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post #11 of 56 Old 09-07-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by orangputeh View Post
I'm sure you check the rpms at fast throttle and idle . I'm surprised to see so many machines I work on ( Honda ) that are in the 2900-3100 range when they are supposed to be around 3600 give or take. also the recoil mechanism is usually rusted/corroded and the pull start is not snappy.
I do and will certainly add both items to my list. I use this tach / hour meter with the unit's wire around the spark plug wire. I think it was about $25 on Amazon.
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post #12 of 56 Old 09-07-2019, 07:04 PM
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I appreciate your kind words...my wife said the exact same thing. I may have to rethink my pricing philosophy. It's also nice when you can sell a good quality machine to someone who just doesn't have the financial means to buy a new one. It was heartwarming to get a call from an elderly woman last winter who told me how happy she was to use it during a couple of big storms.
I do the same thing. I go on a case by case basis. if the owner or buyer has 2-3 homes then they get one price. if it's a working person working 2 jobs and living paycheck to paycheck then they get a better deal. today I gave away our 17th snowblower for ( in last 3 years ) free to a family in need. I get these for 50 bucks or usually for free . word gets around and people give them to me . If i can repair then i give them away. some have to go to the dump.

it's amazing how word gets around and all the repair work I get from this or free machines. very satisfying to help people.

Every tool and part I have in my garage was earned by doing this. and lots of beer and pizza LOL , the rest usually goes to the grandkids. as a side note ; when my prices were very low people were taking advantage in some cases. I found out what local shops were charging and I come close to them. I can pick up and deliver and turnaround in a couple days while the dealer charges $75 for pu/del and it may take them a couple months to return machine.

I have to keep a low profile because this is a hobby /sideline and have actually been turning down work or barter instead like for tools , welder , etc. . ( all from word of mouth )

"It Feels Like Beer O'Clock "
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post #13 of 56 Old 09-07-2019, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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I have to keep a low profile because this is a hobby /sideline and have actually been turning down work or barter instead like for tools , welder , etc. . ( all from word of mouth )
I also budge on my prices when it's apparent someone is financially struggling.

I'm intrigued with your repair business. I've intentionally avoided that aspect although there's a lot of opportunity. As you point out, the local shops are very expensive, somewhat arrogant and take weeks to perform simple fixes. I limited my activity to buying, repairing and reselling so I can do it on my terms. In other words, if I want to work on them all day long for 3 or 4 consecutive days, I can. Likewise, if I want to spend 3 or 4 days with my grandkids I will do that instead. Or, I'll find something else to do if it's just too darn hot or cold in my barn. But, with repairs, do you feel pressure to turn it around as quickly as possible? What happens if you need a specific part that takes a week or more to obtain? How do you go about setting a customer's expectations for time and cost?

The point you make about a "low profile" is something important to me as well. My wife owns her own small business and I have NO desire to deal with the accounting, tax, legal, government, supplier, advertising, employee and competitive pressures she deals with every day. This has to be fun and rewarding and not a "job".
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post #14 of 56 Old 09-07-2019, 10:21 PM
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I also budge on my prices when it's apparent someone is financially struggling.

I'm intrigued with your repair business. I've intentionally avoided that aspect although there's a lot of opportunity. As you point out, the local shops are very expensive, somewhat arrogant and take weeks to perform simple fixes. I limited my activity to buying, repairing and reselling so I can do it on my terms. In other words, if I want to work on them all day long for 3 or 4 consecutive days, I can. Likewise, if I want to spend 3 or 4 days with my grandkids I will do that instead. Or, I'll find something else to do if it's just too darn hot or cold in my barn. But, with repairs, do you feel pressure to turn it around as quickly as possible? What happens if you need a specific part that takes a week or more to obtain? How do you go about setting a customer's expectations for time and cost?

The point you make about a "low profile" is something important to me as well. My wife owns her own small business and I have NO desire to deal with the accounting, tax, legal, government, supplier, advertising, employee and competitive pressures she deals with every day. This has to be fun and rewarding and not a "job".
I can turn around a machine in 2-3 days unless i have to go to dealer and get part. over the last couple years I have an inventory of common parts and have bought many parts machines ( I only deal with one brand snowblower ) for used non critical parts.

as of what to charge ; that takes a little experience and trial and error. I go by the base charge that the local shops charge but I do a lot more than they do so owners get their moneys worth . sorta like your 36 task checklist. i add in a carb cleanout that the dealer does not do and I add free shear pins . i aslo grease the augers and auger tranny shafts that the dealer does not do. i make sure the owner knows all this upfront.

before I accept a machine, I inspect with the owner there. obvious problems like cables , belts ( which you have to split the machine for an auger belt replacement ) , cracks that may need welding, parts that may need replacement and so on so I can give a reasonable estimate. have learned a lot of the the hardway. the last thing I want to do is call an owner and say the cost doubled because of something I missed.

The dealer told me it should only take 45 minutes to an hour and a half to do a service. I have worked on some of their machines and have seen that shortcoming. It usually takes me 4-5 times that long to do a very thorough job. As with you I do this for the fun of it and do NOT want a job. I have turned down very lucrative commercial accounts. I will not work on snow removal machines unless it is a one man show. I like helping every day Joes.

I only do a couple jobs a month and usually by referral from a previous owner. It's hard to say no. I really like buying , repairing and selling like you do. I take before and after pictures and the finished product picture gets enlarged and put on my wall of fame. ya , I'm a little nutty . I listen to music and can take a break anytime. No time retraints. i absolutely love doing this.

"It Feels Like Beer O'Clock "
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post #15 of 56 Old 09-07-2019, 10:52 PM
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Great posts Rod!

How often do you find that valves are in need of adjustment? (are they usually loose or tight?)

And how often do you have to deal with mice nests under the shrouds and/or in the trans cavities?

Paul

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post #16 of 56 Old 09-08-2019, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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.

How often do you find that valves are in need of adjustment? (are they usually loose or tight?)

And how often do you have to deal with mice nests under the shrouds and/or in the trans cavities?

.
Confession time.... I don't always check valve lash. If there's good resistance on the pull rope and the machine runs strongly after I perform the engine services on my check list, I skip that step on flathead engines. It's so easy to check and adjust lash on an OHV engine that I do them almost every time. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I find myself making some adjustment to lash on almost every engine except ones that appear to have low hours. I'd bet the farm that dealers never check lash on a routine maintenance job.

I don't find too many mice nests but it's like unwrapping a Christmas present when I pull the belly pan....you just never know what you're going to get. I've found big nests in cosmetically nice looking machines and nothing in units that look like they sat outside for 25 years. I normally wear disposable nitrile gloves for all of my work but immediately put on a mask if I find a nest. I take the machine outside to dig out as much material as i can with a stick and clean up with compressed air. Mouse urine is highly corrosive so I try to scrub those areas with a Scotch-Brite pad and apply Fluid Film. Nasty!
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post #17 of 56 Old 09-08-2019, 06:18 AM
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Hello Rod330, interesting post. What kind of winters do experience in NE Ohio? Do you battle any Lake-Effect snow storms and what type of machine to you use personally?

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post #18 of 56 Old 09-08-2019, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Hello Rod330, interesting post. What kind of winters do experience in NE Ohio? Do you battle any Lake-Effect snow storms and what type of machine to you use personally?
We're about one hour south of Cleveland and 45 minutes west of Akron, Ohio so we seldom get the dreaded Lake Effect snowfall. Our son is in the heart of the so-called snow belt and he's routinely clobbered. He has an Ariens 921 Platinum 24 SHO and I have an Ariens 921 Deluxe 28 SHO.

In the past few years we're hit with just 1- 3 big snowstorms each winter. However, we have a lot of 1" to 2" snow days coupled with several freeze and thaw cycles. We live on a private road with six other families and contract with a plow service to keep it clear. However, I personally maintain our very long concrete driveway, an extended parking pad for our 4 stall garage, a concrete driveway to our 60x60 pole barn and very large asphalt pad in front of the barn. Here's a photo of my main snow fighters: a 59" front mount snowblower when the SHTF and a little International Cub that I use more than anything. I also have a 7' rear mounted Land Pride blade for the Deere but I seldom use it.

I've got the Cub listed for sale because I'm thinking about putting a plow on our John Deere Gator or Polaris ATV. That would speed up work for those 1" to 2" snow days.
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post #19 of 56 Old 09-08-2019, 11:32 AM
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Like you Rod, I don't take in many repairs, for the same reason as you. For old friends and neighbors only. I've only had to adjust valves on a flathead once out of more then 100 blowers I've done over.....a 1978 old toro with a Briggs engine...mostly I did it for the experience..LOL
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post #20 of 56 Old 09-08-2019, 04:33 PM
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I try to be selective as to what I buy to flip. Usually only like paying $50, to $100 on the high side. But at $100, it would have to be a sure bet money maker and in nice condition. Lately being buy mostly on Facebook Market place. Picked up some really good deals this spring, most at $50,and will sell for around $400. I try to steer clear of 2 strokes, not good money makers around here. As others good thru the machines and check everything, repair or replace items. And usually need carb rebuilds and tune ups. Chute skids and scrappers are pretty commonly replaced. I have around 9 machines waiting for the snow to fly and sell.




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