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Possible new aftermarket business???????? Need feedback


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I just got the ok to test the waters on a new aftermarket business. I’ve got a friend who is an excellent mashinest. He’s made a few parts for me through the years. I’ve tried to get him to start a parts business many times but he always had to many irons in the fire. Well,the good news is he’s had some changes in his life and according to him he’s ready to give it a go ? Today he gave me the packaging and name they came up with and told me I could put it up and see if I could get any feedback . I thought something was in it ?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The name is S&S for him and his sons initials. He said he’d start off with just some lathed parts and depending on how it went he’d move into CNC and milled parts. I’ve seen the prototypes of the parts I’ve suggeted and they are awesome.he wouldn’t give them to me because they are still making computer files for them and waiting for his aluminum order. I’ve suggested a lot of drag and hot rod parts like pro stock dry sump oil tank,breather tank,radiator overflow tank,beer keg gas tank for rat rods,top fuel puke tank,sprint car oil tank.thats just a few items off the top of my head. So now I’m asking for suggestions from the model community.dont suggest something that another company is producing unless it’s another style, for instance if someone is producing a Moroso tank he could do a Peterson tank.               I’ll have parts to show in a few days but in the meantime Please give some feedback and parts suggestions. ???????

55029E23-1142-429A-A644-59A1B4EAC3CF.jpeg

Edited by lou s
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Well, I'd start by saying the packaging design looks excellent, (and I'm a graphic designer in my career)!  I think you're on the right track by trying to offer products that haven't been offered previously by other model car parts sources.  One suggestion that I might make would be to not attempt to offer a huge product-line right from the start.  Get some feedback from forum members here as to what parts they'd be most interested in purchasing right away and make sure you have the production of those products "nailed-down" before you start building/increasing the overall product line.

I realize this post of yours is an attempt to gather some information from the forum members here... maybe take a look at some of the initial product offerings you were considering getting started with, and ask the members here what their interest would be in those initial offerings.  For example, I wouldn't want you to pour time and effort, (and $'s), into that Sprint Car Oil tank item if hardly anybody here would be interested in actually purchasing one.  Just my 2 cents...

I'll probably post some parts suggestions, but I need a day or two to think about what my suggestions might be.

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Since you asked, here's a few thoughts.

First, I understand why he picked that name, but there was another well known aftermarket supplier called S+S Specialties, that used to offer similar products to what you intend. So, I would suggest changing the name to avoid getting roped into confusion with the old company. And I'm not just speaking out of my rear on this. I have an example. R+R Resin Casting was one of the big casters in the 80's and 90's. They have been gone for awhile, but to this day I still see people confusing them with RMR, a current resin company. And bothj of them get confused with R+M of Md, and vice-versa.

Also, if the products are good and desirable, be prepared for it to consume your hobby time. There are many tales of aftermarket company owners who started their business to make a little extra cash and/or help out friends, and the business grew to take up all their spare time and they didn't have time to build anymore, and sometimes even to the point where they couldn't keep up with the demands. That usually results in upset customers and even legal action and a bad name in the hobby.

Not that I'm trying to scare you away from your endeavor, just presenting you with some info so you can possibly avoid others mistakes.

I look forward to seeing the products, and I wish you luck in your new venture!

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To add to other's comments here, I would suggest that initially you focus on a couple of items and gauge which direction to go from there. Maybe it's wheels, maybe it's engine parts, or something else but if you stay focused on a small product line and build upon it, you will be able to manage it.

The recently closed Modelhaus should be the example you follow in setting up your business. Be upfront with your customers, stay in contact with them through the order process and deliver excellent product when promised. This forum is full of posts about what a great company they were and how they will be missed. This forum is also full of posts of other companies that have disappointed customers and not performed as they should.

This venture will take more time than you think or plan for, so be prepared to work long hours and in the end, maybe low pay. The old saying of treating your customers the way you want to be treated is going to determine how successful this venture becomes.

Best of luck and look forward to seeing your products.

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Thanks for the input so far,good stuff please keep it going. I do remember the name s&s I’ve got a few parts. I thought of that when he gave me his card but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to step on it with negativity right out of the gate and s&s has been gone for such along time. I did ask him how much he had in his packaging and he’s ony in 16.00 for 500 cards. I’ll talk with him about changing.          As far as the suggestions about getting into his hobby and model building time he don’t build models he’s a machinist.That’s another reason I suggested to him about starting a business.He is very good at what he does very dedicated and proud guy. When I had him make me parts in the past he wouldn’t settle for anything but perfection. It to me awhile to convince him that it was not a functional part and it didn’t have to be so perfect ? it just had to look like the part.                                           He’s going to start off with about 10 to 15 parts and work from there. As far as what direction he needs to go that’s why I’m putting it up for suggestions. I build sprint cars and dragsters and a rat rod on occasion. All my suggestions fall within my building preferences and I know he needs input beyond what I’ve got for him.              Thanks to all and I hope more builders post there thoughts. This thread has had over 200 views and only 6 comments.thats less than I expected.

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The packaging does look good, but there is the name issue. Perhaps you could clear it up with somehow making it clear that this is billet parts, not resin? I think the name is entirely up to him, but I would at least modify it to avoid confusion.

As for parts, those do sound look good ideas to me. Personally, I would like to see more wheels out there, and perhaps carburetors. There's too few from what I've found. Tire's also seem relatively limited, though I know he isn't doing rubber (yet...?). Small gauges of difference sizes and intended placements could be something simple and quick that people might buy, too. I have a lot of things I would like to have from aluminum (engine blocks, heads, and internals would be awesome, I would definitely pay for things like that simply to have a tiny engine :lol:), some of which I can't even get to work with my 3D printer. I look forward to seeing his company (hopefully) grow, I would be a customer I'm sure. I wish him well!

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11 hours ago, BDSchindler said:

This is a long shot but what about suspension kits both racing and hot rod.  All the pieces machined to specific year make model to replicate 1:1 custom kits like below from Heidts for 69 Camaro/Firebird

image.png.adc4e60229e99c32d7790482476f1558.png

or Hotchkiss

image.png.323a63a258249c8c8e390fd65cb07fcb.png

I second this. However, perhaps build only a few 'universal' kits that can be relatively easily modified to fit a large range of cars. That way you don't have to make so many variants, it would make things simpler. You could have one for older pony cars (firebird, camaro, cuda, mustang), one for mid sized 60s cars, one for full size, one for 21st century builds. It would come down to fewer suspension kits, but all can be made to work (especially considering most people buying aftermarket model parts like that are likely okay with the idea of fabrication). Just a thought.

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10 minutes ago, THORDOOR220 said:

I second this. However, perhaps build only a few 'universal' kits that can be relatively easily modified to fit a large range of cars. That way you don't have to make so many variants, it would make things simpler. You could have one for older pony cars (firebird, camaro, cuda, mustang), one for mid sized 60s cars, one for full size, one for 21st century builds. It would come down to fewer suspension kits, but all can be made to work (especially considering most people buying aftermarket model parts like that are likely okay with the idea of fabrication). Just a thought.

There is a $500 set

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4 hours ago, THORDOOR220 said:

For scale suspension??

Yes, do you realize how many hours would be involved machining all of that one set at a time ? You have to be realistic about this stuff ....... To get something like that is unlikely

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Since the well has dried up on 1/24 and 1/16 scale dragster front rims, I would love to see these come back. See picture. I'd also like to see some really detailed pulleys for engines with blowers. Maybe some detailed valve cover breathers. Just a few ideas for now.

 

 

DragsterFrontRim.jpg

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1 hour ago, Alan said:

Yes, do you realize how many hours would be involved machining all of that one set at a time ? You have to be realistic about this stuff ....... To get something like that is unlikely

Yeah, that's a good point. Doing it once and casting it in resin would be cheaper than billet stuff, but I know he wants to do machining work. Although he could cast it in aluminum if he had to, that's relatively easy. Still metal, but not machining....

It seems drag racing wheels would be good, or wheels in general. High demand. And I like the pulley idea, that would be great. Just need to figure out belts

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The weld wheels are being done by futurattaction. Check them out they are awesome. I’ve talked to Eric about making multi media kits with photo etch and he said that would be great but he wouldn’t know the first thing on how Do it. so if there is anyone with the skills for such a project let me know and I’ll put you in contact with him. I’ve talked to him about the bicycle wheels and he said that the rims would be no problem but again the P.E. Is the big issue.If there is someone out there who wants to deign them and find a company that etches let me know. I’d even put the money up for that project. ........... If anyone is interested I’ve got him 90% committed to the Midwest model vehicle association contest/ trade show in Kirkwood Mo. on Sunday Oct. 28th 2018. I’m going to introduce him to the world of modeling ? This should be fun.

Edited by lou s
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even thought my skill level isn't up to snuff for a lot of the after market stuff out there, I buy all the "gotta have it" items, like super detail kits, limited edition detail parts, etc. Anything with high detail and i'm interested, even if the subject itself isn't super interesting to me. 

With that being said, I would shoot for high detail, premium quality, something nobody else makes. You may not sell a ton, but you can mark them up higher. If he has the capability to do the CNC parts, it would be much easier to crank these out. 

- Diff pumpkins with pre-drilled holes. Hollow/open like a real one
- Ring and pinion sets for dioramas
- Turned hubs with pre-drilled holes and a set of studs and nuts. 
- Coilovers. There are several out there, but honestly, you can never have enough. Maybe a simple kit with adjustable lengths, where the end user supplies their own coil. 
- Maybe some of the stuff R&D Unique left on the table. Their Model A chassis kit was expensive, but popular. Milled chassis parts that can be polished with all the crossmemebers and stuff. 
- Wheels of course, you can never have too many
- Wheel rings, to enlarge, or deepen existing kit wheels. 
- One thing I would kill for is a set of machined/etched wheels for the IMSA GTO Mustangs. I have begged several Mfgs. for this and all have declined due to perceived low demand. All the existing ones are too big, or too small. They are 15" front and 18" rear wheel sizes, I believe BBS RS with center lock nut. 
- Maybe some milled suspension brackets and crossmembers for lifted trucks
- Wheels for lifted trucks
- Beadlocks
- Cylinder heads, limit it to certain ones, charge a premium. If someone comes along with a new one, get a group purchase, minimum 10 sets or so to make it worth the time to do the work. 
- Engine blocks - Same as above
- Radiator tops and cap set. 1-2 sizes, for polished radiators. By the time you sand the mold lines out of the kit ones, they look like lumpy potatoes. 2 prices, brushed or polished
- Soda cans for interior and diorama detail
- Shift levers and knobs. Like a polished B&M lever/handle. Machined shift levers
- A bag full of dash and gauge rings. Like a sample pack. 5 of each size, each one like .2mm incrementally smaller than the others, 10 sizes. Then offer 10-15 packs of each sizes. Not just cut off from tubes, but lightly eased/brushed so they are finsihed and smooth. This would make a huge difference for interior detail. I would buy these for every single build
- Hobby Design makes them, but a domestic Mfg. would be cool - Various knobs; Push button knobs, toggle switches, etc. packs of 5, 10 or whatever. I buy a lot of these. 
- Headlight kits for older cars. Headlight body and ring for Model A's and such. I use a lot of Alclad, but I would rather spend the money on finished pieces like this. 
- Display Plaques. Nice thin aluminum plates with the names of the model milled into them. Not sure how feasible this would be, but maybe a custom order item. 
 

That's all I can think of for now

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While reading Quick GMC's comment, i though about something. What about taking the most common responses here as products, and then have a 'by request' section on a website? Where someone can put what they want made specifically, maybe a reference image if they have one, and how many they want. You would have to go back and forth a bit (email?), but you could charge a little more for these kinds of things, and it would give a little variety for the machinist as well. The more popular special order items, depending on what they are, could also be thrown together into little 'packs', like Detail Master's Interior Junk sets. Obviously it wouldn't be photo etched (unless he figures out how to do it), but a similar set of items that work together could be good

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