Need a little help

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    RetArmySgt

    Glad to be back.
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    Aug 14, 2009
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    College Station
    I am trying to get my Gunsmithing/Manufacturing business open but finding funding is basically impossible in the traditional sense. So I have turned to crowdsourcing. I am offering several different incentives for people to donate from discounts to free guns to even a front of the line pass on all work you get done. All you have to do is follow the link that I will post below and if nothing else just take a look. Every little bit helps even if it is just $5 but the more you donate the better the rewards.

    The purpose of this business will be to provide a much needed service to the gun community as well as to the Law Enforcement community. Half of the business will be dedicated to the needs of local law enforcement agencies, everything from supplies to full service armory work.

    As many of you know I am a disabled veteran and I'm tired of getting screwed over by the VA so I need to get my business up and going so I can stop depending solely on the money I get from them. As a disabled vet that has seen what little help there is out there for vets I plan on donating a portion of all my profits from this business to programs designed to help veterans and their families in need.

    Holman Arms, Disabled Veteran Owned by James Holman - GoFundMe
     

    Byrd666

    Flyin' 'round in circles........somewhere
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    Dec 24, 2012
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    Hill County
    I know I responded to you before and told you let me get my house in order. Well, I got the house, now let me get it leveled and a new ceiling put up and I'll toss some coin your way. It may not be much but, it will be Something.
     

    bptactical

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    Feb 8, 2013
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    Thank you for your service.

    A few thoughts after building a Gunsmithing business from absolutely nothing.
    Do you have a written business plan?
    What background and machining/metal working/ Gunsmithing experience do you have?
    You mentioned bending to the LE side of things but (and no offense to the Blue Crew) but agencies and personnel are budget minded and cheap. You will need to diversify your customer base.
    Most agencies have an officer or two with a couple of Armorers certifications floating around that take care of the basics, at least around here. Add to that a large retailer in the area that does a large amount of no/low cost Armorers work. Your gonna need to bring more to the plate than that if you want to survive.
    Are you doing any firearms work currently and if so do you have a customer base?
    What does/will make you stand out from the rest of the pack?
    How are you planning on investing the $40K?
    What are your projections for 1 year, 5 years etc?
     

    RetArmySgt

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    Aug 14, 2009
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    College Station
    Thank you for your service.

    A few thoughts after building a Gunsmithing business from absolutely nothing.
    Do you have a written business plan?
    A this time I do not, still working on getting it refined.
    What background and machining/metal working/ Gunsmithing experience do you have?
    I worked as an Armorer in the military, I hold several armorer certifications, and have been doing a little gunsmithing here and there since I was in middle school. As for machining I have a machinist that will handle that work that has also worked in the gunsmithing field for several years.
    You mentioned bending to the LE side of things but (and no offense to the Blue Crew) but agencies and personnel are budget minded and cheap.
    I have talked with local LEAs to see what they are needing and budgets, it will not be at a lose but will be a slim profit.
    You will need to diversify your customer base.
    LEO work will be part of it but Im currently in an area with a gunsmithing vacuum right now, we have only one smith in town and there are way too many people still looking to get work done and the only shop in town has a big backlog.
    Most agencies have an officer or two with a couple of Armorers certifications floating around that take care of the basics, at least around here.
    See above. None of the local agencies have armorers and have to send their stuff out.
    Add to that a large retailer in the area that does a large amount of no/low cost Armorers work. Your gonna need to bring more to the plate than that if you want to survive.
    Dont have that issue here.
    Are you doing any firearms work currently and if so do you have a customer base?
    I do a little bit here and there for friends, cant do much more legally until i get my FFL.
    What does/will make you stand out from the rest of the pack?
    I will be teaming up with local shops that will refer customers that are asking for work. I will also obtain an SOT 02 with my type 07 FFL, so I will be the only game in town for NFA builds. We also have a local Veteran owned dealer and a local veteran owned Ammo manufacturer in town that I will be linking up with.
    How are you planning on investing the $40K?
    Paying for my licensing fees, ITAR taxes, LLC, tools, start up inventory, and a small amount put aside for working capital.
    What are your projections for 1 year, 5 years etc?
    First year projection is $150k-$250k basing off the number of people looking for gunsmithing work in the area. I also plan on starting a line of ARs but there isn't much profit projection early on from that will have to get the name out before I plan on seeing much from the ARs.
     

    40Arpent

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    First year projection is $150k-$250k basing off the number of people looking for gunsmithing work in the area.

    I don't have any gunsmithing experience, but I have some business sense and have paid for a few custom gunsmithing jobs. Your first year projection seems severely flawed, unless I am missing something. If I use my latest customized pistol, a Browning HiPower, as an example: trigger work, reliability package, new springs, new sights, new finish, etc. cost me just over $1,000. The work was done by a well-established business, so even if you charged $1500, I don't see a one man shop doing 100 (100 x $1500 = $150k) of those jobs in 12 months. I know you're not going to be doing only full custom pistol work, but to me that seems to put you farther away from the $150k. And to get to $250k....what am I missing here?
     

    RetArmySgt

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    Aug 14, 2009
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    College Station
    I don't have any gunsmithing experience, but I have some business sense and have paid for a few custom gunsmithing jobs. Your first year projection seems severely flawed, unless I am missing something. If I use my latest customized pistol, a Browning HiPower, as an example: trigger work, reliability package, new springs, new sights, new finish, etc. cost me just over $1,000. The work was done by a well-established business, so even if you charged $1500, I don't see a one man shop doing 100 (100 x $1500 = $150k) of those jobs in 12 months. I know you're not going to be doing only full custom pistol work, but to me that seems to put you farther away from the $150k. And to get to $250k....what am I missing here?

    The NFA Items and im looking at 5 PDs at between 16k and 30k each per year from the meetings I have had with them.
     

    bptactical

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    Feb 8, 2013
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    CO
    I don't have any gunsmithing experience, but I have some business sense and have paid for a few custom gunsmithing jobs. Your first year projection seems severely flawed, unless I am missing something. If I use my latest customized pistol, a Browning HiPower, as an example: trigger work, reliability package, new springs, new sights, new finish, etc. cost me just over $1,000. The work was done by a well-established business, so even if you charged $1500, I don't see a one man shop doing 100 (100 x $1500 = $150k) of those jobs in 12 months. I know you're not going to be doing only full custom pistol work, but to me that seems to put you farther away from the $150k. And to get to $250k....what am I missing here?


    I will agree with this statement. Until you become established, create a substantial customer base and get to where work is turned out efficiently and you have a solid reputation anticipate minimal profit and even expect a loss.
    I started in 2003 in association with a well established retail shop here, went on my own in 2007 and finally the last two years showed any tangible profit from the business.
    Very, very, very few Smithing businesses even come remotely close to the numbers you are calling out, and the small hand full that do are very well established specialists that have spent years building that business and reputation.
    Think Bill Wilson, Chip Yost, Bill Laughridge, Les Baer, Greg Chanlynn and the like.
    The retail end of things will bring some money but remember agencies are budget minded, you will have to turn an enormous volume to reach $75k profit.
    Private firearm sales a money maker? Nope, if a dealer turns 7% profit on a firearm they are doing good and of you get 10% profit you are pooping in tall cotton. 4-7% is a normal profit margin on a new firearm, used you can turn a buck but only if you price things well enough you have a rapid turnover.
    How much of your $40K are you anticipating to invest on tooling up the Smithing end of things? I am a small home based business and I easily have $25k invested in machinery and tooling for the business and I am always in need of more. You pick up a lathe for say $2500.00. Expect to invest at least that again and more on tooling for it.
    You want your Class 7 (SOT) so that means you want to get in on manufacturing. Now you are going to have to look at machining centers because the only way to be profitable is through volume. Now your machines are going to cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars and you have to have people to program and run them.
    And tooling.

    Here is the brutal reality of it and if it comes over rough I don't mean it as such, just being honest with you.
    You have an idea for a future and a business and you have a rough outline of what you want to acheive.
    But I don't think you have any business sense developed on how to achieve it, if you did you would have a written plan and a more reasonable goal set.
    Have you consulted with a business coach or planner? It would be money well spent.
    They also need to understand the business of firearms, it is a very unforgiving and dog eat dog business with high risk and low profit margins.
    It is a brutal business, one mistake and you can be in very serious trouble.
    You want to partner with a "machinist".
    Now you are in a partnership relation and even if informal that has headaches. What reputation does he bring to the table? Whatever he does will be a reflection on you and your business.
    You can sink $100k into a start up and be broke and out of business in a year.

    Here would be my suggestion, get your FFL and start a small home based Smithing business. Cut your baby teeth, gain a following and clientele. Learn the trade, learn the business aspects of it. Then and only then make the leap into the pot.
     

    40Arpent

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    im looking at 5 PDs at between 16k and 30k each per year from the meetings I have had with them.

    You're gonna do 16-30K worth of work for each of 5 PDs? Alone?

    I'll step out now and defer to Bptactical....he is spot on with all of his advice. Good luck!
     

    shortround

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    An armorer's ASI from the Armed Forces will not get you a loan.

    You have a better chance of getting employment at The University in College Station. Take what ever they have available, then go from there. Best of luck to you.
     
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