Discussion in 'Antique Automotive Service' started by Smartin, Nov 26, 2020.
Congrats Adam. I have been thinking of you for a possible project.
Congratulations Adam!! It's a big step, one that I was always too "chicken" to take. For that reason I've been working my full time job and SRE for "decades", and quite frankly I'm "pooped"! I'm very close to retirement and with that I can focus ONLY on SRE stuff and my shop vs both. It's been a tough time trying to balance work, SRE and "Life". What I'm trying to say here is to make sure you work hard, but remember to maintain that Work/Life balance...... it's very important.... believe me.
I'm sure you'll do great. I can tell you have a great work ethic, drive/motivation and personality. That along with talent will get you far!!! Best of luck! (You'll need a little of that too!! LOL)
Serious Kudos Adam!
RE self-employment: the only way to go, if you can. You'll never want to go back.
As I've told you many times, wish you were closer! You'd have all my business.
Congrats on making the leap..
Now, some words of advice, from someone who did had been there, and done that. I understand that you started and ran a successful business, so you know some, maybe most, of this, but the industry your getting into full time is a different animal.
Keep your overhead as low as possible. Everything you don't give to someone else, stays in your pocket.
Resist the temptation to expand.. I did it, and it cost me 20 years of drag racing, and anything that resembled a normal life. In this business, the ones that last are those who stay small, and busy.. This is not selling parts, nor installing sprinklers, jobs that anyone can do.. as you know, in the restoration business, the details are what matters, and the only guy who really cares about getting them right, is the guy with his name on the project. You will need one person to help you lift the heavy stuff, but limit yourself to that one employee.. he should be part time.. a friend who wants to work for some extra cash on the side is ideal.
If your good enough, and have a good rep, folks will wait for your work. Don't overbook, or promise things you can't do. Especially in restorations, that leads to shortcuts, that bite you in the butt every time. Any customer who does not want to wait, you need to send down the road... it's the best thing you can do, trust me.
Invest in equipment and education.. take a night course at the local vo tech, you will learn a ton about bodywork and painting.. I did, when I had painted a lot more cars that you have at this point, and it helped me out greatly. I came into it as a fully trained ASE master tech, so I had the mechanical stuff, but you should get up to speed there too.. you can ignore all the electronic stuff, since that does not apply to working on 50 year old cars.. maybe they will let you audit the mechanical courses that your interested in.
Build a paint room, or better yet, get a paint booth.. you will use that every day in a resto shop. A paint room has ventilation and good lighting, is sealed off from the rest of the shop.
The phone is your best friend, and your worst enemy.. you can spend a lot of time talking on the phone..I enjoy talking to customers and vendors, and don't consider it a waste of time.. I have allowed for that time in my schedule.
Get a good accountant, and tax attorney.. your not longer dabbling at this, it's your job, so you need to treat it as such. Follow their advice to avoid problem with liability and taxes. They will advise you on how to structure the company, how much insurance to buy, and how to shield your personal possessions from litigation. Now in 20 years, I have never had anyone sue me, but regardless, be prepared for it.
And finally.. this is the most important thing: Decide what hours you want to work, and stick to that schedule.. If your an early riser, go 7am to 5, that is a good long day.. or if you like to sleep in, go 9 to 7.. But maintain that discipline. Some say that 10 hours is too long for a day, but those of us in a one or two man shop, understand that there are times when you have to run an errand, pick up parts ect, so in a 10 hour day, your lucky to get 5-6 hours of billable work in. And that does not consider the time your going to be on the phone, working emails, accounting, doing estimates and billing.
Speaking as a guy who worked every day, including weekends and Holidays, for about 10 years, you will get burned out. I was building cool motors and the most Iconic cars that Buick ever made, but after a while, it just becomes work.. Shop full of GSX's?.. ho hum... I used to call them Skylarks with stripes.. as you know 80% of resto work is grunt work.. being exeptional at the other 20% is what will set you apart. And avoiding burnout is really important to keep the edge that makes you better than the next guy.
Good luck my Friend..
Ugh! Burnout. ya know it well. My first 5 yrs I offered 24/7 service. Didnt have a day off and really started to hate life. After that I went strictly 8-5 M-F. There are exceptions but very few. If its after hours and I dont know the name or number on the caller ID Im not answering. Amazing how many folks get bent about that. But ya, the above advice is sound. Except when your working on my stuff. Chop chop! no breaks! (not really)
Congratulations my friend. You will be successful at this as I already have experienced. Love you both and hope to see you soon.
Glad to hear this! The work you've shared on this forum is Top Shelf!
Good Luck with the jump!
Lissten to Jim’s advice here, he’s spot on with his recommendations. He’s views line up precisely with what my dad would tell you after restoring customers’ cars for over 30 years.
Jim, excellent write-up and much appreciated. Thankfully, I share many of those points already. I don't plan on "duplicating myself" to expand. I simply don't want to.
I know I have a great support and knowledge base here, and I am grateful for that. All of your responses so far are evidence of that. It's cool to see that you all believe in me.
I'm hitting the ground running and I'm super excited to see what I can do in the future. I also look forward to being able to attend some of the events I could never go to because of seasonal scheduling issues.
Adam, Good luck sounds like you made the right move and are on your way.
congrats Adam on making the jump
Where are you, never know might throw work at you from time to time as I get older and lazier lol....
Just west of St. Louis MO
Oh heck yea I’m near KC!
Congrats. Was just a matter of time. X2 what everyone said. Almost makes me want to get another car just to send to you. Almost! LOL.
You know you want to, Phil
Phil, I was thinking...you can always pay for him to do one of mine!
You'll do well!
Keep on thinking, Brad! I like you, but not that much. LOL
P.S. Brad, Do you have or know where I can get two Len Immke license plate frames?