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Old 02-22-2006, 01:00 AM
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looking for info on opening a shop in a small town

hey whats going on
i have had a long Passion for cars all my life and somewhere down the road i have gotten side tracked with motorcycles i have been working for local cycles shops for the past 9 years and im feeling its time i need to do my own thing
what i want is a custom bike and car shop and a place for the local hotrodders and bikers to hang out after shop hours
i remember as a little guy my dad would take me to this shop in his 41 willies coup a few towns down the road from where we lived i Iowa and they would talk about what happened at the drag races last weekend
i would like to have something like that
back to the shop im looking for info on getting a shop going if you have any info please let me know i could us any help i can get good or bad
im going to do this one way or another
i will not work for someone ever again
i am tired of someone putting there name on my work

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Old 02-22-2006, 09:21 AM
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Starting a shop isn't really all that hard, just some bucks to get you started,, staying in business is the hard part,, but if you handle things right from the start, and give the customer what he pays for, there shouldn't be any problem,, as far as a place for buddys and whoever else wants to hang out and B.S,, thats great, as long as its done AFTER work hours,, We have people hanging out nearly every sat, but believe me ,you are going to have guys dropping by DURING work hours and that will cut into your productivity really quick,, I have people dropping by almost every day, some are complete strangers, just wanting to talk cars, so that means that I stop and bs with him,, this cost me money, then I have to work later just to get my days work done,, My son's buddys were making a habit of dropping by during work hours, then he would stop what ever he was doing and talk to them, alot of them wanted him to work on their cars ,, change their oil, what ever, then drive off with out even thinking about payment,, this cost him his wages, and I was stuck with the used oil and filter and empty oil bottles that you have to pay to dispose of,,, We finally had to put a stop to it,,,, Bench racing and general B.s should be done on a specific day, that the shop will be closed , make that clear right from the start,, post a sign if need be, Saturdays are B.S. day,, just keep a eye on things,, they have a tendancy to walk off,,, some people are not the friends they pretend to be,,, I don't want to sound like a grummpy ole man here,, but It will happen if you let it,,,, good luck Bill
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:38 AM
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Bill pretty much nailed things....ya gotta remember "Buddys is buddys, business is business" Not sayin' that you can't help someone out if they are truly in need...however, you will acquire more "friends" than you can shake a stick at. After hours at the shop is your call, remember liability is in effect 24 / 7 on premises. One day a week for a general bench racing session works...but remember, after everyone leaves, the light bill, water bill etc. all go on, and you have generated no income to cover this, not to mention, another day in the shop for you, not a day off work. What you are wanting to do is a cool idea...ya just gotta remember the little things will bite ya the hardest, when you least expect them

just my .02
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:39 AM
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Bill P is telling the truth if you let something start it is very hard to change back. How small of a town are you looking to open in? Do yo plan on hiring help? There is a lot of insurances needed to work on the publics cars or motorcycles. (very expensive). I have owned my auto repair business for the last 8 years and its been mostly good. But don't forget that being the owner, that the buck stops with you. If you would like, PM me and we can talk about most any thing you will need to know.

Steve
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:29 PM
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i hear you guys with the buddy and hanging out thing i don't want to keep the doors open all night and get stuck with unneeded bills and tools growing legs and the real big one the pist off town cops when peaple meet at my place for there street races
here is what is going on i worked for a friend for 4 years at his shop he had a good shop in this town and got to the point that he didn't want to own a shop any more so he sold his shop to this other guy who already had a shop about fifty miles away his other shop wasn't doing so well because he didnt have a good service dept and his techs where hacks
the shop i worked for that was being sold had a great service department we tried our best to make every customer feel like he was are one and only customer
the shop owner and my self built a good pr for are department and are work.
well it has been six months since the shop has been under a new owner and the old shop owner and my self are now the service techs for this new shop we are unhappy with the way the place is ran and how our customers are being ripped off by the new owner with his over priced parts and the rude ness of his employees
well as of last Monday they fired me calling it a layoff telling me that business is to slow for to techs well the same day they let me go the other tech who was my boss gave them a two week notice
so in two weeks they will have no techs
i just want to have something that is mine first of all and second i need to be able to take care of my customers they are un happy with the fact that they don't have a place that the can take there bikes to and feel like they arnt getting riped off and not have to worry about there front wheel fallen off the next time they ride a wheelie
i have about 20,000 to start up with
i don't know if i should rent a building in town or should i do the work out of my shop at the house i am building a shop at my house that is 30ft by 40ft witch wold be enough room for me
i just don't know if haven a shop at my house is worth saven money
or spending 2000 on rent in town on a shop so no one can find me on my days off
i guess if it becomes a problem at the house i could always get something in town
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:49 PM
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RB,,, If I were in your position I would definitely start the business up at home, That way you can get away with out having to pay rent, utilities, and if you are going to work alone for starters, you can save some money by not having to pay comp insurance, or insurance on the rental building,and utilities, by moving into a commercial building you will have to do twice as much work to meet the overhead, plus it would be a good trial to see if the customer base is there.. Is this town large enough to support 2 or 3 shops like you want to open?? do you have a parts supply account? if you can operate by paying cash for your parts, will save you some money,, But Customer satisfaction is the very most important thing,, word of mouth is the best advertisement,, and it don't cost anything, build the reputation first and you will grow from there, good luck with your business future Bill
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Old 02-22-2006, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
as far as a place for buddys and whoever else wants to hang out and B.S,, thats great, as long as its done AFTER work hours,, We have people hanging out nearly every sat, but believe me ,you are going to have guys dropping by DURING work hours and that will cut into your productivity really quick,,
Rule of thumb at the nephews place....you come in to visit and stand around for more than 5 minutes...you better have a wrench in your hand doing something productive on a customers car.
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Old 02-22-2006, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin45
Rule of thumb at the nephews place....you come in to visit and stand around for more than 5 minutes...you better have a wrench in your hand doing something productive on a customers car.
In Michigan we have to be a licensed mechanic to work on customer cars (legally) so no one but myself or my techs ever fix customer cars. The only thing I have let a friend do is help push a car in the building.



Quote:
i don't know if i should rent a building in town or should i do the work out of my shop at the house i am building a shop at my house that is 30ft by 40ft witch wold be enough room for me
i just don't know if haven a shop at my house is worth saven money
or spending 2000 on rent in town on a shop so no one can find me on my days off
i guess if it becomes a problem at the house i could always get something in town
I say go rent the building in town, I never let my business mix with my personal life. Work is work and home is home (not to say that I don't spend more time at the shop than I do at home) Plus if you work out of your house it may never feel like you do anything other than side jobs. Plus in my area you cannot work out of a residential area.

Steve
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:08 PM
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well i guess one good thing is that im in southern Oklahoma and the laws here are pretty light and since i live in the country about 8 miles from town i don't have much to worry about unless i do something stupid like paint a car out side or start dumping waist on the ground my naibor lives about 8th mile from me and he has a diesel shop at his place he does a lot of repairs on semis and trackers and those things are nasty
i don't have any vender's that im set up with yet but i do have a shop in Texas that will cut me a good deal on parts for now until i get set up my self but most vender's want you to have store front to be a dealer and that sux
but these guys only want 10% over cost and free shipping over 300 bucks
so ill just have to pay shipping when times are slow or wait to make orders once a week im also thinking that i should charge about 50% less on labor most shops in this area charge from 55 to 70 per hour im thinking of about 35 to 40 an hour but mostly bidding them by the job and using the hourly rate as of something to go by as per how much something should go for

now i just need to get my shop finished so i can do some work
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:46 PM
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Own shop

One thing to consider is having a shop at home you are ALWAYS at work. People will stop on Sundays whenever they feel like it. I have had a knocks on the door at 1 and 2 in the AM already. If you can afford it rent a shop elsewhere. I think if I had it do over I would.
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:37 PM
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Doc here,

Definitely Rent a shop..

It will give you an Arie of Professionalism, not only to your clients but in the WAY you conduct business..

At home , Work orders Don't seem to get generated, Time seems LESS important, Your Accounting never seems to get done.., and the Work area seems to look like the earth after the Big bang theory..

This is not saying you do this..WE all do..At home we take the attitude that This is my castle and I can do as I please here..and things get pushed To the rear..Customers Won't put up with attitude...

At your own Shop, you will find it easier to set up a computerized Accounting system, You will find it a mandate to generate a work order for each vehicle / Client and follow up with a road test.

You will find it easier to set up a daily schedule..."X" amount of time to do books, "X" amount of time to return Phone calls and order parts, "X" amount of time to spend on the floor..And the like.

Accounts are easier served as "Cash and Carry" than as "let it slide until payday" with the informality of home..(and a good hustler can sense this and talk you into it..)

Your Banking is done daily , instead of pocketing that $500 cash and thinking "I'll Attend to it later" Only to find, you gave Momma $100 to shop intermingling you money and shop money, and now your $100 short..AND the Accounts payable IS due!

You'll Have a Business Address, and A Business Phone, AND a Business listing in the Yellow pages..Something SBC won't do without proof of a business.

There will be no Insurance confusion Issues, If a Car is damaged, The Business Insurance Say's Call your home owner's and the Home owner's Say's your not supposed to be operating a Business From your home with your current policy.

You will Have A City business license to a Business address (Which will be required anyway) As well as a State Board of Equalization "C" Number, (Tax permit, and No tax status on material purchased from your jobber's) You Can Become part of the BBB locally which speaks well for you.

You Will Have the Ability to Run Items that are 3 Phase like Compressors and paint booths, and just about anything you need, and at a better Energy rate (usually) , Something You CAN NOT get in a residential zone without paying huge bucks to get the taps and drops installed.

Your Home becomes LESS of an liability in any litigation, as it happened in a Shop..Not your residence..(Not to say you couldn't lose it in litigation, but it's just another step removed and isolated, and you can protect it against loss better.)

Every Month is another TOTAL write off on your quarterlies, including Energy, water, Garbage, Something that may not be allowed 100% from a home business.

As far as Bud's Hanging around cracking a Beer , even AFTER hours..As much as we'd all like to do that..It is a HUGE problem! YOU are responsible for their actions During and after the Fact..Your Bud gets a little too tipsy, and on the way home hits a school bus on the way to a football game..YOU can be held liable for it!

We Solved the problem..A good Bro of mine owns a Bar, I sometimes Bounce for him when he has employee issues..Instead of gathering at the shop, we meet there on a specified night, and the drinks are half price..Nothing gets broken, paint scratched , or anybody hurt..and Taxi service all night. Rod's and Scoots all lined up in the front..Even the Cops Stop by to check The KEWL rides out..

I can go on and on about the advantages of a shop, but I think you get the idea..

Just my 0.2 worth.

Doc
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Old 02-24-2006, 06:35 PM
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Doc Well put.

Steve
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Old 02-25-2006, 01:39 PM
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One piece of advice, if you are not experienced as a bookkeeper find a good bookkeeping/tax person to advise you on setting up your record keeping system. Just starting out you don't want to spend a lot of money on this, but if you don't keep proper track of your expenses you will pay more to Uncle Sam than you need to. My wife went into the real estate business a few years ago -- I have been in accounting and finance for a number of years -- getting her to just keep the receipts so I can figure things out was a chore.
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Old 02-25-2006, 04:43 PM
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Doc here,

Also, there are many Small firms that produce Auto generated tax and accounting programs for new and small businesses.

The sell and install a Hard drive with their proprietary software installed on it..that will install in any standard computer.

A USB port will fit into a standard electronic cash register, and the software automatically does the accounts REC/Payable, and taxes for you, just hit the readout button at the end of the day and verify actual money/receipts to the total and your good to go..

If you DO go this route, don't do as did I, get a second hard drive for backup, If the first fails you can just shift gears with no data loss..Otherwise , you have to start from day 1 when you install the drive..Oh..and don't use the computer for anything else..(keep it off the Internet!)

Doc
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:52 PM
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nissan

I had a big business doing everything automotive for 11 years things were a blurr. learn how to manage. you will have more friends than you can count,when things go bad you can count the good friends on one hand. I spread myself to thin, I had show cars,race cars ,motorcycles,auto repair,auto painting,auto inspection,auto salvage,comercial fleet trucks,ect.when ever there was a paint job I had to spray because the customer requested it,even tho I had other empleyees that could do it.don't put your business phone in your house,or give out your cell phone #.I worked 24-7,on call all the time.make it fun,keep it fun,an don't get burnt out.good luck.I am in business again but on my terms.
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