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-   -   Part-time customizers need advice (http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/part-time-customizers-need-advice-92697.html)

Dreadlord 06-29-2006 01:47 AM

Part-time customizers need advice
 
This is for the people that maintain a full-time job and work on cars as a hobby for extra cash at night or on the weekends.... Me and a buddy want to start to do this to bring in a little more cash and enjoy what we love to do. My question is how well does this work and how do you guys operate? Such as policies on work and payment issues. and do you have customers that are weary becasue you work out of your garage or a shed? any advice would be greatly appriciated.

OneMoreTime 06-29-2006 06:50 AM

well do one at a time and get it done and out before you commit to the next one..It is a cash deal here..and keep track of time and expense so you learn for the next one..

Best to have some specialty that you do and do well and if you are not absolutely sure you can do the job pass on it..

Just my take...

Sam

Dreadlord 06-30-2006 03:12 PM

anyone else out there have any advice? thank you Sam for your input

rj57 06-30-2006 05:27 PM

Well.......... this is just from my own experience and I never did it as a business but I did do a fair amount.

Why did I stop? People will blame you for something you never touched. And I got tired of it.

About the last time I did work for someone other then me (and my girlfriend, parents, her parents, a couple buddies, and my sisters) was a cousin of mine. He wanted his 1980 Monte re-painted. He offered to help with the work. But I never saw him.

I spent weeks on the car getting it ready for paint.

Then he & one of his brothers came over one evening and got the car.

My cousin did offer to pay me for my time. $50.
I told him I spent a lot of time on the car up to that point and I felt he owned more. Plus he didn't hold up his end of the deal by helping out. A whole later he did cough up another $100 but that only paid my time for sanding on the car. Not for any body work or priming.

He let his brother paint the car and within one year the red paint turned white as snow.

After this I swore off working on other's car.

:nono: :P

FreeRider 06-30-2006 06:23 PM

family's cars
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rj57
Well.......... this is just from my own experience and I never did it as a business but I did do a fair amount.

Why did I stop? People will blame you for something you never touched. And I got tired of it.

About the last time I did work for someone other then me (and my girlfriend, parents, her parents, a couple buddies, and my sisters) was a cousin of mine. He wanted his 1980 Monte re-painted. He offered to help with the work. But I never saw him.

I spent weeks on the car getting it ready for paint.

Then he & one of his brothers came over one evening and got the car.

My cousin did offer to pay me for my time. $50.
I told him I spent a lot of time on the car up to that point and I felt he owned more. Plus he didn't hold up his end of the deal by helping out. A whole later he did cough up another $100 but that only paid my time for sanding on the car. Not for any body work or priming.

He let his brother paint the car and within one year the red paint turned white as snow.

After this I swore off working on other's car.

:nono: :P

I have done a lot of work out of a 1-2 car garage,mostly overall paint jobs,fix rust & small dents,not counting the 18yrs I worked in garages & bodyshops. BUT when it comes to family or friends I TRY not to do them, to many problems.

I had a small dealership that mostly wanted a car to look good, CHEAP,I'd do 1-2 cars a month for him & got more cars then I could handle from other people seeing my work & spreading it around by mouth. I had low overhead so I could usually beat other shops prices.

But then I got away from working on cars because of my divorce(loosing the garage & most of my big tools). Now I just started working on one for myself('41 Ply) but now I'm working like a beginner with just the basic tools, and I never built a hotrod for myself. But I'm trying on a VERY tight budget.

Dreadlord 07-02-2006 03:25 PM

You all have very good advice. anyone else out there have anything to comment on this? i would really like any and all input on this before i make a decision.

ram1 07-03-2006 04:04 PM

I started thinking about doing that just like you are now. All those people offer good advice, and from what I've experienced about painting other peoples cars is that its a touchy situation. You see, the general public don't understand a thing about what we do to prep a vehicle for paint and they have no clue about how expensive the materials are, even simple things like quality tape and sandpaper are priced outrageous now, let alone the price of paint! and all the stuff like primers, so you get the point? People maybe see a car that was refinished by a professional shop and looks beautiful. What they may not realize is that that person spent $4000 or more to have it done. But they will gage your work compared to that. And my biggest problem in my home garage is dust, etc. I cant duplicate a booth sprayed car! Another thing they expect is to have their car back in 2 or 3 days. Again not realizing the procedures involved to prep work. I try to do this too, but if you look at my latest post, I just did a Buick and screwed up taping it off, so now I have to correct that and it will cost me money now because I figured the price of paint and everything so close to get the job. Now I get to buy 2 quarts of paint and do the sides over so its a big decision. My advice is try it and just jump into it and see how it works for you. You can always go back to what you do now.

Dreadlord 07-04-2006 12:36 AM

Thank you for the advice.. i have a new question now. how do you promote your business to achieve more work? .. not just including body work but a general overall work.

adtkart 07-04-2006 07:26 AM

The best way to promote your work is "word of mouth". Not as much you spreading the word, but your customers doing it. Just remember that an unhappy customer will pass the word alot faster than a happy one.

I work out of my garage at home right now. I do not have a paint booth, and quite frankly, am not very good at painting right now. I have seemed to find almost every problem in painting that you can. A mistake in painting can get very costly, since you will have to eat the additional material costs. If I had my way, I would not do any of the painting, but my customers demand that i paint them. All of my work comes from "word of mouth", because the people know that I will do the best job that I can. I make sure that everyone knows that they will not get a "show quality" paint job. I also do not do "collision" type of work, as the people expect the car to be perfect. Not that it was before it was wrecked.

Keep in mind that pricing paint and materials can be a real trick. The paint color can have a big effect on the price. You also need to be able to determine how much you need, without getting too much, or too little. You will usually be expected to pay for the materials out of your pocket up front, and get it back when the job is done. That can run into several hundred dollars out of your pocket. You also need to make sure that everyone is in agreement on exactly what is being done, and the expectations of the finished product. Is the paint job supposed to be "flawless", or a 5 footer, meaning it looks good from 5 feet?

Think about all of that before you agree on doing any job.

Aaron

ram1 07-04-2006 08:03 AM

Thats exactly true! I agree that if you put nice work out, people will ask who did the work if their considering having something done. As far as advertising goes, you will not be able to compete with the professional shops in the respect that their advertising dollars are probably tax write offs. Just try it, to see how it will work for you and the word will get around. There are hundreds of people out there driving high mileage cars around that they just use for getting to work or running around in. They might be getting some rust or have a few dings that they'd like to have fixed and don't want to spend more having it painted than the car is worth. These cars are what I target. If I can do somebody's work car for maybe $600 or so, doing it myself with no overhead, what is left after expenses I have money to play around with my Roadrunner and my step-side Chevy truck which are the toys that bring me to these posts in the first place. I like to get the high mileage jobs where the guy is happy with an enamel paint job. I get some toy bucks and his work beater is shiny again, both of us are happy. But as the other guy mentioned, I'd never want to get into collision work or even anything with new vehicles as the customer will expect perfection. Also if you can create an account with your body supply shop for materials then you wont need to worry about out of pocket expenses. Just try it and see how it goes, heck maybe this is how some of the big shops started too!

spankys rod shop 07-04-2006 10:11 AM

You folks are all correct! word of mouth will make you or break you. I run a professional hot rod shop, we do not advertise, we do not promote,we do not talk anyone in to bringing projects to our shop. Do a good job, be honest, and you will eventually have more work than you can do. we keep about 6 project vehicles going at one time. these are mostly fairly high-end cars. $50,000 to $100,000 plus cars. it takes a lot of time and hard work, not to mention what I like to call God given talents to become successful in this industry. If you really think you have what it takes to do this, I say go for it! and good luck. By the way I can tell you this, there are a lot more people out there with money and cars that need to be done, than there are good people to do the work. :welcome:

rj57 07-04-2006 11:40 AM

I let a friend paint one of my '57s in late 1985. I even offered more cash, for a better paint job.

What I got back was a car with dust in the paint in several areas. Maybe my problem was I let someone who owned a '57 (and showed it) paint my '57? But I swore he would never touch another one of my cars ever! And he hasn't. A lot had to do with his wife finding out about his girlfriend. So you can guess what happened after that.

When I was a teenager into my 20s I would wash/wax my car. I guess people liked my work cause my Insurance guy offered to put me in business detailing cars. I did his car once or twice for him. I never took this guy up on his offer. Mainly cause my parents did not (and do not) support my car habit. They tolerate it and that's all.

I knew my parents would throw it in my face if I failed, so I never tried.

You never know your boundries unless you try!

If you think you can make a go at working on cars for people, try it.

On advertising......if you have a local cable company in your area, they used to give local merchants a discount on advertising. Or they let you advertise on a local access channel for less money. It's something to think about?

adtkart 07-04-2006 05:03 PM

rj57... Your story about the dust in the paint is exactly why it is important to make sure that all are in agreement on the results. I have seen cars painted in $50,000+ paintbooths and have dust in the paint. Depending on the customer and shop, usually they were sanded and buffed. The fact is that there are very few paint jobs that come out of the booth perfect. Being painted in a garage increases the chances of some trash in the paint. The whole idea is to try to keep it to a minimum, and them remove it after the paint cures. Most people that really want and expect a "show quality" paint job, will not have it painted in someone's garage. Everyone that I paint a car for has seen my work. They are also made aware of my abilities and limitations.

Aaron

Beenaway2long 07-05-2006 09:39 AM

Going into business is the best way to ruin your love for hotrods.


Thats not to say that you can't do this as a sideline for some extra $$. Doing it 40 hours a week(Plus) will turn it into a job, in a BIG hurry!

Trust me. I did it with snowmobiles. Used to ride 3,000 miles a year. Sold them all.

Kallie49 07-05-2006 11:58 AM

I'm of the same view as many of the other posters on this thread, I've been working on cars scince I was knee high to a grasshopper handing dad tools.... I've picked up alot of neat tricks and am one of the only guys here in J-ville using the leading process not composites, I've wworked on my car, my wifes car, my pops car, and one of my best friends sledz all for free....I have many folks ask me if they will chop a top for them, install airbags, frame work, etc etc....I'm sure I could make a decent amount of spare cash in my not so spare time....that said I refuse to work on others vehicles, changing parts on stock vehicles is one thing, just about anyone with mechanical sense can do it, customization is an entire different animal, you can talk to a guy and find out what he wants till your blue in the face, do the job and he/she (pc here) wont be happy with it. why? alot falls down to artists interpretation, why did I choose to put that cut where I put it? of attach item A to item B? cause I thought it was the best way to do it, but that particular person may not think that way....heck even when my best friend wanted me to paint his truck I went over with my gear (twas a simple satin black job) painted the first panel, taught him spray patterns and mixing tech and turned the gun over to him....thata way if he had a prob with the job....he did it (I supported him and his questions I didnt ditch the guy just worked on other things on his sled whilst he was painting...) if I had a dime for ever guy that asked me to french headlights etc etc I'd be fairly wealthy...

The otehr reason I refuse to work on others stuff is a great experience I had in high school, I worked at a collision repair shop, and due to the fact that I was working on everyone elses crap day in and day out I never worked on mine any more....I prefer to leave my hobby as a hobby, I can walk away from my sled whenever I darn well please....its alot harder to walk away from someone elses


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