Owning, managing and working in my own shop. Man would I do things differently! That is probably what a lot of you are thinking. You then follow that first line of thinking with: First, I would have a...
Owning, managing and working in my own shop. Man would I do things differently! That is probably what a lot of you are thinking. You then follow that first line of thinking with: First, I would have all up to-date equipment, the most complete and comprehensive scanners, and really useful accessories that help me to diagnose and repair the most elusive problems, making me very efficient and able to solve problems quickly.
My shop would be clean and well organized, laid out so each bay has specific uses and equipment to help get the work completed in the most efficient manner. Each technician would have specific areas of expertise and I would make sure they were able to capitalize on those abilities to contribute to the overall profit and performance of the shop. I would even have great incentive programs to help motivate employees to look for ancillary sales. All my employees would be required to attend seminars and courses necessary to keep updated on the latest changes to automotive technology and repair methods.
Everyone who at one time or another has thought about making the move to owning their own shop has said all of these things. But for most of us, the reality is much different. First, we start small, perhaps in a unit or shop which has low overhead and can be operated by one person, while we try to build a business on repeat customers and use word-of-mouth referral to keep ourselves busy. We realize that every cent we make must be turned back into the shop to allow for the purchasing of the vital components needed to practice our trade and grow the business. Running a shop is a very demanding ritual. Most new owners earn much less starting their own shop than they did when they worked for someone else, in the beginning.
Growing a business takes time.
To be a success, you must have a plan. A template from which you can work, measure your progress and gauge your success. Begin with picturing yourself in your shop and then think of where you would locate your business. Check out the area. Are there successful shops around or is it a dead-end disaster? Find out about rents and costs. Is the area affordable? How would you survive for six months or a year until you had some cash flow? Find out about business licenses, business taxes and the cost of business insurance, making sure you would be covered for any major accident or environmental incident. Thinking about working alone or hiring someone to work with/for you? How will you meet your payroll and expenses?
At this point, some professional advice is not only desirable, it is mandatory. You must consult with someone such as E.K. Williams, whose expertise in this field is extensive and understands start-up planning and basic management of shops. If you are prepared to start slowly, with a reasonable business plan, proper financing to get yourself through the first six months to one year and are prepared to use as much self discipline as you have, then you have already taken the fist steps to thinking and acting as a manager of your own shop.
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