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Starting a Granite Shop
Last Post 18 Dec 2012 02:55 PM by Oldryder. 50 Replies.
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Andy Graves


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06 Apr 2007 03:53 AM

King of Rock,

Thanks for the info.  Right now I am trying to focus on Solid Surface.  I think I gave up on the Granite idea for awhile until I get my Solid Surface shop running real smooth.

I will keep your email for the future.

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Steve Piccinin
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06 Apr 2007 03:17 PM
Travis save yourself an ucler and look at providing yourself with a digital template machine. You can print the work your doing and save yourself the eventual blame game between you and the facbricator.

Eric Campbell
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07 Apr 2007 12:53 AM

Andy,

No problem. If you ever decide to start fabricating the original solid surface then I will be glad to help.

 

Matt Kraft
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09 Apr 2007 08:44 PM
[QUOTE]king of rock wrote

Andy,

No problem. If you ever decide to start fabricating the original solid surface then I will be glad to help.

 

[/QUOTE]

Nobody read this "The original solid surface"????

We can't let this newbie get away with that, can we?
"It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive...."
Joe Corlett
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10 Apr 2007 12:23 AM
[QUOTE]king of rock wrote

Andy,

No problem. If you ever decide to start fabricating the original solid surface then I will be glad to help.

 

[/QUOTE]

Good one King.

You'll fit right in here.

Joe

Tom M
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10 Apr 2007 02:06 AM
So Dave, you don't think there are many hack solid surface fabricators? Tell it to the lady whose top, after I inspected it, was determined rather quickly to have been made upside down.
...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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al
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10 Apr 2007 03:27 AM
Have I ever told the story of the top we fixed that still had the plastic attached to the back side of the vertical edge?  Even where it was butt jointed?  Nice white top with black lines on all the corners........
"if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
Chris Yaughn
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10 Apr 2007 04:05 AM

Al,

I think that does ring a bell.

On the way home from the expo I stopped for gas at a flying J or T&A or something.  I don't know that I had ever seen a failed ss top in person (or atleast noticed it). But, after some of the demos at the show I got to looking at the buffet, counter, bar etc.. at the truck stop. EVERY corner on the buffet had a crack. EVERY inside corner on the bar had a crack, One end of the check out counter looked like the original buildup was too big. I think they routed off all they could (left basically an onion skin) to make it fit.

Great seams on the stacked edge though.

All I could think was, "Man, who was the GC that signed off on all of this." Makes the things I sweat seam trivial

refuse to do nothing
Andy Graves


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10 Apr 2007 05:58 AM
[QUOTE]king of rock wrote

Andy,

No problem. If you ever decide to start fabricating the original solid surface then I will be glad to help.[/QUOTE]

Thanks King of Rock.

By the way...If it was "Solid" water wouldn't leach through it.   Let's call it mostly solid with a few pores in it.

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Eric Campbell
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21 Apr 2007 11:22 AM
Yeah I know Taht the majority of rock shops are hacks. However there are a few "diamonds in the rough" that actually take pride in their work. But with so many shops out there it is difficult to set yourself apart. Alot of builders are more interested in getting the job done cheap rather than good. I think that one of the most serious problems is that the hackers are undercutting the price so much the the industry is in serious trouble. It takes twice as long to fabricate a granite kitchen as it does solid surface, and the cost per sq. ft. is about 30 dollars less. There is such a thing as an honest, upstanding granite guy. I just hope that this slump in the industry filters out alot of the undesirable element so that the 'good guys" can get back on track.
Andy Graves


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21 Apr 2007 08:10 PM
The quality of the work will hurt the industry of awhile but in the end, it will even out and the ones with a solid company with capital to weather the storm, will be left standing.
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Scott Bogner
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12 Jul 2011 03:48 AM
Andy, I am now in the same position you where in at the end of 2006.  I am considering starting a stone fabrication shop. 
Can you lend any advise or point me in a certian direction- that will help with Education, equipment need, etc..

I have been on so many sites my eyes are crossing- just seen your story and thought you may have some advise.
Thanks
Scott
Andy Graves


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12 Jul 2011 05:26 AM
Hey Scott,

I asked lots of questions and basically what it came down to is the quantity of tops you can sell. A basic shop can be set up witha limited budget. Once you start to sell jobs the cost goes up exponentially.

Man power is another aspect you will need to consider. It takes more than one person to install a granite top. If you hire part time guys, they will not gain experience. If you hire two or three guys to fabricate, every time you need to install, you have to take them away from the fabrication side. Gets expensive when you have three to four people on a job to install one countertop.

We decided to spend our time finding a quality company that would fabricate to our standards and price. Took some time, but we only pay when we get a job. The overhead is less, worry is more, but can be very profitable.

Think it over long and hard before starting you own shop. Ask questions and I am sure you will get more advice.

Hope that helps,

Andy
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Scott Bogner
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19 Jul 2011 09:31 PM
Andy,
Thanks for the insight.  A little of my background may help explain my situation.  I have a mid sized cabinet shop that manufactures european frameless cabinets and also carries (4) lines of residential custom cabinets.  We are currently outsourcing our granite and sold surface to companies that reside approx 150 and 300 miles away respectivly.  I am not trying to take over the world out here, but if i dont take advantage of the lack of fabroicator in my corner of the world some one else will.  Also, it will help with our bigger residnetial and commercial jobs go smoothly-we do alot of negotiated work. 

I am currently just getting competitive qoutes, marking them up, selling the job and have very little overhead or worry about the situation.  However, A good local fabricator in our area could be very successful.

A few questions: 

1. Do you have any idea what kind of gross margins that a granite fabricaotor works with.
2. where could i start looking/watching for auctions of equipment- just so i can get a feel for the value of equipment in the market.
3.  Is there any type of consulting firms that could help with site layout, training, and equipment purchases etc...

I have not made a full committment to move forward with this yet, i just want to start getting information from people that are vested in the industry.
Thanks in advance.
Scott B
Andy Graves


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19 Jul 2011 10:07 PM
I think you can try www.UsedStoneEquipment.com for auctions.

Try www.AZSchoolofRock.com and talk with Kevin. He does consulting, shop layout and training. Could be helpful.

I couldn't help with the gross margins, I never really did any of it on my own.
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Ed
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20 Jul 2011 10:01 PM
We are in the process of starting a granite shop and am looking for some advise as to equipment.  We have decided on a certain brand for our bridge saw.  We're looking for some advise for a 'start up' water filration system to support the bridge saw and hand grinders/polishers.  At some point (this year) we'll be adding an in-line polisher.  We are looking for one that just basically does splash work.  There is one brand that has a technigue for doing 'mitered' edge but with cutting a dado on the polisher which then is applied to the face/bottom of the deck.  Does anyone have experience with this.  We do mostly mitered edge.

Ed
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21 Jul 2011 01:29 PM
Ed:

Call Robbie Tidwell at Northwood and do whatever he tells you.

Joe
Tom M
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21 Jul 2011 01:52 PM
Scott,
Be aware that your worker's comp will go much higher once you start installations.
A. Lot.

OSHA regs, overhead expenses, etc. will all become more important to note as well.

Good luck to you in your decision.
...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

-C.S. Lewis
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21 Jul 2011 08:35 PM
Ed:

Try Robbie here.

Joe
Kevin Padden
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21 Jul 2011 11:50 PM
Joe - you must have forgotten that AZ School of Rock is in the business of helping guys start up Granite Shops, and this (along with day in and day out Fabrication & Consulting) is what I DO for a living.... AZ School of Rock has been in business since 2007
Kevin M. PaddenFabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industrywww.azschoolofrock.comwww.naturalstone101.com
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