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auto74

Unsure of whether to give the business a try.

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Hi, looking for a different perspective on a possible business opportunity... sorry ahead of time for the long winded post

 

The business: 70 year old family owned service station that's gone downhill in the 15-20 years. Virtually idle, as old established client base literally dies off from old age.

 

The good:

1) 100% mortgage free. Taxes+insurance are the big bills.

2) 5 service bays. 2 bays with lifts (1 newish lift, 1 ancient lift), 2 bays with a 2 car long pit.

3) 50' street frontage 1 lot up from a busy intersection. ~15-20k cars per day on each cross street.

4) large enough lot for a small used car lot ~15 car space, still with room to access 2 large bay doors in front

5) large enough back lot for 30 cars... a 40x40 building would fit with some room to spare.

6) Reputation for honesty

 

The bad:

1) leaky office in disrepair, flat rubber roof over entire building. Would take me a couple of months to gut the office and fix the leaks., "elbow grease" work in my spare time

2) exterior of building needs some TLC, more "elbow grease" kind of work.

3) front lot needs to be repaved at some point, not too attractive

4) not much of an existing client base

5) old equip... almost 0 diag equipment.

6) old junk everywhere, nothing has been tossed in seemingly forever.

 

I'm in high tech and don't plan on quiting the day job as it probably pays more than I could make at this place anytime soon, since there is zero existing business. And I can use some of the cash I make now to try and invest in the business. It absolutely PAINS me to see the place completely under/misutilized like this and I've wanted the chance to do something, anything there even it ends in failure. At least I gave it a shot.

 

Possible ideas:

1) Lube shop that utilizes the pit. minimal investment in equip. Get people in and provide greate service that may lead to other repairs in the future. I've gotten mixed reports on lube shops... Seems like it an endangered business since oil changes are freebies with a new car and the 12,000 and 15,000 mile oil change recommendations. But, the few times I've staked out the other lube place a few miles down the road all three bays are packed.

 

2) Tire business. Maybe 10-15k in investment up front for a modest used tire changer and balancer. There are two existing old workhorse coats machines that aren't really good for doing newer alloy rims. Maybe pair up with Tire Rack for promotions.

3) Both lube and tire...

 

The idea is to start doing the gruntwork building improvement myself and with a helper until it gets to a point where I wouldn't be embarrased to have a client/customer walk into the office. There is a pretty trustworthy guy who rents one of the bays now who would love to get in on something like this. He'd do the most of the auto work till it ramps up and I would spend most of my time doing marketing to get people in the door.

 

I'm really not sure if an arrangement like this can even work. I want it to be a win-win for whoever is willing to take a chance and get involved. I believe the place could be a great business.

 

There is also the possibility of renting one or more bays to folks like car detailers. I've been at the office two times in the last month when someone came in and was looking for a bay to rent. A single rented bay can pay for around half the yearly taxes.

 

Any thoughts? Advice on how to set up a business partnership? Any other caveats?

 

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