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Moving: help me choose where

stgil888

Member
Looking for help choosing a region/city/location. Any help would be much appreciated. I have been thinking about this for just over a year, and have been all over the Internet trying to make a smart decision. I have made a handful of scouting trips, but figured I'd be better off asking you guys. I know a lot of guys on this forum live and work in the areas I am considering.

I will be moving a low volume, custom fabrication and product development shop to whichever new location I decide on. This means I will need to be relatively close to a decent industrial park...etc where I can set up shop. My business does not require street visibility or customer access. I will be bringing existing clients' work with me, so finding new business is not critical, but it's a big plus!

For reference, I lived and worked in greater LA until about three years ago and have been in the mountain west since then.

Proximity to suppliers/specialty vendors is a plus. I have worked far from these and close to these and close is better. Waiting a week for UPS or freight to deliver that last bit to finish a project slows everything down too much, and I don't want to choose a place that requires me to spend two hours driving to get basic consumables.

My question is primarily focused on where I can locate the business, but if you want to weigh in on human factors, please do. I won't drop dead without access to art galleries or ballet, but the basics like good grocery stores and low crime matter. I will be moving with the business and don't want to set up in a location where the nearest residential options are an hour away.

For reference, the last two places in CA that I worked were the westside and the IE. Westside was great except for very expensive rent on industrial space and difficult landlords/neighbors re: fabrication work. The IE was much better in that respect, but the climate necessitates robust HVAC (which I would probably have to install as a tenant) and I found myself spending a lot of time driving back to LA and especially OC for supplies. It seemed like a bargain, but the amount of time I spent on the highway going to pick up supplies instead of working negated a lot of what I saved up front on rent.

I have looked at Las Vegas, Dallas, Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake but have not explored Phoenix or San Diego.

I am biased towards greater LA, but only because it's the area I'm most familiar with. The two areas I am considering most seriously right now are Camarillo and South OC.

Any advice is much appreciated.
 

Rory

Crayola Killer
I would think California would be the worst place to own a small business. Problem is the heart of the Off Road Racing community is located in El Cajon/Santee area (IMHO). Las Vegas and Phoenix might be another good place to set up camp with Las Vegas being more centrally located for Off Road events and only a 3 hour drive to LA if you needed something bad enough.
 

stgil888

Member
I would think California would be the worst place to own a small business. Problem is the heart of the Off Road Racing community is located in El Cajon/Santee area (IMHO). Las Vegas and Phoenix might be another good place to set up camp with Las Vegas being more centrally located for Off Road events and only a 3 hour drive to LA if you needed something bad enough.
Yes, California is one of the hardest, most expensive states to work with. Energy costs are radically higher, real estate is more expensive, filing fees with the state are a multiple of other places. These factors played into my decision to leave when I did.

What I have found is that while these things are much more affordable in other locations, I end up paying for more and new things that weren't a part of my budget before. For instance, where I work now the weather doesn't allow me to move things outside when I need to re-arrange my shop. I can't move tools or fixtures...etc outdoors because I never know if it's going to rain or snow in the next ten minutes. This means I need more space. The other thing I've learned is that out in the country I lose more work time waiting on delayed deliveries. Things that I could get same day in CA might take a week. If this were predictable, I could plan around it, but it hasn't been.

One thing that I heard from people willing to remain in expensive areas is that the higher cost of doing business is worth it to them because of the serendipity they enjoy by being close to other people doing similar things. Ex: running into a new client/partner/supplier while "just walking down the street." The Internet does a lot to make this available to people wherever they are, but I will grudgingly admit that there can be situations where being in the right place at the right time can more than make up for higher fixed costs. I have found that I am more likely to learn about new techniques, materials, tools...etc more quickly when I am closer to other people doing similar work.
 

07FJRog

Well-Known Member
There is plenty in phoenix for what you need, many industrial.park areas, close highway access all over. Many nice neighborhoods. Most everything is cheaper here than cali as well.
 

skullver

Well-Known Member
I live in Ventura and work in Camarillo if you need any pointers in the area.
 
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