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  2. Debating Opening 2 Bay Shop, Solo Operation

    A lot of good input in this thread. There are many things to consider. I have a cousin here in Indy that runs his own 1-man shop and does great, has three lifts and a dead bay. He takes vacations etc. He has been doing this 17 years now.
  3. Today
  4. I'd be curious about what your expectations are. What is it you want out of starting your own business? You stated making money for yourself rather than someone else. Have you written a business plan? Have you defined sales expectations? Net profit expectations? Most everyone here has not done this so it's easy for me to stand here and question you. If I had it to do over again I would define my expectations. You said your willing to work 70-80 hours a week.,,,,,,,for what? Think about it. Owning your own business is not about how hard you want to work but about working smarter. Matthew likes to talk about how important car count it....well...car count is great to have but if your not making money on those cars they are useless. How do you plan on charging? Do you know how to properly price out auto repair or do you charge what the guy down the street charges? Have you thought about the time it will take for administrative duties? Do you enjoy administrative duties?
  5. 10 years ago this month I started Fetch & Fix auto repair. I started in my own garage with 1 lift. I payed cash for everything I needed and made due with what I brought in. 5 years ago I moved to a commercial location in a body shop. Business has been good. I was doing a lot of mechanical work for the body shop but that has stopped. Not because of any issues between the businesses but an outside issue. (its a long story but one I never would have imagined when I started). Anyway I explain the work required to my customers, I make the estimate and get the approval, I do the work. It is possible to run the show by yourself but it is hard. I have made a lot of great friends (customers) and enjoy helping them with their car repairs. I pay about $1000 for 1 bay with utilities and I make a living wage. I would love to have a second bay now. I think if you are a good mechanic and just as important a person who likes people you can make a good business. Matthew Lee can help with some marketing ideas and I highly recommend attending an ATI one day shop owner training. It has made a huge difference in my bottom line. Wish I had done that years ago. Ask ATI how you can attend the class for free. You won't regret it. Good Luck. Jeff
  6. I have run across the massive colony of little black ants millions I believe turned the red carpet black in one large area. I also run across a compulsive buyer she once that left meat in her van right front floor stacked up to the seat all these bags were moving and the smell OMG I refused to even touch the van let alone get within 20 ft. of it after initial contact of opening the door on a hot day. But by far the most heart stopping thing was opening a car hood to find a LIVE 😲 opossum under there right beside the hood release handle how I missed getting bit is beyond me getting it out from there turned out to be a whole new ball game and much like the ants it left the car dead
  7. Yesterday
  8. I more meant that there are more people than normal in need of repairs as they're not driving brand new cars. Good point about the dealer's reputation, I hadn't considered that. I'll do some digging.

    Very good info Matthew. New customers every month is very attainable , and in very good numbers. As the car count is a big part of business (you have to get customers in the shop and on the rack) there are many things that go with that to keep them coming and interested in coming back. Yes you got to have not just a program, but one in place that follows through from car count, services writers to parts and labor, to techs and customer service all come together to make a profitable (Team) shop. Shop owners this can be done very effectively . Contact me and I would be glad to discuss options for success.
  10. I do not see that you have much to lose since you are single. I say go for it.
  11. The first thing I would do is check out the reputation of the dealer. If he is shady or unethical, like it or not your reputation will be tied to his. Next, lose that mind set that there isn't much money in the area because everybody drives a 10 year old car. It takes a lot of money to drive a 10 year old car, especially in NY.
  12. You are the Master of your own Destiny

    First let me start by saying I am not a shop owner , I am a mechanic who has worked at the same shop for over 2.5 decades and have been close and very involved with all but one of the 5 owners. I don't think that labor rate and car count are the major things people need to be concerned with. Some of the best weeks we have seen are with a lower car count. I think the most important thing is advertising (now a days probably social media etc is the best way). Getting the best mechanics you can and building a team (family) that work together and want to see the business grow and be successful .. Sure you can raise your labor rate or run some coupon to get more cars in the door, but how long will that last? If you raise your rate higher than your surrounding area you will soon lose even more customers, sure at first you may be making more money but for how long? If you get a bunch of guys in there that aren't so great at diagnostics etc. and rape and pillage for every penny they can , sure you will make more money for a while, but for how long? Once your customer base starts catching on you will start to lose customers. Get the best team you can together and make quality repairs at fair prices, even though there is all that social media etc out there still word of mouth is one of the best free advertising you can get. Treat one person fair and honest they may tell their family and friends now you are getting a bigger base that will stay the course as long as you stay the course. That being said you can live like a king to day and be poor tomorrow or you can live a nice happy life time. The choice is yours.
  13. AndersonAuto, you nailed it! Couldn't have said it better myself! Want better customers?? Educate them. How? Create downloadable reports and include a simple coupon. What kind of reports? The title is everything... and these are just off the top of my head but stuff like: How to Save Money on Auto Repairs 7 Things No Other Mechanic Will Tell You How to Keep Your Car Running Smother and Lasting Longer Without Spending a Fortune on Useless Services I could go on and on - but this type of information doesn't have to be long - just to the point. If you're smart, you make them actual PRINTED REPORTS. I know, I know, I can see the eyeballs rolling now - but when you have a printed report, you'll get full contact information - mailing address and all that. Then, you can justify it by adding something like "I can't post this because my competition is already trying to get me to take this website down - so complete the form (sign up form) and I'll mail it directly to you!" Now, you're looked upon as an expert - you're giving them information. You start to build trust. You eliminate that barrier so people will pick up the phone and call you when they need help. Getting new customers isn't STEP ONE: Send postcard; STEP TWO: Make up bank deposit slip. Has never been that way - will never be that way. The only thing you can bank on is, if you don't have a system to get more new customers, you won't have to worry about your shop in a few years because the big box stores and new car dealers will eat your lunch. (Sorry if this is a little blunt - but really, it's the truth!) Hope this helps! Matthew Lee "The Car Count Fixer" Get "The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing" Got an hour? Join me on this Training Webinar and Fix Your Car Count The Shop Owner's Unfair Advantage FREE Access

    Typically, from all the research and testing I've been involved with (with private clients, etc.) it's between $75 - $150 dollars - and that depends on how you try to do it. Think about it this way. A popular thing shop owners try is to send out postcards. (Probably the worse way to get new customers). Send 1,000 post cards. If you're buying right, that's a $500 investment. Right? Maybe even more Using the $500 cost - and you get 5 customers (which is about 1/2 of 1 percent - about average) each one cost you $100. Then there's the dumb moves where third party marketing companies convince you to send out 5,000 postcards to every house around your shop. Makes sense, right? Well you would think it does. But the fact is, those people don't know you and you're already trying to sell them something. What do YOU do when you get those kind of postcards in YOUR mail? Let me guess... you rush out to buy whatever they're selling, right? I don't think so. The trick to marketing is working with your list - your customers. They know, trust and like you. Then put a customer referral program in place. Get them to send you their friends and co-workers. And no, a customer referral program isn't some lame offer of "I'll give you 10% off your next service if you send me a referral". Doesn't work - won't work - ever, ever! You've got to have a program. I have a client that regularly adds 20-30 new customers every month. Yes, every month. (He giggles when we talk about it) There's more to a customer referral program than some lame offer that never works, but it's a little more than you'll probably want to read here. Hope this helps! Matthew Lee "The Car Count Fixer" Get "The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing" Got an hour? Join me on this Training Webinar and Fix Your Car Count The Shop Owner's Unfair Advantage FREE Access
  15. Definitely a subject that many of us need to seriously consider.
  16. Hi JBach151! Yes, you've got a great opportunity. Here's the best 3 things I can tell you from what you've said: 1) I understand you're a good tech - no question. But that alone will NOT get you more business (car count). Your biggest job - no matter how busy (or not) - is to get business. Get people into your shop. You'll quickly realize that no matter what any account tells you about assets and all that - your shop will become nothing more than a collection of customers. That's it. Because without customers, all the assets aren't worth a damn. Sorry, but that's the truth 2) Start out with every customer - every time - getting full contact information. That means first and last name, mailing address (complete), phone, mobile, email - EVERYTHING. Look at it this way - you can't go to a big box auto repair to get a flat tire fixed without all that information - you can't either. Trust me- this will be of extreme value when you want to grow. 3) Make plans to stay in touch with customers. The reason is that 68% of customers leave a business because the feel the owner is "indifferent". That means - "they think you don't care!" Your customers are NEVER yours. You don't own them. They're busy - you know, work, social life, kids, football practice and piano lessons - and IT'S NOT THEIR JOB TO REMEMBER YOU! They (as consumers - we all do) see over 3,000 messages a day. Knowing that - tell me - how can you cut through the clutter? How can you get their attention? Above those things - I caution you about those used car guys that want you to do their work. Sure - great source - but at what cost?? Now, there's nothing wrong with a 'deal' for the volume - but you've got to get to that BEFORE you count on it for income. Follow those three step and I can guaranteed you this. You'll be able to turn simple postage stamps into dollars. With a good, solid customer list - you'll be "winking at the girls in the dark". You'll know what you're doing, but they won't! Hope this helps! Matthew Lee "The Car Count Fixer" Get "The Official Guide to Auto Service Marketing" Got an hour? Join me on this Training Webinar The Shop Owner's Unfair Advantage FREE Access
  17. )Here's the situation, and if there is anything else you'd like to know I'd be glad to offer up any information I have. I'm a 10+ year tech, both automotive and heavy truck/equipment repair. I have a good friend who owns a two bay shop with a large waiting area and office. He has been letting me work out of his building as it is up for lease. He found someone that wants to lease the building to open a second location for his successful used car dealership, but he has no use for the shop portion as he outsources his work. I've been offered to lease the shop portion, 10 of 32 parking spots, and share the waiting room/lounge for $500 per month. One bay has a 9,000lb lift, the other bay an oil change pit. There is already an industrial compressor there, a back room for a desk and storage, a coolant flush machine, differential fill machine, and a trans flush machine. I have as many hand tools as I need to get going, and a Snap On diagnostic scanner. I have yet to get quoted insurance prices, but have researched NYS Registered Repair Shop requirements. I really think I can make something work with the low overhead, and I am in a position in my life (36, single, no children, no house) that I can scrape by financially while I build things up for a few years. I have good credit. I have a brother and several friends (technicians) who are able to help for minimal cost on an as needed basis, as well as an accountant in the family to take care of that side of things. Ideally the plan would be to get things rolling and as soon as possible fill the oil change pit/pour concrete in preparation for a second lift, as that's where the bottleneck would be I figure. The other benefit is that the used car dealer agreed to allow me to do his work, and he plans on having roughly 20 cars on the lot at any given time. I also have another used car dealer who brings me his work, roughly 3 cars per week. I live in an area where there is not a ton of money, as in a high percentage of people drive 10yr old or so cars. Any advice? I really want to make a go of this but I am doing as much research as I can to be as educated as I can before pulling the trigger. I appreciate anything you might be able to add, and I am reading through many posts as it is just to garner whatever knowledge I can from those with experience. I should also add I have absolutely no issue working insane amounts of hours (70,80), as I do that already. I have always wanted to work for myself and someday make some money for me instead of making it for others.
  18. i am sure that story is going to bring out all kinds of gory responses.. Can't wait for that one 😆
  19. Good one, now that's one I've never run across... or is that a bad pun? LOL Actually, I was avoiding rodents, deer, and other mammal or marsupials in this story. I'm saving that for a later story. This was strictly on the bug infestation side of the nastiness. I forgot about the lice... or how many times after being in one of those bug infested cars all you wanted to do was shower. LOL
  20. Last week
  21. yes the bugs, mice and rats ewwww... the biggest thing I came across was a full grown buck stuck under the front end of a little old ladies car.. She pulled up to the station in an old crown vic with a huge buck stuck under the front of the car . leaving a nasty skid trail of fur etc as she came in . She calmly walked up to me and asked if I could remove the deer from under her car she had been dragging it around for the last two days (over the weekend) .. How could I say no to a little old lady, so I grabbed some rubber gloves and went over to take a better look. I took a quick look and decided the best way was to just back up and see what happens. I got the keys from her threw it in reverse and slowly started backing up since I wanted to drag it as far from my bay as possible. As I started to back up she started clapping and cheering as I backed a few more feet i could see the deer laying right outside my bay door. I got out of the car she came up to me and said " If I knew all I had to do was back up I would of done that two days ago" so this little old lady seems to only drive forward. WOW . I ended up calling the county to come and pick the deer up they said it would be several hours and it needed to be dragged to the edge of the road so I guess I didn't put the rubber gloves on for nothing, Luckily I think it had lost a lot of its weight being dragged around for two days LOL.
  22. Yea a different kind of bug that can be in a vehicle that might not be the one your after!
  23. We have added a new forum titled: Exit Strategy, Retirement, Selling Your Repair Shop I also moved some of the topics around this subject matter into this new forum. 🙂
  24. Bugs In The Rugs Ants, moths, bees, flies, wasps, spiders, scorpions, roaches, yellow jackets, fireflies, centipedes, silver fish, lady bugs, katydids, mosquitos, termites, fleas, mites, and fly larvae (maggots). No, that’s not a list of insects on the back of a can of insecticide. That’s just about every type of creepy, crawly nasty little bug I have encountered in a car at one time or another. It’s enough to make your skin crawl. Sometimes it’s not so much what you run into, but where. For instance, I was working on a little foreign car, checking out a faulty turn signal. I diagnosed a bad lead on the front turn signal socket, and had already pulled the lens off and supplied a ground to the bulb, so I knew what I needed to do. Just sling under the car and reattach the ground lead that was hanging there. The car was low to the ground, but I managed to wedge myself under there just enough to make the repair. As I managed to turn my head to see the turn signal housing, there… just a ¼” from my nose was a large nest of red wasps. They were all darting around working on their nest totally oblivious to me. I didn’t stick around long enough to introduce myself. Something I’ve learned after being at this for a few years: If you get one of those carpet cleaning trucks in the shop for repair, make sure you have plenty of roach spray handy. It’s not uncommon to pop the lid off of the fuse box to find hundreds of those nasty little critters trying to find a new hiding place. I’ve even seen a few behind the lens of the instrument cluster just minding their own business as they walked over the gauge needles. They tend to eat wires, leave their acidic droppings on circuit boards, and their dead relatives laying in the vents. Nothings worse than getting “bug sprayed”… with bugs when you turn on the blower motor. Now when you’re trying to find an odor, or some reeking smell that has literally chased the owners out of their car, don’t be surprised if you’ll eventually find a dead mouse or some other strange varmint carcass in the duct work, trunk, or under the carpet. The worst is when the flies have found it and started laying eggs on it. For the investigative type mechanic, the fly larvae is a good way to determine how long whatever it was has been decomposing in the customer’s car. You see, a fly can lay more than 100 eggs on a warm moist body and in 8 to 24 hours the larvae will begin to hatch. Those wormy, wriggly, crawly little ugly, nasty things stick around for about 5 days and then start to pupate into an adult fly. A capital “G” for gross. Knowing all of that will allow you to inform your customer when their little friend became post mortem in their cabin filter or wherever it was you found it, although at this point they’re too grossed out to really care about your CSI skills! Spiders can bring out the heebeegeebees in the biggest, baddest mechanic on the planet. I once worked with a guy who was completely petrified of spiders. We were tearing down an old car that was in for restoration when he removed the door panel and a large tarantula came crawling out from the bottom corner of this old rusted door. Honestly, I’ve never seen or heard such a big fella scream like a little girl. He not only came up with his own high pitched language that only he could understand, but managed to dart across the shop and up onto the top of his tool box so fast he didn’t have time to let go of the door panel. He stayed up there perched on his tool box talking some sort of gibberish only he could understand, as he was kicking tools out of the open drawers. The tarantula had to go, or he wasn’t coming down. I got elected to shoo the little critter out the door. We literally had to pry the door panel out of his hands and coax him down with a cup of coffee and a cigarette. His tool box needed a bit of straightening after all was said and done. Ants for the most part are pretty harmless. I’ve never ran across fire ants in a car, but I can only imagine what that would have been like. The ones I’ve run across are just the busy little ant type doing busy little ant things. Sometimes the hardest part is finding where they’re coming from. Half the time you’ll see these little guys marching along one after another in single file heading to another part of the car. If it’s a car that’s been sitting in one spot for a long time chances are they’ve built an elaborate home somewhere in the car and it’s your job to find out where. Good luck with that. Sometimes you wonder how some of these insects find their way into a car in the first place. Like pulling a spare tire out of an old car and find a scorpion staring at you. Or mud dauber wasp nests all over the engine compartment. They sure do find some of the oddest places to build their little nests. One time I’ve even found them on the carburetor choke plate on a car that was only sitting for a few days. The owner tried to start it, but had no luck with it. He then had it dragged into the shop to have the no start problem checked out. After a bit of carburetor spray to dissolve the mud it started right up. The owner being the kind of a jokester he was, now had a new story to tell about his old car. He started his little tale with, “Guess wasp up with my car?” Whether it is a family of arachnids or any other family of insects invading your car, somewhere some mechanic has probably already experienced it. As they say, “There are more bugs in the world than there are people.” So there’s a good chance you’ll run across a bug in a rug or one in the trunk of that very car you’re working on. Just work on some fast reflexes, a few nerves of steel, and it wouldn’t hurt to keep a can of bug spray handy either. View full article
  25. Along with doing an inspection on every vehicle, the customer needs to be primed for it at drop off. I train my guys to use the line "while your car is in the shop, I'll have my guys look it over to make sure everything is ok for you." Without fail, the customer says "Great. Thanks!" It's important to use that line pretty much verbatim. We don't talk about courtesy inspections etc. It's all about making sure the car is ok for them. In a round about way, we have permission from the customer to inspect the vehicle, and sell them the needed repairs, while not making them feel like you're simply going for the upsell. Considering the age and mileage of the average vehicle we see, every single customer knows there's something wrong with their vehicle, and isn't surprised when we tell them there are things that need to be fixed. If they're primed to hear about it, the odds of getting the job are much higher.

    What do you think your CAC is (cost to land a customer in your shop) and what do you think it should be ? This is a very important part of your business ! 25, 50, 75, 100, 200 ??? Let me know
  27. Labor rate

    $99.50 Upstate South Carolina. Also up the time accordingly. Holding high gross profit.
  28. ... You are the Master of your own Destiny... I see there are some good people in here that have a lot of concerns about Car Count , Labor Rate, Marketing etc. Let me tell you these issues have been around for a long time. There are many different way to solve these issues. Some may need more work, some to fine tune what they have, some both and if you need help on anything drop me a message I would be glad to talk with you. All you need is PASSION a PLAN and a PATH = SUCCESS
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