A few tidbits of info that may interest my frame building brethren out there, the rest of you may find these ramblings a distraction if not uninteresting.
Business Insurance -
Every year, my insurance comes up for renewal right around show time, kinda a pain when my focus is elsewhere, but it drives home the reality that this is not just all geeking out on bikes, it's a business.
From the start, I worked really hard to find a local representative for my insurance needs. Sure, Lora Van Dixhorn and NIPC has a set program to offer, but I like to keep the money local if possible, and have someone I can look in the face when signing papers or if I have an issue. Linda from Whitaker Myers Insurance is my Huckleberry.
A pleasant surprise took place this year when my policy came up for renewal. To this date nationally, only high risk insurance carriers would handle frame builders and the potential liability risk this small segment represents. Linda informed me that this year our manufacturing segment achieved recognition as a solid business model with manageable risk numbers, opening the door to larger, recognized companies assuming insurance policies. What does that mean to me? Well, I got better coverage for the same money from a solid nationally recognized carrier. More importantly, it reaffirms that our niche in manufacturing is growing, providing solid products, and is being acknowledged as a dependable business model. Good job guys.
Dillsburg Aeroplane works -
Anybody who has built frames or accessory components in the last 30 years has probably had the opportunity to deal with Charles Vogelsong and his family business. Operating out of a property in rural PA with multiple buildings/chicken coops, Charles has been providing 4130 chromoly and aluminum products to thousands of pro builders and hobbyists. Charles, while normally very abrupt and business like, is a lot of fun to chat with once you get him derailed and talking. Just before the show, I had one of these rare moments. Charles shared a few facts about himself that I thought I'd pass on to help those who still order from him know the voice on the other end of the phone a bit better.
Charles recently celebrated his 93rd birthday, and although he does not work the same hours he has in the past, is part of Dillsburgs business operations daily.
He served our country by flying with the Air Force in WW2, and until just three years ago, enjoyed flying his own fleet of single engine aircraft.
When asked about retiring, he said he's thought about it, but he did not reckon he'd retire as long as he could still walk to work.
What's it cost to attend a show like NAHBS? As part of my post show round up, I have to track all my expenses and account for costs. Just as a quick view, this is what it took for me to attend this year:
Booth space - 850.00
Airfare - 481.60
Hotel - 593.40
Rental car - 356.73
Food - 146.72
Parts (forgot a stem and cable guide, oops) - 42.50
Gasoline - 20.50
Shipping (booth, two bikes, box o' bars/cranks/tees) - 697.62
Total expenses - 3238.07
I recovered some of my expenses through product sales, but for a small operation, it is still a significant marketing outlay. I'm fortunate that so many fine publications took time to speak with me and take photos of the bikes. If y'all see something posted in print or web, please let me know. Nice to see if the dollars spent actually result in some press :)
Anyhoo, working on cleaning up the shop post show. I powdered Don's frame and Eric's Hot Rods and got both of those packaged up. Don's frame shipped out without a pic (darnit) but is a lovely bright purple, sure not to be missed in the forests of the Catskills.
A quick pic of Eric's Hot Rods, in glossy black powder coat, fresh outa the oven...
Gonna have shots of Chad's TCU paint coming up in the next few days...was really hoping to have it at the show but just plain ran out of time. I wanted to insure it was the quality we both desired, rather than getting it done just to have it there. Was a hard decision to make, as I knew it would disappoint Chad, but I'd rather it be just right, than just done.