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Author Topic: Need opinion...is there a need out there for cabinetmaking skills?  (Read 6499 times)
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« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2008, 05:56:25 AM »

Phil: You are obviously into custom work for high end houses. If you read this board, and most other bus conversion boards, you will notice that most people are very cost conscious. There is a significant number who want to make their own fuel and buy used tires. Some pay top dollar to have mechanical work done because it is completely beyond their capabilities. Everyone has the capability to make chainsaw cabinets.

Conversion companies  now charge over $1m to the people who are prepared to pay top dollar and they deliver the finished product from their own shop. I think that you would get very few customers prepared to pay for your quality of work in an old bus. If you are looking for a semi retirement thing to occupy your time, that is different.

« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2008, 06:46:30 AM »

Stan has brought up a valid point and one that is worth concidering, from my own experience, I've had the pleasure of meeting many great people over the last few years and have worked on a lot of buses.  I mainly based out of northern michigan but traveled to wisconsin and minnisota and into canada besides my native area to work on projects for rv's of all sorts, in that time I've met very few people that had deep pockets, the great majority of them were just regular people that worked hard and had families to raise, bills to pay and at the same time were building a coach. I never approached the idea from the standpoint of making money, I do it purely because I love creating a pile of sawdust, the drawback to making a pile of sawdust is the often I end up with a cabinet of some sort that I have to dispose of.  Luckily for me, the people that were kind enough to share their yard with me have also been willing to help me get rid of the cabinet or two that got piled up while I was making sawdust.  This arrangement has worked out well for me over the years and I can say that there is a need for cabinetry in the bussing community, as far as being able to make a living at it would depend on the level of skill and the pricepoint that a person established for the work. The high end is certainly out there and a person could establish a market for their skills, however, it takes time to get known by the community and build up a reputation for custom work, but in the long run it could be a very satisfying career.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 06:48:15 AM by cody » Logged

« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2008, 06:55:46 AM »

Phil H,

  Though I somewhat agree with Stan to me those of us on the board are a rather independant lot
 and DIY when we can. For me I will probably end up spending 10k for RTA style cabinets. With some
 of the specialty cabinets made by myself. (and yes I do own a chainsaw or 2)
 Granted if I wanted true Rosewood Cabinets my cost would be through the roof. The shop hours are
 fairly static but the real costs come in on materials and some of the old school building and finishing methods.

 I believe most of us have a dream on what we are building and the cost realities temper what we can
 actually do. Even if it takes longer we set a vision and work towards realizing it. JMHO

  I wish you the best in your endeavors.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 06:58:58 AM by skipn » Logged
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« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2008, 06:57:08 AM »

Phil, I think Stan hit the nail right on the head. Most bus guys are do it them selves’ type guys, and are not going to spend a lot of money to have someone do it for them. Have you thought about forming a partnership with a couple of guys to take your skills and produce a high end motor coach. You already have the MCI 102C-3 and you can do the interior. The success of a project like this would be in the careful and negotiation planning and the choosing of the right people to get it done. Each person will bring his own personal skills to the project then find a guy who is good with the electrical, and a guy to do the engine and mechanical, and a guy for the A/C, and so forth. Once the bus is finished it is then sold as a high end coach and the profits could be quite nice. There’s no doubt plenty of talent on this board to get the job done. Logistically it might be too much to over come but looking at the talent that is on this board who knows.


Dean Hamilton Villa Grove, IL East Central IL. Near Champaign
Still Dreaming and planning
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1995 Prevost H3-41, series 60, B500 Allison

« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2008, 07:16:06 AM »

Being able to "position" yourselves to the prospective buyer as being craftsman and high end and quality is extremely important.  Anyone that spends that kind of $ wants "the best".  You can't start with a 2 stroke coach and get that kind of $, so you have to either have a lot to start with, or get a flooring agreement with MCI or Prevost.  Not for the faint of heart. 

When you can buy a nice used country coach or marathon of the 2 stroke variety for under $200,000, its really hard to compete with that.  We all do it for the love of it.  I"m not sure I could even get the cost of my materials out if I had to sell, much less make anything for all the time spent engineering it or building it.

Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep  and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Phil H / Chicago
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« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2008, 09:07:09 AM »

I appreciate all the feedback. And yes, the market I tend to sell the cabinets to is the upper/high end home where the dollar figure my customers tend to spend is in line with the total cost of the home the cabinets go in. That being said, I would be the first to say I can't even afford to pay the sales tax on their invoice. But hey, I'm tickled to death there are those out there with that kind of resources to spend....otherwise I couldn't eat. And you are so right, I do think that the reason most people build their own coach is simply because they enjoy doing it and want it done right the first time, whatever that right way is for them. I guess that is the reason I started one for myself many years ago, but just realized I was not up for the mechanical challenge I started. And again, thanks so much for the honest feedback.

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