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Hard Chrome Pollution - Is the industry being forced in a corner?

I am investigating the purchase of small hard chrome coatings company. My only fear is the environmental regulations are going to force us out of business in the future. Have there been any major mandates by the EPA in the past few years? Are there more coming?

Your opinions are greatly appreciated in assisting me in making a sound business decision.

Morrice Blackwell
- Racine, WI


This is my personal opinion and not fact!

I would never buy an existing chrome company. You become liable for any past indiscretions they may have had. Testing does not find all of the boo-boos.

I would never own a chrome plating company unless I had experience in chrome plating. Existing employees leave or can hold you up to blackmail for much higher wages because you need them. New employees are not familiar with the shop. Excellent employees rarely leave someone else's shop because they are appropriately compensated. Mediocre one are looking for a $0.10 raise.

I do not know of the on again off again status of the metal working CFR. You may not be affected by it.

Check for OSHA health protocols. This can be a huge expense that a small shop may not be aware of. It was pending several years ago.

Talk to the inspecting arm of EPA for the facility. It might be an education about the facility and about what they will expect from you as a new owner.

I would not buy it. If it is so good, why are they selling it. The real reason, not the one stated. Look at trends in the books and talk to their largest 5 customers.

Again, I would not do it.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Jim states the case more negatively than I would. Some of the downsides he warns of apply to all businesses, not just chrome plating (like the scarcity of good labor, and "if it's good, why are they selling it"). But the possible liability for past pollution, and the responsibility for medical monitoring, etc., do make it a tough business to enter.

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

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