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Hot Rods Do You Take On Outside Work?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jaw22w, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,451

    from Indiana

    I built a 1929 CCPU with a 265 chevy in high school,'66-'67. Drag raced that PU for a couple years. Then I was around the circle track racing scene for more than 50 of my 70 years. I wasn't around the custom/hotrod world. When I retired from work and racing, I decided to turn my late model dirt car into a '27 roadster. That got me back involved into the hotrod scene around town. Then I built a '26 T coupe. While attending a few local shows people found out that I had built both those cars from scratch in my shop. I started getting people asking me to work on there cars. A lot of them. It amazed me how many guys won't, don't, or can't work on their own cars. I think I could stay busy working on other peoples stuff. I kinda hate to turn those people down, but I really don't want the headache. I don't need the extra money. Don't get me wrong. I'm not independently wealthy. Just comfortable. But at 70 years old my time is increasingly valuable. I'm a pretty active 70 and I have a lot of my own projects to get to yet. The other reason is I don't want the responsibility. I'm perfectly willing to weld critical stuff, a steering shaft or arm or whatever on MY cars, but not on others.
    How many of you guys take on outside work? I'm not talking about the guys making a living at it, but just about the guy working in the shop behind his house, so to speak.
  2. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,511


    I'm not interested in working on others cars but have been talked into it by a few friends over the years. Did assembly, wiring etc etc on 3 woodies and a couple of more. At 77 I now refrain from working on others cars but still get talked into it now and then.
    Roothawg, 31hotrodguy, jaw22w and 2 others like this.
  3. Bbdakota
    Joined: Oct 23, 2019
    Posts: 72


    I stopped working on others stuff when I realized I didn't have time for my stuff. Mind you it was never for money, just freebies for friends. Every now and then a swap for my labor like an engine a guy wasn't going to use. Time is the one thing a person can't buy and I have too many projects of my own. I sometimes wonder if I'm too selfish with that mindset. So, no, not anymore I don't.
  4. I maintain what I refer to as "the family fleet". The wife car, my truck, both daughters cars and their fiancé cars, wifes sister car and the single lady next door car (wifes best friend). Mostly just the basics, oil changes, brake jobs, bulbs, etc. I am teaching the daughters fiancé and slowly stocking them with tools of their own on birthdays and holidays.
    I enjoy working on stuff and if I had the space I would gladly work on stuff for other people, if only for the good time hanging out with some like minded folks.
    Getting paid for it would be a bonus...
    chevy57dude, charleyw, jaw22w and 5 others like this.

  5. woody45
    Joined: Oct 7, 2015
    Posts: 82

    Member Emeritus

    I have 3 of my own hot rods, retired, 75 years old, do auto upholstery on the side and fund my addiction with the proceeds. I only do traditional hot rod and pre war interiors. I am very careful about how much I take on so I still have time to do my own work and pursue other interests. Upholstery work is low impact and not physically exhausting. I wouldn't want to be rolling around on the floor or hanging over a fender for others, at any price. Just my 2 cents.
    jaw22w and bchctybob like this.
  6. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,729


    I've done that twice. Both times were not great experiences. Not looking to ever do it again!.
    The37Kid and jaw22w like this.
  7. Have done a lot for others, for pay, but gave it up a few years ago. I still buy and sell wheels, restore Halibrands, etc. Otherwise I need to burn my daylight on my own stuff.
    31hotrodguy likes this.
  8. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,979

    from Oregon

    The only people I wouldn’t help is those that think the “world owes them” and people who want to cut corners. Other than that I enjoy helping others out .
  9. Yes! Show me the money! You know, they say money can buy happiness, but i think it can buy a car fast enough to smoke happiness :D
    31hotrodguy and jaw22w like this.
  10. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,835


    Hell no. Between work and life and enjoying friends I barely get to work on my own stuff.
    It also cuts into my time on the hamb. :p:D
    jaw22w and Lloyd's paint & glass like this.
  11. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 1,143



    Don't do it for money. Live on a dirt road with acre lots, most of us own older cars. I occasionally help out with repairs, often using parts from my stash. Send it back for free or just the cost of purchased parts. Folks helped me out when I was younger, at 76, it is my turn to give back.

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
    wfo guy, charleyw, jaw22w and 2 others like this.
  12. wheeltramp brian
    Joined: Jun 11, 2010
    Posts: 1,316

    wheeltramp brian

    Nope. People think that by doing side work at my house and not my shop I'm going to charge them less. wrong. I tell them I'm going to charge the same amount of money hourly but it's going to take me twice or three times as long cuz I don't have the proper tools that are at my shop .they usually don't show up to the shop.ive got other stories.....
    jaw22w, bchctybob and 2OLD2FAST like this.
  13. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,988

    from illinois

    I'm with you on my experience getting back into cars I thought I'd find people to talk , that understood cars, boy was I wrong , most didn't know anything other than blow to write a check! I did do some work for a few people & they'd volunteer a couple bucks to cover expenses , then some started to become more demanding & I had to ASK for a couple bucks ! Said fuck it , wasn't worth the hassle , people are assholes !.. Sometimes...
  14. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,254

    from Oregon

    I have never wanted to, but have been talked into it on numerous occasions. Over half of them weren't enjoyable experiences, as once I started the friends I did them for began to change the plan, or start dictating how things were done. I thought to myself, why is he telling me how it should be done, or questioning my methods if he can't do it himself?
    The last one ended very badly when I agreed to do the build and told him I needed to be paid before it was done for hours I had in it. After some whining I got partial payment, but at an hourly rate that was less than I quoted. That was the end of it for me, and the end of it forever! I wont ever do a build for anyone else again. I've got plenty of my own to build, and it's not worth losing hours on my projects to help "friends" who don't appreciate it.
  15. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 2,635


    Everybody in my hood knows I am a car guy and every time they have an issue they can't figure out they swing by when the garage doors are open. I won't work on their cars but I will share knowledge, tools, and information. I had one neighbor who wanted me to work on her Rolls Royce! No way Jose!
  16. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 6,452

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    I used to do work on others cars all the time. But, I really don’t have time anymore other than an occasional small job that I might take on. Trying to maintain daily drivers, a couple old cars, as well as trying to build two trucks for kids on top of a full time job and family responsibilities, anytime I take on something else, I typically regret it.
    jaw22w and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  17. Baumi
    Joined: Jan 28, 2003
    Posts: 2,869


    I´m just helping two friends, the one in rebuilding his cracked 8ba and another one rebuilding his 283 out of his 60 Corvette. " Helping" in the sense of them standing by and watching me work. I regretted I said I´d help them the moment we started removing the engines from the cars.I bet I´d been quicker without their help. My friend that does all the machine work on those blocks is clued in and really taking his time to finish one after another. This prevents me from being hurried too much, hahahaaa. I actually love helping people and fixing stuff, but I want to do it right and if it takes time, so be it. I have enough pressure and appointments on my real job, I don´t need that hassle on Sundays or evenings. Not everyone understands that.
  18. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 826

    4 pedals
    from Nor Cal

    I used to go looking for side jobs for extra $$$$, but found in time it just wasn't worth it. Everybody wants the work for cheap or free, and you own every problem that car has from then on. No thanks.

  19. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,854


    Rarely, and only after a referral, and a credit check.
    jaw22w and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  20. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,688


    I'm too afraid if liability, or not getting paid. I have a car friend who was commissioned to build a car and used his money to build it and the guy backed out and never paid him.

    Sent from my moto z4 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  21. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,384


    I haven’t for quite a few years, then I finally realized what a real shop has to go through. I’d do things to help someone out, simple stuff “hey, can you give me a hand on this water pump”. Next week “hey, my truck is still overheating”. Thing I realized is you wind up owning a problem you never knew about.
    One guy it got to the point he’d drop his car off and just tell me to call him when it was done.
    Now I only help my kids out, I don’t even give advice anymore. When my nephew called awhile ago about an issue, I told him what to look at on his distributor. He jumped right to replacing it, had to have it towed to a shop, all in all even my sister and her boyfriend were talking trash about how good I was at spending someone’s else’s money. Heck, all I wanted him to do was test a few things!

    sometimes you just can’t win, so I don’t even join the game anymore
  22. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,854


    Everyone seems to want a "bro deal", or to negotiate contact terms after signing.

    You've got it right about problem ownership.

    Even with a clear scope of work in the contract, I still had customers calling to complain about paint peeling when all I did was suspension work, and headliner droop when another shop did the interior.

    I'm the bad guy for not owning up.
  23. wulf powis
    Joined: Jun 19, 2017
    Posts: 64

    wulf powis

    My problem was that I liked the work more than the build and would get sucked into other builds, fixes than I had time for and my projects sat on the back burners for years. As I got older time got more precious!
    jaw22w and TrailerTrashToo like this.
  24. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 16,059

    from oregon

    Nope, never have, seems once a person gets the taste of that blood its the quickest way to lose friends, good friends.
    I knew a guy that had a sign in his shop that read "I don't need friends, I need customers".
    31hotrodguy, jaw22w and Johnny Gee like this.
  25. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,295


    I seldom work on other peoples hot rods. I have enough work working on a few customers daily drivers and one customer with a small commercial fleet to keep me busy. They are all cars that people need to go to work tomorrow with. They pay for what has to be done. I have found most times "collector" car people are worried about the cost. I am guilty of that myself. I think of my old truck as the $300 truck I bought 30 years ago and still get upset that the paint materials to paint it with 20 years ago cost more than that.
    jaw22w and lippy like this.
  26. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,451

    from Indiana

    Yep. As I said in the OP, my time is increasingly valuable at 70. It's the law of supply and demand. At 70 the supply is getting low, so the price goes up.
    bchctybob likes this.
  27. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,451

    from Indiana

    I guess I did work on one the other day. A buddy came over in his hot rod. Went to leave and it wouldn't start. I had to rewire his starter to get him out of the drive.
    bchctybob likes this.
  28. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 6,092

    from Ks

    I have done bodywork all my life. It's starting to take it's toll on me. I'm 65 and have gotton concreteidis. lol. I'm doing my last complete restoration right now for a friend. O/T 70 AAR cuda. It went across an icey bridge doing 360's all the way down it in 1975. My friend stripped the car and put everything in storage. Last year he asked me to look at it and see if I wanted to tackle the job. I did and told him.....Heck it's just metal. Dummy me. Sure a good thing AMD makes almost everything sheetmetal wise. :D. I work on one car at a time. He asked how long it would take me? I said what do you mean, you left it set since 1975!!! Some of you know the hardest thing is working on the same car for a couple years every day. But when they are done you have that feeling of pride. :) Lippy
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
  29. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 2,087


    I'm done, I have always worked too cheap or for future considerations, which of course never materialise. When I started my rod business,, I built a model a for a friend who was as broke as me, under the promise that he'd keep it and advertise for a year that it was my work, came along and the car went within three months, none of it came my way. I didn't learn from that, although it nearly came to blows, another was a friends wife asked me to start a car for a friend as her gift, her husband, I build the majority of the truck, ends up in a magazine, I made zero money on the truck, (32 ford), and got no credit for the build. Seems he "forgot" that I started with a pile of steel, built the chassis, firewall, box, floors, wired it, all as a 50th birthday gift from his wife. we were friends, not so much now.
    There are more, I'm a slow learner, have done a ton of favours, very few returned, thats the problem with this hobby, I have many thousands in tools, years learning, shop costs, and most guys want all that for free, although I had to pay for it all. So, I drew the line in the sand and have not stepped over it since. Not bitter, just tired of being taken advantage of.
  30. Kevin Pharis
    Joined: Aug 22, 2020
    Posts: 296

    Kevin Pharis

    I’ve done a bunch over the years. Panel beating, rust repair, chassis welding, engine building, machine work... it’s all the same. These are some of my rules;

    Not all customers suck... just the ones you don’t want to have!

    Be upfront with the customer about everything! If they don’t want to talk about the small details... they are not prepared for the project!

    Never take money upfront, and never invest more time or money than you are prepared to loose!

    Write up an agreement!!! And document the running changes! If the customer is constantly changing his mind... cut your losses and let him waste someone else’s time!

    I never take on the BIG job. If he wants a full restoration, he’s in the wrong place. The smaller the bite, the simpler the deal, the happier everyone is in the end!

    Most deals end badly because the customer doesn’t get what he expects. Communication and documentation is key. That way you get the price you want, and he gets the product he agreed upon. The reason garage deals go bad, is cuz we tend to be relaxed when it comes to “the deal”, then someone always gets “screwed”. It’s not all bad out there, many of my customers become repeat customers, and eventually friends. Good luck!
    dehartcarl, 31hotrodguy and jaw22w like this.

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