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Old 11-24-2007, 07:35 PM   #1
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thinking of starting a car care business

Has anyone out there started up a small business in car care? I'm looking for some advice. I've done all of my own work since I was in High School back in the mid 80's. Over the past two years I've been active with the local PCA and I've worked on a number of people's cars. So I've started thinking I might be able to turn this into a little second income source. Hey, I've got most of the tools for basic service, plenty of detailing stuff and know-how, and I just like doing it. So, what are the pitfalls? Any ideas about the legal ends/liability? What do I need to know about business licensing, taxation, etc?

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Old 11-24-2007, 09:04 PM   #2
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well, if you F up someones car pretty bad, be sure to have the $ to pay up.
things always come up, stuff always ends up breaking when u least expect it.
especially dealing with expensive porsche parts and cars.

if you were talking integra and civics, thts another story

i love the idea, and i wish you luck, but just please be careful (although it sounds like you know what you're doing)
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:29 PM   #3
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I agree with DJ.
It sounds like a great idea. But I would avoid doing anything to big. Think about the car care you have done on your cars since the '80's how many times have you messed up and had to replace a part?
I know I've messed up a few parts on my cars that have had to be replaced. The last think you want is someone's $60k+ P-Car getting damaged, and you have to pay out of pocket. Especially, since some parts cannot be bought from a parts desk.
One example of this I know of, are speaker grills that are painted to match the cars interior. The parts desk only sells black, so if you do a speaker swap for someone and mess up there painted grills your (insert profanity here).
It just depends on the kind of stuff your talking about doing. But it sounds like a great idea, if you stick to what you know and don't do anything that would inflict a large liability.

What type of stuff are you think about doing, strictly maintenance/car care or upgrading/modifying/etc.?

Also, the legal stuff goes as far as you want to take it. If your just doing stuff for local owners you know you'll be fine in your garage, taking cash. If your advertising, and getting random people, look at getting yourself incorporated for liability reasons, but that can cost some $$$, plus yearly fees.
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Last edited by rick3000; 11-24-2007 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 11-25-2007, 07:11 AM   #4
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People will always need work done on their cars. If you love doing that and you believe you can be successful at it, you should do it.

....but don't forget to hire a good accountant....
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Last edited by baseball; 11-25-2007 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 11-25-2007, 07:25 AM   #5
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There is always room for another good independent repair shop.

What part of Virginia do you live in?
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Old 11-25-2007, 03:02 PM   #6
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Often understanding how to run a business is more important than knowing how to do the work. Check labor rates in your area and be within the range of other Porsche service shops. Generate long term relationships with your customers, suppliers and employees (if any). Keep overhead costs low.

As a small business owner you will start out working twice as long for half the pay of working for someone else. The rewards will come over time. Good luck!
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Old 11-25-2007, 04:12 PM   #7
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My mechanic works out of his residential home's garage and takes cash for work. His customers supply their own parts, and he tells them what to buy if they don't know already and have it in hand when they call him.

He does a lot of oil changes and brake jobs on Porsches, and only works on Pcars.

I'm guessing he makes about $40k a year doing this evenings and weekends... tax free too.
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Old 11-25-2007, 06:48 PM   #8
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Don't even think about not reporting the income.

Don't even think about not collecting sales tax.

Do go immediately to a class at a local college to learn how to properly setup and manage a small business.

Get ready for customers who come back and say: "You washed my car last week and yesterday my muffler fell off, what did you do to my car?"
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:32 PM   #9
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My GF started a auto detailing/car wash when she was 20...theres always a business for washing cars...or fixing them up.. so your good. make sure u get a good location, make good advertisements and get a good lawyer. i think its most important to talk to a lawyer to get any legal stuff out of the way and agree the policies you're gonna have for your work shop, etc.
as far as dealing with hondas or porsches its all about the same. in the three yrs of her business shes been sued twice, once by an integra owner and once by a minivan owner yet her company has detailed over 8000 cars. treat your customers right and be honest and u wont have any problems

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