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Author Topic: Neighbors???  (Read 1342 times)

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Offline Downstream

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Neighbors???
« on: October 10, 2017, 02:58:49 pm »
I have been sawing and making live edge furniture for over 3 years now.  Enough of a local name that random people stop by periodically while i'm working to see what I'm doing and how I go about both sawing and furniture building.  I have always enjoyed explaining and showing my passion for both when people would stop.  Over the weekend I passed by one of my neighbors and periodic visitor places(about a quarter mile away) and was surprised to see live edge benches and furniture by his driveway with a for sale sign on them.   Apparently he went out and bought a sawmill and is now a competitor.  I'm a free enterprise capitalist at heart but it still bothers me when someone(especially a neighbor) stops by shows a general interest in your business when in reality they are preparing to jump in.  Sorry to vent but rubs me the wrong way.  Good news is the quality of work and design shows he has a long way to go to catch up.  Worse part is he is selling too cheap.
EZ Boardwalk Jr,  Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, Stihl 660 and 211, Logrite 60" cant hook

Offline Don P

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 03:16:54 pm »
We had a guy and his wife show up at house jobsite expressing interest as potential clients, we toured them, explained construction details, had the contract out explaining it. That turkey ended up bidding on and building the next house in that subdivision...I prefer it if people are up front and plain spoken. He tripped over his own shoelaces soon enough.

If he had come in as another contractor I imagine I would have given him the same information in due course. Probably would have helped him with the roof when he asked, I declined as it was.

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 03:50:53 pm »
In the 31 years I've owned the appraisal company I can't tell you how many we've trained just to have them open their own company.
Kubota L-4200, Ford 8N, S-10 4WD Beater truck, Chainsaw, Bush Hog, couple ATV's and 141 acres of trees I'm not sure what to do with but I sure do have fun and enjoy being in the woods!
The First 50 years of childhood is always the hardest.

Online terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 06:09:39 pm »
Could be worse. I thought from your title that this was going to be a neighbor complaining story.  Yes that is aggravating. Good luck going forward and everyone says here don't try to compete on price.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT   2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker, hydraulics everywhere), Peterson WPF 10-30 with chain slabber. LogRite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.

Offline rasman57

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 04:01:14 pm »
You can look at it as the old saying......Imitation is a true form of flattery...... or you get what you pay for... either way you probably win in the end.   He either knows what his stuff is worth or will figure it out.  Dont get in a race to the bottom.  You earned the admiration and interest for a reason. 

Offline Downstream

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 12:05:06 am »
Good comments.  I'm certainly not getting into a price war.  I got into this business to try and connect directly with customers as passionate about rustic live edge as I am.  I'll go back to a normal day job  before I sell below what I think my work is worth.
EZ Boardwalk Jr,  Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, Stihl 660 and 211, Logrite 60" cant hook

Offline low_48

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 12:55:19 am »
Unfortunately, this happens a lot. Used to be forbidden to take photos at art shows. Now with smart phones, every art student, many artists, or even people that will take a photo of your work to someone else local for a bid or inspiration. Just a fact of life! I stopped showing some of my work on woodworking and woodturning forums for just this reason. Just Google Richard Coers old growth pine, and you will get 2 pages of just pinterest listings. That photo of a little turned box I posted on the internet is on thousands of pinterest pages!

Offline Magicman

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 08:35:29 am »
Yes it happens.  There have been instances of photos being "lifted" from FF members' galleries and then displayed on "competitor's" websites.
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Offline BradMarks

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 11:42:36 am »
Today's foreman are tomorrow's contractors, it's the way of life. Having had a few businesses (some successful, some not) I've never begrudged someone who worked for me thinking they could do better on their own. Is it stealing ideas or acquiring knowledge?  Most people do not start at the top obviously, so it is more of a progression, and an eye opener :o.

Online coxy

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 08:07:13 pm »
I know the feeling  but what gets me outraged is when the people that worked for you  then goes in to business on there own use your line word for word for buying timber errrrrrr  >:( >:( >:(

Offline teakwood

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2017, 09:00:05 am »
downstream: That sucks! but you have some big advantages, your experience! that is not something he can't copy, it takes years of work to be an expert in woodworking. woodworking is very complex and difficult if done correctly! Grainpaterns, shrinking, dying, joint technics, ... the list goes on and on. it,s not like being a cashier at walmart.
another advantage is pasion


good luck

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2017, 11:13:39 am »
The question is whether your customer can tell the difference in quality versus cost?

Maybe the competition will make you innovate in the end?  Make you better?  Make you come up with something new?  Competition can sometimes be a good thing, even if it doesn't seem so at the time. Though it is a pain in the butt when you're trying to have a steady income.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline smoked

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 10:28:56 pm »
This is an interesting topic.  I am 50something and really just getting into this stuff.  I have done enough time in corporate to understand customer service and quality.  I never want anything I do to fail in any way but it is hard as a "beginner" to have that security so I so try to read forums and look at others work to learn.  Sometimes I talk to people, sometimes I just observe, but I never pretend to be someone I am not so I get where it cold be annoying to share and then find your experience turn directly into competition.

I also reflect a lot on the price I put on things.  I still have a day job so income is not the goal.  I really don't push price on some of my more common work but do recognize when I have something unique.  I am anal about finish and that is one thing that drives me crazy so ends up getting more time in some projects than they deserve so I really am undercutting myself:-(   My area does not really support the type of things I enjoy doing either so to me, that puts a negative pressure on the price point.  I have also had people ask me about what I do.  I share willingly.  I honestly don't think there are many people willing to eat the dust I eat to produce what I do for what I gain in $$ alone.  Maybe when the day job ends I will have a different perspective, who knows?

Last weekend I gave a piece to someone who donated some wood to me and that giving gave me more satisfaction than almost anything I have ever sold.  So sharing natures sometimes hidden beauty in wood and earning enough to buy the next big saw or cool tool is what it is about for me right now.  I guess just keep in mind different people are at different places in their life and that is what is driving them.

This is a cool site  and I hope to keep learning for however long I am still physically able!

Hobby woodworker/wood burner
If I screw something up, it is free heat next winter:-)

Offline Downstream

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Re: Neighbors???
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2017, 04:43:13 pm »
Here is the latest update on the topic.  My neighbor has already discounted his benches 30% from already low price and not sold any yet it appears. 

I agree on the comment about competitors pushing you to innovate.  Back a few decades there was a quality leader named Deming that said the worst situation was to have poor competitors in your market because they would drag the market down.  The better situation was to have robust competition challenging each other to improve continually. 

The other thing that changed my perspective good/bad is that I actually quit my day job early in the year to try this "wood thing" full time.  Prior to that I had been in the hobby that pays for itself mode which was good.  It had progressed to the point I wanted to try it full time.  After 8 months of doing it everyday I have decided to go back to work because I have not been able to find a consistent enough customer base to provide enough of a base income long term.   I will go back to my original career and continue to develop the wood processes/business as a pay hobby.  I have been blessed with the chance to explore the business side of this for awhile and will come back to it full time later.

One of the things I learned is that the area I am located can support a hobby level of volume but not a full time level.  Need to investigate bigger cities like St Louis/Chicago/Indy to see if they have better customer bases or not.  I did have a large national company show some interest in my work at a high volume wholesale level but I did not get into this to produce that kind of volume, factory made, stuff.  Once your stuff is made in a factory then it can come from anywhere in the world including low cost countries.  I want to keep the hand made craftsman mentality.

Final note is that I normally make a bench or small table for locals that offer me logs from their property.  I don't mention it when I pick up the logs, but rather surprise them a freebie later.  I love to see their faces light up when they see what came out of that tree that had to be cut down for various reasons. 

Overall my experiences with sawmilling, woodworking, and this forum have been great ever since discovering this world while doing market research for a new kinetic log splitter I created for my last company.  My pockets will always have sawdust in them from now on.
EZ Boardwalk Jr,  Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, Stihl 660 and 211, Logrite 60" cant hook