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How To Carefully Purchase Fundamental Needs For A New Business Start-up

Updated on January 15, 2009

From Dreaming To Doing

You have a dream of starting and owning your own business. You might already be working in the same field that you intend to grab a piece of for your very own. You have some knowledge and experience and it has come to the point where you will have to lay out some cash for certain needs to make the business work. What should you do next?

I am in the process of starting my Art Studio basically from scratch. I will try to use my own adventure here, to set examples. These are actions that all new business owners will have to take, in order to get the adventure of business ownership off the ground and running. I feel that these ideas can be adapted to almost any new business start-up. Let's look at what to do and, how to do it the most economical way possible.

My Art Studio Needs Fundamental Equipment

My List Looks Something Like This

  • table to work on
  • good lighting
  • comfortable chair
  • technical books
  • digital camera
  • computer 
  • rotary tool/accessories
  • scroll saw
  • place to store tools/equipment
  • buffer/grinder
  • anvil
  • set of miniature pliers
  • small hammers
  • gas torch
  • safety glasses
  • frame saw/blades
  • heavy duty work station  
  • fire proof area to use torch 

Use What You Have, Rent Or Borrow

Some of the items on your list might be things you already have or have access to. I have a computer and a digital camera that can be used for my art studio needs until I feel there is a need to expand on that.

By using what I already have I can eliminate the cost of purchasing separate items. I also have some of the other items. Go through the list you have carefully outlined and separate the things you have on hand from the ones you will have to purchase.

Now my list has some technical books on it. There are three or four books that I am sure I will want to have on hand at all times. These books are reference books that are like bibles for the particular form of art that I plan to pursue. I know from experience that I will be reading them and referring to them so often that it would only be SMART to have my own copies. The thing is it will cost about $300. to purchase them.

That is a substantial sum of money to spend for items that will not contribute to the final product. The books will not turn in to a painting I can sell for a profit as paint or canvas would be the elements to create a painting. This is where you have to be careful.

The books may be available from the library and, that would take care of a short term need. It would also make you realize just how much you will actually use them, therefore justifying the purchase. Go check the books out if you can. Now you have what you need at little to no expense and you can take time to figure out if you will need to make the purchase at a later date.

Apply The Same Idea For Tools 

You can also do this with tools. Let's say you will need a hammier or rotary tool. You might have a relative or friend who would be willing to let you borrow a tool for a short period of time. If that is possible you will have to take the responsibility of caring for someone Else's tools while you are using them. If something were to go wrong with the tool while it was in your possession then you would have to replace or repair it because that is only right. You should also consider renting tools and equipment. This is especially true with heavy duty elements.

Here is a good example.

On two separate occasions I had the opportunity to make a substantial income for doing some interior painting. Each time the need for scaffolding came in to play. Both jobs required extensive work done high off the ground. The first job was a big job and it was going to take a good month to complete. The second job was smaller and would only take a day or so.

Purchasing scaffolding was totally out of the question. I needed it for the work at hand but would probably never use it again. Good equipment that was safe to use was extremely expensive to buy. I solved the problem each time two different ways.

The larger job I rented the scaffolding for one month and included the cost of renting in with my job estimate. The second time I borrowed scaffolding from a friend who used his on a daily basis. I picked his equipment up on Friday evening when he finished up his work week. Then I returned it on Sunday afternoon in time for him to have it back on his job site Monday morning.Saving money and being frugal in the beginning when you are trying to get a New Business up and running is crucial. This first year can make or break even the most talented tradesmen. Wise spending habits will pay off in growth and development. 


Specific Tools And Equipment For Specific Trades

This has got to be the most important thing you have to consider for any business venture. It does not matter what kind of business you plan to start there are going to be certain tools and equipment you will have to have to make things happen. If you are going to build houses and you are going to do the work, as in labor, you will have to purchase carpenters tools. If you are going to be a writer you will probably have to have a computer. All businesses have specialty items that are relevant to the specific trade. Photographers need cameras, dog walkers need leashes. I am starting my Art Studio so I will need art supplies and tools.

Think Thrifty In Your Beginning

Just because I am an artist does not necessarily mean that I will go purchase an easel and paint brushes. It does not mean that I will purchase framing supplies or framing tools. This is or should be, your first place to decide exactly what you do need and forget about things you think you want to buy. There is a big difference in the two subjects. The idea is to keep your spending down to basic essentials for start-up operation. You have to know where you are going in order to get there with speed and accuracy. You do not need to waste money on items that you will not be using right away.

Example Of Thrifty Thinking

I owned and operated an Automobile Detail Shop in Dallas TX. several years ago. One of the first things that has to be done is to wash the vehicle. The best way to do that is to use a high pressure water hose, and lots of hot water.

To purchase this item, at the time, would cost my company $1700. That was a very substantial amount of money to spend when operating on a shoestring budget. We did, eventually purchase the machine but, not until driving to a local, coin operated car wash became too much hassle.

Yes that is right. For the first few months all the cars were driven to a coin operated car wash and washed and dried on the spot. Then the cars were driven back to our small lot and finished. We were proving the need for that expensive purchase before shelling out the dough.

Another Example

I operated a landscape company mowing lawns with $80. lawn mowers the first year in business. Commercial machines cost $600. each at the time. You can purchase several $80. machines for $600. and though they did not hold up to the commercial wear and tear they did get things rolling and allowed us to make money. We grew in to the ability to pay for the better equipment the following year.

My point is, try to think smart and consider the amount of work you will be doing when you first start-up your new business. Yes, I would love to have everything I had in my old Art Studio but, I do not need it to get started. Think this out long and hard. It will help save on your start-up expense and keep costs down to a bare minimum.

Make A List Of Tools And Equipment Needed For Your Trade

List In Hand, Now Rework It

Now that you have thought hard and long about the fundamental tools and equipment that you will need for your new business start-up, you need to revise it. What I mean is get a blank sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. Label Each one as follows.

  1. Can Not Do Without
  2. Will Make Due Until....
  3. Purchase When Affordable

Your titles for each column will look something like that. Now take the list and go down it item by item. Each entry on your list will fall into one of the categories in your three columns. I want you to think about this very carefully. Under the #2 column you might add an item that you could possibly rent, borrow or search for on sale or used. You will not purchase it ASAP but, you might be in the process of finding the best price to purchase it and you do not need it just yet.

When you finish going over your original list you will now have a new page with three separate lists. Hang on to these two pages. I like to keep them posted nearby where I can see them. I can modify them and I can add or subtract to them or from them. My reasons for this are simple. Sometimes we get so involved with what we are trying to accomplish that we do not see the forest for the trees. In other words, we might not have a clear picture in our minds eye. So, keep these lists where they will be VERY ACCESSABLE or OUT IN OPEN VIEW. 

Buy Used Or Reconditioned Tools And Equipment

I do believe that it is usually smarter to purchase high quality merchandise anytime. The thing is you do not always have to shell out top dollar to get the best for your buck. There are so many places to shop for things that are used it isn't even funny. You could actually exhaust yourself checking out all of the options available.

Internet Shopping has got to be one of the best places to start. You do not have to leave the house and you have access to so many locations out in cyber world it can be overwhelming. The great thing about the Internet is that you can compare prices and physical characteristics of the items you are searching for.

Another Example

Those reference books I was looking for I found on I typed in the type of books I was interested in locating and the price shopping began. I ended up purchasing four USED books and the total cost was equal to the cost for just one of those books brand new.Now that means I more or less was able to attain the other books for free.

All you have to do is type in the keyword for what you want and go from there. Look closely and be sure to check in several different companies. The range in prices can be astonishing. There were two vendors with one of the books I wanted to purchase and both vendors had USED copies. One person wanted 1/2 what the other one wanted for the same book. HUNT HUNT HUNT before you buy.

Keep Your Eyes And Ears Peeled For The Big DEALS

Now after Christmas it is customary for most stores to have huge sales. Take advantage of sales when you can.

I am not saying to buy it JUST BECAUSE IT IS ON SALE. BUT, you might want to too. This is a judgement call. I picked up a set of high quality pliers that would have cost me $60. no matter where I looked. See I had the price in my head from researching on the Internet. While out after Christmas I found exactly what I wanted for $19.99 just because of the sale.

I hate to say it but, many companies are hurting and it is a great time to take advantage of purchasing power. SHOP SHOP SHOP AROUND. Look in your local paper. There could be a company going out of business or, somebody might have things laying around that they are trying to turn into cash because of the failing economy. It Pays To Pay Attention.

Another Idea

I was driving home the other night and I spotted a pile of old furniture out by the curb just a few blocks down from my house. Later I drove passed again and that pile of furniture caught my attention for the second time so I slowed down and looked a little closer. I spotted what appeared to be a 3 shelved wooden cart with casters. Now I lost everything in my art studio and this looked like it might be something I would have a use for. I decided to stop on my way back and check it out.

Boy did I hit the jackpot! I could not see too good in the dark. It was after when I made my way back home. It looked solid and dirty. I decided to load it up in my van and check it out closer the next day. Boy was I surprised when I went to the van the next afternoon to see what I had really found. This piece of furniture was dirty but solid and the perfect item to use in my Art Studio. I cleaned it from top to bottom and was astonished at the prime condition it was in. After letting it dry real good I applied a good coat of wood conditioner to the entire cart. I looked up one in a Dick Blick Art Supply Catalog almost identical. Actually the one I found was solid wood.

The one in the catalog was particle board. $179. for the cataloged item. The new one would also have to be assembled. Damn straight, I will dumpster dive to save that much. No shipping charges either. I did spend an hour cleaning it up but, hey! There are wonderful bargains just waiting to be found. Do some research and have a price in your head. Then you will know when youcome across a great find.

Bottom line is, take time to consider all of your options and do a lot of research before you spend your money. It will pay off in the long run.

Get Help Looking

It is good to tell friends, fans, neighbors, relatives and anyone else you can think of when you are on a hunt. Have them keep their eyes and ears open for you. You can run across items by knowing people who know people. I call that Network Shopping. It will broaden your visual spectrum and also serve as a way to advertise your up and coming business. Word of mouth is a powerful tool so be sure to utilize it to the max.

Last Example 

We almost purchased a new freezer in November. Next thing I knew we had one delivered and set up for FREE. That was because a relative knew we had lost ours and would be looking to buy another one. It sure is not pretty but, it lives in the garage and we store our fishing catch in it. Works great and the people who brought it were thankful to get it out of there way. I can not stress enough how much Network Shopping can pay off. 


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