Starting a CNC machine shop in the automotive space can seem like a pretty challenging idea. It is a niche within a niche. However, with the right strategy, you can capitalize on that niche and make a sizable profit. This is because not many small CNC machine shops exist in auto.
What is CNC machining for the automotive industry exactly? Using computer software, you can preprogram machinery to machine three-dimensional auto parts, from large to small, depending on the size of your shop and needs of your customers.
Machine shop or cupcake cart, you are still opening a small business. This is where the difficulties can arise. According to Fundera statistics, 50 percent of small businesses fail within the first two years. Not a great statistic.
To keep your future CNC automotive machine shop from becoming a statistic, we compiled six tips to starting and growing your auto parts machining business to success. Let’s dive in!
- Research Your Competition
You may be entering into a small auto niche, but there are other CNC auto machining shops nearby most likely. Not to mention the ones that ship from outside of your community, as well as from other countries.
Knowing your competitors via research can make a big difference is whether your machine shop is successful or not. For instance, maybe the competition machines certain car parts well, but they don’t do other parts mechanics need. Those parts could be your bread and butter, setting you apart from your competitors.
- Start Nurturing Partnerships
The moments right after opening the doors of your CNC auto part machine shop can be uncertain. You most likely don’t have a robust client list, or potentially no solidified parts plan in place.
This makes making and nurturing current and especially new relationships vital to your success. Enlist your current client list, and even friends to drive potential customers your way. It is important to be ready for anything a client needs, because growth depends on being available.
- Build Your Business Steadily
One of the biggest business killers, especially those in auto parts manufacturing fall prey to is building too fast or scaling when it isn’t necessary. For instance, if you purchase specific equipment to manufacture a certain auto part, but find later that the need simply isn’t there.
Another important aspect to this is not buying a bunch of equipment at once, and buying new equipment. Do you need equipment? Absolutely? But you should be asking if you need that CNC machinery equipment right now. There are plenty of used machine tools you can purchase as you grow to keep startup costs low.
- Meet Market Demand
The ability to be flexible when starting your CNC automotive parts machine shop can help you grow your business faster. For example, if a potential client approaches you about manufacturing a specific part, but you don’t have the current capabilities, do not immediately say you can’t do it.
Run the number and see if scaling to meet the market demand for that client makes sense. And chances are, if one client needs a specific auto part manufactured there are probably a few others with the same need. Be flexible and do the math for success.
- Look In-House First
There will be times during those infancy stages of your auto machining business that you may consider outsourcing certain aspects of manufacturing. This is sometimes unavoidable, but most of the time, you may be able to take care of it in-house.
Make manufacturing more efficient by developing a strong production schedule around what you can do, as well as building teams to ensure you can scale to new projects instead of paying an outside source to manufacture something. This can seem slightly overwhelming for a small CNC automotive machine shop, but not unrealistic.
- Stay Up-To-Date With Technology
There are always new innovative technologies popping up, especially when it comes to CNC machining. Staying in-tune to the technology coming out could give you a strategic leg up against competitors.
Grow your business with technology and your client base will grow as a result. This does take investment capital to purchase innovative equipment, but there may be a quick ROI when you showcase your ability to manufacture auto parts others cannot.
Wrapping Up . . .
Starting any new business is exciting, but in the space of automotive, it is even more so. The technology and ability to manufacture auto parts that your clients will continually need is a great model for success. Start your automotive machining shop off on the right foot with the above tips.