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Hands on training

Bud_14 Member Posts: 200
I'm contemplating on opening a center for hands on training for the sheet metal workers in the Milwaukee area. Offering different levels of training, residential sheet metal to the more complexed pattern development skills. If your a contractor or an employee...what would you be looking for and would a such a service be benificial to you or your company.

Another idea would be to offer individual company training at their place of business. This would allow me to be more diversifed with specific machinery your company would use. I have very little experience on plasma equipment so would only instruct on layout work on the bench. Would one prefer a flat rate charge or hourly fee?

Maybe on the job training? Installation techniques?

These are things I need to consider, besides other issues such as insurance, location...class size, partners in specific areas such as welding for heavier fabrication work.

Your input (no name needed) is very important to me in helping me decide on which direction to head into with this. You can email me if you prefer to keep it off the board.

Just contemplating the idea.



  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595
    Either way you go, Bud will be a big and seroiyus

    undertaking. Timmie has a lot of experience in this area. Oh TImmie!!!!! MD

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • First thing

    up front is lots of money and then an extreme amount of patience.

    Get manufacturers and supply houses on board to donate equipment and controls.

    Then it is Fire marshall, building inspectors, state inspectors, board of education and the list goes on.

    You must sit down and write a good business plan, hire a lawyer, accountant to keep you out of trouble with all the laws.

    It seems like the training end of it is really the easiest part. Then the big question - IF I BUILD IT WILL THEY COME? They say they will but then it is sometimes very slow and in our business it is seasonal.

    You must have good written material, videos, transparencies ( I do not like power point). Create a nice environment for learning. Classroom should be well lighted, air conditioned, noise free, carpeted with big tables to spread out books and manuals, interesting things on the walls, lots of periodicals laying around, some nice plants (I over do it for those who have been to Gas Training Institute for training).

    Get involved with local schools for possible student referrals.

    I hope some of that helps the list goes on but you have to love it and be in it for the long haul.

    Lots and Lots of Patience but persistance. When you get discouraged come to the Wall and complain a little. Then someone will give you some sound advice and you move on.

    As Dan says to me all the time MARKETING, MARKETING and he is right.
  • Bud_14
    Bud_14 Member Posts: 200
    Thanks guys

    I think the effort will be worth it. I'm only 42 and ready to spend the next 30 years helping...I have a lot of support and I do know there will be hard times (we have that now;) It would be mainly focused on the sheet metal fabrication. But will offer the installation class as it relates to metal work, not the service work you guys undertake. I will be building an aganda this winter and if it goes alright this coming spring put together a shop and class room hope to be ready by fall of 2004. I think it will be a fun project. I'm a bit concerned about someone with disabilities and how and what laws I need to understand so I don't get slapped with a law suit for something stupid i didn't know about? Would one have an admittance exam to qualify that they have the ability to operate the machines...do I stick with only high school grads...lots of questions and I need lots of answers....hey Mr. Law school dude, here I come ;)

    Thanks Guys

  • Alan R. Mercurio
    Alan R. Mercurio Member Posts: 588

    Hi Bud, I sent you an e-mail regarding your question(s) if you have not gotten it please let me know and I'll resend it.

    Your friend in the industry,

    Alan R. Mercurio

    Oil Tech Talk
  • Firedragon_4
    Firedragon_4 Member Posts: 1,436
    Good luck with your project!

    Education of the HVAC industry is a tough row-to-hoe, but I will tell you a few things you can plan on:

    1. Take Timmie's advice and get yourself a good lawyer and find firms that specialize in small businesses. We have two great insurance agents, one for medical and the other for liability, property, vehicles, etc. Get use to lots of lawyers for liabilty, insurance, and our most important, an intellectual property team that watches out for our copyrights and website. Expect to sue or be sued by someone, if you write and develop training materials, FACT! Most people do not understand copyright laws and the Feds are cracking down. It also makes them a boatload of money on fines.

    2. Expect strangers to do more for you than your friends in regards to class attendence. Sad, but true, we all abuse our friends and take their knowledge for granted. It's expected I guess, but it still will bother you, it did me. The good news is your real friends will come through for you in the end. Thanks out there!

    3. Have lots and lots of money in the bank. Start small, part time at first. I did it and full-time was still a shock, but the timing was not my choice.

    4. Plan on re-inventing yourself almost every year. Same old, same old, just doesn't cut it, FACT!

    5. Lean on the OEM's. You'll find out who the good guys are real quick. Many just BS on education, they talk-the talk. The good guys will help you enourmously, they walk the walk.

    6. If you are successful, it will be your efforts that are the most important. Expect to work about 80 hour weeks for 20 hours of pay. Good luck!
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Look to Marketing

    I would get the marketing ducks in a row first, then you sell. You want a message that's identifys your target audience and a variety of ways to get to it. How will your web site look, how have you benchmarked comparable programs, how will you continue to advertise, what's your branding strategy? There are freelance people that do
    this but plan on spending a few thousand dollars, I have a friend that does this and I see alot of examples of people who have a good idea or service but don't know what to do next.
    I would also consider the steel fabricators as another target audience, pattern developmment is usually done on sheet metal even if the final product is half inch plate, Every steel shop I worked in the pattern guy was paid the most.
  • Bud_14
    Bud_14 Member Posts: 200

    It's a wonder more people don't try to help. I was thinking of starting small to a select group of ones already in the trade, but no where to turn to learn the proper way to lay out fittings. The area contractors I think would welcome it. Another source would be of the service techs that go out on thier own with little to no experience in layout.

    I realize we live in the land of lawsuits...but, not getting into the stuff you guys teach, were they could burn down, blow up and or cause great bodily harm to themselves or others, even death. I suppose they could say they hurt their back in my shop while using the machines...or I treated them unfairly and discriminated against them in some way.

    Lots to think about here! Thanks.
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