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Questions about a scissor sharpening business.

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by frank4570, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. frank4570

    frank4570

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    While researching knife sharpening systems, I stumbled into something. A guy had a sales pitch about his sharpening machine and how awesome his machine and his style is. Something about it rang true. I know people in high end beauty salons and professional clothing makers, so I called them. I was told that people who sharpen scisors are not that easy to find. But a person who does it well is downright rare. And their customers are extremely loyal.
    Cindy missed her guy when he was in town for his one day a month. So she bought new scissors instead of letting somebody else sharpen hers. A very typical story.
    Good scissors will often cost up into the $500.00 range.
    And from what I am hearing, I do not believe it is simply a matter of experience. But I am not sure what the difference is. I am currently trying to contact one of these scissor sharpening magicians. But that is about all I can figure out to do. There are sharpening schools and machines to be purchased for $2000.00 to $20,000.00 all over the place. All claiming to be fantastic.
    I have no interest in being an average sharpener. I want to be one of these magicians or nothing at all.
    Any ideas?
     
  2. LazyAce

    LazyAce

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    Check with Folly/Bellsaw company for machines and I think training. This company is one of the oldest around and they have great equipment. May dad was in the sharpening business for many years and I did it for about 4 years after he died and I had a friend who wanted to buy it so I sold it to him. You can make money at it but is is hard to make a living with it unless you sharpen a lot of different things. Good Luck
     

  3. frank4570

    frank4570

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    Thanks.
    I happen to live in an area which is ground zero for tree workers, I have no idea why. So I now have a small chain saw sharpening tool.
    But being a top gun scissor sharpener is the real goal.

    My wife has always wanted to open a knife shop and we have the resources for that, so.......
     
  4. Bilbo Bagins

    Bilbo Bagins Slacked jawed

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    That is what I'm thinking, sound like a great side gig, for a 2nd job, or if your retired and want extra income, but who know if its enough for a full time job. I would do scissors, knives, lawnmower blades and tools, to bring in more work.

    Reminds me of a guy that lives down the road from me. Stuck a sign on his lawn for "Welding and metal work" , He is a retired welder and he told me he will pull in anywhere from $20 to $200 a week mostly with welding metal fencing that got hit with a lawn mower, or making security bars for small basement windows. He could advertise more and get more work, but for him he just wants to drive around the local area and not do too much heavy work.
     
  5. Hines57

    Hines57 Simple Member

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    Do knives also, check with restaurants and butchers.
     
  6. chris in va

    chris in va

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    Should probably do it on a mobile unit. People don't like to drop off their stuff, they'd rather have a guy come out to their place.
     
  7. frank4570

    frank4570

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    Yeah. The way it is done is that you show up at a salon with your machine. If you are good the salon is happy to have you show up and will let you sit there for as long as you like. 1 pair of scissors per 15 minutes, about $20.00 per pair. You make it known to other customers like work-at-home seamstresses where you will be and they drop off their stuff.
    Next day, another location.
     
  8. Markasaurus

    Markasaurus

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    Yours is a fantastic business idea! You want to do it right, here's what i would do.
    First i'd talk to people who are already experts in the field. I'd think it's best not to tell them exactly what you have in mind since you might be competition. Maybe go find the nearest guru, bring him some business, and ask him what separates a good knife sharpener from a bad one, how did he learn, and why are knives so dang hard to sharpen anyway? etc. Get people talking and open them up, they'll tell you some amazing things.

    then i'd read everything i could find on the subject. How do they make knives? What's the different metallurgy between a scissors, a butcher's knife, a bayonet, and a samurai sword? And how do people sharpen them all over the world? How did they sharpen them when there were no power tools or even electric lights? How do different metal combinations react to different techniques, what's the fastest, cheapest, most effective way to do it?

    Lastly, why limit your sharpening to scissors? How about hunting knives, axes, saws, etc.?

    Once you become very good at it, the trickiest thing will be your pricing. Taking into account whether you go to your customers or they come to you and all your other costs vs. what other people charge for the same service in the area. Cold calling other people in the same field and just asking "How much?" might result in some really weasel-worded replies (i used to work retail bicycle and we would sometimes try on check on competing stores like this, and they knew or suspected it as they did the same... and almost always they were evasive on the simple question "HOW MUCH?" because they were more worried about possibly helping the competition even one iota then giving a straight answer!).

    Once you get good, and get a reputation, your pricing is going to depend on a lot of things. If you are dealing with somebody who may bring you a lot of business long term obviously you will want to cut them a break first-time - makes a good memorable impression - and even do a freebie once in a while if it is easy, just for goodwill! Repeat business is important, but can be an over-rated factor in pricing especially if there are many others competing in the same field in the area.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  9. Indy_Guy_77

    Indy_Guy_77 Thread Killer

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    practice practice practice...

    You'll have to "give away" work for a little while to A) get your name known and B) demonstrate that the new guy on the block isn't ripping people off.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Adjuster

    Adjuster

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    I have seen plenty of box trucks with sharpening shops in the back of them. Air conditioned and all. You go to the customer, the customer does not come to you. And you must be able to sharpen anything from a knife to a drill bit.
     
  11. american lockpicker

    american lockpicker License to Il

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    I've seen their key machines very cheaply made... Get a Tormek.

    http://www.tormek.com/en/jigs/svx150/index.php
     
  12. frank4570

    frank4570

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    Here is one of the machines available. You will notice it has 5 polishing/grinding surfaces so you don't have to keep changing plates. 4 or 5 different grits seems to be the norm for high end salon scissors.
    If an acceptable job could be done with just 2 wheels, I'm sure nobody would bother with 5 grits.

    http://www.rapidedge.com/index.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  13. volky

    volky NRA Member Millennium Member

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    Take a seat facing the door.
    This, like any other skilled trade, is not something that you would go to school for and become a magician upon graduating. I admire your enthusiasm but this will take some time to become proficient at. In the meantime, you may aileniate (sp) some customers if the work doesn't turn out the way they want. They may not come back while you hone your skills (no pun intended).

    Best of luck to you, but starting out cold, on your own, may not be the best approach.
     
  14. frank4570

    frank4570

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    Fair enough. I'm listening. Another approach?
     
  15. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

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    A local guy has drop baskets at all the local hardware stores and building supply centers for knives, scissors, saws, planes, chisles, etc. 48 hour turnaround and you leave a check with the store. No idea what the store gets... HH
     
  16. geofri

    geofri Poikilotherm™ Lifetime Member

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  17. DaneA

    DaneA

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    Find out who the oldest and best sharpener in the area and see if he could use an apprentice. While learning you can angle to buy him out at some point in the future. This method will get you experience and a very loyal customer base.

    Also don't forget pet salons (PetSmart, etc) they have scissors too.
     
  18. frank4570

    frank4570

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  19. frank4570

    frank4570

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    Working that now. Having some trouble because some people see no difference between an acceptable pair of scissor and an awesome pair of scissors.

    "I just take mine down to the hardware store to get them sharpened and they seem to do just fine."
     
  20. jtull7

    jtull7 Pistolero CLM

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    I will, respectfully, take the opposing view, OP.

    How much can you charge for sharpening a pair of scissors? Four bucks? And, if you go to them, your gas will cost half that.

    In my opinion, scissor sharpening is old paradigm. Just like TV repair, lawnmower repair, or vacuum cleaner repair. People would rather just chunk what needs repairing and buy a new one.

    I am 62 years old and have never had any scissors sharpened. I use scissors that you buy at the supermarket for $4.50. They are high quality. They will stay sharp for ten years. Am I going to get them sharpened? No. I will just buy a new pair.

    It seems like in every city one sees a ratty old truck with "Scissors Sharpening" on the side, being driven by a very old man. I always wonder how they can make a living.

    But, if you want to do it, good luck to you.