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Pete K

Free Member
  • Content Count

    16
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Pete K last won the day on June 21 2014

Pete K had the most liked content!

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About Pete K

  • Rank
    Posting Member

Business Information

  • Business Address
    14220 Sullyfield Circle, Chantilly, Virginia, 20151
  • Type of Business
    Auto Repair
  • Your Current Position
    Shop Owner
  • Automotive Franchise
    None
  • Website
  • Banner Program
    None
  • Certifications
    ASE Certified since 1989

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  1. I recently heard of the Automotive Service Association (ASA). A quick search here gives me zero results. Has anyone heard of them? Any members? Curious about them as they claim to be non-profit. https://asashop.org/
  2. Please check out our website: http://www.prospeedautoworks.com Would love to hear some feedback, especially around SEO.
  3. I use a combination of a frequently updated website (hosted by Google apps), Google AdWords, Google Plus for a maps entry and ratings, and Yelp for ratings. I even have a few ads on Craigs List that I keep running constantly. I've been in business a year and 90% of my new business has been via Internet referals. Yes, you do get some cheapskates looking for bargain deals but I am happy to have those customers go elsewhere After we discuss pricing.
  4. I will second the recommendation for SMOTGO as a shop management tool. It is excellent - web-based and totally free as bstewart mentioned. I also use quick books online but only to run my finances. I accept credit cards with the GoPayment option and it connects directly to my bank account to automatically pull in transactions. So SMOTGO to run the shop, QBO to handle the finances. Been working well for me so far.
  5. I am one year into a similar situation but instead of lack of experience it was lack of time (I decided to start up a shop while still working another full time job). I got lucky and was able to hire a very seasoned tech who was looking for something more. I currently pay him flat rate for billable hours only but his condition for coming on board was to eventually become a partner. I will soon be making him a minority partner as we are growing like crazy and he is very dedicated. It also helped the trust factor that I already knew him and his friends before bringing him on. Like I said, I got lucky - not sure this helps but thought I would share. -Pete
  6. What insurance companies are you guys using for business insurance? I am shopping now and received two fairly high (seemed to me) quotes from Farmers and Travelers.
  7. Right now, I am doing any type of work I can get my hands on from friends, family and a few word of mouth customers but also proactively purchasing and repairing cars to flip for a profit. I just sold a Saab (not my first choice) for a profit, next will be another vehicle that my business partner is partially donating to the business. So far so good. The short term plan is the keep flipping to pay the rent while working hard to generate interest and business doing what we really want to be doing -- performance and resto projects. If car flips continue to be profitable, we will keep doing them. Seems to be a good way to generate revenue while waiting for business to spool up, or during upcoming slow periods. I honestly think it will be six months to a year before I can break away from my day job and make a full time run of this. I have a friend who does advertising and branding/marketing who is willing to run my entire campaign in trade for some work on his 53 Ford. Who knows, maybe his campaign will speed up this process.
  8. Hi folks - Long time since I last posted but thought I'd provide an update. I decided to get a little more aggressive with moving my shop plans forward. I started looking for low cost shop space to get started working on cars to flip and handle small customer jobs/projects. I'm sticking with the plan to get started slowly and then break away from the day job once the shop is generating enough revenue. I now have a business partner who is willing to help with some startup capital so we decided to start with some low cost space with the plan to move to bigger/nicer space in about a year. I feel like I hit the jackpot when looking - the agent I was working with referred me to a shop owner who might be looking to rent out a bay or two since his rent was about to double (he didn't want to move out). I approached him and we immediately hit it off. I signed a 1 year sub-lease to rent 2 bays and full use of all shop equipment -- this is a successful, fully running shop so everything is there for my use (tire machine, balancer, lifts, brake lathe, press, alignment machine, compressor, ac machine, scanners, even full shared use of the front desk and lobby). A huge savings for me as you can imagine. Anyway, not only am I getting exactly what I needed for some commercial work space, I am learning from the shop owner that I rent from who is a great guy and willing to share a lot of knowledge. His business is very different than mine and we don't compete with each other which is working for now -- I sub some work to him, he shares his shop management knowledge. It's been working well so far. Any thoughts or comments? Suggestions? Thanks - Pete
  9. Jeff - Working on a few classics now. Working the car shows is actually part of my strategy. Appreciate your thoughts on the body shop idea. Xrac -- Appreciate your feedback. It is a different animal for sure, but it's what I'm most passionate about. If I'm going to get into this business I think it best to go this route to stay motivated. Gonzo - Appreciate you thoughts. The sales aspect of it is really only a backup plan to get cashflow in the startup phase or during those slow times. Not really what I'd want to do full time, unless it proved successful. Harry -- Agree that the customer base could be all over the map. Scares me a bit since I've dealt with some of the scum bag ones in the past. Use to call them squirrels, the ones that wanted to hot rod their Hondas and VWs but not spend a lot of money. I'd really be looking to capture the higher end market but since it is likely to take a long time to build up to that, I feel the body shop and car sales concept can help us stay afloat in the beginning. Anyone have tips on what to look for in the purchase of a successful body shop? Seems to be a lot more of them for sale in my area than service/repair shops for some reason. It's a big big business in my area (Wash DC metro area). Thanks -- PeteK
  10. Hi folks - any thoughts on my latest post/questions? Appreciate any feedback. Thx - PeteK
  11. Thanks again for the feedback, guys. Sorry it has been so long since I posted last. Have had a series of things going on that have delayed my planning. At any rate, I have not lost interest and am still looking for ideas on the best way to start something up. A few items I have changed in my planning over the past few months and now I have more questions: 1. I definitely want to my new shop to focus on auto restoration work, not general repairs. Question: Can anyone provide any info or detail on estimating revenue for project type work? Also, do the major RO systems (Mitchell and the like) have the ability to handle project based work since this is different from general repairs. Any other thoughts, feedback, advice, etc on opening and running a resto shop? Anyone know of any success stories here? 2. Start from scratch or buy into something? I am struggling with how to jump in. Should I start something very small and grow it slowly? Or try to buy an already operating business (hopefully successful with a decent revenue stream). Restoration shops for sale in my area are few and far between and very expensive ($500K and up). I considered looking for body shops for sale (there are many) since they seem to do well in this area, it would be a turn key revenue stream from day one (in concept) and I could expand into restoration work fairly easily since the shop would have the paint booth, body tools, resources, etc that would be required for restorations. To buy or lease all of this AND build business from nothing during start up would be almost impossible in my mind. Thoughts on that??? 3. Auto Sales -- I have considered car sales in the beginning as well (I currently do flip cars occasionally now) as a way to stay busy and bring in at least some revenue while waiting for the resto work to start "rolling" in. I figure nobody is going to have me restore anything if they haven't heard of me or seen my work so what better way to get your name out there, showcase some work AND make a little cash during the startup phase --- buy cars, restore, sell. Any thoughts on that concept? Thanks again guys --- really appreciate and look forward to your feedback!!! -Pete K
  12. Thanks, I will check out EMyth. Hadn't thought about working behind the counter of another business but that's a great idea. Four to six bays is what I was thinking and I do have the population for it (100,000+ in the immediate area and another 60-100k or so in nearby surrounding areas). Plenty of money too -- median salary in the area is 100k /yr. Trouble is finding a good place to set up shop. I'm Leary of building something new for a first shop so I'd prefer to lease either a suitable space in an industrial park or buy into an existing operational shop. My fear of the industrial park option though is that if it's not visible to drivers by in a retail location, no one will ever kow I exist. This area is suburbia and there just aren't a bunch of visible shops around - most industrial stuff is hidden away. Any thoughts on that?
  13. Thanks, CARMandP. I'll check them out. -Pete
  14. Thanks, guys, for all the detailed info. I'm definitely not looking to be the main mechanic -- been out of it too long for that. I am really looking to build an auto business then build enough capital to start another one, then who knows from there (grow and expand for sure). I know it will be hard, I know it won't happen overnight. I look forward to the challenge, but before I jump in with both feet I need to be realistic with myself on how it's all going to work. My main concern right now is knowing the break-even point so I can know if it's possible to break away from the day job while starting up, of if I should try to do both for a while -- I can't picture either scenario being a simple one! Could anyone share what they are paying a month for utilities? I know it can vary, but it will give me an idea where to start with my planning worksheet. Also, Joe, of those weekly and monthly gross sales can you estimate how much of that is parts revenue? Thanks - Pete
  15. Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone. Joe your comments and blogs are insightful and very inspiring -- I am hooked on this website!! Question 1 -- Guys, my first question is How do I determine my monthly operating costs? There are many factors, and I have a detailed worksheet going trying to estimate these things, but I need to know things like monthly electric costs, shop services (safety kleen, chemical, uniforms, etc), insurance, etc. Could someone either post an average example of these costs for a 4-6 bay shop, or does someone have a pre-build spreadsheet template I could use for calculating this? Question 2 -- Could someone share the specifics on how to estimate revenues and profits for labor and parts? I've got a pretty good handle on labor, but not the parts aspect. For instance, if I know how many techs/bays/cars-counts I have and hour many labor hours/dollars sold, is there a formula to estimate gross parts sales revenue and profit on parts? Some percentage based on labor? ALSO - please advise if it would be better to post these types of questions to different forum boards, or as separate topics. I would love to keep it all in one to make it easy to refer back to, but I'll post in specific areas if the moderators prefer. Thanks again - Pete


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