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Old 07-19-2005, 10:35 AM
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Can you make a business out of it?

I just recently started really painting other people's cars (I've been painting a while but just my cars and friends' cars) and I have all the equipment and a friend with a paint booth that said he'd let me use anytime there isn't already a car in it. I didn't use to like to do bodywork but the more I've done it the easier it has become (I've found "tips and tricks" along the way) and I'm starting to like bodywork along with painting. What I'm asking is, can a person actually make a business out of this? I would like to get my own paint booth eventually too, that would help wouldn't it?

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Old 07-19-2005, 11:14 AM
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Yes, you can definately make a business out of this kind of work. Most technicians earn a decent wage. If you want to make big money you'll need to own your own shop(s) with a workforce and a large work volume.
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Old 07-19-2005, 11:20 AM
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Business courses

I know I know you would rather be out in the garage painting..but take some business courses at the local community college so you learn how to track expenses..time consumed to do certain tasks..basic bookeeping..sales..dealing with people..

These are all things overlooked by a lot of techs who would like to have their own business..they like the car work they just do not want to do the business stuff to be successful..

Lessons hard learned

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Old 07-19-2005, 04:55 PM
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There is a Huge difference between working on friends or family member cars on the side, than being open to the public. Also a lot of different costs involved. Everybody wants a piece of Your profit. Along with other problems...

Steve
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:10 PM
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That's my real question Steve, was if you could get past those issues by yourself as a one man bodyshop.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:46 PM
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I'd suggest working at a REAL shop and get the personal experience of working for the "Public". BIG difference than buddy's. They bring Lawyers instead of just wanting to whip you tail.
It also depends on where you are in relation to the "Law" who will eventually pay you a visit to see if your Compliant. Big City,Big Problems,Small Town,Smaller Problems.

You can make a GOOD living but some investigation into the big picture would be wise to know what your up against. Better to find out now than later.
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:35 AM
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Yes it can be done...takes alot of the fun out of it though..

Heres a sample of those in autobody stress

http://www.autobodyonline.com/discussion/

best to keep it a hobby
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:30 AM
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I would also recommend that you work for someone else as Bee4me had suggested. I own my own auto repair shop (not body shop), and yes you can do it AT FIRST but it will not be easy. I worked my own place for aprox 1 year until I could not get everything done. (my wife would come in on Saturdays and do all paper work). Its hard to run a 1 man show for any length of time. If you need to test drive a car, all the garage doors have to be shut and locked, forward you calls, put a sign on the door (so not to miss any customers) ect.. All of this sounds like no problem until you are doing it 10 times a day. then if your in the middle of a job and the phone rings or a customer comes in, you have to stop and help them, this is one of the biggest slow downs that I had to deal with. But if you want something bad enough you will get it done. My suggestion is this= When it comes time to hire help, find the most qualified guy (or gal) that you can. Learn from me that hiring a young teenage will not help or make you money in the long run. If you find a good tech, he will cost you a lot of money, but he will also make you a lot of money. I would rather pay a good guy $30.00 per hour (and I do)that can turn 50+ hours a week than a less qualified tech $15.00 per hour that only turns 20 hours per week. If you would like more insight on this I would love to give you more advice.(PM me if you would like to talk) Sorry for the long post but there is much more on this subject that I could say. Good luck to you.

P.S. I have been in business for my self know for 7+ years and going strong.

Steve
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:54 PM
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It is possible, but running a business is more than repairs, body work, whatever your service is. There is the book keeping, ordering, maintenance on the shop, and equipment, waiting on the customers, the customers is the one that will pay your paycheck.

My advise is, work in a body shop for a while, become proficient, master your trade. If you still enjoy what you do than you can start your own business. Your reputation will be more established If you don't find as rewarding than you can move on fairly easy. If you have most of your tools from working in a shop, that will be more appealing, if you need to finance any part of a new venture. The less you have to finance the more appealing to the bank you would be.

I own two business, neither one is based on automotive industry, but the principles are the same
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Old 07-24-2005, 06:08 AM
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you can make far better money doing it on the side. when you jump in full tilt it becomes a JOB !. it's go big or stay on the porch. find a nitch to fall into. as in specializing in vettes or something. you cant run a body shop on tech knowledge. the bez end of it will eat you alive unless you know how or hire someone who can handle the books.it's business not painting. good luck which ever route you take
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Old 07-24-2005, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shine
you can make far better money doing it on the side. when you jump in full tilt it becomes a JOB !. it's go big or stay on the porch. find a nitch to fall into. as in specializing in vettes or something. you cant run a body shop on tech knowledge. the bez end of it will eat you alive unless you know how or hire someone who can handle the books.it's business not painting. good luck which ever route you take
There's a lot to this, burning the midnight oil, if you're working on the side when you're young the money will pour in like rain, but eventually the days go by faster as you age and time becomes more important. Specializing in high quality work and establishing a reputation for perfection will keep your schedual full but there's no increase in profits unless the hourly wage is higher for the specialty work you provide. In other words if you're charging $40 per hour to work on vettes. etc, and the shop down the street charges $40 per hour for used car boogerups the profits are the same per hour worked. The stress level will usually be much higher working on high dollar cars vs. the used car lot's junk- so make sure you're charging what your work is worth. From what I see, usually the best technicians are not good businessmen and usually struggle, I've seen a lot of shops close the doors only because of poor management.

I once worked in a 21 man shop that serviced 4 dealerships, largest shop North of Milwaukee with profits high enough to support the dealerships when sales were down. The owner of the dealerships would cook steaks for everyone once a month just to show thanks for the profits turned. Eventually management changes, shop relocation, and poor decisions decreased production and workload and technicians started walking, after three years the shop went from 21 employees down to 3 then eventually closed it's doors-all because of bright ideas. I was the 6th person to leave that shop and watched the amazing downhill slide from 21 to 3 then 0.

SkyMan, if you like doing this work that's a big plus, many technicians really don't like what they're doing. Your best bet as many have already suggested, work in a few shops and learn, learn, learn. Make sure this is what you want to do, get a good plan together then strike out on your own while you're young, continue to build the business from there.
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Old 07-25-2005, 08:15 AM
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[QUOTE=shine]you can make far better money doing it on the side. when you jump in full tilt it becomes a JOB !. it's go big or stay on the porch. find a nitch to fall into. as in specializing in vettes or something. you cant run a body shop on tech knowledge. the bez end of it will eat you alive unless you know how or hire someone who can handle the books.it's business not painting. good luck which ever route you take[/QUOTE


You can make far better money doing it on the side. This is true until you get caught for tax evasion. All side $$ should be claimed on your taxes. What if you get hurt in your garage at home, hurt bad enough that you cant work at a normal job? Then what? Who pays your bills? Who supports your family? Side jobs look great because of the $$ but if you step back and look at what YOU have to loose if something goes wrong, well its not that great. I hear all the time that Joe Shmo can do this job for $x amount. Lets see Joe Shmo do this job for that little $$$ if he is paying all the taxes and insurance's, payroll and everything else that is needed to run a legit shop!!!

Steve
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Old 07-25-2005, 12:08 PM
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I've done quite a few side jobs, but don't think I will do anymore. Alot of stress doing work on someones car hopeing you don't wreck something. And the money isn't really that great, at least hasn't been for me. The type of customers you typically get are the ones that are too much of a cheapskate to bring it in to a shop to get the work done. The type of customers that would use maaco but want that price but the paint to stay on more then a month. The only time I feel I've made out is doing more collision repair type of work, prep a used hood, blend into the fenders and be done in a few days. The complete paint job and doing a bunch of bodywork to get custom parts to fit got burnt too bad so I most likely won't take a job like that again unless the person has plenty of money to burn and isn't worried about the cost. Its tough either way, costs a lot to start/run a business and a lot of work to stay in business, and can't really advertise and try to keep everything quiet doing it on the side. Its much more satisfying just to work on your own stuff. I still would like to try running my own shop, If it were easy I would have done it years ago. In fact thats when I should have tried was back when I had quite a bit of money saved up and was laid off from a job. I guess all you could do is give it a shot, and don't be too concerned if you fail. If you can manage the time to keep a job to keep money coming in and also run a shop that would be ideal, but would be very hard accomplishing both and do good work at both.
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Old 07-25-2005, 01:36 PM
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if you dont pay your taxes your going down anyway. most young guys jump into running a shop before they a clue of whats involved. for the most part you can make better money working a job and doing it on the side. you have a steady income to live on and your side work is the bonus. without the headaches of running a Buessines. as time goes on you'll develop a clientele and a little more savy about running a business. i've been self employed since my 20's and it aint no cake walk. you have to hit the ground running every morning because you have to make it work. no calling in sick . very few days off if any. bad or no insurance. you dont go home because it's 5:30 .theres a lot to it. take your time and do your homework. you'll be glad you did.
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Old 07-25-2005, 02:10 PM
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I wasn't talking about paying taxes on your 9-5 job, I was talking about the side jobs at home. I have not found 1 person that pays taxes on the side job money. And I also have been in business for myself, since I was in my 20's, and I was just a plain auto tech with no business degree of any kind. It takes a lot of hard work, lots of time and common sense, to run a business. Don't get me wrong a business degree would be nice. But a business degree does not mean you are good at business. I also think you need youth on your side to open your own place, just because it takes so much time and energy to get it up and off the ground. So I say to any young person that wants to take the plunge to go for it, Your only young once.

Steve
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