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Wanting to start a 2 way shop

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Joined
Jun 16, 2013
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#21
You might find that ICOM radios are a middle ground to sell.

If you want to become a "real radio shop", unless you never plan on going on vacation or taking a day off for the rest of your life you will be forced to hire one or more additional techs. That means insurance and benefits and such ... a real small business hassle that will suck all of your imagined profits away from you.
Problem with Icom is that they didn't hop on the DMR train and for someone building a large system, NXDN costs about 140% more per site for the same capacity as a Tier 3 DMR system.

Also a total lack of support for P25 in 7/800/900 land.

Sent from my KYOCERA-E6560 using Tapatalk
 
Joined
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Florida, where you wish you were!
#22
I spent seven years working for an Icom dealer.

Without saying anything that might be construed as slanderous, even if it's true, let's just say that I would absolutely definitely NOT want to deal with Icom for any reason.

My experiences with Icom products soured me on the brand. Permanently. At least when it comes to portable and mobile VHF and UHF radios, both analog and idas digital.
 
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
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Virginia
#23
Bad practice of QC control??? Or just some hard to work for people? Just curious. I have been lucky I suppose, the IC746 I own was just back from Icom service center for all bugs to be worked out. The person I bought it from spent over $300 getting all the issues resolved. The radio has worked flawlessly for me for over 2 years now.
But I see you are speaking of their mobile radios. Was this just confined to the VHF/UHF radios, if there was indeed a QC issue, or cheaper parts being used. Again, just curious, and appreciate any responses. Thx much.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Florida, where you wish you were!
#24
Not referring to the HF products or marine products. I've worked on the 746 a few times and they're complex but not hard to work on. They do have a common issue with the serial port failing due to a safety fuse blowing at ridiculously low amperage levels. Easy to fix, go with a slightly bigger fuse. (Surface mount.)

My issues with Icom relate to the dealer/factory interface with regard to technical support for problems found in certain portable and mobile VHF two way radios in the Icom lineup, where the factory denies the issue even exists, meanwhile my customers are experiencing 5 percent transmission failures in digital modes, under excellent signal strength conditions with no multipath issues at play, and a continuing failure to acknowledge the internal trace failures occurring on the main PC boards of multiple mobile radio types. Meanwhile I'm jumpering across traces to power up the regulators on radios on a wholesale basis.

My opinion of the quality of the PC boards that Icom has used in some radios is not very high. While the radio design may be good, if the PC board traces fail internally, that can be devilishly hard to track down and fix.

I also encountered absurdly high PA device failure rates on certain F6061 portable radios, along with some other models that use the same output device. I got really good at replacing those PA devices individually, though Icom suggests replacing the PA board. Well, I guess they don't expect techs like me to have da mad soldering skillz. But I do. :D Surface mount is no problem. You just need some different tools and some training.
 
Joined
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Messages
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#25
Not referring to the HF products or marine products. I've worked on the 746 a few times and they're complex but not hard to work on. They do have a common issue with the serial port failing due to a safety fuse blowing at ridiculously low amperage levels. Easy to fix, go with a slightly bigger fuse. (Surface mount.)

My issues with Icom relate to the dealer/factory interface with regard to technical support for problems found in certain portable and mobile VHF two way radios in the Icom lineup, where the factory denies the issue even exists, meanwhile my customers are experiencing 5 percent transmission failures in digital modes, under excellent signal strength conditions with no multipath issues at play, and a continuing failure to acknowledge the internal trace failures occurring on the main PC boards of multiple mobile radio types. Meanwhile I'm jumpering across traces to power up the regulators on radios on a wholesale basis.

My opinion of the quality of the PC boards that Icom has used in some radios is not very high. While the radio design may be good, if the PC board traces fail internally, that can be devilishly hard to track down and fix.

I also encountered absurdly high PA device failure rates on certain F6061 portable radios, along with some other models that use the same output device. I got really good at replacing those PA devices individually, though Icom suggests replacing the PA board. Well, I guess they don't expect techs like me to have da mad soldering skillz. But I do. :D Surface mount is no problem. You just need some different tools and some training.


Once a product leaves engineering to go into manufacturing, Icom's engineers will never come back to it and at that point you just hope it gets fixed in the next model. Great example is Icom's IP radios…stuck in the default subnet and icom won't update it. Now when you are building a new network that may not be an issue but dealing with an existing 802.11 system in different subnet, no way in hell your IT manager is gonna reconfigure the entire network just for you. Oh wait, we are now back at a traditional two-way solution.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
83
Location
Newport Beach, CA
#26
Since you are starting a WISP, you will eventually have a network, presumably serving your geographic area of interest. Use the same locations to establish your radio network.

- Consider an analog trunking system and network the receivers for vastly improved coverage. Analog radios are very inexpensive compared to digital. You get more "bang for your buck" improving the network than improving the subscriber radios. Do not get caught up in the hype of digital, as the customer does not care, if it works great and is reasonably priced.

- Consider not selling radios, just renting with repeater service and maintenance. Also, no T&M servicing radios for ANYONE, just maintenance contracts.

- Consider developing tower or repeater sites serving your service area. If you build tall guyed towers, you can make better deals renting dirt on farmers property lines, so your guy wires follow property lines.

- Consider selling each farmer his own repeater on his own channel and renting them space and maintenance in your repeater site. Suggest using your WISP network to add remote receivers to improve their desired coverage.

- locate a Washington FCC lawyer or consultant to get up to speed on what type of licenses are available in your area. Exclusive licenses are always better than licenses on shared frequencies. There is spectrum you can buy [not from the FCC], such as old common carrier or AMTS frequencies.

- In a normal two-way shop that does lots of T&M service and radio sales, you will find over the years all the profit from service goes to the technical staff, and all the profit from sales goes to the sales and support staff.
The only way to make a profit is to create reoccurring revenue through all avenues.
Make your WISP microwave network self healing. Good luck and have lots of fun.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,252
Location
Texas
#27
Since you are starting a WISP, you will eventually have a network, presumably serving your geographic area of interest. Use the same locations to establish your radio network.

- Consider an analog trunking system and network the receivers for vastly improved coverage. Analog radios are very inexpensive compared to digital. You get more "bang for your buck" improving the network than improving the subscriber radios. Do not get caught up in the hype of digital, as the customer does not care, if it works great and is reasonably priced.

- Consider not selling radios, just renting with repeater service and maintenance. Also, no T&M servicing radios for ANYONE, just maintenance contracts.

- Consider developing tower or repeater sites serving your service area. If you build tall guyed towers, you can make better deals renting dirt on farmers property lines, so your guy wires follow property lines.

- Consider selling each farmer his own repeater on his own channel and renting them space and maintenance in your repeater site. Suggest using your WISP network to add remote receivers to improve their desired coverage.

- locate a Washington FCC lawyer or consultant to get up to speed on what type of licenses are available in your area. Exclusive licenses are always better than licenses on shared frequencies. There is spectrum you can buy [not from the FCC], such as old common carrier or AMTS frequencies.

- In a normal two-way shop that does lots of T&M service and radio sales, you will find over the years all the profit from service goes to the technical staff, and all the profit from sales goes to the sales and support staff.
The only way to make a profit is to create reoccurring revenue through all avenues.
Make your WISP microwave network self healing. Good luck and have lots of fun.
While most of this I agree with…analog I do not. For example, DMR repeaters from Simoco cost under $2,200 (dealer cost) and are rated for 100% duty. The Tier 3 multi-site licensing is another $800 per repeater. Simoco's new 700 series of mobiles and portables run between 25-50% less than comparable Motorola's. The repeaters are natively networked, have built in controllers, PBX integration, and also feature full duplex calling when used with Simoco subscribers.

In retrospective, a comprable LTR or MPT-1327 system would require double the amount of repeaters to provide the same capacity (even if you are getting them at a much lower cost). Last I checked, an LTR controller ran about $10,000 and a MPT controller is in the same ballpark. Then there is the networking that has to be done between the controllers which may or may not require a third party gateway at around $1000 each.

There is also the issue of subscribers. I know Motorola supports LTR on their XPR5550 and XPR7550 radios…Tait and Simoco both support MPT on their P25 radios (~$300 over their DMR lines). I've heard a rumor that Tecnet is planning on supporting a LTR subscriber but if it ever gets off the ground, who knows as they are wrapped up in producing DMR subscribers right now. Point being, the industry is beginning to move away from analog trunking, some manufacturers are even taking the opportunity to market their DMR products for LTR migration.

There's also the 2.5 kHz analog deviation versus DMR's 3.88 kHz deviation (DMR actually outperforms it by about 5 dB when you begin looking at modulation indices).

Sure there is lots to consider. I've been designing a system myself (luckily I'm a partner with the ISP) and it has to be backhauled across something and all of my prospective sites I just so happen to have AP's at. Selling a service versus running a shop…I can't see any money in the shop.

As far as WISP's go…that can be some fun. I'm very fond of Mikrotik for routing and Ubiquiti for wireless but with lack of grounding options on a lot of the Ubiquiti devices I'm really beginning to lean towards Mikrotik's new line of AC CPE's with some build to suit APs (static discharge in one of the largest cotton producing regions of the country just kills wireless radios left and right).
 
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
83
Location
Newport Beach, CA
#28
W5PKY has many good points, and Simoco is a good brand. However, if you are selling or renting radios, your customers will not recognize radio brands other than Motorola. So to a customer, Simoco is the same as a really cheap Chinese DMR/analog radio, except the Chinese radio is much lower cost and is a throw-away, requiring no service.

If you rent radios, the capital cost is not just the repeater and networking, but all of the subscriber mobile and handhelds combined, including the cost to maintain everything over the lifetime of the system. With a great networked repeater system, even cheap Chinese radios work great.

Regarding the network, you can build a hybrid design, taking the best of whatever trunking design you choose, and improving it with remote receivers and some limited simulcast. With analog, you can improvise and try your hand at different things to improve your coverage. With digital, you become married to a particular brand like Simoco, and are forced to use their concepts of networking. For example, virtually every cellular base station uses dual receivers, connected to dual polarized antennas. This option improves your talk-in coverage by 10 to 20 dB, and makes a vast difference. Do you know of a DMR supplier who offers this or the ability to add a remote receiver? Once you go digital, you must follow the manufacturers path to system expansion, with all the problems that come with it, like system overlap and wasting spectrum.

The only exception is to learn programming and knowledge of the network interfaces of your brand of hardware and create interface devices to allow you to home brew remote receivers and limited simulcast, while the controller thinks it is connected to a single repeater.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,252
Location
Texas
#29
W5PKY has many good points, and Simoco is a good brand. However, if you are selling or renting radios, your customers will not recognize radio brands other than Motorola. So to a customer, Simoco is the same as a really cheap Chinese DMR/analog radio, except the Chinese radio is much lower cost and is a throw-away, requiring no service.

If you rent radios, the capital cost is not just the repeater and networking, but all of the subscriber mobile and handhelds combined, including the cost to maintain everything over the lifetime of the system. With a great networked repeater system, even cheap Chinese radios work great.

Regarding the network, you can build a hybrid design, taking the best of whatever trunking design you choose, and improving it with remote receivers and some limited simulcast. With analog, you can improvise and try your hand at different things to improve your coverage. With digital, you become married to a particular brand like Simoco, and are forced to use their concepts of networking. For example, virtually every cellular base station uses dual receivers, connected to dual polarized antennas. This option improves your talk-in coverage by 10 to 20 dB, and makes a vast difference. Do you know of a DMR supplier who offers this or the ability to add a remote receiver? Once you go digital, you must follow the manufacturers path to system expansion, with all the problems that come with it, like system overlap and wasting spectrum.

The only exception is to learn programming and knowledge of the network interfaces of your brand of hardware and create interface devices to allow you to home brew remote receivers and limited simulcast, while the controller thinks it is connected to a single repeater.
Motorola actually allows for remote receivers for DMR. Of course it requires purchasing an additional repeater and using it in a receive only base. Simoco never saw the purpose of it as their subscribers actually perform BER based voting in both Tier 2 and Tier 3. Motorola's roaming feature is based off of a minimum signal strength and doesn't actually vote on anything.

Farmers are a different breed. As long as it works, they generally don't care what the name brand is but yes, Motorola is generally the brand they've dealt with in the past but doesn't mean I haven't seen old RCA and GE gear at farm sales as well. That's also the beauty of using a common standard as a base. The question that has not yet been answered with Motorola's Capacity Max is whether or not it will allow for other manufacturer's subscribers in North America (the base functionality may be locked out) but it has been surmised that their subscribers will work on another manufacturers infrastructure. In the end, the customer (of a subscription service) never sees what is printed on the infrastructure…only on the subscribers…so mix and match subscribers as needed.
 

iamhere300

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Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
1,293
Location
Chappell Hill TX
#30
If I was asked to open a two way shop now, knowing what I know after owning an MSS, Mother dealer, Icom Dealer, Tait Dealer for many years, the very first thing I would do is,


Start a used car lot.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2014
Messages
7
#32
There are a lot of small guys in my area that have branched off and started their own small 2 way shop, that once worked for large 2 way shops. They are doing well, and actually sub contract with the bigger guys on large projects because of the lack of real good radio guys out there.

Start small and see what happens. Be honest. A lot of customers can be had because of dishonest larger shops. Believe me, it happens.

Good luck.
Being in the IT industry I completely understand how dishonest large shops can be.

I would actually avoid Hytera. They fired most of their US sales reps, any trunking support has to come out of China (so you automatically have a 48 hour support delay because you still have to go through the US office). And their Tier 3 doesn't actually play nicely with other manufacturers equipment.

Check out Simoco, they are looking dealers in the US. All of their trunking radios are IP67 rates and they have a new line in beta distribution that is not yet on the website. Tait also has a good subscriber line especially if you have a need for intrinsically safe portables. Another feature of Simoco, they offer full duplex calling with SIP integration on DMR which is not part of the standard (it is the TETRA standard though).

PM me if you'd like some more info.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Simoco is high on my list. I really like standards...but I will check out Tait again.

Problem with Icom is that they didn't hop on the DMR train and for someone building a large system, NXDN costs about 140% more per site for the same capacity as a Tier 3 DMR system.

Also a total lack of support for P25 in 7/800/900 land.

Sent from my KYOCERA-E6560 using Tapatalk

Icom is off of the list. Anything NXDN is also off...if I were to do NXDN I would just go P25.


I spent seven years working for an Icom dealer.

Without saying anything that might be construed as slanderous, even if it's true, let's just say that I would absolutely definitely NOT want to deal with Icom for any reason.

My experiences with Icom products soured me on the brand. Permanently. At least when it comes to portable and mobile VHF and UHF radios, both analog and idas digital.

Icom is off.


Once a product leaves engineering to go into manufacturing, Icom's engineers will never come back to it and at that point you just hope it gets fixed in the next model. Great example is Icom's IP radios…stuck in the default subnet and icom won't update it. Now when you are building a new network that may not be an issue but dealing with an existing 802.11 system in different subnet, no way in hell your IT manager is gonna reconfigure the entire network just for you. Oh wait, we are now back at a traditional two-way solution.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Being in IT....My experience is that support is as important as the quality of the product. We pay more for support that we do equipment...It is worth it to have an engineer call you that know the product inside and out.


Since you are starting a WISP, you will eventually have a network, presumably serving your geographic area of interest. Use the same locations to establish your radio network.

- Consider an analog trunking system and network the receivers for vastly improved coverage. Analog radios are very inexpensive compared to digital. You get more "bang for your buck" improving the network than improving the subscriber radios. Do not get caught up in the hype of digital, as the customer does not care, if it works great and is reasonably priced.

- Consider not selling radios, just renting with repeater service and maintenance. Also, no T&M servicing radios for ANYONE, just maintenance contracts.

- Consider developing tower or repeater sites serving your service area. If you build tall guyed towers, you can make better deals renting dirt on farmers property lines, so your guy wires follow property lines.

- Consider selling each farmer his own repeater on his own channel and renting them space and maintenance in your repeater site. Suggest using your WISP network to add remote receivers to improve their desired coverage.

- locate a Washington FCC lawyer or consultant to get up to speed on what type of licenses are available in your area. Exclusive licenses are always better than licenses on shared frequencies. There is spectrum you can buy [not from the FCC], such as old common carrier or AMTS frequencies.

- In a normal two-way shop that does lots of T&M service and radio sales, you will find over the years all the profit from service goes to the technical staff, and all the profit from sales goes to the sales and support staff.
The only way to make a profit is to create reoccurring revenue through all avenues.
Make your WISP microwave network self healing. Good luck and have lots of fun.
Lots of good info here. I do disagree about the analog tho. Pseudo trunking is worth the price difference to me. I would argue that this feature brings the prices down to equal. Not to mention the numerous other benefits digital allows for.

While most of this I agree with…analog I do not. For example, DMR repeaters from Simoco cost under $2,200 (dealer cost) and are rated for 100% duty. The Tier 3 multi-site licensing is another $800 per repeater. Simoco's new 700 series of mobiles and portables run between 25-50% less than comparable Motorola's. The repeaters are natively networked, have built in controllers, PBX integration, and also feature full duplex calling when used with Simoco subscribers.

In retrospective, a comprable LTR or MPT-1327 system would require double the amount of repeaters to provide the same capacity (even if you are getting them at a much lower cost). Last I checked, an LTR controller ran about $10,000 and a MPT controller is in the same ballpark. Then there is the networking that has to be done between the controllers which may or may not require a third party gateway at around $1000 each.

There is also the issue of subscribers. I know Motorola supports LTR on their XPR5550 and XPR7550 radios…Tait and Simoco both support MPT on their P25 radios (~$300 over their DMR lines). I've heard a rumor that Tecnet is planning on supporting a LTR subscriber but if it ever gets off the ground, who knows as they are wrapped up in producing DMR subscribers right now. Point being, the industry is beginning to move away from analog trunking, some manufacturers are even taking the opportunity to market their DMR products for LTR migration.

There's also the 2.5 kHz analog deviation versus DMR's 3.88 kHz deviation (DMR actually outperforms it by about 5 dB when you begin looking at modulation indices).

Sure there is lots to consider. I've been designing a system myself (luckily I'm a partner with the ISP) and it has to be backhauled across something and all of my prospective sites I just so happen to have AP's at. Selling a service versus running a shop…I can't see any money in the shop.

As far as WISP's go…that can be some fun. I'm very fond of Mikrotik for routing and Ubiquiti for wireless but with lack of grounding options on a lot of the Ubiquiti devices I'm really beginning to lean towards Mikrotik's new line of AC CPE's with some build to suit APs (static discharge in one of the largest cotton producing regions of the country just kills wireless radios left and right).
Mikrotik is very good...not to mention the prices. I have Ubiquiti radios that I am testing now. They seem decent enough...I do agree with others that say they rush the hardware out and then make incremental firmware changes all of the time. I will definitely deploy some UBNT stuff. I think I will also have to deploy some cambium 900mhz stuff.

If I was asked to open a two way shop now, knowing what I know after owning an MSS, Mother dealer, Icom Dealer, Tait Dealer for many years, the very first thing I would do is,


Start a used car lot.
Too much competition. Everyone around here has one. Strangely enough they sell a couple of cars a year....must be some funny money coming in.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
Messages
2,548
Location
New Orleans region
#33
The downfall of two way radio shops started way back when Nextel started coming out with their PTT service. The time frame is kind of fuzzy, but it had to take place some 20 years plus ago. This was like a mule kicking you in the stomach and the doctor's bills was causing all your income to be going down the drain.

Look at it this way, if you can buy a telephone and radio all in one for a couple of hundred bucks, then pay a monthly fee for the service of say $60 to $80, why would you want to invest in buying expensive two way radios. The Nextel would provide you with service coverage over a huge area. Plus you get to have a portable phone with you all the time. Today there are a number of cellular options.

Your two way radio coverage is very limited to how high you can get your antenna. You will have to pay a monthly rent on the tower and maybe pay the utility bill for the electrical power your using. Then there is the cost of repairs to the base station and the mobile radios in your fleet.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which is the better choice to make. Local area coverage with your radio system, or a huge coverage area with your Nextel PTT service plus having a cell phone with you all the time (now cellular). You could go to many places around the country and still have your PTT service available to you.

Today, unless your a very large and established radio shop, your not going to make a living trying in repairing the two way radios. They just don't break down that often. Plus you have all the overhead to carry. This includes the cost of operating your building, the cost of your test equipment and the calibration of it on a regular basis. Then you have the medical insurance, salaries for anyone working for you. Don't forget the cost of your vehicles and the cost of the fuel and insurance to keep them on the road.

Even the large established radio shops are finding it a hard row to just keep their head above all the bills. Today these shops are charging from around $75 to $85 on the low side to well over $125 an hour in just labor charges. Then they add in the cost of travel to and from the customer at the Federal rate of I think it is $0.55 a mile. All this cost really slows down most customers from having their radios serviced until they are dead.

So this lowered income has caused most radio shops to branch out and try to get work and income from different sources. Many have started to do security alarm systems for buildings. Add on to that closed circuit TV and surveillance type equipment and installations. Lastly, some shops have also started to do sound systems for events and churches.

Bottom line here is servicing two way radios is not a place you can easily make a living at any more. Sure you might find a location where the existing radio shop does such poor work that their customers are looking for another choice. But this is generally not the case all over the country. Plus your not going to make enough to survive on unless you have zero overhead. Again, to have zero overhead, it would have to be run out of your house. Do you have a large enough garage to do truck installs inside of? Do you need a permit from the local zoning group to run the business out of your home? Will the local zoning allow you to operate a commercial business out of your home? The answers to most of these questions are probably NO.

Good luck on your effort. I have run a part time radio service business from my home years back. But I didn't do any installs in my yard and didn't have the customers coming to my home. I spent some $10,000 to buy a brand new service monitor way back when. Took me several years to pay that loan back. Today your looking at a much more expensive service monitor to be able to do the digital requirements of the current radios being used.

With all the comments posted on here, I haven't seen any comments from you about what has been said. Swallow hard and stand up and accept what we all are trying to point out to you.
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,252
Location
Texas
#34
The downfall of two way radio shops started way back when Nextel started coming out with their PTT service. The time frame is kind of fuzzy, but it had to take place some 20 years plus ago. This was like a mule kicking you in the stomach and the doctor's bills was causing all your income to be going down the drain.



Look at it this way, if you can buy a telephone and radio all in one for a couple of hundred bucks, then pay a monthly fee for the service of say $60 to $80, why would you want to invest in buying expensive two way radios. The Nextel would provide you with service coverage over a huge area. Plus you get to have a portable phone with you all the time. Today there are a number of cellular options.



Your two way radio coverage is very limited to how high you can get your antenna. You will have to pay a monthly rent on the tower and maybe pay the utility bill for the electrical power your using. Then there is the cost of repairs to the base station and the mobile radios in your fleet.



It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which is the better choice to make. Local area coverage with your radio system, or a huge coverage area with your Nextel PTT service plus having a cell phone with you all the time (now cellular). You could go to many places around the country and still have your PTT service available to you.



Today, unless your a very large and established radio shop, your not going to make a living trying in repairing the two way radios. They just don't break down that often. Plus you have all the overhead to carry. This includes the cost of operating your building, the cost of your test equipment and the calibration of it on a regular basis. Then you have the medical insurance, salaries for anyone working for you. Don't forget the cost of your vehicles and the cost of the fuel and insurance to keep them on the road.



Even the large established radio shops are finding it a hard row to just keep their head above all the bills. Today these shops are charging from around $75 to $85 on the low side to well over $125 an hour in just labor charges. Then they add in the cost of travel to and from the customer at the Federal rate of I think it is $0.55 a mile. All this cost really slows down most customers from having their radios serviced until they are dead.



So this lowered income has caused most radio shops to branch out and try to get work and income from different sources. Many have started to do security alarm systems for buildings. Add on to that closed circuit TV and surveillance type equipment and installations. Lastly, some shops have also started to do sound systems for events and churches.



Bottom line here is servicing two way radios is not a place you can easily make a living at any more. Sure you might find a location where the existing radio shop does such poor work that their customers are looking for another choice. But this is generally not the case all over the country. Plus your not going to make enough to survive on unless you have zero overhead. Again, to have zero overhead, it would have to be run out of your house. Do you have a large enough garage to do truck installs inside of? Do you need a permit from the local zoning group to run the business out of your home? Will the local zoning allow you to operate a commercial business out of your home? The answers to most of these questions are probably NO.



Good luck on your effort. I have run a part time radio service business from my home years back. But I didn't do any installs in my yard and didn't have the customers coming to my home. I spent some $10,000 to buy a brand new service monitor way back when. Took me several years to pay that loan back. Today your looking at a much more expensive service monitor to be able to do the digital requirements of the current radios being used.



With all the comments posted on here, I haven't seen any comments from you about what has been said. Swallow hard and stand up and accept what we all are trying to point out to you.


I couldn't justify building for portable coverage for that reason. Everywhere it would be required cell coverage is adequate and the cost of those additional sites far outweighs the cost of an ESChat gateway. Mobile coverage was my focus when I started designing the system I plan on installing, especially in areas where cell coverage is poor (happens in west Texas quite a bit).

The last fully loaded (P25 P1/P2, DMR T2/T3, and NXDN) service monitor is sold was around $52,000.


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#35
After consideration from you guys and thinking about my target market I have decided there isn't enough of a market in my area for another shop. I know there only a couple....but there is a reason for that. Rural America can only support a small number of options.


I appreciate all of your opinions and experiences.
 

HummerMike

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#36
Something you might want to consider is the maintenance, repair, install and decommission of Vehicles. I started a side line shop purely by accident in 1988. A local Sheriff Dept. needed a light bar fixed on a Blazer for an upcoming weekend event. They called the local Radio Shop on Friday and the shop would not look at it. They call me by word of mouth. I fixed the light Bar for them. One thing lead to another and soon I had all the business I wanted . Long story short, from 1988 - 2012 I built over 300 patrol cars, worked on many Ambulances and Fire Trucks. . I would take a vehicle and install the Radio, siren, lights, computers, prisoner cages, radar ect. That was also in the period of the DARE program where law enforcement agency's would take a confiscated drug vehicle and turn it into a rolling educational vehicle. I built a few of the DARE Vehicles. What also helped was I would look at a vehicle on a weekend if it was an emergency. For 24 years that side line business built me a two vehicle service building on my property, funded my Ham Radio Hobby and Vacations.
Something you could get into and build up without a ton of Capital. Your work has to be good because lives depend on your work. That is what will get you the business.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2014
Messages
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#37
Something you might want to consider is the maintenance, repair, install and decommission of Vehicles. I started a side line shop purely by accident in 1988. A local Sheriff Dept. needed a light bar fixed on a Blazer for an upcoming weekend event. They called the local Radio Shop on Friday and the shop would not look at it. They call me by word of mouth. I fixed the light Bar for them. One thing lead to another and soon I had all the business I wanted . Long story short, from 1988 - 2012 I built over 300 patrol cars, worked on many Ambulances and Fire Trucks. . I would take a vehicle and install the Radio, siren, lights, computers, prisoner cages, radar ect. That was also in the period of the DARE program where law enforcement agency's would take a confiscated drug vehicle and turn it into a rolling educational vehicle. I built a few of the DARE Vehicles. What also helped was I would look at a vehicle on a weekend if it was an emergency. For 24 years that side line business built me a two vehicle service building on my property, funded my Ham Radio Hobby and Vacations.
Something you could get into and build up without a ton of Capital. Your work has to be good because lives depend on your work. That is what will get you the business.

This is definitely a thought. I have done several vehicle wiring projects with good results. Wiring is definitely something that I am good at. I have a decent weller soldering iron and all that jazz. One problem that our local police and SO is facing is that they are doing no mark installs. They don't even cut for antennas...it kind of drives me crazy. But regardless of all of that it is definitely something that interests me and I will consider.
 
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#38
This is definitely a thought. I have done several vehicle wiring projects with good results. Wiring is definitely something that I am good at. I have a decent weller soldering iron and all that jazz. One problem that our local police and SO is facing is that they are doing no mark installs. They don't even cut for antennas...it kind of drives me crazy. But regardless of all of that it is definitely something that interests me and I will consider.
What defines No-Mark?

One thing I got into was offering a light (the company I chose was a made-in-Texas company and with my HUB status I've had a lot in interest from state agencies.
 

iamhere300

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Chappell Hill TX
#39
The downfall of two way radio shops started way back when Nextel started coming out with their PTT service. The time frame is kind of fuzzy, but it had to take place some 20 years plus ago. This was like a mule kicking you in the stomach and the doctor's bills was causing all your income to be going down the drain.
While nextel may have been another nail in the coffin, Cellular is what killed LMR. Look at all the rural areas where shops no longer exist, areas that never even had Nextel coverage. The decline started in the late 80's, early 90's. Used to be every realtor, Vet, plumbing service, almost everything that had mobile service had a base and three - at a minimum.

Mainly due to the old traveling Motorola salespeople. They would start at one end of a state, and go to the other, stopping at every store, business, farm, etc. They sold so many systems, put up so many Community repeaters, etc. For a long time shops survived just working on all that gear. ( I ended up with most of those CR's in Arkansas, Missouri, and many in surrounding states. Good income for a while, but only because most of the tower sites were free)

Cellular came, and destroyed the commercial end.

Now, statewide (or regional) systems are putting yet another nail in that coffin for public safety work.



Today, unless your a very large and established radio shop, your not going to make a living trying in repairing the two way radios. They just don't break down that often. Plus you have all the overhead to carry. This includes the cost of operating your building, the cost of your test equipment and the calibration of it on a regular basis. Then you have the medical insurance, salaries for anyone working for you. Don't forget the cost of your vehicles and the cost of the fuel and insurance to keep them on the road.
Spot on.
 
Joined
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Tulsa
#40
Back in the mid 70's I managed a MSS and we had to work with customers that were sold a base and three. A lot of the Mot sales guys would tell the customer that they could expect to get "a mile per watt" range. Then we would have to explain to the customer ain't so.
 
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