Following is an article from one of our newsletters highlighting a successful portable gold plating business.
If you would like to see how easy it is to gold plate the emblem on a car, click this link.

It may look like magic, but
I will never forget the first time I saw gold being applied to the emblem of a car. I had heard all about putting 24K gold on automotive emblems but I was still quite skeptical. I have a fairly technical background and I thought I understood how electroplating worked. I just didn't understand how you could do it while the emblem was on the car. The person showing me the process made it a big presentation. The drain apron was taped into place and the emblem was prepared by stripping the chrome and activating. After a few squirts from the rinse bottle I was finally going to see the magic. I was not disappointed, as the wand, with its' charge of "purple jelly" was rubbed over the surface of the emblem, the gold immediately began to glimmer before my eyes. I was both humbled and elated to see how simple it was to perform the magic of applying 24K gold.

It will always be fun. Somehow I've never lost the feeling of wonder and magic that I felt that first time. I guess that I've picked up the wand and watched the gold go on at least 10,000 times, and I still love to plate. During the last few years we've seen hundreds of people come into the portable plating business. Every month we log thousands of minutes on our toll free number answering technical and marketing questions. Most of the people on the other end of the telephone line are hard working entrepreneurs who also felt the magic the first time they saw the gold go on.

Most do it for the money As I think of the people I've worked with over the years, I can't help but notice the great differences in the levels of success that has been achieved. As fun as gold plating may be, the reason most people get into the business is to make money. Not all of the platers we work with have the same objective or ambition, some just want to be able to make a little extra money when it is handy and others want to be full time and develop extensive business. Regardless of your level of interest and ambition, it is probably a good idea to take some pointers from those who have achieved excellent success in the portable plating business. In this issue of our newsletter, I have profiled a father and son team that have achieved success in the portable plating business. During the interview I asked about their secrets of success. As you read his story you may notice some of the same things that I noticed over the years while working with many different successful platers. I believe that there are common elements in any successful plating business. In fact, the same elements are evident in virtually any successful business. I want to mention three that I feel are particularly important. While everyone has their own personality and spin on each of these elements, I am sure that the level of success any business achieves will be somewhat dependent by how well the necessary elements are put together.

Vance and his father both operate successful plating businesses
Vance plated 1400 cars in one year

Service is the key to the plating business. Vance and his dad have been in the plating business longer than just about anyone else in Northern Utah.  Vance services new and used car dealers in the Salt Lake and Ogden areas, his father Marvin also works his home town of Ogden and makes bi-weekly trips to south eastern Idaho and Montana.  Marvin likes the "road trips" because he is the only person out working the more remote areas.  His dealerships always know he is coming and make sure to have cars lined up for him to do.  Vance sees more competition than his dad because he works in the SL area.  He drops in frequently to chat. "There are always platers coming into my dealerships", Vance says. "Sometimes they [the dealership] will even give em a try, they'll offer to plate the emblems for some ridiculously low price and then I'll get a call to come and fix their work."  Like any successful business, the portable plating business relies on a commitment to customer service.  Vance carries a cell  phone and has an ad in the local phone book, but his clientele is so well developed that he can pretty well schedule all the work he wants to without trying to expand his business.

Planting the seeds. Vance says that when he first started it was not always smooth sailing. He had to make several trips to some dealers before they would even give him a try. The key to Vances' success is, and always has been persistence, service, and honesty. Vance always treats his customers how he would like to be treated and never fails to keep customer service at the top of his priority list.

Stick with what counts. Vance and Marvin are both masters at avoiding unprofitable work. Marvin tells me that you can spend a lot of time on work that doesn't pay much or that will be a problem in the future. Some of the work that Marvin avoids is stainless fender trim, and oddball custom stuff that requires extensive cleaning or preparation. "I just stick with the stuff that I know will pay well and not be a problem". That advice is well worth listening to.

Back up your work. In a business like ours you need to do what you can to make sure the customer is happy with your service, including the price. Part of the technique is not to give the customer too much detail about your costs or pricing. Vance told me recently, "I don't break out the price on individual emblems or items if I can avoid it." "If I tell someone that I'll do a package on a car including the wheel centers for $250 and they ask for the price of just the wheel centers, it sure won't be $100." "I just tell them that you can't break the package prices down like that." Your customers might not understand the economy for you in being able to do more work on a given trip. The less detail you can give your customers on costs and pricing, the simpler your life will be. We all have to do some touch up work or warranty work from time to time. If someone brings an item back that has had the gold polished off, I will usually repair it for free but I always make sure that they know I am going "above and beyond the call."

See the people. None of the other parts of your business are important until you have customers. You won't have customers until you let people know about the service you are offering. There are hundreds of marketing ideas. I believe that there are two good ways to promote your business that platers should consider. The first is to place an ad in the yellow pages of the local telephone book. We have a small ad in the Salt Lake telephone book and that ad has brought us more plating revenue than all other sources combined. I am always amazed when people who have had their system for years call and complain about a lack of sales, and they don't have an ad in their local yellow pages. I'm not talking about an expensive page ad for portable gold plating, in fact I would discourage most anyone from buying any more than a small ad that mentions Portable Gold Plating.

The Second method is to visit automobile dealerships. You need to develop a positive attitude and be persistent, don't let some guy at a dealership who may be having a bad day get you down. These guys sell gold packages for 4 or 5 times as much as you get paid so there is a lot of profit in the deal for them. In some areas, they may have other people calling on them to do the plating. Unless your competition has equipment produced by Gold Plating Services, they have inferior equipment. All you have to do is add a superior level of service to the superior equipment you have and you will be able to provide more value for your customer.

Making a good living. Vance and his family are horse lovers.  Vance's family enjoys many outdoor activities such as skiing, riding snowmobiles and horseback riding. They compete in chariot races and breed miniature horses. They recently moved onto a large new ranch with enough acreage for their horses, barn and riding arena. The arithmetic isn't too hard, 1400 cars at somewhere between $125.00 and $250.00 per car is an excellent income, especially when you consider that the cost of goods is around 10% and there is virtually no other overhead.


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