Selling Excess Capacity


From original questioner:

How have you guys sold your excess capacity? Particularly on the machines? We have worked hard on "Lean" for the last 6 months, and also purchased a new Weeke 5x10 router.

I have plans long term for the capacity, but have the ability short term to cut some parts/components for others, or some component contract work (especially if I can utilize the flat table router).

What have others done in this scenario?


From contributor ke

It's a common problem. When I first got mine, I was worried as well. Tiny shops that could use your help, think they don't need it or that it may cost to much. Big shops, just buy another one if they are maxed out. Mid size shops buy their own light duty cnc. I have developed a few cutting customers to help them build their projects. Getting repeat orders for a given product is key to turning the machine into an atm machine. Small sign shops are a source, but every sign is different and causes a lot of design/toolpath time.
No magic potion. Just hit all the shops in your area that may could use you and drop off a sample.

From contributor Dr

From a slightly different perspective, the most common complaint of people like you is that you put your projects first. And so you should, but your client doesn't always understand that your kitchen is more important than his 2 sheets of MDF picture frames, or even his kitchen.

You may say that you're not going to do this, but I defy anyone to run someone else's job while their own staff is sweeping the floor waiting for your own parts to be machined.


From contributor Ga

Thank you both for your posts, you've given me some things to think about. I've never thought about sign shops.


I can see where this could be a potential issue in any shop. We are fortunate to have a great scheduling system in place, and a parallel production cell (beam saw and point to point). Those, combined with some common sense should minimize this potential problem.

From contributor br

Hi Gary
nice website and shop. I too have recently purchased a CNC and have fallen into some work for other people mostly thru word of mouth. signs, cabinet parts, etc. Your website is great and the shop with the lean system looks great. I have been slowly implementing lean but on a much smaller scale. I am now doing alot more commercial work (restaurants and medical). I see you are in Atlanta, where I will be attending IWF. Do you plan on attending?

From contributor Ga

Hi Brian,

Thank you for the kind words. We've basically turned the shop upside down in the last six months, but there is still much left to do. (Always is with continuous improvement).

Yes, we will be attending IWF this year (Thursday & Friday), I'm particularly excited because it's my first time ever. On Friday we will be closing down and taking the whole shop. Being that we're so close, it makes since to let them see what's up and coming in our industry, and hopefully put a spark in their eyes for the career path they've chosen. If you want to try to meet up, please PM me.


From contributor br

OK sounds great. will be in touch Gary.

From contributor Ev

How do you all bill for time? Hourly at your shop rate? Or do you have separate rates, one for design/toolpathing and one for machine time? Do you give quotes up front?