challenge to justify.  I am diversified and consequently never run out of work, so going after the local maintenance market is the smart thing to do.

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« #3 : June 23, 2013, 10:21:34 PM »

I drove past a car show in a parking lot today doyle the usuak y karge number if mustangs gto's ect but in the whole lot one truck a old dodge little red express .
not many older truck I see compared to muscle cars.  even my 01 dodge4 p/u has a bad seat but im not fixing it yet I just use ut ti haul boat seats big tio and go to the nursery


« #4 : June 24, 2013, 07:22:08 AM »

Mike that is the way I see it, restoration no matter the vehicle is down and does mainly include cars.  Those customers are not wrapped with cash, many are do it yourself and almost broke.  The old truck market in the restoration category are no different, and true fewer being restored than cars. 

The potential is maintenance on truck seats, probably under 15 years old.  The incentive for those owners is to keep it maintained to avoid buying a higher priced vehicle. 

Diversification can keep a business very busy if the operator has a lot of experience.  Taking advice from an on looker has to be sorted out and use what applies specifically  to your situation. 

The comments on direction to take are usually something that part will work and only part of the time.  If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

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