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Sales suggestions for small metal finishing business

I need some suggestions on how to increase my sales in my small metal finishing business. Locally there is only one casting plant and their business is really slow. The surrounding larger cities with casting plants usually have a source locally and it's difficult to compete with their pricing. I don't want to quit but feel I am at a dead end street. Thanks for your time.

Rodney Cummins
Delphos, Ohio


I believe that the key to the future for small shops is highly differentiated, high quality services. Competing in the 10 cents a pound commercial barrel zinc plating business is tough business and, as you have found, highly dependent on the success of other local firms over which you have no control.

The most promising suggestion is to find a finish that leading-edge manufacturing companies want on small components where U.P.S./FedEx shipping costs are inconsequential, and then the whole country becomes your geographical target area. Take a look at such threads as #3148, #3892 and there are many other examples in our archives.

Another possibility is to align yourself with the myriads of small arts & crafts vendors represented by such threads #3218 and #3289. Home-based business is booming, but some of the things they need done--like plating--can only be done in an industrial setting. It's probably harder to ask fat profits in those businesses, but not impossible to make money.

Finally, keep your eyes open for opportunities. We've received 190 trillion or so inquiries about anodizing of paintball guns, for example; in this rapidly changing world, there are new opportunities daily if you can figure out how to structure a business to make money from them.

As for how to promote yourself, thanks for the opportunity to remind you that what makes possible is that many of our tens of thousands of daily visitors are looking to buy something, and therefore having presence here can help you sell something.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Hi Rodney , Ted is right , niche marketing is your answer , it can be very successful and profitable and help grow your business . don't get down in the gutter and start cutting prices just to stay alive . What sort of finishes do you offer currently ? Small runs are usually a pain but if you set up for them then they are profitable . What sort of industry is in your surrounding area ? Describe your business better and I will offer some ideas , we in Australia have become experts in survival , particularly in Metal Finishing ! Regards

John Tenison-Woods
John Tenison - Woods
- Victoria Australia

Rodney, in the words of our Commander in Chief "I feel your pain". As the owner of a small job shop I face it every day.

If I had to pick the one thing that has helped us the most in the past 5 years of operation is this: Get out of your comfort zone! If there are no casters in your area that need a plater then go after the machine shops, the stamping houses, the sheet metal fabricators, etc... Create a need for your services.

There is a real need for fast turn-around, high quality plating all across the country. With overnight shipping so readily available, location matters less and less. As the owner you have to decide what your specialty will be and market it. Be ready to switch gears if you need to. A large shop with automated equipment can't put in a new process by moving a few tanks around. Not having a bread and butter account can be scary but it can also keep you pun intended!

jim conner
Jim Conner
Anoplex Software
supporting advertiser
Mabank, Texas USA
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