The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lake_harley, Sep 16, 2019.
Oh, you mean chainers.
Friend of mine recently sold out and retired from his 40 year body shop business ,, he had a hell of a time finding some one interested , he said with the environmental regulations and fees plus insurance coverage and OSHA b.s. , it was tough to make a living . Tell your buddy to let somebody else deal with the paint !
This truck started out as a rusty pile of sheet metal on a trailer.
He built, prepped, and painted it. The Can Am behind it is also his work, but OT for here. Both feature lead bodywork. He has the skill to do it, but he’s focusing on getting cars in, done, and out again. Building a good reputation for getting the work done, on time, and getting cars back on the road, when the other local shops have reputations for projects going in, and money going in, but never emerging.
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a friend once told me "you either work on your project or you work for your project" either way your busting your ass to complete it. some by hammering and wrenching on the car or others by working for some entity in order to receive enough sheckles to pay someone to hammer and wrench for you. everyone works for their ride and when someone asks " did you do any work yourself?" even a goldchainer can say "you're goddamn right I did!"
Thanks for asking, and no, it wasn't in any movies. The 1941 G.M.C. K-18 signal corps panel truck, was in a barn about two miles down the road from my parents house. It had been found abandoned in a peach orchard near by, the cool hippies that left it there, left a note saying that they would come back, they never did. It had a spun bearing on the crank. The farmers drug it in with the tractor, they fixed its problems, then made a mechanics lien against it, I bought it for the sum of $350.00, took me a year of making payments per month from working at the gas station, $30.00 a month. I drove it in high school and scared the shit out of Honda cars at stop lights. Sold it about 4 years ago when my step dad passed away and where it was parked in central California, when the estate was going to be settled, a person contacted me about, I sold it to him for the sum of $650.00, he was a collector. It had not run since 1971 when I parked it in the pasture. It has since been sold to another person, since the person I sold it to, realized it would soak up a tremendous amount of money to do a total frame off restoration, at least it didn't get hauled off to the scrapper, they only built 312 of these units.
I wish him luck. It's hard fixing the screw-ups of others. Some of these rod shops are frauds.
Sometimes you never know. Even the good shops go bad. Billy Bobs Rodz has a stellar reputation one day.....
The next day Ole Billy is selling parts off of his customer's cars for Crack.
Then there is these guys....anybody can hang a shingle.
In the end.....you might as well do it yourself.
Don't get me wrong, there's good guys out there but they're not cheap. Good work cost money. Expertise is not cheap.
The Zipper is 20 years old and the truck is 17 years old. I commissioned both of these cars as rollers and paid by check. Probably spent twice the original price on both cars making changes and updating the running gear. For those that are curious, I wrote for Rod & Custom, Hot Rod and Hot Rod Industry News in the sixties and seventies to earn the money to pay the bills. And I wrote ads and catalogs that may have influenced your choice of cams, pistons, flywheels, headers, intake manifolds and a host of other high performance products. I'm smart enough to know what I don't know!
there’s more work than imaginable.
Specialize in doing what nobody else wants to do and being proficient at fixing other shop mistakes
Painting hot rods is a way different game than collision and environmental and OSHA etc are about the bottom of the list for reasons no one would want to buy a independent body shop these days. Independent shops are quickly going the way of the dodo bird. You would have to be an idiot to buy one at this point in time as you have almost no chance of success with the way the industry is changing.
My grandfather's motto:
"Good work isn't cheap and cheap work isn't good."
I respect each and everyone of you who can work on their own vehicles. I'm definitely learning, but not fast enough for my right foot!
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Care to be more specific ?
One other way to look at it is;
A body shop is only as good as the employees that work there on that particular day. I never could see the sense in paying any more than the equipment and/or property is worth if buying one. The people are way more valuable, since cars don't magically repair themselves by being dropped off at a particular location.
It’s mostly like you needed to be already in that game as it changed and grew. It’s hard to jump into now.
But there’s niche things there too. And all you gotta do is do things nobody else wants to do. Like for instance,,,, repair rusty rockers on expensive trucks.
I did one of those rocker jobs and had to farm out the paint work. It was kind of a shaky start with the shop but I told the guy I’d bring it to him ready to paint... he said it better be “ready”. Dropped it off, it was ready, he really liked the repair job and asked if I liked doing those because he turns away 10 a week. Now he sends them to me and I send it back to him the paint. It’s gotta be the right truck though cuz it ain’t cheap. I do about one a month just from him.
Body shop chains are starting to have significant influence in where Insurance companies push customers. They cut better rates and do more to try and save the insurance companies money things independent shops have no ability to do. They can also cut better deals with suppliers due to the large volumes over multiple locations that an independent can't. The fact is most people will take their car to a shop that is on their insurance companies "preferred list" and those are no longer independent shops. Now you can pay to join one of these banners but then that's another expense out of your pocket each month and you have to abide by their rules on charges etc.
I am not sure if it has started in the US yet but insurance companies are starting to open their own body shops as well. Again most people, although not required to, are going to think that they will have better support going to the insurance companies shop than "Joe's Body shop". The insurance company branch is right beside the body shop so if you have an issue you can literally walk through a door and your insurance agent is right there.
Another thing that is starting to really make it difficult for small independents is more and more manufacturers and insurance companies are requiring shops to have very expensive specialized equipment and training ($20-30,000 welders, $30-40,000 3D measurement tools) to even qualify to repair certain vehicles so even if you want to take it to a specific shop if they don't have the required equipment they are not authorized to repair it and insurance won't pay. It is difficult for smaller independent shops to justify those types of expenses. The days of a mig welder, some body hammers and a frame machine are quickly vanishing.
Things are changing quickly in the industry and they are forcing the independents out of business. The only independents I can see surviving are what we call C and D shops which are low end shops that get most of their business through being part of a ethnic community where word of mouth will keep them going.
When I was taught body work there was no mig welder , there was an oxygen acetylene torch , brazing rod and some filler was lead , there were dealership shops and independent , no more dealer ship shops around here now , but thankfully no franchise shops either , yes I've seen the change , frame machines instead of Kansas Jack's and floor pots and measuring with tram gauges, a piece of string ,and a plumb bob , two part primer and paint , panel adhesives mig and tig welders ,yea , it's changed , almost forgot , water base paint ??
Fast, cheap, or good.
The "built, not bought" mentality is bullshit. Every car is "built", the only difference is whether the owner did it himself or not. Maybe because I have friends who work in/own pro shops and are always looking for good customers who appreciate quality workmanship and will pay for it. The bottom line is I like to see quality cars, and just because someone says they do it all themselves doesn't automatically mean I give them more credit than someone who subcontracted it out, especially so when the quality of the car looks like the owner should have farmed it instead of attempting work beyond their skill level. I agree with some previous sentiments that regardless, the owner shouldn't lie about what they did or didn't do. But if they didn't do it, they shouldn't be made to feel like less of an enthusiast because for reasons of economic, talent, time commitments, etc., they wanted to buy a car further along. We don't do that with homes or real estate, we don't give people shit with nice houses by saying, " great place, but you didn't build it."... Why do we do it with cars?
I've seen and heard enough horror stories about bad shops. I could do a lot worse than fixing my own stuff. I get a lot of requests to work on projects, guy down the street keeps pestering me to look at a '53 or '54 Chevy that he is interested in. From the description it needs a lot of work and I'm not set up to get involved with a 3rd-hand basket case. He doesn't know one of a screwdriver from the other and he has no $$. Everyone expects you to work for chicken feed.
There are a lot of shop owners... bad mechanics and businessmen by themselves. Their salvation is to hire good people, but when those guys move on, go fish. They do anything just to keep the doors open and afloat.
There are a TON of hack artists out there. I've said it before, there is a difference between a professional and an expert. They're not the same. Too many people who aren't experts are professionals.
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