Is there enough of a demand for tds to start a business

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Is there enough of a demand for tds to start a profitable business ?

Poll ended at Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:02 pm

yes
6
18%
no
17
50%
maybe, explain
11
32%
maybe not, explain
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 34

Postby Dean_A » Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:08 pm

There's some good advice here. I've been running my own business for about 13 years now. I have a lot of people (corporate types) come to me and ask my advice about going on their own. The most important thing to do is put together a basic business plan that factor in the costs of not only your product, but also things like time, insurance, licenses, taxes, etc.

I'm sure that you could make and sell some trailers, as I suspect there will be lots of people attempting to downsize their RVs in this economy. But building and selling a few trailers does not necessarily mean you can make a living at it. I'd start doing it on the side, building on nights and weekends. Use free advertising sources like Craigslist, carefully track your time and costs, and see where it goes from there.
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Postby Arne » Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:51 pm

This hass come up before... most said, build one and try to sell it... if it sells at your price build another one.... tow it around with a for sale sign on it and see how it goes...

You say you have everything in place, so you have little to lose except time.
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Postby B52 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:18 pm

Personally, I think it CAN be done. Madjack and I spent a lot of time designing, building, redesigning and rebuilding the Alligator Tear. We came up with a good set of patterns and a good build process. What we failed to realize was that our work ethic really sucked. Working for ourselves, we found that somehow we could never say no to a day off! That said, we learned a lot and had a lot of fun. For us, that's what it's all about. I think the market is there for a reasonably priced, quality teardrop, but connecting with that market may be the key. Good luck to you. But as Greg said,"Don't quit your day job".
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Postby Joanne » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:18 pm

B52 wrote:Personally, I think it CAN be done. Madjack and I spent a lot of time designing, building, redesigning and rebuilding the Alligator Tear. We came up with a good set of patterns and a good build process. What we failed to realize was that our work ethic really sucked. Working for ourselves, we found that somehow we could never say no to a day off! That said, we learned a lot and had a lot of fun. For us, that's what it's all about. I think the market is there for a reasonably priced, quality teardrop, but connecting with that market may be the key. Good luck to you. But as Greg said,"Don't quit your day job".


Jim,

Your patterns and build process is what I was referring to in my initial post. I spent a lot of time on the Dawg just trying to "figure stuff out". I think if someone goes in with your same approach, it would be doable. A set of patterns and jigs for each standard model makes sense. I think that a CNC router would make also sense so all parts are identical, plus it frees up manpower.

I don't believe that "one off" building would make for a profitable business (though it works great for the hobby builder).

Just my 2¢ worth.... :)

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Postby Ron Dickey » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:24 am

Research, Research, Research
some folk like one design over another. I watched a dealer near me that offered a td and it took a while to catch on. the also showed them being pulled by gas guzzlers not economic ones.

You would need to see what other manufactured trailers offer.
Camp Inn offers different bodies.
You need to build a questionair and offer it to folks who come to your trailer to see it and find out what it would take to get them to buy.
Hard times are in the books and cheep camping is too.
A perfict window for an affordable Trailer. ;)

But most business fail not for a product but more poor business practices.
Talk to
http://www.score.org/index.html
http://www.business.gov/guides/home-based/
http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/start/index.html
also look under your state to what business gov. sites there are that might help.
the idea to keep it small and see if you can sell one then make another and sell it seems like a good plan you learn for the people who buy them and you might get one who wants you to build one. You lean and also learn what is required of you from state and fed's as you grow bigger. bet never stop that Research, Research, Research and keep an open ear.

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Postby Creamcracker » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:33 am

Everyone's comments affirm what's included in my "Business Plan" attahed to my post above. However, since I wrote the plan the economy tanked! If I retired I might try the one trailer at a time approach.
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Postby Mike M. » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:47 am

yeah, I think thats what Im gonna do, baby steps
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Postby Arne » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:54 am

Someone above made a good point, if you tow it around, don't use a ford 350 to do it. Pull it with something that shows it can be towed with a smaller vehicle.

Also, not sure about camp-inn. I think the basic model differences are not in the walls, but in the width and frame... so walls, doors, side windows are standard on most models. That makes the model changes less complicated.

Also, I think camp-inn is a high quality product and priced accordingly. They have a niche market they aim at..... so knowing the market in your area is important.
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Postby Steve Frederick » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:20 am

For me, building has been the whole deal. Selling is just a way to pay for expenses. I have been able to make a profit on the T/D's I've sold.

As was said, I wouldn't quit my day job! Also, once your hobby becomes a job, you begin to feel pressures that dampen the fun of it.

I'll continue as I am currently. Building on commission mostly.

It's fun, with out too much pressure.
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Postby Cary Winch » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:02 am

Mike,

Any time you want to run questions by me, please feel free to. Not only do I have some experience in the teardrop manufacturing world but I am also president of the local Inventors and Entrepreneur club. I spend a lot of my spare time helping people sort out these very questions. Glad to help you too. Might want to check around the area for such a club also.

Can a teardrop be produced for $3,500? Yes, I believe it can. We have done a number of design experiments ourselves on this subject. It will have to be very simple with pretty much no built in anythings and utilize some alternative building techniques to get the labor time way down. Without seeing your design I can't make any assumptions of course.

On the subject of labor time. Couple of things most people miss. First off do not count your time in the time factors. Someone has to be answering the phone, running for parts, fixing stuff, designing stuff, pushing a broom, unplugging the toilet, shoveling the sidewalk, answering emails, talking to customers, ordering parts, dealing with parts that are wrong or missing, HR issues and a whole days worth of stuff. Then there is tomorrow's list.

The other thing I see people missing is the actual labor cost to use. Check around your area to see what manufacturer's use for a total facility labor cost. $80 an hour is a pretty good average (been awhile since I looked into this so I could be low). Some of the larger populated areas will have a higher number in the $100+ range! Lucky for us we are in an area that has a lower number than average, that goes a long way to helping us keep our prices low. That is one of the big advantages of operating out of a rather remote area like we are in.

Hope it helps, let me know if you need anything. Sorry I didn't jump in sooner on this one.

Cary
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Re: Teardrop business proposal

Postby Billy Onions » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:56 am

Creamcracker wrote:Some time ago I wrote a paper for one of my classes that outlined a proposal to open a new business -- I chose a Teradrop Business. If anyone is interested the link below should take you to the proposal. Then click on attachment "TeardropBusiness.doc"

Philip

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Congratulations Philip,
on a well written very very professional looking plan. :thumbsup:

And a good Welsh name by the way
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Postby lisasweetie » Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:35 pm

Don;t forget about Little Guy in N. Canton, OH. They sell a lot of TDs.
Lisa,

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Postby len19070 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:55 pm

This is the way I do it on my base model.

All I build is a box. The customer buys and registers his/her own frame (tractor supply #000215).

I supply a load that goes on a utility trailer.

I have control over the box. And I'm only "on the hook" for the box.

The frame is the customers and is warranted by its manufacturer and any road/frame problems are between them...not me. As it should be.

This saves me a lot of time and aggravation and the customer a lot of money.

A basic model, with no options costs the customer under $3000 registered and down the road.

Do I build bigger and nicer Trailers? Yes I do, but this is for my base model.

Bare Bones Trailers

Happy Trails

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Re: Teardrop business proposal

Postby Creamcracker » Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:42 pm

Billy Onions wrote:
Creamcracker wrote:Some time ago I wrote a paper for one of my classes that outlined a proposal to open a new business -- I chose a Teradrop Business. If anyone is interested the link below should take you to the proposal. Then click on attachment "TeardropBusiness.doc"

Philip

https://sites.google.com/site/padrespage/page-3


Congratulations Philip,
on a well written very very professional looking plan. :thumbsup:

And a good Welsh name by the way


It should be a good name....my Mum and Dad gave it to me in Swansea, well actually Morriston.....
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