Manufacturer of Hydraulic Presses

Smart Ways To Grow Your Machine Shop

August 24, 2016

There is a constant, growing need for quality work from reliable machine shops. But even if you have the training and skill, you still need to follow good business practices to make a success of your small shop.

Most machine shop owners feel more at home dealing with specifications and using their tools. But with a commitment to learning the ways of business, you can extend your skillsets and make a profit in the competitive marketplace.

Here are six tips that every smart shop owner should know.

#1. Network

The people you know in the field and those who own small businesses in other fields can be an excellent support group for your new business. In the early days when you are just starting out, you are bound to be nervous, wondering if you are doing it right and ever going to get a steady contract.

In these situations, your connections can give you advice that lets you avoid pitfalls. Your network can send clients your way and give you endorsements. They can help you find good contacts, like an accountant, lawyer and insurance agent.

#2. Niche Down

You’re small. There is no way you can provide the wide range of services that large machine shops do. To find steady customers, it is a good idea to target a specific audience. Are you a specialist in small gear shafts? They find companies that need that size and pitch your wares. They quite likely would love to team up with a reliable source for the gears they need.

Targeting a specific audience helps you leverage your specialty. You will earn a reputation for expertise. This is next to impossible if you are trying to produce any type of product for everyone.

Wondering where to find people in your niche? The internet makes it easy. Use a search engine like Google to find companies that use precisely what you make.

#3. Stay Small, Right Now

Don’t get into debt if you can help it. As you get more successful, invest in more equipment. Make the best use possible of your own time and that of your small staff, if you’ve hired people.

It is easy to expand your overhead quickly and just as quickly go out of business because you can’t make payroll or come up with the money to pay your bills. Go for steady progress. It is safer and more reliable.

#4. Look into New Technology

New types of machinery can help you diversify. This opens up the doors to new clients. Though new equipment, techniques and technology means more training and probably extra cost, you can gain major long-term benefits from investing wisely.

New technology can keep you competitive. But be sure to research and check with other shops and people in the industry before spending your capital.

#5. Get to Know Your Competition

Find out who is making what you are. Who are their clients? Are they diversifying? Are they trying to move in on your regular customers? Keep abreast of what is going on in your niche so you aren’t taken by surprise.

Small shops usually have just a few big clients. That means that if even one is lost to a competitor, it can create havoc for a month or two, until you find new clients.

#6. Streamline Your Operation

Try to bring in as much of the work in-house as is feasible. Get your production schedule organized around each machine’s abilities and capacities. When you can do the jobs yourself, you don’t have to rely on the availability of an outside supplier. This means you can give your own customer better service and keep more of the money yourself.

When you run a machine shop, you need to be the best you can at both running your equipment and running the company. Learn good business practices and stay current in your field. That’s the best way to make a success of your small machine shop.


Machinery Values are known internationally as a leading manufacturer and supplier of outstanding hydraulic presses. Built entirely with components that are freely available across North America, the company’s machines are well built, long lasting and represent excellent value for money.