Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: , Missouri, USA
Like OneWing said, the EPA has gotten pretty tough over the past decade or so. Back in Ohio you pretty much couldn't get a permit to either open or expand a chrome/plating/anodizing shop - regardless of the money, the company, or the pull. I was working in the Honda supply chain at the time and they (Honda) had (for a time) to have everything plated out of state and then shipped back to Ohio. The company I worked for had one heck of a time getting our paint line expanded...and were pretty much told our existing chroming operations would be grandfathered, but there was no way we would be able to get a variance to expand further.
Similar stories elsewhere...be really, really careful with them - you don't want to mess around with the regulators as the environmental impact issues can quickly run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars...if not more.
On an operational side it can be pretty difficult (and expensive) to operate...temperature, concentration, and time are very, very important to get a good product. Keeping the tanks clean is a major issue, particularly the first dip tank which removes grease and other contaminants before the part(s) enter the subsequent steps. It gets pretty expensive to dump and replace the cleaner solution - one of the main reasons the chrome places are expensive. Some shops try to save money by turning the thermostats down "overnight" but then it takes a long time to get the bath back to operating temperature...but they run product early in the day (before the bath reaches full temp throughout) and the product doesn't come out properly...
A good shop is worth a great deal, marketing wise. Trust me, word will spread through the small shops, garages, etc. - for good or bad, depending on the product you turn out. A good shop that turns out good product CONSISTENTLY is worth their weight in gold...because there are so many that aren't, and little competition because few (or no) new players can get into the market because of the EPA. Best thing to do is make samples and then make the rounds to your local machine shops, auto/motorcycle shops, accessory stores, etc. Word will spread and if you can do it right, consistently, you'll have little problem attracting business.
1995 Shadow Deluxe 600
1984 Nighthawk 700SC (Tragically Passed On)
1980 Goldwing GL1100
Meddle not in the Affairs of Dragons,
For Thou Art Crunchy...
And Good with Ketchup!!!