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New member and new shop owner, sure am glad I found this site! Thought I would run my basic ideas by you guys and see what you think. I retired from the Marine Corps and I'm in this process of outfitting my shop. I'm not borrowing any money to fund the shop. I have enough money set aside to pay for the equipment and cover the overhead for the first year. I've got a 10,000 square foot shop on a major highway. I plan on doing tires, brakes, oil changes, exhaust, state inspections, and whatever else comes in. I don't plan on rebuilds or anything like that right away. I do plan on major projects for when times are slow. Mainly when I'm able to hire someone else. Right now it's just going to be me, but I think my Dad is coming to work the front with the customers. Luckily because of my retirement I don't have to draw a check from the shop, although it would be nice. For the time being I would rather use that money to pay someone elses salary if I can get enough cars in the door. I've got a website being built, a sign for the building, a CPA, insurance, and ATD for tires lined up. Shop equipment consists of a 2 post lift, 4 post lift, tire changer, tire balancer, exhaust bender, and various odds and ends. Anything I'm forgetting? I haven't done this before and you guys have, your opinions matter! Thanks

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Great Tire Deal

Thanks for the suggestions, XRAC the above tools are figured in. MSPEC I haven't looked into leasing equipment, I was just figuring on buying to try and keep my overhead as low as possible. I'll have to talk to the CPA about it. I was thinking the Autel scanner could do TPMS functions, more research is in order for me!

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Take the time now to get some auto management training. Do it now or it's not going to happen. This was the biggest mistake I made. I started out the same way you did, same plan, no debt, only employee etc.. If you do not know what numbers you need and how to get them it will be a long and painful road. There are a number of different companies out there that will help you (read, take your money). Do your due diligence in researching them and choose the one that fits you best.

I would advise partnering with a parts distributor, NAPA etc.. You will be able to offer nationwide warranties as well as many other perks.

When the shop is running try to join ASA or some similar group. They will offer training and some mentorship in most cases.

You know about the hard assets you need, tools and equipment. You may know how to repair vehicles. What you probably don't know is how to run a profitable shop (5 years later and I am just starting to get a handle on it).

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Take the time now to get some auto management training. Do it now or it's not going to happen. This was the biggest mistake I made. I started out the same way you did, same plan, no debt, only employee etc.. If you do not know what numbers you need and how to get them it will be a long and painful road. There are a number of different companies out there that will help you (read, take your money). Do your due diligence in researching them and choose the one that fits you best.

I would advise partnering with a parts distributor, NAPA etc.. You will be able to offer nationwide warranties as well as many other perks.

When the shop is running try to join ASA or some similar group. They will offer training and some mentorship in most cases.

You know about the hard assets you need, tools and equipment. You may know how to repair vehicles. What you probably don't know is how to run a profitable shop (5 years later and I am just starting to get a handle on it).

Probably the best advice you can get!

 

A good management training course will teach you KPI's, advertising, employee management, basic accounting/bookkeeping practices, etc. Just like kars, I went almost 2 full years before I actually started being profitable. This may seem like a huge investment, but you'll likely make that money back in 30-90 days if you apply half the information they teach you.

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10,000 sq/ft shop and just yourself??? That's huge. you are going to need hired help, even if it's just a teenager to give you an extra hand for $8/hr.

Get the right software. I strongly recommend Identifix, saves you a lot of time diagnosing. Very important since you're the only tech

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I started my shop with just the money I had in my account and slowly grew over time. I had just the tools in my toolbox and no actual equipment. Start slow, don't try and buy everything at first. See what items you need and take the time to do an ROI report for every one. Shop has been open going on 8 years. Have 9 employees, three tow trucks. Just keep your head on your shoulders and THINK about every decision you make. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I started my shop with just the money I had in my account and slowly grew over time. I had just the tools in my toolbox and no actual equipment. Start slow, don't try and buy everything at first. See what items you need and take the time to do an ROI report for every one. Shop has been open going on 8 years. Have 9 employees, three tow trucks. Just keep your head on your shoulders and THINK about every decision you make. Good luck!

Tow trucks! For some reason I never thought about that. How is it? Do you have a tow truck driver full time? ROI?

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      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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