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Posted: 4/28/2011 4:15:07 PM EDT
I will hopefully be opening a shop in about a month and a half from now. That is my current plan and we all know how plans go. Bank still has to agree with me .

I will be walking into an empty shop with no equipment. Think three rooms, bathroom, office and shop area.

I have my personal tools, box and such.

I am working on what I need to buy before I open the doors. So what would you need to start working? Being a tech myself I have a decent idea but want someone else to show me what I am missing before I have a car in the air and go oh shit.



  • Two lifts.
  • At least a lap top, but probably a PC as well.
  • Scan tool.
  • Air compressor
  • Hoses
  • Oil drain
  • Used oil storage tank
  • Tire machine/balancer? Not the highest priority on my list but there
  • Repair info
Little stuff like oils, lubes, grease can be had same day so no need to stock till I start needing. This is me thinking out loud so to speak. I am sure I will be adding to this myself but figure you guys have some ideas as well. Want to cover my bases as best I can.

Thanks.

Link Posted: 4/28/2011 4:25:18 PM EDT
I`m thinking a parts washer, small press of some type and a small set of torches and a welder. A drill press and bench grinder might come in handy also.
Good luck on your new venture!!!!
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 4:50:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2011 5:15:15 PM EDT by paul463]
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 5:02:18 PM EDT
Transmission Jack is a must. Muffler Jacks too. A roll around oil collection can. And the big transmission splash pan. Lisles make a plastic one that works well. If you use 55 gallon drums for waste oil you can put them in an oval horse tank that will meet regs. Had this in the City of Denver. Check on this for where you're located. Metal cabinet for chemicals. You will have to fill out a hazardous chemicals location chart for the fire dept. Get some cheap jackstands. At least 4. It always seems you need to put a car on them it you run out of lifts. Do you have an Oxy/Acet welder torch. A medium duty Mig welder is a must.

Get AllData or Mitchell On Demand for Manuals. They can also help you do estimates. Customers love it when you can fas an estimate.

If you could find some one to talk to customers and do estimate and order parts it will leave you able to work on cars. You also need to fill out a work order for every car and get the customer to sign it. Be honest but do not lowball. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished! If you can shuttle customers to work in the morning it's a plus. Is the shop near a light rail station?

Are you planning on specializing in BMW? At first you are going to have to work on anything that comes in the door. Maybe do a second line. I like working on Toyotas and the customers like their cars and are willing to spend money.

If you do business with wholesalers and used car dealers watch your wallet they will pull every stunt in the book. Have had them grab keys and drive off without paying. They will bring junk parts and try to blame you for every problem on the car. Accept only Cash or Credit Cards. Document what you do and make sure the customer understand what you did and what the vehicle still needs. Helps with Disputed Payments on CCs. No car leaves without full payment.

Let me know if you need an all around shop guy. I wrenched for 28 years. Burned out on flat rate. Still have good skills in Work orders, estimating, and talking to customers. Is you shop going to be near 6th and Simms/Union? Good luck with the shop.
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 5:21:49 PM EDT
Insurance!!

When a car falls off the lift, you're gonna want a way to make it right without coming out of your own pocket!!
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 6:00:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By paul463:
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.

Tahoes lock doors when you run them in gear looking for drive train noise... dont ask how I know
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 6:34:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
Insurance!!!!



This. Get some
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 6:42:58 PM EDT
A/C machine. 3000.00 A/C machine pays all my bills.
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 6:47:41 PM EDT
Lol. Sucker.
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 7:24:34 PM EDT
Quality suppliers, Waste Disposal (Chem./tires/etc.) and a 10 mile restraining order on all friends and family.
Link Posted: 4/28/2011 8:18:38 PM EDT
I'm gonna add:

Waste oil heater (if they're still legal)
Some way to move dead cars around - riding lawn mower, small tractor or the like

INSURANCE - worker's comp and liability - it's not an if, but a when. Eventually thru no fault of your own, you're going to need the liability insurance.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 4:32:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Toiyabe:
Lol. Sucker.

Nope, got one of those already.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 4:42:28 AM EDT
a good small business oriented accountant.

a good lawyer to draw up your contracts/estimates/paperwork

a good insurance agent.


cash
lots and lots of cash.

Most business's fail from lack of cash, not profitability.

Link Posted: 4/29/2011 5:35:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 5:36:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By tmleadr03:

Originally Posted By Toiyabe:
Lol. Sucker.

Nope, got one of those already.


I've got a list, and you know it.
If you want to discuss it, I'll be happy to call you after the funeral today.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 5:37:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
a good small business oriented accountant.

a good lawyer to draw up your contracts/estimates/paperwork

a good insurance agent.


cash
lots and lots of cash.

Most business's fail from lack of cash, not profitability.




This is the single most accurate statement in this thread.
Other than calling you a sucker.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 5:54:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Toiyabe:
Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
a good small business oriented accountant.

a good lawyer to draw up your contracts/estimates/paperwork

a good insurance agent.


cash
lots and lots of cash.

Most business's fail from lack of cash, not profitability.




This is the single most accurate statement in this thread.
Other than calling you a sucker.

My Uncle offered to cover rent for the first three months to help me off the ground and that will help with cash flow. I am working on a loan app for the bank built off a wish list of tools and equipment that I may or may not actually purchase right away. Way over what I think I will actually need (or at least not need brand new and twice the price). That will also help with the banks idea of helpful when you say "I need x amount of money to do this right" and the bank says "Sounds like a good idea, but we are only going to give you x/3 amount of money to do it".


By the way I am in VA now, when would you like to hit up some Korean eating? I have an E46 at my FIL shop that needs a rear main, intake DISA flapper, valve cover gasket, oil pan gasket, cooling system stuff but other then that not much going on. I plan on Tuesday Wednesday next week for that then back to wide open.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 8:31:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By paul463:
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.
wouldnt bother with the brake lathe.

Link Posted: 4/30/2011 5:02:16 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Cypher15:

Originally Posted By paul463:
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.
wouldnt bother with the brake lathe.



To be honest we don't use it that much anymore on car and light truck brakes. But we do cut a lot of rotors for 1 ton+ trucks/vans, and for do it yourself types that walk in with their drums and rotors in hand and want them cut. We're not a normal shop I guess. We work on anything from cars to garbage trucks and anything in between, including moving pianos. Lol
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 5:20:01 AM EDT
instead of just thinking about tools
think about tools (and their size) that are going to make you money and/or let you be more efficient.

Everyone has tool X, it lets everyone go at the same rate, etc. This job pays the same all over.
BUT
if you invest a little bit more to buy a different tool, you can now do this job 50% faster than everyone else AND CHARGE THE SAME MONEY.

Find THOSE tools and buy those and push those jobs. Specialize in those jobs that make you more money and force the other shops to compete with you.

Does that make sense?????
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 7:00:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By paul463:
Originally Posted By Cypher15:

Originally Posted By paul463:
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.
wouldnt bother with the brake lathe.



To be honest we don't use it that much anymore on car and light truck brakes. But we do cut a lot of rotors for 1 ton+ trucks/vans, and for do it yourself types that walk in with their drums and rotors in hand and want them cut. We're not a normal shop I guess. We work on anything from cars to garbage trucks and anything in between, including moving pianos. Lol

I am not going to be turning rotors on euro vehicles. Not to mention that typically rotors are far gone before the owner brings it in for a "little" noise after it is already metel to metal.


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 7:01:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
instead of just thinking about tools
think about tools (and their size) that are going to make you money and/or let you be more efficient.

Everyone has tool X, it lets everyone go at the same rate, etc. This job pays the same all over.
BUT
if you invest a little bit more to buy a different tool, you can now do this job 50% faster than everyone else AND CHARGE THE SAME MONEY.

Find THOSE tools and buy those and push those jobs. Specialize in those jobs that make you more money and force the other shops to compete with you.

Does that make sense?????


Absolutely, any recomendations?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 11:14:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 11:34:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Quintin:
Originally Posted By paul463:
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.


You're gonna have him $30K in the hole before he writes up his first RO.


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Yeah umm, I didn't say he had to buy all that. It was just a list of things we have. I think a guy could probably pick and choose what he wants to have...... Jeez
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 1:35:32 PM EDT
Originally Posted By tmleadr03:
Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
instead of just thinking about tools
think about tools (and their size) that are going to make you money and/or let you be more efficient.

Everyone has tool X, it lets everyone go at the same rate, etc. This job pays the same all over.
BUT
if you invest a little bit more to buy a different tool, you can now do this job 50% faster than everyone else AND CHARGE THE SAME MONEY.

Find THOSE tools and buy those and push those jobs. Specialize in those jobs that make you more money and force the other shops to compete with you.

Does that make sense?????


Absolutely, any recomendations?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


well no
(not a mechanic, but am in business for myself and these are some of the lessons I learned (the expensive way, i had to buy stuff twice))

scale matters in business.
There's a reason all those little brake only, muffler only, etc shops do really well. they specialize in one thing and work all the tools around it.

What exactly are you going to do in your shop?
models?
makes?
who are you going to specialize in?
who do you expect your customers to be?
what do you expect them to need?
what do they care about ? : price, service, speed, competence (given America today, i doubt this one, honestly most people (95% + ) only care about price. don't fool yourself, it's a wal mart nation.)

You can't be everything to everyone. (those days are 20/30 years ago). YOU have to decide what you want to be.

If I was going to open a mechanic shop. (hypothetically)

I would direct it towards one of either two customers.

1. high end customers. Not necessarily high end European customers, but people with money. In this area they all drive high end SUV's and big diesel Ford duallies. While these people are a pain and they ALWAYS bitch about price, they will always have money and they want service and competence (mostly). But you need a high end looking shop, clean, well lit, etc. And probably need to come get the cars and drop them off (Huge, I think people would pay for this, insurance would suck though). You will have to deal with people who bought 10 year old high end cars and can't afford to keep them running. You'll get top dollar for it though.

2. small business people. (carpenters, landscapers, plumbers, etc). These people care about competence and speed and only somewhat about price. My truck has to work and it has to work all the time. I make money as a plumber (for example), not for working on my truck and if my truck is down, I 'm not making money. Offer mobile service when they break down, should be mostly trucks and vans (few cars, few bullshit things). DOT inspections, emissions, etc. full service shop. Could even set up contracts to offer terms. (since cash flow is always a problem, but paying once a month is better). emergency service for snow plow guys (you're in Colorado). These people are hard on their vehicles, they get driven a lot and they have to stay running. Guaranteed constant return work. going to have to work on diesels for sure. but few headliner or high end stereo stuff type jobs. Alignments, tires, etc. Should sell a LOT of parts (nice markup). fair pricing, but return customers all the time. (and most of these smaller companies have 2 to 10 trucks/vans)
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 1:48:47 PM EDT
If you don't also sell tires it is hard to justify a tire machine and balancer. I'd rather spend the money on a brake lathe.
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 3:22:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Quintin:
Originally Posted By paul463:
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.


You're gonna have him $30K in the hole before he writes up his first RO.


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile

30K, does that include the wreckers? He listed 200K in vehicles!


Thats ok though, I am just looking for ideas. It is going to be a bare bones shop. I think the biggest cost is going to be a damn good scan tool. Go big or go home on that one.
Link Posted: 4/30/2011 4:34:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By tmleadr03:

Originally Posted By Quintin:
Originally Posted By paul463:
Strut compressor!

In the shop I've been in for 20 years. Small, 3 bay independent. Towing and repair shop.
Blast cabinet, great for cleaning up brake hardware, etc
Wire feed welder, 250A
Battery chargers
Booster packs for jumping the inevitable dead battery in the lot.
Brake lathe
Parts washer
40 ton press.
Steel topped bench with a huge wilton vise
Parts washer
Exhaust pipe bender, we don't use it as much as we used to, but it is still handy.
Tire machine capable of doing those miserable low profile 22" wheels and tire,
Balancer
Snap On solus scanner
Snap On Vantage Pro
Mastercool hydraulic flaring tool
Door lock out kit, eventually you will need it, trust me.


Now the fun extras, just because
Vertical mill
Clausing lathe
Surface grinder
Airforce 750 Plasma cutter
Horizontal bandsaw
Hot water pressure washer
10,000 lb Skytrak fork lift
60 ton wrecker
25 ton wrecker
20 ton wrecker
F-350 wrecker
Kenworth rollback
Bombardier Bombi with 12,000lb hydraulic winch.
LMC tracked machine with wrecker boom and winches.
Timberjack 350A log skidder for really nasty off road recovery.
New Holland L180 skidsteer.


You're gonna have him $30K in the hole before he writes up his first RO.


Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile

30K, does that include the wreckers? He listed 200K in vehicles!


Thats ok though, I am just looking for ideas. It is going to be a bare bones shop. I think the biggest cost is going to be a damn good scan tool. Go big or go home on that one.


Lol, no wreckers included in that bid...... The 60 ton cost $253,000. Its a loaded Western Star with a 60 ton NRC Slider on the back.

I do consider the first item (strut compressor) a must have though.

Good luck OP. My best friend, who worked with us for five years opened his own shop across town 8 years ago at age 26. I thought he was nuts. But he is doing extremely well, has 3 full-time employees. His shop and the one I work at are the two busiest in town.
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