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Old 10-20-2005, 10:20 AM   #1
ab
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I may be interested in starting a business to build conversions. It would be in the southeast US and be a very small operation. What would you look for? Does anyone have input to what would be involved or where the demand may be for this?
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Old 10-20-2005, 01:01 PM   #2
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Good Luck!

I think your going to have a very tough road to hoe.

The truck conversion industry is pretty well covered right now with manufacturers.

You got guys that are building lower cost units such as Powerhouse Conversions, Transport Designs and Butler who are using predominantly used chassis's, less frills and are perfect for the racer on a limited budget.

You have the middle of the road guys that are pumping out the majority of the rigs, Show Hauler, Haulmark, NRC, Trendsetter, Renegade and Optima.

High end guys such as Kingsley, Dynamax & Power House Coach.

Innovators such as Wildside.

Not sure where you'll fit in. To be honest looking at the classifieds, the market is starting to get pretty saturated. I am seeing more rigs forsale than I have ever seen and alot of them are sitting on the market for a much longer time.
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Old 10-20-2005, 09:56 PM   #3
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......I would do trailer and truck conversions all year long if I wasn't moving and rebuilding houses.....there are so many people out there that want what they want and know what they want that It would be simple...."build what the customer wants".....but manufactures get cookie-cutteritis and there goes the uniqueness.....though, I think that guy that is an architect in NM has the right idea....."form follows function" the financial outlay isn't much just a shop that is 30'X60' with A/C and Heat....good lighting and a high school wood shop tool setup and some bending and folding for sheet aluminum-welding for steel....really not much if you think about it....mostly hand air tools and the ability to measure correctly....which is a problem these days with happy workers......geofkaye
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:08 AM   #4
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I have a feelin 30x60 wont due !! T
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:19 AM   #5
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geof -

Think about it.

Lets say it is going to be you and say 3 or 4 other employees. You have payroll, tool costs, materials, the building, electric, and so forth. A guy is not going to wait a year for his conversion so you got to put in serious hours with such a small crew. Don't get to crazy with your design with out some kind of testing or you maybe in for a huge lawsuit or constant repairs. What can you turn out with a few guys maybe 3 a year if you really, really hustled. What are you gonna pocket?

There maybe a whole lot of guys out there who want what they want, but it is a whole nother story on who can pay for it.

Hey I am all for competition, it can only make the industry better, but you better have your ducks in a row. There is a limited audience out there with racers being your 99% of your draw. I have yet to see anyone really put forth a good effort towards RV'ers other than Dynamax & Kingsley, and both of these are big $ over the rest.
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Old 10-21-2005, 01:06 PM   #6
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bill, you are,IMHO, spot on in this, having designed my own coach, shepherded the plans through kingsley, ordered nearly all of the components, not body parts, been there 24/7 for 7 weeks ---- you are dead right. while it is possible to do individually it does eat up time. geof said hisself that keeping happy workers is important that is the biggest p'bm. then you have customers who can be less than 100%, some may even try to take advantage of you, an' then there are those who cannot make up they mind. mannnn, nope not me , thanks one is the perfect number for me. however, having gotten this said-- best wishes to anyone who wants to try.---- mase
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Old 10-21-2005, 09:51 PM   #7
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....the issue is component availability[use homeowner/commercial/instutional products]- everything is else is installation....since I would only build 2-3 maybe 4 a year I can get around a lot of things that those large companies can't....The First being liability.....can't get blood out of a Trust or a LLC these days.....or even going ''bare'' as some M.D's are doing.....'specially if the owner helps build the coach or trailer.....Lots of people want to do a 'hands on' project from the ground up.....How much did Kingsley knock off for your efforts Mase?....I don't think it would be any harder than doing a custom design house.....just on a smaller scale with NO issues of permits/inspections at all.....from what I have seen in the last 8 years- even financing isn't a problem and trucks?- surely not!-trailers and van bodies? -you order to your specs and they arive KD so it's all about putting them together....and there is just the matter of finishing the interior.....what happens if your employees get part of the profit plus an hourly.....I'd have to get heavy doors to keep the employment to a minimum.....everyone looking for a part time plus a cut would be in on it from the start.....that's alot of COPS FIREMEN TEACHERS and anyone with a little building experience......geokaye
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Old 10-21-2005, 10:08 PM   #8
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......mace... you going to the Groves this winter?....I did the paperwork with Jeff today......geofkaye
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Old 10-22-2005, 07:38 AM   #9
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yes, as far as i know now,,,, 'course, the Lord willin' part is impt. also, when were you going? ---- mase
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Old 10-22-2005, 10:07 PM   #10
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Mase....I'll be in Dec 22 for about 2 weeks....Lord Willin' part _always_ included!.....I have two houses to remodel here and have to split the time between them and a much needed vacation....'course if FMB and Sanibel are no longer there I just might have to buy one of those hurricane damaged trailer/ Rv parks and start another adventure.....we will see about Monday morning about 10 AM if there is still somethin' left to buy.....best of times....geofkaye
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