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bombo-chipolata

Original Poster:

28 posts

62 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
Hello all.. been lurking about for a while and not made many posts as I forgot my login and didnt see a point in getting it back if I don't post.


But back to the topic. Basicly I would really like to have a go at starting up a garage, it won't be an mot test station and I won't employ anyone unless it works out well and I need to in the future.

Now I know everyone will say I'm too young to be doing this, I'm 19, BUT I'd like to think I am in a better position to do this than most 19 year olds. One reason is that I live on a farm so have access to good secure buildings, these buildings would need a 'change of use' though, one subject that I'm slighty confused about? can anyone shed any light on that?

The other is that I do have a fair amount of money in the bank, more than enough to buy proper ramp and get it installed ect. I already have tools but would probably need some specialised bits and bobs for some jobs. I do currently work at a garage as the apprentice but have been thinking about this for a while now.

A few things confuse me at the moment, firstly as I have already said the 'change of use' for the farm buildings and secondly the insurance and tax side of things, which I have no clue about..

So any advice? I am thinking I may have convinced myself that I can do this because I want to, rather than been realistic about it.



Edited by bombo-chipolata on Friday 2nd April 17:14

elster

17,260 posts

96 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
Personally I think it is a great idea, however I do think you are a bit young to do it.

Unless you would be taking on staff with more experience, as you are still an apprentice.

Also look at how much business you would need to bring in to make money, could you get enough work.

Would you specialise or just be a general garage?
Is there much competition in the area?
Could you bring any business straight yours, or would it be completely from scratch?
Can you afford to live for a year or so without making money?



Edited by elster on Friday 2nd April 17:46

singlecoil

20,383 posts

132 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
It sounds basically OK to me. My workshop is on a farm, and there's a decent sized Land Rover specialists in the converted building next to mine (they started in my 1500 sq ft unit) then moved to a bigger building when they got too big. People will come if they think you are cheaper and will still do a good job.

Probably best to specialise in one particular make. You will need suitable insurance, of course.

Easy to market though, get round all the local car parks and leave a nicely printed leaflet on each your chosen make of vehicle you see.

whythem

681 posts

63 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
As you will need to get your head around the very basic's of starting your business, I would suggest you get in tough with your local business link, they will give you all the info you need. Change of use is a tricky area, it can be a huge deal or a relatively simple form filling excercise. Insurance will be public liability, trade insurance, etc etc. If you have that much space, thiink about vehicle storage, you then may get maintenance, repairs etc. Good Luck.

T_Pot

2,542 posts

83 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
I admire for not being like most 19yr olds, and actually wantimg to work and better yourself, however would i hand my car to a 19yr old mechanic with no boss to watched over by??

NOPE
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bombo-chipolata

Original Poster:

28 posts

62 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
All helpful replies, so thanks for that. I do see where your coming from about not leaving your car in the hands of a 19 year old though. I am in the last year of my apprenticeship, the level 3 part.

Maybe its best wait a few more years yet.

elster

17,260 posts

96 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
bombo-chipolata said:
All helpful replies, so thanks for that. I do see where your coming from about not leaving your car in the hands of a 19 year old though. I am in the last year of my apprenticeship, the level 3 part.

Maybe its best wait a few more years yet.
Nothing wrong with building up your garage, maybe be start by doing a few bits with friends cars in your spare time, and build from there.

If you are buying ramp and tools, then you can always get rid if you think it wont work without losing money if buying used. If you can afford the initial outlay without it being an investment.

V8mate

37,009 posts

75 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
As otehrs have said - build your garage up slowly and finish your apprenticeship.

Keep your eyes out for commercial auctions. Garages go bust all the time and their tools, especially the big, hard-to-shift stuff is often sold off at a fraction of its original cost.

davido140

8,743 posts

112 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
elster said:
bombo-chipolata said:
All helpful replies, so thanks for that. I do see where your coming from about not leaving your car in the hands of a 19 year old though. I am in the last year of my apprenticeship, the level 3 part.

Maybe its best wait a few more years yet.
Nothing wrong with building up your garage, maybe be start by doing a few bits with friends cars in your spare time, and build from there.

If you are buying ramp and tools, then you can always get rid if you think it wont work without losing money if buying used. If you can afford the initial outlay without it being an investment.
What he said! Get the garage kitted out and do "mates rates" bits and bobs for friends and relatives in your spare time.

Gaining even more experience and starting to build your client base.

If you're any good, before you know it you'll have more spare time work than you can cope with and it'll be time to jack in the full time job and break out on your own.

Dont worry too much about the tax stuff, you're going to need an accountant no matter what, they will be able to guide you through what you need to know.

You'll want to be VAT registered too, that way you can offically service cars under manufacturer warranty.

Insurance might be expensive, you'll have to have liability insurance, and professional insurance might be an idea too, incase you make an "expensive mistake". That's assuming you can get it for being a mechanic.

Good luck!

TDIPLC

467 posts

94 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
You'll be doing your self a very big favour if you get some "business" training first.

It's just not about starting a garage, it's also about starting a business.

I wish I realised that when I started my garage at the age 21.

All the best with it smile



Edited for poor grammar


Edited by TDIPLC on Friday 2nd April 21:18

daemon

11,277 posts

83 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd April 2010 quote quote all
TDIPLC said:
You'll be doing your self a very big favour if you get some "business" training first.

It's just not about having starting a garage, it's also about starting a business.

I wish I realised that when I started my garage at the age 21.

All the best with it smile
+1

Start by servicing cars for your mates, and then their mates, and their dads, mums, etc. Build it up from there.

bombo-chipolata

Original Poster:

28 posts

62 months

[news] 
Saturday 3rd April 2010 quote quote all
I already do quite a fair amount of work on my families and friends cars. I am normally fixing something most weekends be it a tractor, farm machinery or a car.

Will start looking around for a second hand ramp i think. Just have to decide what to go for, a 2 post ramp has its pro's and con's but then so does a 4 post ramp.

I have been thinking about prahaps going for one specific make and specialise in working on those. I'd like to go for VAG group cars as those interest me, had a mk2 golf 16v as my second car and now have an audi s3. But the problem there is i can think of about 5 'fairly local' VAG specialist's around this area already so would be hard competing with them. Oh well plenty of time to think things through properly.

jeff m

3,866 posts

144 months

[news] 
Saturday 3rd April 2010 quote quote all
One skill needed is that of dealing with the public.
Can you advise them what is best for their car without it seeming you are trying to screw them.
Example, somebody comes in with a locked up disc, the inside of the brake hose has deteriated and a fragment has lodged in the caliper. You could get them rolling quite cheaply, but if you don't want "back jobs" and the reputation that goes with it you have to convince what should be done to their car. (and somehow compete with other quotes)
I have a couple of friends that own repair shops, one of them has one lift!

He wishes he had two. (even though he is a solo mechanic.)

I'm not saying you should get two lifts (of course) but starting up should involve planning for the future. (like access for a second one)

You should have no problem competing with others as it appears you have no rent, a major expense for the competition.
If you go for it and fail you are out one years insurance and some taxes after the change of use. (the lift is still an asset.)
It's obivously something you want do, not many people make a living from something they like doingsmile

It is also worth considering specialising in one catagory, like four wheel alignment and getting referals from other mechanics.

V8mate

37,009 posts

75 months

[news] 
Saturday 3rd April 2010 quote quote all
Ribol said:
V8mate said:
Keep your eyes out for commercial auctions. Garages go bust all the time and their tools, especially the big, hard-to-shift stuff is often sold off at a fraction of its original cost.
He says on a thread about starting up a garage hehe
The Lord giveth...

hehe

Ribol

9,275 posts

144 months

[news] 
Saturday 3rd April 2010 quote quote all
V8mate said:
Keep your eyes out for commercial auctions. Garages go bust all the time and their tools, especially the big, hard-to-shift stuff is often sold off at a fraction of its original cost.
He says on a thread about starting up a garage hehe

To the OP, this is possibly the worst time in history to start a garage. Half the people I know are in the motor trade and all are finding it tough and they know what they are doing.
Starting out with limited experience today in this financial climate is making it even harder for yourself.

Settle for working in garage to build up your experience for now and if you still want to do it in the future do it then.
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