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are you a 'successful' shop owner in a larger city/town?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by CHOPSHOP, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,241


    dont own a business but one thought is always update customer on changes that could effect estimate. body worse than expected, more replacement panels, timeline change, etc.
    Joined: Jun 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,920

    from Malden,MA

    Yeah- we send out weekly/bi weekly emails and the customer can see their ride work on our website anytime. I Know I also take any special photos they want too.
  3. dbu8554
    Joined: Aug 7, 2005
    Posts: 60

    from Vegas

    Wait, I dont own a shop but its illegal to talk to other shop owners about pricing? Then how do you know if you charging to much or too little? at other shops I worked at they would give me a phone book and have me call every other shop in town and write down their shop rates and then we would price ourselves in the middle is that illegal?
  4. Slide
    Joined: May 11, 2004
    Posts: 3,022


    A couple things I've learned about business from the employee side:

    - Make sure you know ALL your costs (as mentioned earlier). How much does it cost for an hour of that guy's labor? Not just his hourly wages, but all the SS, insurance, HR & tax paperwork, any benefits you offer, etc. Could very likely be 2x what you actually pay him. All your consumables... the cost of a #10-32 stainless hex nut or a grinding wheel or a tube of RTV. Not that you nickel-and-dime your customers over this stuff, but know what it costs so you can charge accordingly.

    (On a related note, shop around for the best value. You might find that Brand A sandpaper is cheaper per sheet, but Brand B costs twice as much, butit's cutting ability lasts 3x as long, so it actually ends up costing less. This is just an example, but this is how to think about things.)

    - Control your growth. Take baby steps so you don't get in over your head financially or organizationally.

    Regarding the collision/repair vs. custom/resto, remember you are selling skills and abilities... more like an old world artisan/craftsman than a manufactring/assembly line. I think this is the reason almost every successful shop I know of charges hourly labor rather than a per job deal. Everybody has a different project with different needs to get it to different levels of completion and different levels of perfection... it's nearly impossible to give accurate quotes in such a situation.
  5. ol fueler
    Joined: Oct 6, 2005
    Posts: 935

    ol fueler

  6. The Hard Way
    Joined: Jan 19, 2007
    Posts: 47

    The Hard Way

    I had no idea it was illegal. I understand why, since all of the shops in a town could conspire to create a pricing monopoly, but when hourly rates are posted in most shops, or quoted over the phone, it wouldn't be hard to survey a lot of businesses. As far as I can tell, the surveying isn't the illegal part.
    Joined: Jun 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,920

    from Malden,MA

    we have to post rates in MA.Dont know about other states and I really dont think its illegal as its REALLY common..
  8. ems customer service
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,579

    ems customer service

    wether you hire a helper or do biz with a suppllier do not not be afraid to fire the employee or supplier when in doubt get rid of them fast.
  9. Hey man. In a nutshell, keep raising your prices until business slows down, seriously
  10. racer756
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 1,356



    This is a very interesting thread, from the aspect of a small business owner. Sometimes we make it harder than it really is. You need to SERIOUSLY look at your costs in relation to dollars earned.
    1. You should be VERY aware of your fixed costs(rent, Insurance,power, labor, etc.)
    2.You already know what you bill customers(or do you really)
    3. You already know that you have XXX number of cars in the shop for "future" earnings(business)
    4. You already know what it takes to pay your families bills at home(household bills) this is what you PAY yourself.
    5. Keep home and shop business VERY separate from each other.
    This is the only way to know if you are really "making it"

    I like Mr. Grouchos style of raising the price till they go away.

    You WILL find that point of "pain"

    Stand back, LOOK at the business from the outside, try to work ON the business, not IN the business.(you'll understand later)

    dont loose sight of why you began this crazy endevour

    Dont worry about what the other guys are doing, and how they are doing it. You didnt get this far because you were lacking knowledge, did you? Your line of questions that you have posed seen like you are feeling a little insecure about where you are right now. You need to look within, decide for yourself if this is "right" for you and your family, and if so carry on. If not, be honest and either correct your mistakes and go forward, or go back to the collision business.

    Good Luck, no matter what you do.

    BTW, I have no credibility when it come to being self employed. Just kidding. I have been on my own for 14 + years. I sold my company in 2001, when I was 37 years old, and have been fine ever since. My family(grandfather, uncle) ran a local Auto -repair shop for 50+years before FINALLY retiring last summer. I have just began my "newest" career in Property Management/Real Estate Sales, So I too am begining anew, again...
  11. junk-junkie
    Joined: May 1, 2005
    Posts: 122

    from Arvada CO

    Personally, I can't imagine trying to run my own business in MA, and that's partly why there is a moving truck in my driveway right now.

    I know of quite a few small car & motorcycle operations throughout New England (my dad is one of them) and you're the only guy I know of inside rt495.

    That's probably the last thing you want to hear. I'm sure the cost of moving (expenses and opportunity cost) is the last thing you want to think about, but it is a business decision that I would be considering.

    Either way, best of luck and I hope things work out for you!

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