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About abs

  • Rank
    Forum Beginner

Business Information

  • Business Name
    Under Development
  • Business Address
    tbd, tbd, New Jersey, 08551
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner

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  1. Car_Autoreports: Thanks for the reply. I remain interested in additional constructive feedback. Also, an alternative idea suggested by a friend is to specialize in diesel truck service, as a specialty, catering to commercial customers. Thoughts or feedback on this idea?
  2. Thank you for the candid feedback. Maybe I've underestimated the difference in the complexity of servicing higher end vehicles. I own two Lexus vehicles and I have performed all my own work on them, I've found them to generally be easier to work on than my Ford vehicle. My sense is that most of the systems are similar between low end vehicles and high end vehicles. In my experience, the differences mostly pertain to fit/finish, features and electronics. I fully expect to have to invest in some specialty tools. I'm curious to know more about why you feel that servicing higher end vehicles would be that much more challenging than servicing mainstream brands? At the end of the day, brakes are brakes, struts are struts, a fuel injector is a fuel injector and so on an so forth. I fully expect to invest in tools, equipment, and I know that for some specific jobs/vehicles a particular unique tool may be required. Isn't that just a cost of doing business? I can see quite a few benefits in servicing higher end name plates. I'd like to be sure I'm tracking with you fully, is your recommendation to go more main stream versus more niche or simply not to enter the industry at all? I do not doubt that finding and keeping high quality staff including mechanics, service advisors and managers could be challenging, but that would be true for any repair shop. In fact I would argue that is true for most service oriented business, wouldn't you agree? HVAC has the same issue. So does, pool installation/maintenance, home PC repair or a high end A/V shop. Maybe not as much for a pizza shop, a bagel shop, a McDonald's or a Dunkin Donuts, but then those are all in the food industry which is a different beast with it's own unique set of issues. I do realize that most business fail within the first year or so, and I do not want to enter this industry, spend substantial sums of money, and then have the business fail. The good news is that I do not expect to have any issues obtaining the financing I would need to get started based on conversations with my bank. On the other hand, it appears to me that a well run business could do exceptionally well, once scaled the pro-forma net profit numbers look very good to me. Comparing myself to a mechanic who has saved money for a few years and is about to open his/her own shop but who has little to no actual business experience and very limited financial resources, my feeling is that I am in a better position from the perspective of both business knowledge and financial strength, to be successful. I've read posts on this site from folks who fit that profile and are just getting started. I give them a lot of credit for chasing their dreams. I just see that situation as substantially different than what I am proposing to do. As an aside, I'm not dead set on the being an auto repair shop owner, but as I stated earlier, I do feel that I have the right aptitude and skills to be successful at this. From what I've read, the industry overall has a CAGR approaching 6%, that is a pretty good number, if real. Many businesses have been flat over the last few years. I like that people are keeping cars longer than before and therefore those older vehicles need repairs as they accumulate higher miles. In general, I like that new car price inflation is slowing purchases of new vehicles for certain consumer segments. I like that auto repair is not really "optional" even though a vehicle owner can delay, they will eventually have to repair their car. In turn, this means this business would be less effected by recessions than many other business (I could even see demand increasing during a recession in some markets). I also like the fact that some auto repair shops have a poor reputation which creates an opportunity for better operators to provide a superior customer experience. Given your feedback, I'd like to know what business you would recommend if not auto repair? I do like your idea of a business coach and I would like to bring on a coach/mentor to help me with evaluating the opportunity and setting things up the right way. Any recommendations as far as how best to go about finding a true industry expert who would be willing to work with me? Lastly, over the weekend, I noticed that the current owner closed off two of the bays in the original shop area, so the building I am thinking about purchasing would actually support 8 bays total if I opened those two back up. The bay doors are also about 14 feet high which I think is a bit taller than average? My understanding is that this location was originally used for truck repair/service. With 8 bays open, this would then be the largest independent shop (by bay count and maybe also by square footage as well) in the immediate area. The total square footage for the shop area would then be about 7,000 sq. ft,. and I would have an additional 3,500 sq. ft. to use as needed for business offices, service writer area, waiting area, kids play area, on-site parts inventory, etc. My goal would be to establish this as the highest quality, most preferred shop in the immediate vicinity. I am thinking we would deploy one of the new systems that includes a mobile app, paperless billing/invoicing and photos of the vehicle to show the customer the issues, and document them. I am not aware of any other local competitor offering these features and it would help to further differentiate us and enhance our image. In particular, I also view the mobile app as a major opportunity for direct 1:1 marketing with customers . . . I welcome all the feedback, good and bad, this is a very important decision for me and I want to set myself up for success.
  3. Matthew: Thanks for being willing to reply to my request for assistance and for helping to validate that the area and property I'm considering should have sufficient demand. The reason I mentioned that I have extensive experience as a DIYer is to make the point that auto repair is not foreign to me. I understand the way cars work, how to diagnose them, and fundamentally understand the work of repairing vehicles. I think understanding cars is a help when starting this business, wouldn't you agree? From a business operations standpoint, I know I will have a learning curve for the automotive industry, however I'm already running a real estate business successfully, this will be my second business. I also have 20 years of experience in consumer goods where I have seen how larger businesses operate, I have also held management positions for many years and executive positions for the last 5 years or so. Although it is absolutely true that running one's own business is dramatically different than working for a larger corporation, through my tenure in corporate roles, I have had the opportunity to develop my leadership capability. I know how to recruit, build and lead teams. I know how to motivate people. I am deeply analytical and will not have any issues monitoring KPI's for the business. I also have extensive experience with various types of marketing and sales tactics. I will admit there are some shortcomings with my background, however, I also believe there are some significant benefits. 20 years of hands on experience in the consumer goods industry in the areas of sales and marketing should not be dismissed as a liability, rather, I would argue that it has given me a great foundation to springboard from. A new question for you and the rest of the forum - is there a consensus as to whether I would be better off working to identify a niche or specialty area or better off going broad based in terms of target consumer base? I could easily do either. As an example, my feeling is that I might have better success specializing in premium brands (e.g. BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, Lexus, Infinity, Jaguar, etc.) versus a more generalized repair business. The location I have identified would easily support an upscale experience and my perception is that the clientele who own those vehicle brands may be willing to pay a bit more for an enhanced service experience. I have also noticed that, aside from the new car dealerships, none of the local repair shops offer a premium, white glove, service experience. As a side note, I am aware of a 3 bay Import repair shop nearby but not on the main road and another Import repair shop about 20 minutes south on the main road. These two shops were not included in my original list. Thoughts on this concept? Thanks in advance. ABS
  4. I'm new here and I have to say that I'm a bit surprised that my post has received nearly 65 views as of today and not one person has an opinion on this? I was hoping to get some honest feedback based on experience from other shop owners. I have more questions, but this is the critical starting point. I was hopeful that my original post was detailed enough to explain the opportunity so that responses would be meaningful. Maybe I gave too much information and scared everyone away?
  5. Hi! I'm looking to open a new automotive repair shop and I could use some help assessing a specific opportunity from the experts here. To put this in perspective, I would be a new owner without prior repair shop experience, however, I understand repair work and have done almost all of my own work on my personal vehicles for nearly 30 years. The scope of work I have personally performed included transmissions swaps, suspension, brakes, ignition systems, fuel systems, computer diagnostics and so on. My formal training is in science and management and I've been in corporate positions for 20+ years. I also have experience running my own real estate rental business. I've always been interested in auto repair and I believe this business would be a very good fit for my aptitude, skills and experience. I would plan to operate as the business owner and bring in skilled staff to handle repairs and customer engagement under my leadership. Here is the scenario I could use help with. I found a 10,000 sq. ft. building which is split up between 6 existing bays (3 front and 3 rear), office space and retail area. The section with the bays has about 5000 sq. ft. , about 1000 sq. ft. of office space and another 4,000 sq. ft. of retail area. The property has not been used for auto repair in a long time but could be converted back very quickly along with opportunity to do something interesting in the retail area. I have many potential ideas for the property. I am running into two primary challenges in evaluating the opportunity. The first is the competitive landscape and the second is how quickly I could ramp up the business along with how much business I would likely do from the location after ramp up. The property is located on a main road with 20-40k total vehicles/day depending on the day of week. About a mile up the road, in a cluster, there are 6 name brand auto dealerships. On the same road, within just a few miles from the site, there are three tire shops, one local and two name brand, along with a Midas and another local 6 bay garage. Think of this as 5 competitors, each with 6 bays plus the new car dealers. There are a handful of smaller local shops with 1-2 bays locally as well. Also, there is a State DMV location, with inspection services in the same zone. The overall geographic area is in a town that contains a Wal-Mart, Lowes, BJ's and a Costco plus restaurants, etc.. These stores are all within 10 minutes from the potential new location. The next closest big retail areas are 30 minutes north or 40 minutes south of the target area described. The demographics of the area skew affluent and population density is moderate - this is not a big city - however people are drawn in from at least a 30 minute drive time radius due to the shopping and other resources. I have a few ideas to differentiate my business from the rest in the area although on Google, it appears that most of the competing businesses have decent reviews overall. My shop would do all types of repairs including the heavier stuff and the bays are very tall so we could potentially accommodate trucks too. So, my questions are: Is this an opportunity worth considering given the competitive landscape? If I were to open a shop, how quickly should I expect business to ramp up? I am really looking for solid feedback from folks with deep experience in this industry to help me evaluate if this is a business proposition worthy of consideration at this location. Thank you!

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