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Thinking about starting my own business


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Hello everyone!! I have a very non-traditional situation. I'm 35 years old and considering a career change. I have been a pharmacist for 10 years now and I absolutely regret it and hate my career and want to switch and have my own business.

 

When I was in high school I loved cars and technology and had taken automotive technology. since then repairing cars has been a hobby of mine. After high school I pretty much self taught myself how to do a lot of repairs and after pharmacy school I started buying professional tools.

My first car was a 2003 Mercedes-benz E320 and I was very intimidated by it and thought I was going to pay through my nose for it, but having background knowledge in car repair (and help from a friendly Mercedes benz technician) helped me learn that they really aren't bad cars to do work on. I have had a 2003 E320, a 2007 ML350, and now a 2009 S550. I have done a wide variety of repairs on them all and have tinkered with Star diagnosis a bit and would like to make my hobby a career. maybe open up a shop to do work on out of warranty European imports like benz,bmw,audi,and Porsche. I know this will not be an easy task a very expensive endeavor as I have done research and priced out diagnostic equipment/software update fees, but I feel that it would be worth it in the long run. I am currently looking to become ASE certified and then thinking about whether I want to open up a shop or go to a factory training program such as UTI, or even just hire a mechanic with experience in these types of cars. any advice/encouragement would be appreciated.

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Hey Nick!

 

Having your own business is not the same as having your hobby as your career.

 

The fundamental rule of business is to make a profit.

 

I am in this industry because I really enjoy working on cars, but I havent professionally worked on a car for about 10 years.

 

Most of my time is taken up by planning and running the business to make a profit.

 

So, if you enjoy working on cars, yes this is a rewarding career, but as the owner, you will mostly be dealing with customers, vendors, and regulators on a day to day basis.

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I'm like XRAC in that I don't work on cars, either. But I do have a gift of maximizing whatever business I am running. I like what I do because I enjoy turning out business. This would be applicable if I were the PIC at Walgreen's, CVS, etc. I would be looking to increase the daily fill rate as well as the profits of the pharmacy. It would be a challenge to take over a store that was averaging 282 prescriptions per day and within six months be running 375 per day. With corresponding profit increases.

 

I have a daughter that is a pharmacist, so I'm somewhat familiar with the business and the pay plan.

 

It sounds to me like you would like to have a nicely equipped shop for your hobby. Maybe you could achieve more satisfaction in your career if you had an outlet to pursue your automotive endeavors in your "off" time, and not have to depend on the shop for a living.

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Thank you for the input guys. The reason why I want to leave pharmacy is I hate the corporate way of thinking about maximizing profit and that is to keep cutting resources and expect more profit... it only works to a point and then you choke your company growth . I had worked for Walmart and was put in a an unprofitable store and asked to make it profitable. The problem with that store was that there was no hours for help and people had to wait long hours because of it. I had to fight claw and tooth with my DM to get enough help to cover daily operations and finally within 8 months of working at that store I quadrupled their volume and tripled their profits. We went from doing 150 a day to 500-600 a day because our wait times went from 1hour down to 20min and a rite aid down the road had the same issue their DM had cut hours and the wait was ridiculous so we stole customers overnight from. they heard people were waiting 20 minutes at our store. It's amazing what word of mouth can do. And yet they still were not happy and felt that cuts needed to be made. We were paying 5 techs minimum wage and Walmart felt that was still too much. Cuts were made to the point at where profitability and customer retention dropped off quickly. They cut us down to 3 techs. Penny wise dollar foolish. Then I was reprimanded for why I wasn't making record profits. Ever since then Ive had a sour taste in my mouth.

 

I want to start my own business and work for myself and see if I can become more successful. In the end I want to be the one to make decisions. I'm thinking about doing what carolinahigear suggested and initially make it a supplemental income/hobby and maybe if it takes off then consider it as a sole income. I am still very lucky to have a well paying career but in the end it is not what I really want to do. ultimately I would like to make it my sole income source but I need to do with caution and slowly because there is still a large learning curve ahead of me...

Edited by Nickthegreek
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It sounds to me like you would like to have a nicely equipped shop for your hobby. Maybe you could achieve more satisfaction in your career if you had an outlet to pursue your automotive endeavors in your "off" time, and not have to depend on the shop for a living.

 

I think you hit the nail on the head. That's what I think I will do for now.

Edited by Nickthegreek
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some things I need to look into are:

 

suppliers (do I do oem or aftermarket or both? What hidden costs are involved in each.)

 

shop management software (what would be a good management software suite?)

 

equipment costs/brands (do I blow a bunch of cash on top of the line or do I go with used equipment an go up if business goes up... or should I lease)

 

location/building- Do I buy a plot of land and get it commercially zoned or do I buy an already established shop or even lease

 

regualtions- I live in NY and there are many regulations. I'll have to look into regulations.

 

employees-Im thinking for now I will do it myself and then if/when I grow then look into doing only the managing aspect as mentioned and hire employees

 

inventory management- how do you guys manage your inventory

 

if there are any other area/topics anyone can think of feel free to comment

Edited by Nickthegreek
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Hey Nick!

 

Having your own business is not the same as having your hobby as your career.

 

The fundamental rule of business is to make a profit.

 

I am in this industry because I really enjoy working on cars, but I havent professionally worked on a car for about 10 years.

 

Most of my time is taken up by planning and running the business to make a profit.

 

So, if you enjoy working on cars, yes this is a rewarding career, but as the owner, you will mostly be dealing with customers, vendors, and regulators on a day to day basis.

 

 

Can you describe what a typical day is like for you? I'm curious to find out what I will be getting myself into.

Edited by Nickthegreek
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I do not work on cars. I never have worked on cars. I own and operate a business. Do not assume that enjoying working on cars as a hobby will translate into enjoying running an auto repair business. I don't especially like cars but I can run a business and I can make money. A lot of people who like working on cars and are good at repairing them are terrible at running a business. My first question would be what do you not like about what you are doing now?

 

I've never so much as changed the oil on my own car, and have no hands-on experience in the repair field. I am in love with the business of auto repair beause as the owner/operator of my shop I'm able to help others, and make a living at the same time. I've been involved in many businesses over the years, and the auto repair field is so full of unscrupulous operators and greedy managers...well, let's just say that they tend to make it easy for me to shine.

 

That being said, I agree that this business is tough enough without having to consider trying to run it successfully without the appropriate business experience. It's not for the faint-at-heart!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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