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Auto Repair Purchase - Absentee Owner and Never ran Auto Business

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While looking for absentee investments, I found a self-storage and Auto repair shop on sale. The purchase price is small and also cash flow is very high to ignore.

But, I am a Software Engineer and I am New to running a Business leave alone an Auto repair. The shop is 2 hrs drive from my home. The owner is ready to provide 2d/week consulting service, and lone other mechanic is ready to work with new owner. Plenty of cash transactions. No computers to log work orders. Specialist in exhaust systems. The mechanic is not insured. Shop and storage has some level of insurance. Small town and original owner ran business from the shop for 33 years. Now wants to retire.

I have plans to modernize the work orders and add cameras for remote tracking. I will have to add one more mechanic, and then trust mechanics and also introduce softwares to increase transparency.

For someone who is interested in Auto repair in general, do you think its good business to run as absentee? I plan to spend few hours at the shop once a week and less frequently later. I am 40 year old, I think right time for me to start a business and get off the corporate world.

Please advice. Appreciate.

Edited by Ajit
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Mechanic calls the owner for estimates in some cases, he reasoned there is no price sheet.

Owner and 1 mechanic (nephew), was told mechanic does 99% of the job, owner helps if there is any heavy lifting.

They have 3 bays.

Increased advertisement will likely help add another mechanic and keep busy.


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Ajit congratulations on your decision to leave the corporate world. I hope you the best. Was a business broker involved with sale? Did you see 3 years of tax returns for this business? Are you buying just the business & leasing the building? Or did purchase the building & everything all the equipment included? Please excuse me if you had done all you home work. 










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I think you should have them let you play boss for a month or two and see how it goes before you buy it. I'm not sure sure about this business or shop but chances are you're going to be in for alot of surprises. 

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Maybe it is possible to succeed as you have planned. After 47 years in buisiness I am sure that I could not succeed if my time investment was 2-3 hours a week. Some people can possibly pull that off, I am not one of them.

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Owning and running a auto shop is difficult for guys that were techs, trying to run one absentee is a great way to lose 100% of your investment. Not having the knowledge of how the vehicles actually work not only will your employees take advantage of you they will never respect you, also your customers will take advantage of you. Ever heard of the “ever since you” this is the scenario where you perform a simple repair or any repair a week or so goes by something new fails completely unrelated to what you did. How do you justify that having no experience on the repair side. 

  Now the fact that you want to run this absentee and it’s mostly an all cash business let’s say you pull in 3k a week you will see this for the first month than slowly but surely it will go down down down I gaurntee the lost  revenue will be going straight in your employees pocket. 

  If you are willing to take those risks best of luck to you but I would not do it if you want to get in automotive at minimum start taking repair classes at a local community college or trade school. But running the shop absentee is a sure fire way for failure have seen plenty of successful business sold over the years to guys wanting to to what your doing 100% of them went down with in the first year 


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This venture would absolutely require a good manager. One you know you can for sure trust. That person is hard to find.  Plus that person would need to be very good with people.  Real friendliness and real caring is even harder to find.  Customer service is always number one and must be top notch. I have learned that the hard way over the 40 plus years I have owned my shop.  You would most likely need to have some kind of incentive pay scale in order to motivate the manager and the mechanics to keep in mind the importance of customer service.  A graduate pay plan has worked well for me. That way the business will afford to may payroll even through the slow times.  There will be slow times. Base your budget on those times rather than on the better times.  The key to this being a success if likely based on how well you pay your manager and how you scale his pay based on performance of the shop.  I suggest a decent salary with graduated incentive bonuses based on shop gross for the pay period.  I am totally convinced that a good honest trustworthy manager who has a desire to please his customers is a must.  Also, in a small market you will need incentives to keep your mechanics happy as well.  Something similar to the managers pay works well for me.  A truly good mechanic is hard to find anywhere now days. Possibly more difficult in a small market.  Find one and pay him well and build around him and your manager. Keep those two no matter what it takes and you should be able to make this work.  Although I would like to see you checking in at the shop more often than you plan.  You can only do so much checking up remotely no matter what kind of cameras or management software you have.  Think this venture over well and good luck with what ever you decide.

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