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Have any of you ever opened a car shop or resto shop from scratch?

SteveSS

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I've been thinking about it. I'm a hack mechanic but I figured on hiring talent. I found a cool place in town for $700K and another one way out of town. 40 acres with an insulated and air-conditioned shop. My thought process is that a resto shop doesn't rely on foot traffic. Most cars would be in there for months. The shop building was built and used for growing marijuana and all the equipment for that is still there. There's that as a side business. 40 acres and shop and big RV trailer for $235K. I guess the only problem would be getting mechanics willing to live 45 miles from CS. It kind of sounds like Hooovies Garage Farm but on a smaller scale. Who knows maybe I'll have a YouTube show.

Have any of you tried this before and can you offer up some helpful advice?
 
Maybe we'll put some trailers out for you guys too. This is 45 miles east so it's all high prairie not pretty green mountains.
 
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I mean starting a shop from scratch not the $700 part. So basically no lifts, paint booths or tire machines. Especially no employees yet. I have one guy that helps with my collection but he's strictly a guy that comes and works for a day or two each week. The $700K shop can be leased but they want a 3-year lease on it.
 
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I got the idea from a high roller here in town his rates are $100/hr and his normal bill per car is $100,000. From what I understand $100/hour is pretty cheap.

I mean a single guy like me could build a little apartment inside the shop.
 
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employees, insurance, and overhead are a killer....... how many resto jobs you gonna do in a year just to pay the bills? where is the work coming from? who is doing the labor? talented guys aren't cheap, if you can find any......... just for starters
 
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employees, insurance, and overhead are a killer.......
... and then, to top it all, Uncle Sam comes to grab his share every quarter. Just when you think you got a load of pennies in your piggybank, much of it evaporates. Anybody who's had a business knows, you put alot of hard work, time, and stress... just to see Uncle come and calmly grab a good chunk. Why I hate big government.
 
How many cars do you have versus how many are drivable? I'll say it, this isn't the gig for you.
 
I ran a small 1-man speed shop for a few years starting in around 2003. I did work on the side while working my day job for a year and a half. When I quit my day job, I had jobs lined up, had started to make a name for myself, and a plan to use the extra time to drum up more business. Conversely, a business associate of mine recently acquired his medical practice. Purchase price was $1.4M. Dealing with state and local authorities, along with accountants and lawyers, he's into the acquisition $10M and still hasn't changed the sign out front. Jumping in with both feet is one of the big reasons so many businesses fail. Growing it organically can help it succeed. My thoughts to consider.
 
Back away from the idea......then when you feel your far enough, to get away,...turn and RUN....
 
My wife sold her interior design - furniture store last year because of all the time spent not working on projects. Her mother owned a welding supply and told her the hardest part of owning a business is employees, and I was one of them! Best is to start small and build a excellant reputation and customer base.
 
... and then, to top it all, Uncle Sam comes to grab his share every quarter. Just when you think you got a load of pennies in your piggybank, much of it evaporates. Anybody who's had a business knows, you put alot of hard work, time, and stress... just to see Uncle come and calmly grab a good chunk. Why I hate big government.
This is why you need a good CPA as part of the package - before you jump in.
 
The best kind of business is one without employees.
We've never ever had an employee that could be considered great. In fact, when the wife or I wasn't around, they were slackers until we notified them that we would be closing our doors.
 
For what it's worth, the worst time of my adult working career was when I was a self-employed business owner. I wouldn't do it again for anything. Sleepless nights, stress out the wazoo and ungrateful, thieving employees. NEVER again.
 
I have thought about it myself
We have a good farm shop with lots of room
I sold the dairy part a couple years ago and have more time for car stuff
Keep thinking I want to post an ad to find a couple small jobs to do to see how it goes
Then the more I think about it the more I lean towards just finding a project car I can use my skills on to improve the value of it and sell it again
That way there is no one to answer to and no dead lines for what ever comes up
Have been keeping my eyes open for the cars no one wants to store for the winter and might be able to pick something up
 
We've never ever had an employee that could be considered great. In fact, when the wife or I wasn't around, they were slackers until we notified them that we would be closing our doors.


I’ve had quite the opposite with my business. Nearly 50 years total between three employees, which really goes to show what a truly awesome guy I was to work for. In fact, if you look up ‘awesome boss’ in the 2021 Webster’s dictionary, you’ll see my face.
 
Steve our family just finished and sold a body shop and auto repair that was started by my stepdad in 1972.
My brother had been in since 75 , myself the last 19 yr.
We have seen many changes over the years. Our bread and butter was late model collision work, Classic car jobs a fill in. I will say though we never had a classic at our shop over 1 yr. Not a one.
At times we had a pair in the shop.
I guess we're I am going with all this is myself and a handful of others on here are and have lived through this.
My 2 cents, buy the weed farm and start growing and work on your own cars.
You ain't going to like this but your 40 yrs. to late to jump into the bodyman game.
 
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