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If I start a rod shop,Will they come ?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 17dracing, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. 17dracing
    Joined: May 15, 2008
    Posts: 362

    from Indiana

    Ok just looking for some opinions , I'm really thinking about starting a rod shop . Tired of working for the Man ! And would really like to do what I love so much ! I would be building complete rods and ratts , and selling new and used parts .(All pre 1962 or so) And want to fix up a shop ,to look like a old service station to do it in. Just wondering do you all think the economy is really doing well enough to do it now ? Thanks in advance ! For your thoughts !
  2. dragrcr50
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,865


    what ever you make now it will be less for a long time til you get settled in with customers, I wouldnt want to start over today, been 35 yrs and I have plenty of work but to start up cold??? I dunno... you need pleny of capital to run on and a good business plan. good luck
  3. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Do research in your area to see if there is a need. Surround yourself with positive people. Treat your customers fair and with respect.

    Ask not what the economy can do for you, ask what YOU can do for the economy.

    Good luck.
  4. Gerg
    Joined: Feb 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,827


    you could build me a rat? i thought only god could do that and why he put them here i am still not quite sure

  5. John Denich
    Joined: Nov 20, 2005
    Posts: 2,718

    John Denich

    So you want to be broke in a Dream Land...Probably the worst time in the History of the World to start a Bussiness....let alone a Bussiness for wants not needs!!!
  6. mac762
    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 676


    I don't think this economy is right for such a venture. I would concentrate on having a clean tidy shop and some examples of your work around, either very nice pictures or real live examples.
    Why not try doing some stuff on the side first?
    My Boss is a painter on the side, he usually always has a someone's project in his garage. He hasn't had anyone with money to get their car painted in 3 months.
  7. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    Member Emeritus

    Can't beat a man for trying. I'm so sick of people bitchin' about the economy and doing SQUAT. If this shit is going to turn around, it's going to take people who are tired of sitting on thier asses. He'll be putting people to work and that is a very good thing. I wish him well.
  8. Starting a shop is a good way to turn a pile of cash into a smaller pile of cash. You can do it, but you need to be EXTREMELY well capitalized, especially in this market. Count on no financing availability and no income for at least several years as you establish yourself.

    And remember that everything that goes out that door is your reputation, even words. Put 110% into everything, and eventally you will get 110% in return.
  9. rexrogers
    Joined: Sep 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,033


    I do not own a rod shop but have worked in the industry for 15 years now. Would say no to trying to go out on your own at this time. search the hamb for any of the past post about opening up your own shop, the hours get longer the every customer wants your attention all the time the bookkeeping is yours to deal with plus parts in the end very little time to actually work on the cars you want, Then what hire some one that creates a whole list of other things you need to take care of. try running a lot of side work at nights and on the weekends before you tell the Man too take his job and shove it if you can juggle running a side business and keeping a regular job and produce quality results then i would say strike out on your own.
    The other thing is getting work in your buddy wants his done free, and a lot of folks have the attitude that if it is not built there own garage then it is just overpriced no matter the quality or speed of getting a project done. I hate to be negative but that is just my opinion and does not reflect the shop i work for nor is it a plug just my worthless to cents, Maybe someone can see it through rose colored glasses right now mine are turd brown. I am extremely gratefully to be where i am at and building what we build if i was to win the lottery i still would be at work on Monday doing what you love to do is one of the most rewarding things in life.

    Rex Rogers
  10. solo_909
    Joined: Apr 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,787


    I dont know if this would be the right time to start it becaue the economy is going to get worse and building custom cars isnt a priority. I would start doing awesome work for cheap out of the house to get the word out and build a customer base. These people will help build your buisness without having any shop overhead. good luck
  11. H.G. Wells
    Joined: Mar 11, 2006
    Posts: 386

    H.G. Wells

    I dissagree, now is as good a time as any. One of my buddies that was laid off from the same company has always done some chassis work on the side now is doing it full time. And he is now to the point of staying busy and paying bills. Just like tfeverfred said, the recovery from this country will be built by small business.

    Now, if you are broke and living from paycheck to paycheck and think you are going to start out profitable you might want to rethink this. But if you already have the tools and are not out a huge investment to get started, I say go for it. People are still spending money on their hobby and the guys that pay to have a hotrod built are the guys that still have money.
  12. Rpmrex
    Joined: Nov 19, 2007
    Posts: 664

    from Indiana

    What part of Indiana and how much competition in your area? Indy is pretty much taken care of so don't open one there.
    I am one to say, anything is possible.
  13. Business plan, knowledge of tax laws, government regulations, health care plan for employees, knowledge of marketing, ability to deal with customer base, Financial capacity, credit rating, business connections,
    These are a few of my favorite things, as the song says.
  14. 40Standard
    Joined: Jul 30, 2005
    Posts: 5,867

    from Indy

    does your current ride reflect your workmanship? do some jobs on the side and see how that turns out
  15. Didn't your Doctor tell you to cut down on cholesterol ? :confused: :rolleyes:
  16. c-10 simplex
    Joined: Aug 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,367

    c-10 simplex

    1) i don't think a "hot rod shop" (by itself at least) can make money; Because this is a luxury, not a nessesity. Therefore, you don't have the volume and the revenue to make profit.

    a) In addition, there is also alot of B.S. in the hot rod scene---people don't follow thru, people run out of money for projects. People(like me) say they're going to do something, but never do.

    b) There is much less B.S. in the general automotive world (or at least there is sufficient volume to overcome the b.s.) because people need cars to go to work and for general transportation.

    Now, what you could do is have say, a napa franchise or gas station or used car dealership or similar......AND have a hot rod shop on the side, next door/or in back. In this way the parts or gas sales are paying for the building, taxes, utilities and other overhead expenses as well as making you a steady income.
    Then, you could take on hotrod/custom jobs as they come---and they will only come sporatically if at all.

    P.S. selling only pre 62 parts, nos or used, not a good idea----because most people don't drive pre-62 vehicles.
  17. Thorkle Rod
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 1,392

    Thorkle Rod

    Couldn't agree with these items more. You gotta know the business end of tthis stuff inside and out and keep it on the top of your list at all times. I would also advise on doing the side jobs until you are back logged a year or more. Do a business plan, figure out the overheads and expenses, building permits, electric, taxes, equipment, social security, Income and business taxes,and insurance Health, liability and personel, Consumables and unfortunatly you at some point you will need a lawyer, the list goes on forever and don't under estimate this stuff. Put it all on paper $75-$100 an hour in your garage part time is hell of alott of difference than full time building and business, and we haven't even mentioned one employee yet.
  18. mopargnome
    Joined: Jan 14, 2010
    Posts: 48


    I have been debating the same thing. I have been doing side jobs out of my shop at home but am gettin tired of dealing with bitchy neighbors and the city telling me that I cant paint at home. I got people telling me they want me to do their car so I guess we'll see.
  19. AMEN! to all of the above! The problem with starting up any business in an UP economy is that you are competing against a whole bunch of people that have exactly the same idea, and all the newbies are competing for a limited client base. Restaurants are a perfect example of this - look at all of the choices of eateries out there, and look at the number of restaurants that go tits-up every year, regardless of the economy!!!

    Sometimes, the BEST time to start a new venture is in a DOWN economy like we have now! Not many people are thinking of starting a new business like a shop, from scratch. You have fewer businesses competing for the clientele you seek. You establish a good reputation with top quality service and work. Then when the economy turns back UP (as it inevitably will), your reputation is there. The word is out, and those that need your services and have the available income to dispose with, are going to come to you.

    As described above, you are responsible for EVERYTHING that goes on, and comes out of, your shop. At what point do you take on hires? How are these expenses going to affect your bottom line? Lots of important questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge. Best of luck to you!
  20. The Hank
    Joined: Mar 18, 2008
    Posts: 779

    The Hank
    from CO

    There is never a good time to start a business if your looking for a guarantee. That's just something you need to jump in both feet first. That being said I wouldn't start a buisness with such a limited pool of customers. I would take on any and all work , being it paint or repair or restorations.Then see where it evolves,you can market it tward older cars through sign's etc.or parking older cars in front.

    Good luck which ever you decide.
  21. EnglishBob
    Joined: Jan 19, 2008
    Posts: 1,029


    The only problem I see is financing--if you have all the money you need to rent the shop and pay bills,utilities and wages for 6 months,equip the shop with all tools etc and have some left to buy all the parts you need for lets say again 6 months worth of work then yes,,go for it,,simply you won't get financing for it right now (no I don't own a rod shop but I own several businesses and have been self employed for over 30 years and started 6 companies from nothing)
  22. Hotrods are alot like custom & vintage motorcycles which I do have a bit of experience with trying to start my own shop. If you're in a position financially to do it and lose money for the first couple of years until you get established then I say give it a shot. If you're counting on it putting food on your table from day one you're fooling yourself and you should keep your day job and try it part time. From past experience with bikes I'll tell you what's going to happen fairly often. Some guy with big plans will drop off his "project" along with a small deposit to get you started. Then you won't hear from him for months until one day he calls and wants to know if it's done. He will expect you to do 10k worth of work out of your own pocket once the 500 bucks he put down as a deposit is gone. The harsh reality is that hotrods, muscle cars, custom motorcycles, etc are a luxury and not at the top of most peoples list of priorities when it's time to write checks. Their daily driver that gets them back & forth to work, regular monthly bills, mortgage payment, etc. ALL come before paying you. It's too bad but it's how it is alot of the time.
  23. bikeguydave
    Joined: Aug 16, 2009
    Posts: 226

    from Kentucky

    As a shop owner, there is not one thing I can add to this thread except this..I've experienced everything everyone has said...and laughed, and you better love long hours, hard work, lower pay than you can get working for someone else, and love the work itself, because IT IS the reward. Dave
  24. It's tough right shop has been open since 2002. It took a couple of years to really take off, and that was in a good economy. I have a customers truck in my shop, half done, he hasn't paid on his bill in almost a year.....people just don't have the extra money to spend I guess. I say start out small, keep your costs down and see where it leads.......good luck
  25. Dirty Dug
    Joined: Jan 11, 2003
    Posts: 3,681

    Dirty Dug

    I'd never try to turn what I love doing into a business, probably fall out of love really fast.
  26. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,594

    from Garner, NC

    Yep, get to the end of the week pay everything and hope something is left over, the end of every month spend days trying to catch up with customers and get them to come in and pay their bills. Hear every excuse in the book and then some. It's a tough road to hoe these days.
  27. 17dracing
    Joined: May 15, 2008
    Posts: 362

    from Indiana

    This is all good advice !:D I'm on the Indiana ,ohio line . I have been building cars and stuff for a long time . And when people see my work ,they always say I need to start a shop . I have a place to use ,where the overhead would be low . And I'm not looking to get rich , just noticed !! I mostly want the average joe to have a kool ride ,without paying through the nose to get it :cool: . Check out my photo album to see my toys !!
  28. oilslinger53
    Joined: Apr 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,500

    from covina CA

    Short answer. No. You have to work on regular cars doing regular repairs too. At least until you make a name for yourself... Unless you already have a name for yourself :)
  29. henryj429
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,062


    The best way to answer the question "will they come?" is to get out there and show off your stuff. Build a kick-ass car of your own with eye catching workmanship and go to some shows and talk to people. If the car stands out and you can sell yourself, you'll bring in some work. If that doesn't succeed, you've got a cool car to cruise in, and that's your hobby anyway!

    This is how it started for a couple of my buddies that now build rods for a living.
  30. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,594

    from Garner, NC

    Also remember, taxes, insurance, and people undercutting you because they have no overhead.

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