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Reaching a Milestone

Discussion in 'Midlife's Harness Heaven' started by Midlife, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. Midlife

    Midlife Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    My harness refurbishment business just reached a major milestone: 500 underdash harnesses have been refurbished and sold to customers. When I started out in March, 2008, I thought that there might be sufficient need to make this a hobby business, defined by the IRS as having no consecutive years of making a profit. As of 2011, I had to register as a business, as the demand for these services was greater than I originally thought!

    I started out thinking that the distribution of harnesses by production year would largely reflect two factors: how many Mustangs were built and the cost of reproduction harnesses. Mustang productions peaked in 65/66, declining all the way through 73. Reproduction harnesses start out at ~$500 for the earliest years, growing to ~$1000 for 1970. No reproductions are available for 71-73. I expected a reasonably flat distribution from 65through 70, with a bit higher demand for the later years. What actually happened was much different:

    The biggest surprise is that 1969 dominates all other years, accounting for 26% of all of my work. The next highest year is 66, 67, and 70, each running about 13%. 1968 accounts for about 10%. I think this data is telling me that 1969 is by far the most popular year Mustang, and that the 71-73 demand is much lower than other years. We’ll see if this changes over the next few years.

    Thanks for reading!
  2. Horseplay

    Horseplay Well-Known Member

    I think your data could have meaning different than '69 being the most popular. If you consider the cost of having you refurbish a harness vs. buying reproduction it would make perfect sense that 69 would be the most popular. Most enthusiasts would agree that popularity of mustangs declines post 69 with 70 really the last to have a sizeable liking. This would mean restoration would decline rapidly on models post 69 so less to no harness demand. So if it costs close to a grand for a 69 harness budget minded folks would come to you instead. Your 65-68 customers are likely doing a factory type restoration otherwise the cheaper new repops make more sense for them which would result in less demand from you.

    I see it as more a budget thing than popularity.
  3. turq66

    turq66 Well-Known Member

    And people call me argumentative! o_O

    Thanks for providing this greatly needed service and congrats on your success. Your contributions to the hobby are much appreciated.
  4. Mach1 Driver

    Mach1 Driver Active Member

    I like your interpretation Mid (you can see what I drive). Thanks for your contributions.
  5. tarafied1

    tarafied1 Well-Known Member

    that's pretty cool milestone! congratulations
  6. msell66

    msell66 Burning Fossil Fuels Donator

    I just hope you're paying your "fair share" of taxes on those enormous profits.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    tarafied1 likes this.
  7. 70 StangMan

    70 StangMan Well-Known Member Donator

    Randy, Congrat's on your milestone and thank's for what you are doing to keep these old cars going.
  8. Midlife

    Midlife Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Yes, of course. As a registered business, I have to account for all expenses and profits on my yearly IRS forms and pay State Use and Sales Tax (Florida doesn't have an income tax and business taxes apply to much larger companies).
  9. Grabber70Mach

    Grabber70Mach Well-Known Member

    Congratulations on the accomplishment Randy.
  10. Horseplay

    Horseplay Well-Known Member

    Oh, people call you lots of things but that isn't one near the top of the list.

    And my post was more about a different perspective. Randy was sharing a thought about the success of his business and I gave him an alternate look so that as a business person he might consider it. Given the numbers of 65-68 mustangs in comparison to 69s, tapping into a greater volume of the earlier year demand would be a boost to business. Excuse the capitalist in me.
    msell66 likes this.
  11. Midlife

    Midlife Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Budget is a factor, as I originally stated. The cost of a 65/66 reproduction is $520, rising each year about $100 until $990 for a 70. I charge a flat rate of $175 across all years. What comes in for work is not biased by any desire on my part to favor one year over another: I treat them all equally. Thus, the percentages of harnesses by years should accurately reflect the demand by customers for my services vice reproduction parts and the number of vehicles needing repair. Vehicle production decreased steadily from 1966 through 1973. There are no reproductions for 71-73, so those demand signals represent true needs by customers unwilling to go the aftermarket route.

    I'll say it again: the anomalous increase of demand for 1969 is puzzling, but perhaps because the 1970 production of almost half of 1969, that might explain things a bit more.
  12. Mach1 Driver

    Mach1 Driver Active Member

    Despite their initial sales numbers the 69s and 70s appear to be popular cars today; after all they do have their own dedicated website: 69Stang. Of course I realize that I am biased.
    Except for the obvious cosmetic changes the 69 and 70 are reportedly very similar cars. Is that reflected in the harnesses also; that is are they the same, similar, or distinctly different?
    Given the numbers of 64.5-68s out there I too would expect a different distribution. As the years progressed there was a trend in the Corvette to make it more plush and add creature comforts. I wonder if this is true with the Mustangs as well- my Mach has an automatic, PS, PB, AC, AM/FM/8 track, those big comfortable bucket seats with a high console to give the impression of an airplane cockpit, and of course the blacked-out hood and scoops with styling ques reportedly taken from the P51 Mustang. I believe their popularity is probably a mix of styling, creature comforts, and perceived speed...but that's just me.
  13. Midlife

    Midlife Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    There are distinct differences between the 69 and 70 underdash harnesses, with the 69's being far superior in design/reliability. For the 64.5-8's, there's not much difference in functionality, except the 67/68's include as integral the wiper system, e-switch system and a separate dash cluster. For the 64.5-68's, much of the additional features were separate harnesses that plugged into the main underdash; these included A/C, consoles, courtesy lights, etc.
  14. 3175375

    3175375 Well-Known Member

    Congrats, Mid. Any electrical fires from your handy work? 8^P
  15. Midlife

    Midlife Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Not that any of my customers have told me about. I'm sure that they would, though.

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