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Old 03-10-2013, 06:28 AM
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What's your best advice

I wanted to start this to see what kind of responses I would get from all of the experienced people here and maybe help a few new people in the process. From your experience in the hobby or business, what would be the one piece of advice you would give someone new to the hobby/business. Now mind you I don't mean to seem brass here, but if the best advice you can give is "run", "don't do it" or something negative please just don't comment. I am looking for positive and helpful advice to hopefully help some people who are new to the scene or considering a project or career in the trade.

My advice would to research and get as much information as possible about whatever you are working on before you start, and take a LOT of pictures and notes during tear down. Keep all bolts, screws and nuts in "zip-lock" bags labeled with where they came from. You will be glad you did when reassembly time comes even if you are gonna replace all of them.

Kelly

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Old 03-10-2013, 06:37 AM
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Well, after I posted this I noticed that someone dug up a three year old thread along the same lines, so I offer my apologies, I guess this has already been covered......

Kelly
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:26 AM
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I haven't read the 3 year old thread so I'll post my 2 cents worth...

What you mentioned in your first post is very good advice...I remember my first build and thought I could remember where everything went without tagging and bagging all the parts and pieces I took off of a 1968 Nova...After way to many hours of trying to figure out where everything went I finally figured out that it would be cheaper for me to buy a donor car, just so I would know how to put it back together...I learned quickly that it's much cheaper to tag and bag things...to bad I didn't learn quick enough...LOL...it cost me over $1,000 for my mistake.

The other thing that I would recommend to anyone that is starting out in this business or any business for that matter is to get an education in management. Learn what's all involved in running a business. That guy sitting in the chair behind the computer screen, in a well run business, could be the difference in making the business profitable and going bankrupt. More money can be lost by not knowing where the money goes than can be lost on the shop floor. Even if your a one man show, learn the paper end as well as you have learned the technical end and by doing so you are giving yourself an edge, an edge for survival.

How many excellent tech's are out there that try to get into business for themselves only to find out that within 2 years they're broke and have lost their initial investment as well. Goodyear gave me a great, learn on the job, education and the business principals that I learned 30 plus years ago still apply today.

One more piece of advice is when your looking at making any purchase for your business analyse if it's a want or a need. The way I've done this is by taking the time to figure out how long the payback is on a piece of equipment and many people would be surprised that some pieces of equipment the payback is way to long and it's more cost effective to farm out the job that that piece of equipment would perform.

Ray
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:15 PM
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Yep, my advice is similar to Ray's, what you have described about tagging your stuff, God yes, but that is what happens when you work on cars, you asked a question about business or hobby and those are two completely different things.

As a hobby, they actual working on cars your advice on marking and tagging stuff is about as good advice as you can give and probably one of the most important and most overlooked things in working on cars. With the often misconception on when it will be put back together it could be YEARS before that part goes back on and I don't care who you are, you can forget how a friggin wheel goes on after a few years let alone some complicated window regulator assy.

On the business side, well, that has nothing to do with bagging and tagging or anything much else that happens in the shop, now we are talking business and business is what happens in the office. Studying business, that is what one needs to do, study business! One of the biggest misconceptions is that auto repair or plumbing or what ever a tradesman gets into,he feels that business is unique and it's NOT. Business is business I don't care if it's a liqueur store, car wash, yard maintenance, or a cat house, sales are sales and business is business. Study it and have a good understanding of it before you get into trouble.

Second on that regard, PAY YOUR TAXES! When you are a sole proprietor you are responsible for your taxes. No one is taking them out of your paycheck, YOU pay them quarterly or monthly or yearly depending on how you set it up. It is VERY easy to not pay them and you can get into a BUNCH of trouble very quickly! I know all too well what I am talking about in this regard. Open a savings account to deposit your taxes in it or pay them monthly but PAY YOUR TAXES!

Brian
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:48 PM
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Very true Martin, I guess I did post a broad spectrum and thank you for making the differences obvious. I agree completely that business and work are two completely different subjects, as well as doing things for a hobby. I like what a industry veteran said on another forum "the biggest reason for failure is people treat the businesses money like it is their money", and you have to keep the two separate. It is hard sometimes to be a business person and an employee to yourself at the same time.

Kelly
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Old 03-10-2013, 02:17 PM
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My advise...Dont get in over your head....I know its great to learn new stuff, but I see all the time where a newby will go whole hog into a project and get frustrated by it and give up.......If you dont have some experience and access to the proper tools, start with a small task and work your way up.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:00 PM
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On the business side two things you have to learn,one good English and Math. I don't care what you do in life, you need math in whatever you do. And if you are going to work with people you have to be able to speak good English, none of this street talk. You will get a lot farther.

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Old 03-10-2013, 09:14 PM
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On the business side two things you have to learn,one good English and Math. I don't care what you do in life, you need math in whatever you do. And if you are going to work with people you have to be able to speak good English, none of this street talk. You will get a lot farther.

bob


And work on spelling too, a repair order shouldn't have misspelt words and it should be legible!

Sorry guys but YES it does matter. There are those who will say it doesn't that your work speaks for it's self and that is all that matters, if that was the case your doctor and lawyer wouldn't bathe, yes it matters that you look like you have good business sense as much as you have good repair skills. People don't feel comfortable leaving their car somewhere that the guy can't read the repair manual.

And yes you can get better at this stuff, just because I sucked in school and my writings looked like a caveman when I left didn't mean I couldn't work at it, just as I did body repair!

Brian
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
Yep, my advice is similar to Ray's, what you have described about tagging your stuff, God yes, but that is what happens when you work on cars, you asked a question about business or hobby and those are two completely different things.

As a hobby, they actual working on cars your advice on marking and tagging stuff is about as good advice as you can give and probably one of the most important and most overlooked things in working on cars. With the often misconception on when it will be put back together it could be YEARS before that part goes back on and I don't care who you are, you can forget how a friggin wheel goes on after a few years let alone some complicated window regulator assy.

On the business side, well, that has nothing to do with bagging and tagging or anything much else that happens in the shop, now we are talking business and business is what happens in the office. Studying business, that is what one needs to do, study business! One of the biggest misconceptions is that auto repair or plumbing or what ever a tradesman gets into,he feels that business is unique and it's NOT. Business is business I don't care if it's a liqueur store, car wash, yard maintenance, or a cat house, sales are sales and business is business. Study it and have a good understanding of it before you get into trouble.

Second on that regard, PAY YOUR TAXES! When you are a sole proprietor you are responsible for your taxes. No one is taking them out of your paycheck, YOU pay them quarterly or monthly or yearly depending on how you set it up. It is VERY easy to not pay them and you can get into a BUNCH of trouble very quickly! I know all too well what I am talking about in this regard. Open a savings account to deposit your taxes in it or pay them monthly but PAY YOUR TAXES!

Brian
Brian, so true. But as an ex shop owner with many employees the big deal is is all the emplyoee taxes---fed, state, FICA, SS, workmens comp and so on. When you get big enough (and I was considered small) They all had to to be to be deposited in a federal bank every 15 days.
Sorry, workmens comp had to be paid seperatly.

I had to pay my estimated taxes every 90 days. I also had to match FICA and SS for every employee

If my estimated personal taxes were not enough (who knows how much your shop will make by the end of the year) I would have to write checks before jan 1 to deduct the expenses.
Owning a shop and a tow truck business, I could write off 10 grand in the first year for a 30 grand tow truck, then the other 20 grand would be depreciated over 5 years. After 3 years the trucks would be toast.

.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:05 AM
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You need to be close to a large poulation center.

You need the support of your wife. Without it, you may have additional struggles.

Start part time, so you can establish a reputation, and your name becomes known.

Good communication with customers. You and they need to understand what your agreement.. and job details are. Keep them informed... and get the job done as quick as possible, or you will soon be out of business. It's really about being responsible for your work.

Be diversified! The market is always moving around, and you can find out that you are suddenly tied to one trend that is dying off.

Walk away from jobs that don't pay enough... (but with respect for that stingy customer.) :-) In the long run, you CANNOT afford to work for them.

Stand behind your work, no matter what your lawyer says you can avoid!

Realize that you will work harder than ever. If that is a problem... punch a time clock for someone else.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:43 AM
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Another item I feel is important is to have a clean and neat reception area where you meet and great your customers. Many people feel that a neat and tidy front office is a sign of organization and are more apt to leave their prized possession with you if they are comfortable when they first meet you. Also, when you invite a customer into your work area, make sure that the mess on the shop floor is today's mess, not last weeks or last months mess. It's easy to tell, water stained, dusty masking paper piled up in the corner is not today's mess, damaged fenders, hoods and doors piled in another corner is not today's mess. It's a shop, there is some leeway...but don't push that envelope.

The days of stepping over a transmission and a German Shepard to get to the manager are long gone.

Ray
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:50 AM
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My input would be pay attention to details..learn to look at how something works so you can make adjustments to make your work better or faster or easier..

Sam
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:31 PM
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I am really happy with all the great advice being posted in this thread. Hopefully some of the new comers will read through this thread and be able to make good decisions and be successful. Thanks guys for all the great comments, keep them coming. Sometimes there is no replacement for experience.

Kelly
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by carolinacustoms View Post
Sometimes there is no replacement for experience.

Kelly
So true Kelly, it's probably the best teacher of all, experience...that doesn't just mean getting better at repairing or restoring vehicles...it can also mean learning from mistakes.

Ray
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:56 PM
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So true Kelly, it's probably the best teacher of all, experience...that doesn't just mean getting better at repairing or restoring vehicles...it can also mean learning from mistakes.

Ray

That's one of the reasons I wanted to start this thread, with hopes it will take off and be helpful to someone. There are a lot of experienced people here, and we have all made some mistakes along the way. ( Let's face it, if you have never done anything wrong, you have never done anything.) I hope that someone will read this post and take the information within and apply it to improve there success, production, better their business, etc. Thanks again to everyone for posting, I hope it continues.

Kelly
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