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Old 10-18-2004, 07:17 PM
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Body Shop - Advice needed

So, here's the story, My step dad owns his own body shop. He runs it out of his house and does mainly word of mouth work. Here's where I need advice.

I'm 33 and absolutely sick of my job (PC tech). The company I work for has had several layoffs and I have no idea where I'll be if I stay with them for another 3 years.

My idea is to offer to work part time with my step dad (I've known him for about 2 years or so) in exchange for training. I can adjust my schedule enough to be able to do some of the work he usually hires out like swapping parts etc. I have been messing around with cars for a while and have done several engine replacements etc... I'd really like to own my own business and absolutely do not want it to be the computer field. I figured if I could fill in and take up some slack he'd benefit by not having to pay someone else to do minor stuff and I could benefit by learning while I keep my paying job for now. He's close enough to retirement that I am sure he'll want to settle down sometime. I'd like to position myself to take over his work at that point.

My question is this, does this sound too far fetched? He's always looking out for his own best interests but has helped me out like when he financed a car for me etc... My concern is that it would be too much of a burden having to teach me. I don't think he realizes how much I already know and how quickly I can learn. I am self taught with regards to computers and I'd much rather be working on cars so I'll pick it up quickly.


This is sort of a dry run of my plan and I'd like feedback from someone pros and cons. Be honest, I'd rather know the pitfalls in advance.


Thanks! John.

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Old 10-18-2004, 07:34 PM
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Good practice

But do yourself a favor and take some night classes if you can find them in your area..We can never know too much..

Focus on doing quality work...your work speaks for you..letting a bad job escape can ruin your business..

And take some business courses as well..I have seen some very good people fall down because they were not up on the business part of running a shop..

One has to be very disciplined and motivated to get out there every day and do it on there own..even on those days when you would rather be fishing..

One more thing..keep good records of the time needed to do a particular task or job..this will help a lot when a customer comes in and asks "How much" for this or that.....
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Old 10-19-2004, 05:54 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I can handle the motivation aspect of it. I regularly put in 55-65 hours a week at a job I absolutely can't stand right now.

I figure if he's willing, I'll spend some time with him to see what its really like doing this all day before I spend any money on the schooling. That way I'm not out anything major, just some time. Who knows, maybe it'll work out better than what I'm doing now.
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Old 10-19-2004, 07:13 AM
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Working for family can be a PITA!! Be sure to establish ground rules, like NO TALKING BUSINESS at family affairs. Think about the potential fights when something goes wrong, as well.
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Old 10-19-2004, 08:03 PM
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This is something I have read quite a bit about. I am hoping I can take it slow and see how that works out.

I mentioned that I would like to pick up some non computer type side work and he was receptive to that. He had offered in the past so I was sure of that. I figure once I get to working with him a little I'll know if its something I want to do. His business is alot of repairing damaged vehicles for small car lots etc. so the work isn't required to be showroom quality for the most part. I wouldn't want to learn to paint on someone's "baby". Most of the time they're more concerned with making it look good enough to sell. I have seen some of his more precise work and I know he has the skills but the quick stuff seems to pay well.

The way I look at it, anything I learn will at least help me when I can afford to actually start my project. ( 472 cad powered s-10 anyone?)

Thanks for the input.
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Old 10-19-2004, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by beyondhelp
This is something I have read quite a bit about. I am hoping I can take it slow and see how that works out.

I mentioned that I would like to pick up some non computer type side work and he was receptive to that. I wouldn't want to learn to paint on someone's "baby". Most of the time they're more concerned with making it look good enough to sell. I have seen some of his more precise work and I know he has the skills but the quick stuff seems to pay well.

The way I look at it, anything I learn will at least help me when I can afford to actually start my project. ( 472 cad powered s-10 anyone?)

Thanks for the input.

Working on cars is fun and can be a relief of stress. It can also give you a sense of self worth through your accomplishments. I have only a small bit of advice. In the partial quote above, you stated that you would not be interested in painting someones's baby, but only doing enough to sell it. When a person is only interested in doing mediocre work as a learning process, it will most likely follow him thereafter only doing mediocre work. Continuing education classes at most community colleges are not usually very expensive. You would gain comprehensive knowledge of the automobile repair business without the chance of a family altercation.

Have you ever tried to live in a home where there are two families living together? There is always tension and usually an explosion of tempers. I would suggest that you go to school, get you certificate and then if you and your stepdad can work together and get along well, then go for it. Good luck to you and I hope that everything comes up roses for you.

Al
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Old 12-08-2004, 07:44 PM
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Career change

Sounds like a good plan to me,I didn`t work a jobs I didn`t like for long found something I liked and it turned out great. you can`t be afraid to take a chance,might be the best thing you ever did.
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Old 12-08-2004, 11:22 PM
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take my word of advice, stick with computers, if Id have choice right now id go in computer field right now, Im in body work and its ****ty, people dont wanna pay **** these days for job, and I have to work HARD to make my buck. Sorry to discourage you, but stick with computers man
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Old 12-09-2004, 06:04 AM
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One of the hardest things to do in autobody is please a cheap customer...you can spend lots of time explaining what they will get for their money, and in the end still do too much for too little. Tough way to make a living. Pick your customers wisely! Make sure they understand what is involved...either lots of time and money, or lots of compromises.....or a combination of both.

By the way cheap customers come in all flavors from rich to poor. Check out the way your stepdad deals with people, and think about yourself in that position....I had a small body shop, and would never consider it again.

John
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