Mullsmith

Figuring out ROI (return on investment)

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Hello!

I am an avid blacksmith and thoroughly enjoy it.  I am looking to dedicate some time and effort to start a market for the things I create.  

Before anything else I understand I must learn to create specific products and learn to replicate them efficiently.  

Before i get too far along into it, I would like to ask the group whether or not you have kept track of how long it takes to create certain objects of yours.

 I know this can vary widely from smith to smith based on techniques and etc.

What i am looking to do with this information is to compile the average time it takes to make various items that I could market and use that information to calculate the price it would sell at and the cost of labor as well.

So have at it, blade-smiths, blacksmiths, copper-smiths, etc.  I want to hear how long you think it takes you to make the following things you make on a regular basis.

Various Tools

Various Objects

Various Blades

Various Armor

Misc.

Feel free to ask questions and pick me apart, add in the amount you tend to sell these items for as well if you wish (If you have a market.)  That would also be helpful information.

 

Thank you!

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The market varies wildly depending on what country you are in; perhaps you can share that information with us?

If you edit your profile you can put in a general location that affects so many questions in blacksmithing...

For medieval recreation  armour I would suggest going to the armourarchive.org as there are a number of professional armourer's there and yes the URL uses the English spelling armour rather than the American armor.

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Mullsmith,  The title of this thread pertains to Return On Investment (ROI) which is generally a decision making financial analysis.  Simply put, it's the potential return of the action divided by the cost of the action within some fixed period of time.  If the investment in the action nets a return equal to the investment you've neither gained nor lost which would make the ROI equal to 1.  Anything less than 1 is a loss and indicates that you're looking at a bad deal. 

So if buying a power hammer cost you $1,000 and it saved you $10 in labor a day, your break-even point is day 100.  If you're unable to have your money tied up that long, the ROI comes out less than 1.  The best stuff is often the most expensive, so limited budgets have to either bide their time, or make do with less.

Your comments are asking about the duration to make various things so you can figure out a marketable selling price.  This is entirely backwards.  The selling price is what your market will pay.  Businesses must figure out how to profitably sell goods and services at the going rate.  Market leaders are going to be the people who are simultaneously offering customers the best value, while making the highest profit.  In most cases, market leaders built their operations to suit their clients.  That built-in advantage makes it powerfully hard for start-ups to gain a foothold.

Good luck.

 

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14 hours ago, rockstar.esq said:

The selling price is what your market will pay.

There is a saying in Business.  "Price Value Relationship"  Does the Customers see the value in what you are selling for the price you are asking.  Some things are just too costly to make to sell at a decent profit.  Today people seem to feel that "Profit" is a 4 Letter word.  They want you to sell everything for less than it cost you to make.

There is also the saying "Build what people want to buy, not what you wish to make!"   

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My Father tells me that as long as the cost to manufacture is less than the price to sell; then the price doesn't have much to do with the cost---look at jewelry diamonds for an example of where the retail price is much higher than the cost. Marketing can help manage the customer's belief that *your* version is worth more than someone else's version.

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17 hours ago, rockstar.esq said:

Mullsmith,  The title of this thread pertains to Return On Investment (ROI) which is generally a decision making financial analysis.  Simply put, it's the potential return of the action divided by the cost of the action within some fixed period of time.  If the investment in the action nets a return equal to the investment you've neither gained nor lost which would make the ROI equal to 1.  Anything less than 1 is a loss and indicates that you're looking at a bad deal. 

So if buying a power hammer cost you $1,000 and it saved you $10 in labor a day, your break-even point is day 100.  If you're unable to have your money tied up that long, the ROI comes out less than 1.  The best stuff is often the most expensive, so limited budgets have to either bide their time, or make do with less.

Your comments are asking about the duration to make various things so you can figure out a marketable selling price.  This is entirely backwards.  The selling price is what your market will pay.  Businesses must figure out how to profitably sell goods and services at the going rate.  Market leaders are going to be the people who are simultaneously offering customers the best value, while making the highest profit.  In most cases, market leaders built their operations to suit their clients.  That built-in advantage makes it powerfully hard for start-ups to gain a foothold.

Good luck.

 

That is the forwardness I don't mind hearing... You are absolutely right.  I guess my largest point on the matter is, what part of this has led to a return on your investment personally.  I love doing this as a hobby and will continue that, but where is my time best spent in terms of a "Return on my investment."  I want to learn what others have done and emulate the best way to go about this.  Also sincere curiosity on how long it takes to make certain items as well as curiosity about what it would take for a business to actually pay an employee... I'm not saying I'm anywhere near that point.  But I am avid about my endeavors.

1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

My Father tells me that as long as the cost to manufacture is less than the price to sell; then the price doesn't have much to do with the cost---look at jewelry diamonds for an example of where the retail price is much higher than the cost. Marketing can help manage the customer's belief that *your* version is worth more than someone else's version.

That is VERY wise as well...  Thank you for your comment, I will keep that close in mind.

2 hours ago, notownkid said:

There is a saying in Business.  "Price Value Relationship"  Does the Customers see the value in what you are selling for the price you are asking.  Some things are just too costly to make to sell at a decent profit.  Today people seem to feel that "Profit" is a 4 Letter word.  They want you to sell everything for less than it cost you to make.

There is also the saying "Build what people want to buy, not what you wish to make!"   

I agree with the latter expression you used.  I understand that this would become a job if this were the route I would take, but that is realistic and exactly what I'm attempting to do.  I want to make what people want.  Not what I want. I'm trying to determine the worth of my time on projects and that worth is certainly calculated through whether or not people want it.  

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First calculate the CODB (cost of doing business) then add the profit you require to find the bottom selling price.

 

If a piece of equipment will pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time, then consider the purchase. If it is a one time project then consider renting the equipment.

Can you afford to tie up your money in that piece of equipment (or whatever)? Once it is paid for, then go back and calculate what it cost per hour and if it saved you money over doing the same thing without that piece of equipment. Your return on your investment is keeping that piece of equipment (or whatever) running and making money. If you can make 25 by hand and 100 using the equipment ... you do the math. (grin)

You MUST sell the item(s) not just make shelf stock for things to work.

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Mullsmith: Are you asking US to define your questions for you? Seriously you ask, " I want to hear how long you think it takes you to make the following things you make on a regular basis." Then list a number of vague categories.  Make WHAT? I'm pretty sure I can make coat hooks or doffers a LOT faster than I could make a jet fighter.  It's entirely too vague to expect a meaningful answer but the guys will try.

If you want to know the average time it takes to make a thing start keeping track in your notebook. You DO keep a notebook. YES? Asking me or anyone else here how long WE take to make a "VARIOUS?" thing is as worthless as asking why a bore has nipples.

You need to get out of textbooks written by academics with little or no experience in the real world and trying to sound like one is even more useless. Start making "VARIOUS" things and keep track of time, materials, consumables, utilities, capitol investments, etc., once you get good at making that VARIETY of thing. Account for your time, expenses, wages, price it and see if it sells well enough to keep you in the black.

Rockstar has gifted us with textbooks worth of some of the various factors a person needs to master to successfully operate something other than a hobby business.

I'm not trying to put you off but you don't know enough to ask a coherent question, how in the world do you expect to understand the answers? You've already gotten several in much MUCH more specific detail than your questions.

Okay, a little advice from an old fart: Put the books away unless they're blacksmithing books, build a fire and start making things. Keep careful detailed track.

Pick up different kinds of book, those concerned with Making Plans. So far you've only stated the vaguest of ideas and have offered zero plans. You can SAY you're "planning" on . . . but without knowing what a plan is it's like me calling myself a pilot because I have a couple hours of stick time 35 years ago.

If you want to go at the craft as an academic exercise you don't need to hold a hammer, just read and maybe write a little.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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19 hours ago, Glenn said:

First calculate the CODB (cost of doing business) then add the profit you require to find the bottom selling price.

 

If a piece of equipment will pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time, then consider the purchase. If it is a one time project then consider renting the equipment.

Can you afford to tie up your money in that piece of equipment (or whatever)? Once it is paid for, then go back and calculate what it cost per hour and if it saved you money over doing the same thing without that piece of equipment. Your return on your investment is keeping that piece of equipment (or whatever) running and making money. If you can make 25 by hand and 100 using the equipment ... you do the math. (grin)

You MUST sell the item(s) not just make shelf stock for things to work.

yes, precisely.  I don't focus too heavily on equipment, and I'm a fanatical "budget-er".(obviously not an English major)  

Very wise instructions, Like the previous comment I am looking to make what people buy and not what I want to make. 

 

Thank you for your advise! 

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17 hours ago, Frosty said:

Mullsmith: Are you asking US to define your questions for you? Seriously you ask, " I want to hear how long you think it takes you to make the following things you make on a regular basis." Then list a number of vague categories.  Make WHAT? I'm pretty sure I can make coat hooks or doffers a LOT faster than I could make a jet fighter.  It's entirely too vague to expect a meaningful answer but the guys will try.

If you want to know the average time it takes to make a thing start keeping track in your notebook. You DO keep a notebook. YES? Asking me or anyone else here how long WE take to make a "VARIOUS?" thing is as worthless as asking why a bore has nipples.

You need to get out of textbooks written by academics with little or no experience in the real world and trying to sound like one is even more useless. Start making "VARIOUS" things and keep track of time, materials, consumables, utilities, capitol investments, etc., once you get good at making that VARIETY of thing. Account for your time, expenses, wages, price it and see if it sells well enough to keep you in the black.

Rockstar has gifted us with textbooks worth of some of the various factors a person needs to master to successfully operate something other than a hobby business.

I'm not trying to put you off but you don't know enough to ask a coherent question, how in the world do you expect to understand the answers? You've already gotten several in much MUCH more specific detail than your questions.

Okay, a little advice from an old fart: Put the books away unless they're blacksmithing books, build a fire and start making things. Keep careful detailed track.

Pick up different kinds of book, those concerned with Making Plans. So far you've only stated the vaguest of ideas and have offered zero plans. You can SAY you're "planning" on . . . but without knowing what a plan is it's like me calling myself a pilot because I have a couple hours of stick time 35 years ago.

If you want to go at the craft as an academic exercise you don't need to hold a hammer, just read and maybe write a little.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

Great advise, However I didn't want to babble on like I have the habit of doing.  I should explain my current position in all of this so you understand.  I was making a very general question because I wanted very general statements. I wanted someone like you (a critical thinker) to give me real thoughts.  

My current position at the moment is a bit tied up.  I am buying a house soon, I've been married almost 3 years and have a baby on the way.  Every chance I get I travel almost an hour (after working full time) to get to a forge a friend and I built.  I stay there forging till about 10PM and then head home.  (I do this when my wife is at work usually, because spending time with family is important)

So, the house we are in the market for is closing in on processing and we are almost sure to get it.  Once we do I will have the land to build my own forge.  The forge at my friends place, where we have made some items and have kept track of things such as charcoal usage, time  to create objects etc.  But we are not at a stage where we are proficient or have the tools that usually makes a smith's life easier. (Right now I have found the need to make some tongs because our current ones don't grip well enough)  

I'm looking for insight from a smith who has done this proficiently and HAS kept a journal and HAS kept track of his investments.  Because the pages in my journal are not nearly as extensive as theirs.

My point is, my heads are currently in the books because that's the only place they can be at the moment.  talk to me in a month or two once I have a house, a forge is important to me and I have made a lot of plans and I am doing my VERY best to act on them now even though there are times I can't.

I'm itching to continue.

And also, if you have made a jet fighter... then yes, I would like to know how you went about that. hahaha!

 

Thank you again for your advice!

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Mullsmith,

Your most recent replies are telling me that you want us to tell you how to make a living in blacksmithing starting from scratch. There are plenty of comments above trying to tell you why that request is impractical, but there's a bigger issue underpinning the whole thing.

I was thinking about this yesterday because I really want to encourage enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit as it applies to making a fun pursuit, something that pays the bills. Professional blacksmithing presents a combination of factors that make it particularly tough to realize that dream.

I feel bad being the one to point this out, but there's a really good reason that you probably won't find a blacksmith on the Main street of your town.  The customer demand doesn't support the business. I won't deny that there are successful professional blacksmiths out there but the odds are against you. 

When I was a kid, all my friends wanted to be a professional athlete.  I think we can all agree that's unlikely.  Consider how many professional teams there are, in all the cities, all the states, in all the sports.  According to the BLS there are 13,700 as of 2014.  Keep in mind that number includes everyone in every sport including stuff like Motorcross, cheerleading, and badminton.  There are 234 Million working-age Americans.  That means professional athletes constitute roughly 0.0058% of the working population.  That's one in every 17,333 people. Here's a fun fact, any population less than 50,000 but greater than 10,000 is called a "Micropolitian" area.  I learned that looking for an area with a population of 17,333  which turned out to be Scurry County, Texas.

Now think about how many sports fans there are.  There are literally thousands of people who happily play for free in amateur leagues.  This is called market saturation because there's a tremendous imbalance between the supply and the demand.  This means the buyers can get the very best for the very least.  You might be thinking that NBA All-stars have multi-million dollar contracts, and they do.  Keep in mind that the median professional athlete is making $43,350.  That's the middle wage between the lowest pay and the highest pay.  Floyd Mayweather is making $300 Million a year and by most accounts is the highest paid athlete today.  That's four orders of magnitude higher than the median wage!  This tells me that there must be a lot of professional athletes on food stamps balancing the math out. 

I used sports as an analogy because most people will run into a professional athlete at some point in their life.  The same can't be said for a professional blacksmith.  As I said earlier, the odds are against you.

So far I haven't addressed business acumen, financial backing, work ethic, or individual skill at all.  Startups fail far more often than they succeed, even when they've got excellent skills, tools, and sound financial backing.  Hard work and perseverance are admirable attributes that won't change your fate if you can't time your efforts to capitalize on opportunity.   The economy is bigger than all of us.  You can do "everything right" and still suffer when markets shift.

Last year in my area every new construction project slated to start in fourth quarter was either canceled or put on hold.  I suspect the mid-summer global financial crisis caused bankers to put a hold on all new construction starts.  Whatever the reason, I went from having a huge backlog of work to fighting off holiday layoffs in a period of two weeks.  I barely made it, and our workers never really knew their jobs were in jeopardy.  Some of my competitors were forced to lay off their people. 

I read trade journals and monitor business publications.  None of them saw it coming, and few will even admit it happened.  The best you can hope for is an article on growth projections that mentions things were vaguely bad in the past. I meet professionals all the time who don't see the big picture.  One fellow estimator told me things were "booming" for him.  I asked if he was having any luck attracting skilled tradesman.  He replied that he couldn't match the oil-field wages.  If things were truly "booming" then paying the going rate to attract skilled tradesman wouldn't be difficult. 

Any business plan based on that input would have you laying off workers by Thanksgiving.  I'm getting resumes from apprentice electricians who've spent three years trying to log 2,000 hours (one year of full-time work)  because they can only find seasonal work. At that rate, it will take them twelve years to become eligible for the Journeyman exam.  You could literally become a Doctor in less time.  Please, seriously consider what I'm saying.  There is a very real shortage of skilled tradesman, yet there's insufficient work to keep apprentices working all year long, even though they're the cheapest employee's we can get.  I'm not trying to be pessimistic here, I'm trying to point out how to think critically about what you're hearing versus what you see around you.

I started all this saying I want to encourage entrepreneurs, and I still do.  The deal is that the economy is just not in the start-ups favor right now.  Start-ups are a long-shot under the best of conditions.  Don't invest ANYTHING you wouldn't throw away right now.  It's understandable that enthusiasm leads to impatience, especially when you lack experience.  I suggest you go to work for a company like the one you'd like to start to learn what it really takes.  I suspect even finding such a company will be an instructive challenge.

Right now it's better to crew a ship on stormy seas, than it is to row out alone.

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Mullsmith said:

Like the previous comment I am looking to make what people buy and not what I want to make. 

That has been the downfall or profitability of every manufacturer and business persons since Roman Times the old "Better Mouse Trap" theory.   

Good Luck with your venture.

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2 hours ago, rockstar.esq said:

Mullsmith,

Your most recent replies are telling me that you want us to tell you how to make a living in blacksmithing starting from scratch.

 

I want to make it clear rockstar, that my goal is balanced.  I am enthusiastic and enjoy black-smithing thoroughly.  My plan is not to quit my job and full-tim smith by any means... My plan is ultimately to hopefully make anywhere from 5-10k extra a year if I can.   "The best way to stay in business is to be in business." (not sure who said that... but its a quote.)  

I have 2 things.  A love for business (numbers, keeping track of things, making profit) as well as a love for smithing.  When I was a kid I'd make a few hundred a year just going door to door re-selling candy and having a paper route.  (I would literally sit in my room and crunch numbers for fun and try and come up with business plans. hahaha!)

My point is, this is a love for those activities and to me this would not be work.  I would enjoy this.

I'm not allowing my heart to exceed my brain.  And yes, this venture is the riskiest business I'm sure anyone could attempt if their plans were to make a full fledged business. 

My thoughts are a small at home shop, online sales and side-projects.  

I have great connections with people own scrap-yards, interior designers, business-men and the like.  If I play my cards right, I could very well make some sort of profit.  We will see, its going to take careful planning and hard-work, just like anything worth doing.

 

I do appreciate your honesty, sincerely.  Your words are taken to heart.

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3 minutes ago, Mullsmith said:

"The best way to stay in business is to be in business." (not sure who said that... but its a quote.)  

I'm going out on a limb here but I'm guessing that's not a correct quote.  If so, I don't see how they came to that notion. 

As you've written it, I completely disagree.  It's a fallacy of reasoning and/or circular reasoning to submit a conclusion as a premise to support your conclusion.

You've attracted some criticism in this thread, and that quote is a good example of why.  I just told you about how hard it is to keep a business afloat.

I can't tell if you're sincerely looking for help, or if you're looking for encouragement to do what you want.  You've certainly lead us on a twisted path thus far. However I think we've reached my stop on this crazy train.

Good luck and congratulations on the baby.

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Hi Mullsmith. I just read the last couple of todays replies and have forgotten most of the previous ones already from the start of the thread. So forgive me if I'm repeating what's already been said.

What is pertinent numbers for me is not necessarily pertinent numbers for you. I am going to compare myself with a professional smith who I look up to. I myself am a full time blacksmith. There is no way my work is comparable to the work of Darryl Nelson. (Who I am about to compare myself with.) He can do work something along the lines of ( I compared a thing I made with his time once and I'll leave that out of this discussion ....just suffice to say I want to be better and thus will not hesitate to compare my stuff with people who are much better then me), he was working at a pace like 32 times faster and much higher quality of work then mine.

Now flip that around and students of mine are doing work that in some cases takes them days that I can do in minutes.

My records of shop time for a given project won't line up with yours until you develop the tooling and proficiency to catch up with me meanwhile I am striving to develop the tooling and proficiency to catch up with Darryl.

Keep track of your time don't worry about others time. It takes you as long as it takes "you". We all may be on the same journey but we each take our own path. Hope that made sense.

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Nailed it again Rockstar. I'm thinking if we did a word count on what you've written about practicing business you could publish a book. You could get rich! 

Mull: I see you still don't have a realistic idea of your chance and from that perspective it's dimmer than Rockstar points out. You might, MIGHT succeed if you follow my general model. I'm a hobbyist who has hoped all my life to find some "must have" trinket I can crank out and maybe pay for the hobby. I'd LOVE to have a hobby I love pay for itself and maybe a burger or brew now and then.

Your replies imply you already believe you're good enough to start and maintain a business if someone can give you enough info you can make the numbers work. That isn't how a true craft works. You could run it like an accountant IF it were a science, say closed die forgings to finished product like Estwing. An accountant can handle the business end of Estwing just fine but believe me the foremen walking the floor aren't bean counters.

Learn the craft and forget a business for a couple years, it'll take that long to learn what folk want and learn to make it. When I still had a good hand at the anvil, pre accident, I could turn out leaf finial coat hooks in under 7 minutes while keeping up a patter with the audience, answering questions and telling jokes. Alone at home my time was under 4 minutes each. They sold for $19.95 ea. set four $34.95 and I couldn't keep them on the table at demos. Profitable? Not even close, they paid for themselves and the consumables but that's just borderline break even.

If you take the craft up as a hobby AND you're lucky it may start paying for itself in a few years but don't expect to recover your capitol investment unless you discover one of those magical "must have" products.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mullsmith,

You have been given really good information.  You have a job, enjoy this as a hobby until you get ALL of your ducks in a row and have a solid plan with all of these answers you have asked answered by YOU not someone else.

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On 2/26/2016 at 6:47 PM, Rashelle said:

Hi Mullsmith. I just read the last couple of todays replies and have forgotten most of the previous ones already from the start of the thread. So forgive me if I'm repeating what's already been said.

What is pertinent numbers for me is not necessarily pertinent numbers for you. I am going to compare myself with a professional smith who I look up to. I myself am a full time blacksmith. There is no way my work is comparable to the work of Darryl Nelson. (Who I am about to compare myself with.) He can do work something along the lines of ( I compared a thing I made with his time once and I'll leave that out of this discussion ....just suffice to say I want to be better and thus will not hesitate to compare my stuff with people who are much better then me), he was working at a pace like 32 times faster and much higher quality of work then mine.

Now flip that around and students of mine are doing work that in some cases takes them days that I can do in minutes.

My records of shop time for a given project won't line up with yours until you develop the tooling and proficiency to catch up with me meanwhile I am striving to develop the tooling and proficiency to catch up with Darryl.

Keep track of your time don't worry about others time. It takes you as long as it takes "you". We all may be on the same journey but we each take our own path. Hope that made sense.

You are SO right.  Frankly guys, I guess I don't know what I am asking.  Like asking an artist how long it takes him to paint a picture... The answer I guess is, "As long as it takes."  

Sometimes I tend to forget how much of an art black-smithing is, I apologize for that.  

The answer I guess I have found is don't focus too much on how long it takes others, because its going to take you as long as it takes you.  When you get better you may learn to make things at a quicker pace, but don't focus on comparison, focus on learning and enjoying and when you sell, you sell it for whats pair based on what you put into it.

I sincerely appreciate your advice Rashelle. :)

On 2/27/2016 at 4:49 PM, Frosty said:

Nailed it again Rockstar. I'm thinking if we did a word count on what you've written about practicing business you could publish a book. You could get rich! 

Mull: I see you still don't have a realistic idea of your chance and from that perspective it's dimmer than Rockstar points out...

Your replies imply you already believe you're good enough to start and maintain a business if someone can give you enough info you can make the numbers work...

Learn the craft and forget a business for a couple years, it'll take that long to learn what folk want and learn to make it...

If you take the craft up as a hobby AND you're lucky it may start paying for itself in a few years but don't expect to recover your capitol investment unless you discover one of those magical "must have" products...

Frosty The Lucky.

I understand what you are saying, I want to make sure you know I don't believe for a second that I can make a nickle doing this at this point.  I am focusing on the love for this craft, in the long run I do wish to make something off of it and I'm fine if I don't.  My point is I'm trying to understand more about the business models blacksmith's follow and I am coming to realize it based on the comments. 

If I enjoy what I am doing and am making products from it, I would like to continually keep track of what I am doing and market the products I have and can create again.

The best way to make money on something is just to continue to be in the market.  If that's my goal, then I need info like this to understand what I'm getting into.  I have deciphered that and understand.

Thank you for your support!  your advice is appreciated!

On 2/27/2016 at 5:40 PM, natenaaron said:

Mullsmith,

You have been given really good information.  You have a job, enjoy this as a hobby until you get ALL of your ducks in a row and have a solid plan with all of these answers you have asked answered by YOU not someone else.

I am right there with you! I promise.  I'm just a planner and enjoy making plans and seeing them through.  Is it just me or have these communities seen people quit their job and jump into this 100% and then become penniless?  Hahaha, that's the drift I'm feeling here. (I'm not that kind of planner, because that's a horrible plan."

I'm very grateful I found this site and I am appreciative to hear REAL feedback on this side of things! :)

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57 minutes ago, Mullsmith said:

 

I am right there with you! I promise.  I'm just a planner and enjoy making plans and seeing them through.  Is it just me or have these communities seen people quit their job and jump into this 100% and then become penniless?  Hahaha, that's the drift I'm feeling here. (I'm not that kind of planner, because that's a horrible plan."

I'm very grateful I found this site and I am appreciative to hear REAL feedback on this side of things! :)

An old blacksmith saw comes to mind here. "How do you make a small fortune as a blacksmith? Start with a large fortune." Truth is, yes guys have jumped into business and ended up broke for centuries probably millennia. What we've been saying is true about business not blacksmithing. Going into any business you must have your ducks in a row and luck on your side, blacksmithing as a business is first a business.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mr. Mull,

I would like to make a suggestion. This is from someone who has been in Business for them-self for over 40 Years.

You have a good job, a young marriage, a soon to be child, a soon to be House. You have no room on your plate for High Risk Finance, unless you wish to loose it all.

My suggestion is; enjoy your Job, enjoy your Family, take care of your House. To get Cream, you must eat your vegetables and potatoes first, DO NOT FOCUS on the Cream. Enjoy the Cream when it comes your way. You cannot maintain life on Cream alone, you must have Meat, Potatoes, Vegetables and someone has to take out the garbage. In YOUR spare time, learn the Blacksmith Craft and learn how to be good at it, not fast. When you focus on becoming GOOD, you will also learn how to be fast, without compromising your product. It is better to learn how to do a few things VERY good, than a lot of things poorly.  By maintaining your focus on your family, you will still have one. If you focus yourself on your Business too much, you may loose your family.

just my $0.02

Neil

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1 hour ago, swedefiddle said:

Mr. Mull,

I would like to make a suggestion. This is from someone who has been in Business for them-self for over 40 Years.

You have a good job, a young marriage, a soon to be child, a soon to be House. You have no room on your plate for High Risk Finance, unless you wish to loose it all.

My suggestion is; enjoy your Job, enjoy your Family, take care of your House. To get Cream, you must eat your vegetables and potatoes first, DO NOT FOCUS on the Cream. Enjoy the Cream when it comes your way. You cannot maintain life on Cream alone, you must have Meat, Potatoes, Vegetables and someone has to take out the garbage. In YOUR spare time, learn the Blacksmith Craft and learn how to be good at it, not fast. When you focus on becoming GOOD, you will also learn how to be fast, without compromising your product. It is better to learn how to do a few things VERY good, than a lot of things poorly.  By maintaining your focus on your family, you will still have one. If you focus yourself on your Business too much, you may loose your family.

just my $0.02

Neil

You are a very wise man Neil.  You state my plan as it is in my head almost word for word.  This is a passion and a hobby, but my real-life IS my family.  I used to work at a certain place for about a year.  they worked me to the bone! 60-70 hours a week... I quit FOR my family's sake and my own and I vowed to myself that I would never do that again.

I'm just a child asking why the sky is blue, I know I don't have any in-depth experience in Black-smithing, (currently just my hobby) just as a child doesn't have extensive experience in physical sciences in order to completely understand how light scatters differently within air molecules.  but what I do have is willingness to learn, passion, motivation and curiosity.

I sincerely hope everyone takes that advice. 

Thank you!

2 hours ago, Frosty said:

An old blacksmith saw comes to mind here. "How do you make a small fortune as a blacksmith? Start with a large fortune." Truth is, yes guys have jumped into business and ended up broke for centuries probably millennia. What we've been saying is true about business not blacksmithing. Going into any business you must have your ducks in a row and luck on your side, blacksmithing as a business is first a business.

Frosty The Lucky.

Hahaha! nice quote.  I shall organize my semi-aquatic birds before I proceed to invest heavily in my metal.  I promise!

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Hi Mullsmith

I'm going to add my 2 bob.  You are asking very specific questions that you want to paint with a very broad brush.  I can tell you that we make a job here that is what we call a chain anchor, I can tell you that it takes 23kgs of 4140 and I allow 2.5 hours (one man) to cut it, forge it and heat treat it.  That will mean nothing to you, you don't know what equipment I have at my disposal, you don't know what I have in the way of materials handling, you wouldn't even know that to make this job worthwhile in the ways of shop rate we normally forge these in batches of 10.

I can give you information re the questions that you have asked, but as others have posted, that info is useless to you unless you have an idea of how long it will actually take "you" and what it is going to cost "you" in materials and consumables or a job/item similar to what I am making.  Not only that but the sort of jobs that we are making would have very little bearing on the type of work that you are seeking to do, although you have asked us to "come one, come all".

Do some more fiddling in the workshop, get an idea of what sort of items you are going to make, work out what it costs you in labour, materials, fuel, grinding discs etc. Then come back and ask those of us on the forum, "Guys I can make 10 of these in a day using a solid fuel forge, by hand on the anvil, on  my own completed using x amount of stock and using up x amount of consumables.  Is this comparable to what you guys have found"?

You'd get a more realistic answer from us then.

Good luck with the little tacker too, if this is your 1st you wont know what hit you.

Phil

 

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