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willy19592 New Reader
1/23/09 3:19 p.m.

Wheweee, Sounds like you got some great ideas. I hate to be a wet Blanket though. First I AM in business for myself, I'm a Carpenter Contractor. Not really that much different from the biz side of what you want to do, biz is biz and working with the public is the same. I built my co to 17 employees (I know you said you didnt intend to do this, but trust me you will! ) Slowly I decided I didn't like being office boy, and holding workers hands, providing a paycheck etc, only to have them blow off work the days I needed them most. I went back to just ME. And a retired friend helps me out now and again. I will only take jobs now that I KNOW I do not need help on. Stress went way down!! (along with cash flow, but profit went up!) these last 3 months have been BRUTAL though, no one wants to spend a dime. Now that brings me to the other interesting part of your letter. My Son and I w2w Race Miata's, and with the economy the way it is, where do you think my first cut back is going to be next year? Now, Im not a guy that hires trackside support, but I know the owner of a Miata support biz very well, I know he IS nervous about next year as well. My son and I part out Miata's to support our bad habits, but I have to admit that the last few months it has paid the bills. Last, hiring your former boss is a real double edge sword, I can see the benefit, but also you must realize, he wants to be a fisherman, so get in your head right away, don't take a job that you NEED him on, if he can help you out great!, but dont be in a dependent position! Remember, he messed up his OWN biz, and he will have no conscience when the fish are biting.

Last GOOD LUCK! My favorite saying is there is NOTHING better than being my own boss, and Nothing worse! all in the same sentence lol

oh the second favorite one of mine,

Being in your own biz is GREAT you get to work 1/2 days all the time (any12 hours you want to!)

ever read "the last open road" by Bs Levy? There are some interesting similarities in Buddy, and your story lines :)

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/23/09 3:44 p.m.

Things to think about.

Is your wife / Girlfriend / significant other a very understanding person? (you will be broke at times and you will be working 12-16-18 even 20 hour days 6-7 days a week. I started a business back in 2002 and I got my first weeks vacation and actually went away in 2007. Are you willing to give up all your other hobbies.

Keep it small. I have seen a lot of people fail because they got to big to fast. You disappoint the customer with poor quality work or make promises that you can not keep and it will get around much faster than that great job you did. Customers are a really tough croud!

I hope you like Mac & Cheese or PB and J. If you don't you will soon.

You will pay all your employees and vendors before you take a check. DOn't do this you will be out of business fast!

Ohya did I mention that if you have kids that you will not see them. Last time I looked my kids were cute little pre teens. I just got a bill from a college.. . .When did this happen? My son is now almost 4 . . . I have a son? you get the picture.

The $$$$ starts and stops at your desk. The decisions you make will effect how many $$$$$ will be on your desk at the end of the week. Ignore things thinking that they will go away and they will go away carrying $$$ that either could have been yours or was yours.

Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. Silly but really true!

Kramer Reader
1/23/09 4:05 p.m.

One thing to think about is the equity that may still be around from when the business was open. Can you get some (most) of these customers to come back? Will your ex-boss (now employee) be an asset that should be marketed?

Are you confident that you can run the business side, as well as be a great mechanic? Having a friend/family member who can help part-time with the admin stuff can allow you to do what makes money.

If you're planning on doing trackside support for a few customers, see if there's an opportunity to do more while you're at the track. Maybe take a trailer full of parts/tools and offer your services to others while at the track (check with sanctioning body first, of course).

spitfirebill HalfDork
1/23/09 4:52 p.m.
Tim Baxter wrote: My 2¢ (actual value may vary)

How the hell did you do the cents symbol oh masterful swami??????

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
1/23/09 5:12 p.m.

On a mac it's really easy. Option+4=¢ (like $, but different). On a PC? I think you have to put in some arcane code. I dunno.

skruffy Dork
5/18/09 10:12 p.m.

It's on. I secured a location last week and moved all the equipment and his various dead vehicles (I wasn't too keen on the cars but whatever) out of storage this weekend. It'll probably be a month before we're set up to actually do work and we don't have a ramp to get cars in the bay yet (loading docks FTL), but the building is awesome.

Anyone sitting on any cool race shop names that they weren't planning to use? Totally Awesome Race Fabrication and Prep and Chassis Setup and Engine Building and Whatnot.com isn't too catchy.

2002maniac New Reader
5/18/09 10:31 p.m.

Congrats! Good luck getting this off the ground!

Brust Reader
5/19/09 12:09 a.m.

Racefab and what-have-you.

You'll nab all the Racer-Lebowski's. Plus you can call customers when there's a problem and say "new E36M3 has come to light, man".

I would almost pay to make that phone call.

Good luck, and we're all counting on you.

johnhammer New Reader
5/19/09 6:36 a.m.

I've worked in marketing for nearly 20 years (via broadcasting) and here's my opinion of any mom & pop run business:

Do something unique.

NEVER sell on price; the customers who'll come to you to save a couple bucks will be the same folks who go down the street when your competitor drops his price by a few dollars.

Become an expert at one thing. ONE thing. You can do lots of things, but be the best at one thing.

Finally, TELL people about yourself. You MUST have a marketing budget big enough to keep spending even when there's not a lot of income coming in (because that's when you need to market yourself the most!).

I've seen a LOT of businesses start with your exact same intentions...and they fail because they either did the same thing as their competition (for about the same price) or because nobody knew they were in business.

Buzz me anytime!

John AT SaySomethingImportant DOT com

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/19/09 7:04 a.m.

Pros Vs Cons:

P: Todays economy will keep people in their cars longer needing more repairs.

C: Todays economy will keep people from spending extra money on their extra cars.

P: The shop is semi established and has a small base of customers.

C: It did fail. Regardless of reasons there are customers who will NOT come back because of it.

P: Owning a business is a fulfilling excersize that can be profitable.

C Owning a business is the hardest job you will ever have. You are responsible party, you get paid last after working hardest and longest.

car39 Reader
5/19/09 7:45 a.m.

Work on your business plan. I was talking to the owner of a local shop that closed recently. He had a good rep, he's a good person, and had a lot of really great equipment. When the economy slowed, the debt on the really great equipment and rent on the really nice shop started to eat him alive. Add in some slow / no pays and he decided to cash it in. Told me the one thing that saved his @ss was another guy who found a sucker to pay too much for his dyno equipment. That gave him cash enough to bail.

NBS2005 Dork
5/19/09 9:50 a.m.

Good luck with your venture.

Please keep one thing in mind. You have to constantly think about why customers should come to you and not go anywhere else. What makes you different? What makes you better? What do you offer that the customer can't get anywhere else? Price should not be the answer to any of these questions.

There is a building in town that has become a revolving restaurant. When the previous owner had her business there she was quoted in the local paper as saying "if you have a great wine list and can cook, you'll be successful." They lasted 9 months. You need to offer the customer something they can't get anywhere else.

RossD Reader
5/19/09 4:09 p.m.
spitfirebill wrote:
Tim Baxter wrote: My 2¢ (actual value may vary)
How the hell did you do the cents symbol oh masterful swami??????

¢ ->hold down 'alt' and type in 0162 and release 'alt'

Or...open up the character map under accessories and system tools. Select the font used (ie. times new roman) and select the character you want. Either use the copy feature built into it or read the keystroke at the very bottom. If the keystroke doesnt show up, the U+00A2 can be converted from Hexadecimal to Decimal using the calculator. Turn on the scientific features on in the calculator and select Hex and type in A2 and then select Dec and it should give you 162 again. I had to meet a really smart Electrical Engineer to teach me that though.

Good luck with your shop!

maroon92 SuperDork
5/19/09 4:19 p.m.

If you do, please consider the following. I am a recent college grad full of ambition, and a head full of grand ideas. I graduated with a degree in Advertising and Promotion from a the business college (advertising degrees are in the college of communications at most universities), so I am well versed in how the business side of things works. I may not be the most versitile in the shop, but I can turn a wrench. and most importantly, I am very willing to relocate for a job, so offer me one. I am a very cool person to have around. Also, and this goes for anyone out there, if you want a copy of my Resume, please send a PM.

Sorry if this sounds selfish or out of place, but your idea sounds awesome, and I want to offer my support as well as my help getting started.

Volksroddin HalfDork
5/20/09 9:33 p.m.

BTW where in Dayton will this shop be??

skruffy Dork
5/20/09 9:47 p.m.

Centerville, near Sams club.

Maroon, I'm not even close to hiring anyone yet lolz.

maroon92 SuperDork
5/20/09 11:43 p.m.

Understood...but keep my enthusiasm in mind when you need someone to help you start up! Give me two days notice and I will be there.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/21/09 6:40 a.m.

Plus, he knows the Wendys menu, which is important in that region ;)

fastEddie Dork
5/21/09 7:04 a.m.

Ah, kind of near where our main office is (on Newmark Circle off of Lyons). I know the guy that owns the BP service station on 48 in Centerville, he's a good guy and has the kind of reputation you'd want in that business. Of course he'd be part of your competition for general maintenance/repairs....

Let me know when you open up, I'd like to swing by and check things out.

4cylndrfury HalfDork
5/21/09 7:22 a.m.
nickel_dime wrote: Quality, quality, quality. Most people don't mind paying for quality and an honest shop is hard to find. Don't short cut jobs to make extra money and you should be fine. Word will get around.


Also, if you plan to cover more than just euro cars, like say - Oh I dunno...like 1999-2002 Infiniti G20s...or you know...something like that, that would be great. I have this...friend...yeah a friend...who is looking for a decent shop that he can trust to do a good job on a auto to manual swap. I ..i mean he....lives about halfway between the 'Nati and Dayton.

seriously though, I say go for it. Like many before said, people will pay for quality. its a commodity thats getting harder and harder to find

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/21/09 7:57 a.m.

Being the insane nut I am I just can not work for anyone. There for I decided long ago to own my own company (Currently I have partners) The lesson I learned was that as soon as you own the company you just got as many bosses as you have customers. All I can tell you is the hours are long the pay is ok.

Firing my self every Friday = Priceless

Oh-ya don't get sucked in to the GRM forums during lunch. The next thing you know it is 2:30 in the afternoon and you then have to work till 8:00 to get everything done.

jde Reader
5/21/09 10:43 a.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: I ..i mean he....lives about halfway between the 'Nati and Dayton.

Basking in the glow of Big Butter Jesus too, eh?

NYG95GA Dork
5/21/09 10:48 a.m.
dean1484 wrote: Oh-ya don't get sucked in to the GRM forums during lunch. The next thing you know it is 2:30 in the afternoon and you then have to work till 8:00 to get everything done.

Quoted for truth.

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