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Hi all, 

First time poster and glad to be here.

I'm a 40 something entrepreneur not currently in the auto repair business but I've been exploring shop ownership for several years.

Unfortunately, I've come up short using traditional business brokers to find a shop worth purchasing. To date, all that I've looked at have been overpriced and/or have some serious issues.

As shop owners and managers, do you have any tips for finding a solid, well-run general auto repair shop (EBITDA/SDE of $250k-$2MM) to acquire?

I would be grateful for any insights.

Thanks,

Mike

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Edited by smos001
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  • Similar Topics

    • By Noah Harrison
      So I have a towing business and I’m looking at opening a repair/body shop, trying to figure out how to go about getting into that industry.
      any input helps
      thanks in advance!
    • By nptrb
      Hi, Natalie here. You have a great selection of tools on hand that will cover every job a customer will bring into your shop. Whether it’s Mac Tools, Snap-on, OTC, or Wright, the right tool for the job is priceless.
      The tools we’re talking about in this post are for finances, but the same strategy holds true. If you’re planning to do your own bookkeeping, the right tool for your financial job is also priceless. They can take what may appear to be a daunting challenge and save you a ton of time. You’ll be back to running your shop before you know it.
      Stick around until the end and I’ll outline what’s in my bookkeeping toolbox. Here is an overview with some suggestions on how to choose great financial tools
      Here are the top 10 categories:
      1. Accounting Software
      QuickBooks has been the go-to software for accounting for decades. There are online tools that may be a better option for you. The most popular choice is Xero and the numbers of small business owners that are using Xero is increasing. Compare several and pick the one that is both robust and flexible.
      According to the 2015 edition of the Business News Daily’s Buyer’s Guide here are the features you should look for:
       Invoicing
       Expense Tracking
       Client/Vendor Contact Management
       Billing and Recurring Payments Automation
       Quote and Estimate Creation
       Tax Preparation
       Multiple-User Access
       Payroll Processing
       Mobile Access
       Integration with Programs Such as Point-Of-Sale Software, Credit Card
      Processing, and Google Apps
      2. Budgeting Tools
      Creating a budget is the cornerstone of your shop’s financial success. Staying on task within your budget is equally as important. If your accounting software has this feature, you may already have the proper tool to create that budget. If your preference is a tool dedicated to this task, a recommendation is PlanGuru.
      3. Payroll Management System
      Payroll management can occupy so much of your time and mistakes are easy to make. Look for tools that streamline the payroll process and cut costly errors. A tool that integrates with your other tools is another feature to look for. Some tools like SurePayroll can calculate and pay payroll taxes. Simple. A couple of other tool suggestions are ZenPayroll and ADP. These combine payroll and HR functions in one.
      4. Agile Billing
      Speed and flexibility in your billing process means quicker cash flow back to you. With a tools like FreshBooks or Bill.com the billing process will be quicker and give your customers an easy experience. Improving the billing process will serve you and your customers better and shorten delays in receiving payments.
      5. Financial Dashboard
      The dashboard gives you a quick look at your shop’s financial health. See at a glance if your shop is thriving or surviving. Tools such as LivePlan or InDinero give you clear visuals and show you if you’re starting to go off course. Then you can take the actions to keep moving towards your financial destination.
      6. Cash Flow Analysis
      Your accounting software should have cash flow statement capability. As with the budgeting tools there are specialty tools for cash flow tracking. A couple of suggestions are Float or a simple spreadsheet. These give you patterns from the past to offer a forecast of your shop’s financial future.
      7. Inventory Management
      This is all about efficiency and tracking. From the purchase of parts and consumables to generating sales reports and low inventory alerts, this is a very valuable tool. A couple of cloud-based options are SOS Inventory and Scout’s top Shelf.
      8. Expense Tracking
      Those tiny expenses can quickly add up and may be hard to track. Using an expense report tool such as Expensify or Xpenditure makes this much easier. Track those meals, gas, and incidental expenses by scanning receipts and typing in cash expenses. Some tools have the capability to link to mobile devices helping to track these instantly..
      9. Business Credit Card
      A business credit card, when used properly has several benefits
       Improve your shop’s credit history
       Earn higher credit limits
       Receive rewards and discounts
       Manage employee cards (ease of tracking expenses)
       Boosts employee morale due to convenience and trust
      10. E-commerce Solutions
      Imagine your customer paying for their oil change before the service is completed. They need a couple of quarts of oil to tie them over. It’s easy to buy them online from their trusted repair shop.
      Many businesses have seen an increases in cash flow since the beginning of the pandemic by using E-commerce solutions. These are powerful and create revenue streams that you may not have thought of.
      11. Three Rivers Bookkeeping
      With my 5-years of experience, these are the tools I use:
       Accounting software – QuickBooks
       Payroll Management System – ADP
       Agile Billing – bill.com
       Financial Dashboard – LivePlan
      I’m passionate about books and service to my clients. If you’d like to have a conversation about tools and why I selected the one’s above, contact me. I can also outline the services I provide and why adding me to your team may make perfect sense to you.
      Saving you time and headaches is the value I bring to you, the Auto Repair Shop Owner.

      View full article
    • By tylerl
      Hey guys looking for a little advise for people that have been in my situation. We are a smaller shop but really starting to transition to doing more volume in the past 2 years. Been in business for 10 years now and currently have 2 full time tech's and myself. I manage most of the office and service writing stuff and even occasionally help wrench in the back when required. Looking to hire a service advisor soon to help with the work load on the counter.
       
      Currently we just use a a mix of excel spreadsheets for invoicing and customer history, as well as Google calendar. My questions is will I see a big benefit from moving to a all in one management program? Is it worth the monthly fee's for a smaller outfit like mine? 
       
      Should mention we are in the powersports arena (mostly boat repair with some other rec equipment) so some of the platforms out there are not 100% tailored to our industry with the ones that are not offering up everything you would get out of a automotive program. Thanks in advance for the help!
    • By AutoShopOwner
      Massachusetts voters are deciding in this year’s election on whether they---and not the vehicle manufacturers---have control over the repair data generated by the vehicle they purchased.
      The Auto Care Association and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) have supported efforts by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee to obtain public support for ballot Question 1, which would give the consumer choice in vehicle repair. 

      “While the battle has been hard fought and expensive, the Auto Care Association is pleased that the most influential publications in the state have seen through the negative advertising campaign being funded by the vehicle manufacturers and have unanimously urged their readers to vote ‘yes’ on Question 1,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “We trust that voters in the state will agree with these publication that the right to repair is important and that advances in vehicle technology should not be used to limit the ability for owners to have their vehicle repaired by the shop of their choice."

      These “‘Yes’ on Question 1” endorsements include: 

      The Boston Globe on Oct. 13 declared, “The reason the new Right to Repair measure should pass is simple: It is inherently unfair for car manufacturers to have sole access to a vehicle’s mechanical data, because it gives their dealerships an advantage over independent auto-repair shops. That ultimately hurts consumers, because with limited options come higher prices.”

      The Boston Business Journal on Oct. 15 maintained, “Without the ability to repair cars equipped with wireless electronics, repair shops will see declines in business in coming years as car owners are forced to get repairs done at more expensive dealerships. In the end, more of the millions of dollars that Bay State residents spend every year to fix their cars would go to out-of-state manufacturers. More neighborhood car-repair shops will go out of business."

      The Sun Chronicle on Oct. 21 stated, “…we think the opponents of the law have done themselves no favors by overhyping the risks it poses. For example, the ‘No’ campaigners lean heavily on a statement from ‘Jane Doe Inc.,’ a Massachusetts advocacy group against domestic violence and abuse. But, on its website, that group now says its position on the referendum has ‘evolved’ and, while saying it’s staying neutral, complains that it’s wrong to use the fears of abuse survivors to promote a political position. For that alone, we think the opponents of Question 1 deserve to get their comeuppance at the ballot box.”
      The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 21 stated, “Question 1’s opponents had ample opportunity to explain why this lobby should keep a monopolistic grip on your car’s telematics. They instead spent their campaign dishonestly fear-mongering in an attempt to distract consumers from asking why carmakers should be able to flout the spirit of the extant Right to Repair law to drive more repair jobs to their dealership garages. Hopefully voters will see through this charade.”
       
      For more information about the Right to Repair ballot initiative in Massachusetts, visit massrighttorepair.org.
      Source: https://www.autobodynews.com/index.php/northeastern/item/21245-right-to-repair-ballot-initiative-endorsed-by-major-massachusetts-news-publications.html?start=1
    • By AutoShopOwner
      HYANNIS – Proponents of Question 1 on the November 3 ballot say that independent auto repair businesses need access to data collected by cars in order to fix vehicles, while opponents say that Question 1 could risk owner’s personal data as well as safety.
      If Question 1 is approved, cars 2022 model or newer must be equipped by manufacturers with a standardized, open access platform that would allow auto repair shops to wirelessly access mechanical data using a smartphone-based app with owner’s permission.
      Currently, telematics data generated by sensors in the cars is transmitted to servers only the automakers can access.
      Supporters of Question 1 say that the telematics data only being available to the manufacturer means car owners must take the car to its original automaker to receive service and make repairs, diminishing consumer choice in where they can take their cars.
      “If a person goes out and buys a car, they should own the data that enables that car to be fixed, and they should be able to choose where they want the car fixed. If shops like mine don’t have that information, then we can’t fix the car, which kind of forces someone to go to a place where they don’t want to go,” said Robert Wallace, President and Treasurer of Cape Tire and supporter of Question 1.
      Wallace said that the limits on customer choice on where they can receive service for their car will lead to a monopolization of the industry by car manufacturers, with a rise in prices and a drop in quality service.
      Wallace said that he and other supporters would be willing to purchase the data, similar to how the auto repair shops already purchase parts, and that they are not requesting that the data be made available for free.
      “We’re willing to pay for it, we just want the information to keep our customers rolling.”
      Conor Yunits, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data which opposes Question 1, said that the issue of telematics is already covered under the right-to-repair-law that was introduced in 2013. 
      “It specifically says that any information necessary to diagnose and repair a vehicle that is provided to dealer repair shops and only available through telematics must be made available to local repair shops. This is already covered,” said Yunits.
      Yunits said that currently data is only sent to secure servers owned by manufacturers, then to repair shops or customers through secure systems developed with the automaker.
      According to Yunits, Question 1 would prevent manufacturers from being a part of the development process of security systems and apps that share the information in the future, sacrificing a layer of security for consumers.
      Yunits also said that Question 1 unnecessarily risks owners’ personal data by creating opportunities for bad actors outside as well as inside repair shops to access personal data wirelessly.
      While mechanics or others may be able to intercept and use the data for malicious purposes, Wallace said that is a risk that comes with a lot of modern technology, such as cellphones and other smart devices that collect data on their users, and that it is up to the customer to decide whether they want to take that risk.
      Yunits also said that Question 1 would also force car manufacturers to comply with an unrealistic timetable which would be impossible to do in a safe and effective manner, with new requirements that would be enforced as early as January 2021.
      Source: https://www.capecod.com/newscenter/cape-cod-auto-shops-pushing-for-question-1/


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    • By Joe Marconi
      With the COVID-19 situation, many shop owners of retirement age may be putting thier retirement plans on hold. I get this.  It makes sense in many cases. But, please think about you and your family.  Many shop owners have a 30, 40, even 50-year plus history in the auto business, with most of those years owning and running a shop.
      If it's possible, perhaps succession plan with the right person, or hiring a general manager to run your shop is a possibility.  Perhaps a family member?  The key thing is to have a secure business that, if you do plan on holding on to it, will bring you an income with stress-free time away from the shop, and back to your family. 
      Your plans, thoughts, opinions?
       
    • By Mark Johnson
      According to The NY Times, you should have a well-padded cushion of savings by age 50 if you want to retire comfortably.
      This is how it should look:
      By age 50, have five times your annual salary saved. ( ie. $100K income = $500K savings)
      By age 55, have six times your annual salary saved. ( ie. $100K income = $600K savings)
      By age 60, have seven times your annual salary saved. ( ie. $100K income = $700K savings)
      The Times also reports that less than 13% of Americans have a pension or a solid retirement plan.
      How does your situation looks? Are you on track to retire comfortably?
      If not, no need to panic.
      We can guide you in getting there.
      If a shop owner who is currently 50 years old starts putting away $2,700 every month until he retires at 67. He would have amassed $1,245,344 by the time he retires.
      Now you might be asking where will I get the money from to save? Well, most of the shop owners that I encounter are overpaying an average of $22,679 in taxes yearly.
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      When we met Henry he was 62 and his shop was netting a little over $283K per year. We were able to find tax savings which allowed him to save $84K per year and in 8 years he had over $1.1M in retirement savings. 
      To learn how to use your tax savings to build your retirement portfolio message me directly or book a free consultation via my website.
       
       

    • By Mark Johnson
      He had been working with his accountant for 6 years. That’s over $134k in over-payments.
      The reality is most CPAs only do tax preparation not tax planning, there is a HUGE difference!
      I am offering free tax planning assessments to all group members.
      Where we will look at:
       Deductions review & Strategy planning Legal Entity Optimization Retirement Option & Plan to Hit Extra 1M by Retirement Insurance Review & Assets Protection TCJA (Trump Tax) Review  Message me direct or book your slot on my website.


      View full article
    • By Mark Johnson
      We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 
    • By RiverhillAutomotive
      In may I quit my job of 9 years and purchased an auto repair shop. I was previously employed as a field mechanic for Cummins. At my shop we focus on general repair. It's been a whirlwind since I bought the place but i couldn't be happier to be here. I've included some pictures of the shop. 







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