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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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what would it take to own a hipo car shop

By the time im 30 i would like to own a hipo car shop. Everything from oil changes to engine bored. What exactly would I need to make all this possible. I plan to go to UTI or Lincoln tech within the next year or 2. But I know I would need more
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 01:06 AM
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I'm sure more knowledgable folk will chime in... but I would imagine that aside from the technical side of it, and the passion, I would suggest working in other privately owned shops to see how things are run. Work your way up in one of those and learn as much about it as you can. Then, with the proper funding, you could open your own shop, or maybe you'll be in line to take over someone elses... who knows

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 07:02 AM
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I've researched that many, many times and here is what I've found (and why I don't currently own a shop).

1. Initial investment in tooling. Mills, lathes, etc. are VERY expensive!!!
2. Insurance. Business insurance is ridiculous in today's business environment. All it takes is one time for an engine you built to throw a rod at a drag strip and take off someone’s arm and you’re ruined, unless you pay the monthly LARGE insurance premiums.
3. Initial investment. From what I researched, most banks require a 15% initial investment out of your own pocket before they will give you a small business loan. So if you’re looking at in initial capital investment of 100K (very easy to hit that figure!!), you have to pony up $15K out of your pocket. And that is not allowed to be from another loan. It has to be clear investment
4. Location, location, location. Unless you have property in a prime location, you then have to budget the payment for the property.
5. Legal Council. Legal ramifications due to changing laws. Everything you do at the shop would have to be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that you are not breaking any Federal emissions laws, or any state laws, blah, blah, blah... So now, you’re looking at retaining a lawyer $$$$!!!

All these things add up.

Yep, I’ve done some research.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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wow, maybe i should sit down and figure out what i need to do in life then, I dont think I could make very good money by just working on cars i atleast want to afford a 250-300,000$ house by the time in 27
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 10:12 PM
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If your serious about having your own shop besides what Daily Driven mentioned you need to be known to be successful. Work in a shop for a while and build a client base. When you do open your own shop you will already have customers and they will tell others. Best advertising is by word of mouth. (Also the worst)
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 10:28 PM
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You have the exact same thing in your mind as me. im 18 and when i graduate im trying to go to uti. work fixing cars for a while and open my own shop. but i want it to be for fixing cars, and also installing electronics all in one place. i also need to reasearch on that.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-18-2005, 11:51 PM
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You have the exact same thing in your mind as me.
And thats why 80% of the people who try to enter this line of work will fail. Everyone wants to open a shop and have little idea of what it takes to be successful. There is no need for the amount of shops that will be open in 10-15 years.

The "performance car" market is VERY competitive and many shops stay open making minimal profits. If you think you will be doing everything from oil changes to building high powered engines you will be overstepping your abilities to remain profitable. It wont happen and you will fail. You dont make money doing the little stuff.

I know a few shop owners who have primary jobs and the shop stays open because it makes them happy, not because they are getting rich. I suggest you go to school and learn about business, take auto classes at a tech. Take some more classes, read books. KNOW YOUR ****!!! BE 100% SURE that this is a goal you want to pursue before you start running blindly.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 09:49 AM
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Any thing is possible. My brother in law owed a bobcat service and could no longer park it at his house. Found a yard in town with a garage. I had just releaved my self of my old job doing mainly exhaust and auto work. Brother in law said he'd buy a lift, welder, torches and such. I brought an extensive tool set. We had a bussiness.
Had a good rep with exhaust and caried more than half the commercial accounts with me. No Advertising for the first two years, limited the next three. Just prided myself on honesty(why I left the other shop). People will seek you out.
Over the years sunk every penny back into the shop for more equipment, stock, etc. Had a running tool truck bill of probably 600 to 1000 a month. Rent was dirt cheap at 800.00, for Santa Fe that's unbelievable. Although it's location was hard to find, again they will seek you out. Most of our bussiness was referral, or word of mouth. The best kind of advertising. Or were going down the street to another shop and saw us on the way back. In quality and price there was no comparison.
I had it seven years, Brother in laws bobcat service went tits up at five and left me holding the bag. With the extra stress i caught a nasty virus that almost killed me, Had to take steriods which killed the imune system. Stayed sick for a year and a half then Sold the shop and went into a depression for another year. And hear before stands whats left. The better man for it, I wouldn't change any thing but there was a shytload of stuff I did wrong. I got four more years of payments for the sale of the shop so I got some time to think about it. Got more input but these days I have to much to say so I'll keep it short.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 10:40 AM
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Definately not an easy thing to do.

I work part time for a speed shop that's been open for over 30 years (think parts, and some basic services like sandblasting, powdercoating, etc, most of which is sent out). It's a one man shop and I do the computer stuff and am starting to get in to some welding and parts restoration. It's amazing how good you can make stuff look in just a couple hours.

Through there I met up with a little family owned shop down the street that advertises as a custom exhaust shop. They're a lot more than that, but that's their starting ground, exhaust and maintenance.

I'm building them a website so that they can advertise as more of a performance/custom shop which they're working towards. They'd love to not have to do the oil changes and things like that in the future, but they're smart enough to know they don't have the business to go for full performance shop yet.

They're awesome guys and I've seen people drive from albany NY to basically Boston MA to have work done there. It works well, I get work done in exchange for the work I do and have nothing but reccommendations to hand out for them.

Here's one of their trucks http://www.truckworld.com/Street-Sce...ford-f100.html
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 01:09 PM
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I'm planning to try and open up shop in the automotive industry as well. Right now I'm studying for a mechanical engineering degree and I plan to work at a large company for 4-10 years after graduation, to build up enough of a savings (and design and engineering experience) to open a shop. What I plan to do with my shop is a little different, and as of right now, no one else is doing it, so you'll all understand if I don't tell you what I'm going to do. But that's my plan. I don't care about making money, I don't care how big my house is or whatever, I just want to be doing some kickass stuff with cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 02:31 PM
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I'm planning to try and open up shop in the automotive industry as well. Right now I'm studying for a mechanical engineering degree and I plan to work at a large company for 4-10 years after graduation, to build up enough of a savings (and design and engineering experience) to open a shop. What I plan to do with my shop is a little different, and as of right now, no one else is doing it, so you'll all understand if I don't tell you what I'm going to do. But that's my plan. I don't care about making money, I don't care how big my house is or whatever, I just want to be doing some kickass stuff with cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Same here. I know there's "good money" in Engineering, but I love modifying what the factory gave me. I'm kind of looking into either starting a shop, or starting in a guy's shop that I know. either way, I'm only looking to be an ME for 15 years max.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 05:38 PM
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As kind of a flip to those who have gone under, a neighbor of mine (rural neighbor...2 miles away...anyway) started his own mechanic shop roughly 8 years ago or so (before I could drive). He started in a 1 stall shop, fixed to another farmer's machine shed. He could barely fit 2 cars in end to end, plus a few tools, etc. We've had him work on our tractors, my old man's pickup, etc. He did excellent work. Soon, he outgrew the 1 stall shop, so he moved his operation to his house and put up an impressive shop. I don't know the exact dimensions of it, but it was 4 stalls wide (wide stalls at that) and 2 or 3 deep with 2 lifts, many tools, etc, etc. Heated/AC, generous office space and parts storage. Once he did this, his business increased again, and he started taking on help. And he outgrew it again. So he put up an addition to the shop for parts, office, etc. I do believe right now he has around 10 guys working for him. He works on everything from Pintos to Deere's to Petes. He also just bought into a new parts store in town also. He hardly advertises at all, just a little blurb in the wanted section of the paper that say mechanic work wanted. His lot is never ever close to being empty and he'd be the only person I'd let touch my car. And the best part is that his labor rates are under $30/hr. Sometimes you just have to find what not many people are doing or do something similar, but do it a little cheaper and a lot better.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 05:50 PM
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Reputation is the key.You can have the best tools, best garage and still fall flat on your face. So in order to get a good rep. you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 09:32 PM
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I would love to have my own performance shop. There's one in Omaha, but it services mostly Mustangs, Camaros, etc. When I was in and talked to them about some 3.8 parts, they seemed to just laugh at me - especially when they found out they were for a Thunderbird. And since, at the moment, I lack the mechanical skills - I would rather be a counter guy.. Talk to the customer, get to know them, etc.

Oh well - until then, I'll just stick with my 'Bird and be happy Good luck to anyone who does go out and open their own business. It's rough to make it - especially in the beginning.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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maybe I would be better off just have a side business in my garage or is that against the law? I could custom bend exhaust, and do all those things in my spare time.....
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-19-2005, 09:55 PM
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I dont think theres anything wrong with having a business in your garage as long as ya got through all the legal BS. Or just dont let the city ordinance people find out lol.

And if you can make some custom parts, exhaust etc. you could definately make extra money selling those.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 12:40 AM
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Don't forget the little stuff, the best profits are in tire and oil changes.




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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 03:52 AM
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not an easy thing to do. but i have a story that could lift your spirits.

a guy i met a long time ago(back when i liked hondas, dam hs days) opened up a shop. i was talking to him as this is my dream. he said he just started out working on his car, then his freinds hondas, then their freinds hondas out of his parents garage. he did engine swaps, tranny swaps, you name it, if it was honduh he did it. he said he made ****loads of money, and then rented out a nice 1500sqft 1 garage shop suite off some industrial parkway. he was a 1 man operation, then hired his freind to help him. they did great, but then he got aspirations of selling the parts too. so he hired another person to buy parts wholesale and sell them. they then realized they were going to need a bigger shop and a showroom floor, they moved to a 2 garage shop and a showroom floor. they were doing great business. this was about 2001ish, i was there alot and they were always doing 3-4 cars at a time, working their asses off. he then said he didnt have enough shop room(they had orders for 5 engine swaps) and they found a bigger shop in a better location. they moved and now have a 4 garage shop and a 1000sq ft showroom floor. he drives a brand new mercedes and lives at the shop(sweet huh), he has around 8 employees, 4 mechanics and 3 retail/internet sellers, and him.

so there is hope to start from the bottom and work your way up. i also have this same dream, i want a auto parts store the size of best buy. i want to install high performance stuff for any car(domestics, imports, euros) as well as have a body shop that does kits and paint, and also a ICE shop that does stereos, subs, tv;s and such. and a couple iasles of stuff on show that you could see what you were buying then go and have it installed if you cant do it yourself. but i think i have more of a chance of being a overpaid rock star than owning a parts store/performance shop. im still debating again on whether to do UTI and work on cars the rest of my life, or do ITT tech and sit on my *** and get paid 100k a year the rest of my life. i think ill do the hands on and go auto.

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