Manufacturer of Hydraulic Presses

Don’t Grind to a Halt: Start a Machine Shop

June 12, 2015

In Canada, the demographic that is producing the most new entrepreneurs is the over-50 crowd, making up 30% of new startups. In the U.S. it’s a full 25% of new businesses, and this has been the trend since 1996.

One way to join this enterprising crowd is by starting your own machine shop in retirement. It offers a wide range of benefits, including steady money, fascinating work, the chance for socializing and exercising your brain and your body.

Why Start a Retirement Business?

There are several reasons. Boomers are aging and the economy continues to swing up and down. There is uncertainty about pensions and social security and concern about the ever-rising price of food, housing and other essentials.
In addition, seniors are staying healthier longer. The idea of rocking their days away simply doesn’t resonate.

And studies have repeatedly proved that people who stay active mentally, physically and socially reduce the chances of developing dementia, heart problems and other chronic conditions.

Why Choose a Machine Shop?

The demand for machine shop services is great. Everything from the iPhones to barbeque grills, from automotive parts to airplanes requires products that come from machine shops.

Industries need the expertise of machine shops to craft items that are custom-made to exact specifications. These can be for prototypes, parts for new machines, or replacement parts for older equipment. There is room and demand for specializing when you start a machine shop.

Small specialty machine shops have long been essential to fill the needs of industry. One-person shops have been around since the start of the Industrial Age.

According to the online magazine Modern Machine Shop, one-person shops offer industry flexibility for parts that aren’t profitable for bigger companies. In an article, they profiled Gilquist Tool & Machine near Tacoma, WA, in the U.S., a one-person operation that makes over 60 difficult-to-make parts for Boeing. Mr. Gilquist’s shop is in a small structure just steps from his home.

Small shops can specialize, like Bruce Bohrmann from Maine does. He retired from advertising and decided to make his hobby into a paying proposition. He makes custom-made knives in his tiny machine shop and sells them online to customers all over the world.

Who Can Start a Machine Shop?

Workers retiring from the field clearly have a headstart when it comes to operating their own machine shop. But if you simply have an interest in tools and making things, it is worth looking into.

There are numerous courses available at local technical schools and community colleges. If you are comfortable around machinery and have always wanted to drill, press, grind and polish metal and fabricate parts, starting a machine shop could be the start of a new, satisfying career.

The business end can be daunting, but seniors can get help from the Senior Corps of Retired Executives, usually called SCORE, in the U.S. In Canada, Service Canada can help.

Starting a new business after you retire can bring in much needed money to help you maintain your standard of living. It gives you an interest in life, lets you meet new people, stay alert, active and healthy.