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topic 7390

Metal Polisher and Chrome Platers Needed for Motorcycle Accessories


We are a manufacturer of chrome motorcycle accessories and are in the middle of an extensive search for metal polishers and/or chrome platers that can offer high quality at a fair price with truthful delivery dates. I am mostly interested in staying within 75 miles or the Milwaukee, Chicago area but at this point will consider anything.

If you can offer this or suggest someone PLEASE contact me.

Holly U.
- Burlington, Wisconsin, USA



Hi, Holly. The term in your letter which is troublesome, of course, is "a fair price" smiley

When you are selling motorcycle accessories, your required standard for quality may be impossibly high. Motorcycles have the most beautiful, and most costly, chrome plating in the world and your customers may expect you to match it. But the labor involved in matching the quality of the plating on a Harley may be shocking to the consumer and well out of your 'fair price' range.

These components are hand polished and buffed, then copper plated; then buffed a second time for a real depth of shine; then they are copper, nickel & chromium plated; then every square inch is carefully inspected and they are buffed a third time as necessary to remove any chrome burn. Can a 'fair price' possibly take into account the labor cost of 100-percent inspection and individually hand buffing the components three different times? It probably can't, unless you can distinguish your product as a super quality status symbol, so something may have to give.

In a world where consumers see $5.99 mirrors in a box on a Wal-Mart shelf, you may not be able to charge enough to get the world-class quality a finicky motorcycle buyer expects. It's a real dilemma and we hope things work out! Sometimes the only thing you can do is sell cheaper plating and allow for returns. Sorry!

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


This may be a stupid question, but have you talked to any of the local motorcycle dealers in your area? A lot of guys who buy motorcycles have chrome work done after they purchase the bike to dress it up. The local dealers probably know the best shops.

Arnold Walker
- Independence, Kentucky


Firstly you do not specify the base metal you make the parts from, is it Steel, Aluminum, or Zinc Based diecast?

I agree with Ted, "a fair price" must take into account all the work necessary to achieve the finish you desire, and if you wish to plate to some "Automotive specification" in order to give some corrosion warranties to your customers. There are shops capable of doing your work, but you must remember that all shops have existing customers who are prioritised according to the platers experience with them, you as the "new boy on the block" cannot possibly expect to "rate" very high on the list until you prove yourself.


John Tenison-Woods
John Tenison - Woods
- Victoria Australia


Holly, I can understand where you're coming from. We are in the same boat. Good luck working with any plater, they're prima donnas ... John's comments are typical. However, you, as the customer, should never have to "prove yourself" to a supplier. Fred

Fred Grant
- Turtle Lake, Wisconsin USA


I understand your frustration, Fred, but John is not a plating shop operator, nor from this hemisphere, so I don't think it's accurate to call his response "typical" of an attitude.

All plating today is done by Mom & Pop shops because every large company got out of the business when the environmental heat was turned up and moved everything they could to China. These corporations demand that Mom & Pop and their 5 nearest competitors fill out volumes of paperwork, open their facility to white glove inspection at any time, and pay tens of thousands of dollars for various accreditations -- all free of charge -- before they will even be considered as a potential vendor.

Then if they receive the order, they must deliver the finished parts the same day in order to not interrupt the manufacturer's just-in-time system -- but should not expect payment for 60-90 days. And the corporation, which has lawyers and accountants smart enough to stiff America out of tens of millions of dollars in taxes, will often come up with an excuse to stiff Mom & Pop too :-)

That's why there are so few plating shops left in America. The few who have survived believe that their survival resulted from offering their services only to companies who will place an order and pay their bill. John and I are only trying to explain that if you are not a paying customer (only a potential customer), you may not see the cheery drop-everything-and-attend-to-you responsiveness that you'd like.

Unfortunately "the customer is always right" had to give way to "a paying customer is always right". Best of luck.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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