What the hell is going on? Everyone climb in their little Covid hidie hole? There's GOT to be SOMETHING someone can share! . How about availability of parts? How about the Cost of parts? Substituting parts? Alternative sources? Stocking up on regularly used parts and supplies? Internet sources? Come ON guys! WAKE UP !
Parts are expensive, but some Chinese sellers are actually lowering prices when buying direct. I expect people are choosing not to buy from China due to unknowable lead times. If I had extra cash just laying around in piles I'd probably buy a bunch of stuff direct from China right now knowing when supply chain issues improve my stuff will arrive, and when the lead times drop back to normal the China direct prices will go back up. Domestic prices will not go back down except on select commodities. I'm not selling any gold or silver right now. When we hit our new normal those will stabilize higher than they are right now. I'm not seeing the surge in new custom work I saw around this time last year, but the work does keep coming in. I think I lost a couple regular repeat commercial customers after the rigors of last year shooting my production time in the foot, but I recently picked up a side market customer that could be quite profitable. He's thrilled with my pricing and my work, and accepts my lead times as normal. It a side I never really expected to get any business. I can't tell you what it is, but I might make some plastic toy molds to showcase the new skill sets.
Stock has been going up in price steadily, but the bulk of my price for goods is in the custom labor and machining. Not material cost. So far I have not raised prices for most things. In fact every repeat job I do I find a way to do it more efficiently and time is the one commodity that saves money on every job. I did 100 molds for a company all identical last year and it helped me setup several steps and processes that make the shop more efficient. Personally, well last year took it out of me, and this year isn't as fast as the start last year, but its steady. I can see the light at the end of several tunnels well enough to tell I'm not about to be int he middle of a giant multi train pile up.
After Covid restriction and various headaches I buy very little stuff locally anymore Various affects of the situation just made it easier and often faster to have stuff delivered to my door than to have to go get, wait outside, pay more, and jump through new hoops. One metal vendor I used to buy from almost exlusively now buys their aluminum and stainless from the same guys I currently do.
Hey Jim, Why is it that when I am about to start typing a story, you jump in and ask such pointed questions?? Why is that?? LOL
I don't know if you are challenged with the stocking thing when it comes to Cellular Communicators or not. I just hit a brick wall. There ain't none to be found. Today, I had one on my shelf, a Napco StarLink. That I had suspended because of the weak signal from Verizon a couple of years ago. I swapped in a AT&T unit. Now I need one for a job tomorrow and decided to use it. Come to find out that it can't get a Cell signal at my house so I took it to the site and it was dead there as well. &%$?
Called distributors and NOTHING AVAILABLE..... maybe the end of MARCH?!?
Speaking of Napco. Have you called their Tech Support Line?? Been on hold for 25 minutes or more?? May I strongly suggest that you or anyone do EVERYTHING you can in troubleshooting before you dial the number!!! Or if you want to just do a little test. Dial the number and press the digits and then listen for about 2 minutes. Then get a mental thought of what you attitude will be if you listened for another 20 minutes or so............................. Major PITA!!!
Now, just got a call from my tomorrow install. Because of some contract issue with their previous dealer, he asked if I can hold off till next week............
Ok, enough VENTING!!! I am going to go get my supper now!!
Thanks again Jim, your going to have to make a small adjustment to your wristwatch or wall clock. Maybe put it in a slow mode!!! ROFLOL
Hey Les, About a month ago I ordered 15 of the Starlink Connect Communicators including 3 ATT units. I've got about 6 of them left but no more ATT left with an order in for 10 more. I use the Connect for every installation whether they want the features or not. I just register it as a basic unit and program it for simple communication. HOWEVER !!!! I don't know whether you are aware of it or not but there is a small little communicator that I use when I've got an emergency or just need a quick no frills communication path. I've used these little suckers for about 4 years now and they just keep getting better. In the beginning they would only do CID but now it's gonna save my ass with my last ATT 3G to 4G upgrade. The customer has a Napco 1000 panel which only does 4/2 format so I had to use a Starlink when the customer did away with their land line.about 4 years ago. As you discovered ATT Starlinks can't be had until end of March and I've got to up grade this last holdout customer. So I called the vendor and asked again about 4/2 format and found out that the "M2" radios now do 4/2. These little radios have both chips in them and will pick ATT and if not successful it will use Verizon. So this might bail you out too. Give them a call and get a couple of them.They're about $50.00 and I think monitoring is $5.95 a month with daily check in included. You DO have to use their central station but even if it gets you out of the hole until you get a Starlink it should be worth it. If you're going to try it, let me know and I'll fill you in on the process of getting it on line. It connects to the panel with only 4 wires. 2 for power and two for phone line. I've never had one that wasn't able to connect to the cell network. They also have a fire approved model. If your going to do it do it quick. They keep running out and reordering. So far I've only had to wait about a week when they were out of stock.
With regard to Napco tech support, yeah. The other day I was 25 minutes waiting just to ask a simple question. I just call in, put my cell phone on speaker, and put my phone in my shirt pocket and continue working. OH I forgot to give you the website for those radios
If you just substitute alarm stuff for your machining stuff in your above description, it's all just about the same story with me. It's just me now so I can pretty much plan ahead and I've purchased generally enough parts for three installations. From now on when ever I use an item from the "reserve" I'll order it and if it's out of stock at least I'll have my order in in advance. I'm preparing right now to pre order 8 cameras and an 8 channel NVR. Although CCTV equipment has been available up till now, I'm just going to get it in just in case. The part I don't like is that all this extra parts buying is coming out of my personal pocket until a job comes along. But, hell, I'm not going to go on vacation out of the country or as a matter of fact anywhere, so = = = = what the hell? Good to hear that your new "job" is working out for you.
That's it. The most difficult thing for you to make a decision on is that you'd have to use their central station to monitor your systems. BUT - - - - I've been using them for about 35 years so that's got to say something.
On second thought, I don't know if there is any qualifying procedure for new accounts. They may ask you to pay for monitoring for a year up front or something like that. Just a guess but didn't want to "lead you down the garden path" ( as the old=timers used to say) ;->
You know I offered all my NIB cell units on this group before listing them on Ebay. A guy in New York bought them all about ten minutes after I listed them on Ebay. So.... I can't hep you with that. Eventually I plan to move all the alarm/sound/video/phone/etc parts I am keeping upstairs over my office and reclaim that space for machining stock parts and spares... except my electric motor collection. That will get organized upstairs.