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Jjh030793

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Hi guys so I work as an oak farmer making porches garages etc. I’ve been doing this for about 4 years. Last week I turned up for work and the workshop and all our tools and machinery was totally destroyed. The workshop set fire and it’s just all gone. I don’t own the company I just work for the guy that started it up but I don’t think he will try to rebuild it after this. Just wanted some advice of business loans and starting up on my own. All ideas are welcome. Thanks
 

MikeG.

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Welcome.

What a nightmare. I can't offer you any help, but I am sure that we all here offer your our sincerest sympathies.
 

Jjh030793

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Thanks yeah absolutely gutting mayfell beam planner and chain mortiser £10000 worth of tools alone now just a lump of melted metal and plastic. it’s not just the stuff that you immediately think off though it’s all the stuff that’s just built up on the shelves over the years you don’t know it’s there till you need it one day and you just remember it’s there.
 

HappyHacker

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I am reluctant to give specific advice as there are so many variables it could be wrong for you and with every change in legislation and the economy it may change

In general you need to know what minimum level of income you need to survive and what are your alternative sources of income if you cannot achieve it with your new business. I have been accused in the past of planning for failure but I think of it as identifying when failure has occurred, which should then trigger you into doing something about it. I have often seen people struggling to keep a business going when it is clear to an outsider that it is not working and needs a different approach.

There are often local workshops to help people set up businesses and it is worth trying to find these, I have found they are not always well marketed and often depend on what funding they can get from various grants so often disappear.

There are a whole load of skills that are needed to help make a business a success and while you may be successful without them having that additional business knowledge makes things easier. So I would suggest that trying to find organisations/people locally you can discuss things with and can give you an insight into local businesses will be a great help.

I would never suggest that you start by getting a loan to start a business, apart from the fact that you will need a very good business plan to get a loan, trying to service the loan while building up a business makes thing very very hard. I speak from experience.

I wish you very good luck getting it going. We all need a bit of that from time to time alongside a lot of hard graft :)
 

Jjh030793

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Hi thanks for the advice I appreciate it. I know what you mean about not getting a loan to start off but to make an oak frame requires pretty hefty tools I mean a beam planer is £4000 a chain mortiser is £3500 and they’re hard to find second hand I don’t see any other way but to get a loan for the initial set up?
 

Droogs

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Very sorry to hear this,I will keep an eye out for slicks etc and other framing tools and post details on here if I come across anything. Wishing you all the best
 

topchippyles

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Jjh030793":1z0k6f2t said:
Thanks yeah absolutely gutting mayfell beam planner and chain mortiser £10000 worth of tools alone now just a lump of melted metal and plastic. it’s not just the stuff that you immediately think off though it’s all the stuff that’s just built up on the shelves over the years you don’t know it’s there till you need it one day and you just remember it’s there.
What area are you as i have an empty shop and a working sawmill and would like to help,I am south wales based. My machines will cope with the oak no trouble as all 3 phase stuff
 

bp122

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Hi mate

So sorry to hear what happened.

I am not sure where you are based, but I have a few old metal sash clamps (rusted, but still work great) of varying lengths. There are about 6 or 8 ranging from 400mm to about 900mm long. I don't use them as much as I use my small clamps.

You can have them for free if they are of any use to you. If they aren't, please feel free to say no.

I live in Haddenham (HP17). PM me if you need details.

All the best, fella.
 

MikeG.

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Jjh030793":2mdqwvsl said:
Hi thanks for the advice I appreciate it. I know what you mean about not getting a loan to start off but to make an oak frame requires pretty hefty tools I mean a beam planer is £4000 a chain mortiser is £3500 and they’re hard to find second hand I don’t see any other way but to get a loan for the initial set up?
Both of these tools are ones you can do with out for a little while. If you can't hire them (and you can around here), buy them when you've been paid for a job. Yes, that's going to mean flattening with a normal power plane and a big belt sander, but that's perfectly doable. Yes, it's going to mean doing some extra chiseling in big mortises, but that's very doable. You need to allow some extra time in your jobs to accommodate this, just for a while. I don't see those things as anywhere near your biggest issue. No, far and away the most important thing about the success or failure of a new business is picking up new customers and new work. Can you be sure that there will be a continuity of orders? What your previous boss was obviously good enough at was bringing in enough orders to keep you busy. How are you going to do that when you're on the tools all day?
 

AJB Temple

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I agree with Mike. You don't need much expensive kit initially. You don't even need a workshop if you can work on a customer's site.

A lot will depend on what buildings you are doing. I built and erected two large double garages with log stores and annexe, plus an outdoor kitchen, pretty much on my own from green oak. I bought a chain morticer off eBay, a Triton electric planer, second hand big circular Hilti saw, and heavy duty drill, new big Makita belt sander, plus a few slicks and big hammers, and some hefty chisels (eBay) and heavy duty trestles. I doubt if my outlay on my starter kit exceeded £1,200. It's a lot of manual labour, but is perfectly doable without any heavy plant.

Indeed, one of the well known timber framing outfits round here reckons most of the demand is for buildings with oak frontage, but most of the secondary timbers and all of the roof being softwood. Even easier to handle the materials.

However - if you are hoping to do whole houses, then I agree that you are going to need some heavy gear. Good luck with your venture.
 

sammy.se

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Not tool related advice, but business related: you need to quickly get some customers on your books. Do you know if any of your employer's existing customers will give their business to you? I would get an idea of your customer base before committing to any loans or capital expenditure. Speed is critical to keep any existing customers.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

AES

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First, welcome to the Forum.

Second, commiserations for the loss of your job/the workshop.

Q1: Was the owner insured? If so, is there any chance of you doing any sort of deal with him if you're dead sure he won't want to continue himself?

Q2: How well do you know the existing clientele - e.g. do any of them even know you (personally) worked with/for him? And what sort of reputation did he have locally? And were his customers end users (e.g. private households) or other companies?

Q3: Are the actual premises still standing? If not, what's the availability of other suitable premises locally? At what cost?

I know nothing whatever about the sort of equipment needed to do this sort of work, but "knowing" some of the above members, I'd be inclined to believe that if they're saying you don't need all that expensive gear for a while, then you probably don't. In any case, having run my own business in the past (nothing whatever to do with wood) I definitely would NOT start off with a loan, even if you can get one.

Q4: Apart from being on the tools yourself, how are you other skills such as sales, advertising, internet/website, pricing, contracts, book keeping, materials buying? Depending on Q2, I would suggest that your almost immediate priority is to find "new" customers, and especially if you're chasing the "existing" customers, "fast/efficient" is important.

Q5: As other posters above have said, have worked out how much you MUST earn per week/month/year as an irreducible minimum, just to exist? How much spare cash could you afford to loose without putting you/your family on the bread line/out of the house if it doesn't work?

Q6: Have you got any sort of budget worked out for business running costs, such as premises rent and rates, power and heating and lighting costs, website, accountant, tax, vehicle, etc, etc?

Q7: Anyone (family, VERY good friend) who can help you with any of the above (Q4 and/or Q6)?

NOT trying to be a prophet of doom & gloom, just trying to point out some of the things that could bite you in the A - - E if you haven't done your planning.

Good luck mate
 

Jjh030793

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A lot of our work was in the workshop making porches which everyone orders and want it yesterday. Oak was on a 3 week lead time so speed was essential. I’m not scared of the hard work doing it with hand tools just the time it would take and weather the prices we were changing would warrant the extra time. All the porches we made were planes all round which is why the wide beam planer is necessary. Garages etc are normally rough sawn. I have never ran a company never dealt with marketing but I do have family and friends that would help in those areas. I have met all our clients but a lot of them are not repeat customers as an oak porch will outlive us. I don’t know what he’s planning on doing for certain I don’t even think he does but he doesn’t sound promising to try again.
 

powertools

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First thing I would say is that I am sorry to hear that through no fault of your own you may well lose your job.
The next thing I would say that may well sound a bit brutal is that is no way you will be able to start a business of your own on your own that is the same as the business that your boss had been running, he employed you and maybe others because he could not on his own run a business that needed a workshop and a lot of equipment on his own and make enough to cover all the costs involved and earn a living from it, nor will you.
My advice would be if you find yourself in need of new employment and have a basic tool kit of your own and are half handy with the tools set yourself up as a local handyman service and you may not be doing the work you most enjoy but you will never be out of work and will npt have put your future at risk with loans to repay.
 

AES

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OK mate. Having heard your answers to some of the Qs I asked above, I think I'd agree with powertools above, and suggest you set yourself up with something "easier" (all due respect) like handyman.

A last question for you to ponder - you don't need to answer here, just think about it and do your sums. How much do these porches cost, on average? If you DID get started in that business again, could you afford to spend the time (and money) chasing late/nil payment/s?

All the best whatever you decide.
 

Trevanion

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This isn't a game where you can spend a load of money to make money, unfortunately. You see it all the time where people will spend tens of thousands on gear and put it on finance only to end up going out of business within a year or two because they didn't have any real amount of work coming in and they couldn't keep up with the repayments on everything and all the equipment ends up in auction houses.

It's a very slow game, built on entirely on a reputation for good work, not what kit you possess.
 

Blackswanwood

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That is awful but I admire your reaction of immediately starting to look at how you can influence the situation for the better.

Having seen your post earlier I made a quick call to a colleague with some knowledge of business support in Hampshire ... he suggested starting with https://www.syob.net/uk/start-a-business/Hampshire/3.

It has some detail on sources of grants ... if you can get going as some of the guys on here have suggested without significant capital outlay that may be a more viable route.

One other thought ... presumably the business you were working for was successful. It may be worth speaking with some local joinery manufacturers to see if any want to take you on so you can create their Oak Framing Department? You may be able to cut a deal that works well for both of you?

Good luck - I very much hope you find a way to make it work.
 
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