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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 07-25-2005, 06:31 PM
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I personally think it would be very hard for someone to say I like doing body/paint work and jump into business and make a living.

I like one of Brians "basics" articles on bodyman. It probably does not paint a perfect picture but I feel for the most part his comments on the "artist/craftsman" type vs. the businessman are dead on for the MAJORITY.

I think a guy could make money in a production enviroment with some size and staff. Also, I think the skilled types like badbob can command higher prices for long term projects because of skill and reputation. Not everyone can do this and its not something you can do with a few cars under your belt.

Face it there are hundreds of potential pitfalls in the business. Any one of them can cause a major setback and eat your lunch.

I would say this is a business you need to do part time outside your regular job or work for someone else a minimum of 5 years.

I have no doubt there are hundreds of guys that have made if from scratch but with the cost of materials and the above mentioned pitfalls, I think this is not a venture I would want to start from scratch (pun intended).

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 07-25-2005, 07:11 PM
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The cost of materials isn't the problem. You could start out with a small supply and get the money to cover them upfront by requiring a down payment. Its the insurance on the place, the lease or rent on the place, getting rid of hazardous materials and making sure you have no fire violations that an inspector could come in and fine you for, Its affording a decent spray booth and other expensive tools you would need depending on the work you plan on doing, frame rack, welders, ect. Chances are a bank isn't going to loan money for this unless you get it somehow on your personal credit ( I am out of luck there). Not being established yet how do you convince them you are going to cover all your costs and have a profit to pay back the loan each month. Its getting work done while trying to deal with customers, running to get stuff you need, and keeping records for taxes and getting enough work in and out the door to cover all expenses. So many things you would have to do, or hire someone to do when running a business. On the side I've had people I've done work say they would refer me, but I don't know if I want to continue doing stuff on the side. It is a hassle and without having a nice shop to work in makes it tough also. And unfortunately look at something and think of what it can be, and don't tell myself truely how much work it is going to be. Even on the side you don't get time to enjoy yourself. I just got finished with a car, between that, counciling and meetings, this is the first weekend I will have some time to relax in awhile and have got little money to show for all of it, but I will be happy getting some stuff of my own done that has been put on the backburner for awhile.
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Old 07-25-2005, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenseth17
The cost of materials isn't the problem.
I guess I was not clear with why I said that. I was referring to "pitfalls".

As I am sure most people will agree things can happen. Murphy likes paint booths.

So lets say someone like me that has painted a dozen cars decides I want to get into business. I quote a paint job on a car to a customer that wants a nice red base clear system. Something happens, the paint kicks and there sits $800 worth of paint, sealer, etc. that needs to be sanded off. I bet $800 worth of dust on the floor is probably pretty ugly??

That is what I was referring to. With the price of materials there is no room for learning curves. Sorry I was not more clear about that
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Old 07-25-2005, 08:03 PM
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true. But thats the nice thing about base clear system. Problems in the base can be fixed as you go, and chances are with the clear you won't screw up the whole car and may have to go back and fix a panel or something. With experience you are better off and know tricks of fixing problems if they arise. So unless you messed up on prep, or were having problems with laying the paint and didn't stop and take care of it, chances are the whole car wouldn't have to be redone. Buffing can save some problems also. Not every painter has a perfect paint job all the time so majority of the time it means buffing. For example on the car I just painted I had one spot that the base kept wanting to lift on. Don't know if it was from jambing that area and not sanding all the paint off or what, but knew to sand the base down, and spray the base drier there so not as much solvent to cause lifting. One thing I did relearn. Spray a dang sealer. Even though it was a upper line of paint, deltron, the base covered poorly. Deltron usually covers quickly so thought I would be okay, but sealer would have saved a bunch of time and headaches. Only thing I hate about sealer is that it seems to go further into jambs and other areas farther then the paint does. Just don't buy some chromalusion and mess up. I haven't sprayed any yet, but can just imagine dumping the paint can and having a couple grand laying on the floor.
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Old 07-26-2005, 08:48 AM
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well.......my granpappy always said " it's a sinch by the inch...hard by the yard. " i started in a 1k sqft hole and ended up in 12k sqft. it was 20 years of 7 days a week from first light to bed time. now my shop is at home and only 4k ft. but i'm much happier. it's slower and more rewarding now. do it while your young , your gonna need your youth to get you thru.

first piece if equipment for a new business...... a good accountant !
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Old 07-26-2005, 11:19 AM
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first piece if equipment for a new business...... a good accountant !

************************************************** *

Best advice given on here! Don't think for a second that all CPA'S are created equal because they are not!

Never feel bad firing one and when you hire the next one INTERVIEW a handful of them first before you make a decision.

A CPA can make or break you and most of them will not bring you cigarettes to your prison cell on Sundays.
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Old 07-27-2005, 02:56 PM
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I agree. Get someone qualified to do the books, get a good accountant. I jumped in and opened my own shop 2 yrs ago. No client base to start, just big kahoonas and some energy. I did my own books the first 2 months-{Read the books didn't get done the first 2 months} Bookeeper and accountant saved my skin. Even so my take home pay over the last 2 years has been about 75% of what I would have made working for someone else 40 hrs/wk.{ I put in 50+} Bottom line, I love my business, glad I did it, but it's no cakewalk. I now have an office guy dealing with customers, and 2 guys in the shop with me. Just starting to see profits. Buckle down, be smart, grow slow, and keep your eyes on your wallet. It's worth it, but not for the faint of heart or guys who like too much time at the beach. Oh ya, and if there is a significant other in your life be sure they support you cause if they don't, your wasting your time. They pay as high a price as you do, you'll end up losing the business, the relationship or both.
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Old 07-27-2005, 06:49 PM
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Great advice, it is weird how this thread mentions a good CPA and I found out yesterday that some friends of ours that own their own business for 4 years were ripped off by their accountant... Every year at tax time the accountant said you have broken even on taxes so don't worry about a thing, and was taking money from the company as well... To make a long story short
they owed the state of Kentucky 8000 dollars and tens of thousands in Federal taxes according to another friend of mine last night.... They began making payments... the accountant is in jail... and the guy goes and puts $5000 in his account to buy supplies etc for his company and the time it took to drive home and get on the internet to pay some bills and do his checking the State had taken all $5000 except for one penny......

Take the advice given and make sure you have someone who is top notch taking care of your money
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:01 PM
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If you are serious about going into business fulltime, you had better have some big bucks. With the proper equipment, booths, EPA regulations, permits, etc......you are probably looking at $200,000+ to start out minimum.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:47 PM
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Thats if you want all the fancy equiptment. My old boss couldn't get a loan to buy his shop, so he bought it with money from his credit cards and did some backhoe work ect himself. We had a homemade booth, used frame rack and probably used lift also. After several years in business he got a loan to add on a nice big block building with his living quarters above, radiant heat, which he built himself with help from some friends and traded labor on some things. I seen the place was for sale a few years back, not sure what he is doing now. I am lucky, my sister is an accountant and my cousin is as well, so if I ever did get my own shop would have that part handled. I should have studied more in school. My sister makes far better money then I have, and seems like she always is on vacation. A few weeks ago she got paid to golf through work. My brother is doing pretty good between work and side jobs installing carpeting and flooring as well. I think I picked the wrong proffession to go into, or at least am in the wrong area for it.
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Old 07-30-2005, 06:57 AM
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Doing work for friends and doing work for the public are too completely different animals. You can explain to a friend that the car was not perfect from the factory, and he will understand. A paying customer from the public will expect that piece of crap that he bought new 10 years ago to be perfect, even where you didn't do anything to. One upset customer will hurt you more than ten happy customers will help. Right now I have a customer that has a Ford Focus that thinks he has a BMW. You really want to tell them that you are not the one that bought that piece of crap, and then wrecked it, or even built it in the first place. By the time we are through, this car will be a "custom", as everything will be as close to perfect as possible for that car. Hand forming the fenders to fit perfectly around the headlights, bumper cover, and doors take time. That was not a concern for the manufacturer. The customer assumed that it was perfect when they bought it. Fortunately, I am on salary, because I would be loosing my butt on it. All customers are not like that, but enough of them will really take the fun, and money out of it.
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Old 07-30-2005, 09:10 AM
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Yep, there are always customers like that. I got to watch an old service manager fire a customer a dealership I worked at and that was only for mechanical repairs. We had one at another dealership with a blue mustang that was in the shop every month, and a guy my dad works with is like that with every place he has work done at. I did some work while in tech school on an old cougar for him. Ended up pumping windshield urethane under the reveal moldings because he said they moved a little. Tried explaining to them they are held on by clips and are going to move a little bit if you push on them to no avail. Funny thing is this type of customer is usually one of the cheapest also. They should have to wear a big sign that says I am a dumb ***, don't take work from me.
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Old 07-30-2005, 11:19 AM
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I was looking at a car for body\paint repairs the other day,and the guy who runs the shop across from me comes over and says "do yourself a favour, give this guy $100 and tell him to go away,you'll lose less money" Not all people are worth working for.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:09 PM
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can i get an amen on that one !
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