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Hi I am thinking about buying a auto service shop and wondering if I have to be a mechanic to run the business

Also if anyone can share their experience running a auto service shop that would be great? tips/advice..

Thx B

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Answers (7)
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Aug 26, 2017
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Aug 20, 2017
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The BAF Group LLC
MD

Scott, I do not believe you read my answer thoroughly. I never said you cannot own such an operation without being a Mechanic, yourself. In fact, I specifically: "Can you do it? Certainly. Should you do it? I would not, but I am very conservative in that area. I would not buy any business where I was not exceedingly experienced, or at least had the ability to become extremely familiar with the product or service in a very short period of time."

I have seen others purchase an operation like that without being a Mechanic, and succeed. I have also seen several others crash and burn - and at least one of them was an absolutely brilliant guy, but who did not understand that doing something in which you have no background increases the chance for failure. considerably. I have been asked to list one just within the past two weeks, where the Owner overpaid for an operation that is now spiraling out of control. (I did not originally sell him that shop.)

Next time, you can make your point in a more positive manner, thank you. My concern is to prevent people from being too cavalier with their purchases, and their choices of Business Brokers.

Jan 6, 2016
Scott Krause
Automotive Business Brokers, LLC
Cherokee County, GA

Don,

Although I have never commented on another brokers or writer's opinion, in this case, I will (but of course not personal in anyway).

I understand the novice automotive business buyer scenario that you wrote about several times throughout BizBuySell is always a possibility, but it is VERY narrow-viewed and entirely based on fear, not to mention, that fear-based scenario can apply to all businesses and in all industries. When you're understaffed, you manage it. The End.

You DO NOT have to be a mechanic to buy, manage or operate an automotive business!

I have over 25 years in the automotive industry and started my niche market business brokerage and commercial real estate firm selling automotive businesses, franchises and commercial real estate in 2007 and have helped dozens of buyers with no automotive experience acquire, build and succeed in the automotive industry.

The automotive industry is an EXTREMELY safe and solid industry to own a business. The high price of new cars encourages auto owners to keep their used car longer (11.1 year avg as of 2014) and most automotive owners prefer not to pay $125.00-$165.00 per labor hour to have their new car dealership repair their vehicle, which leaves the independent business or franchise owner to service the vehicles.

Although I recommend "learning" the buzzwords (which the technicians will gladly teach you because they want to stay busy) and understand what they mean for the purposes of communicating with your customers and technicians, the ability to turn wrenches is NOT required and many cases NOT RECOMMENDED.

Why? Because your job as owner and/or CSR (customer service representative) is to understand your customer and to be able to communicate with people in an honest and trustworthy manner, manage the staff and grow the business.

In many cases, mechanics do not make very good CSR's. They are not accustomed to communicating "pleasantly" with customers and they tend to side with the issues of the technician and not their customer. For example, If they feel their buddy-technicians don't like to perform oil changes (because there's no money in it for them), then they'll turn the job away, siting they are too busy, or scheduling the job far into the future knowing the customer needs the work done ASAP, etc.

The business owner knows very well there is no money in Oil Changes, however the owner is constantly trying to build his/her customer base. They need new customers and want to keep existing customers while their competition is trying to steal their customers everyday through mailings, coupons, TV & radio advertising, etc.

"Your competition is working 24/7/365 to kick your ass"- Mark Cuban

Finally, to be a successful automotive business owner, you DO NOT need to be a mechanic!

Please consider my letter prior to providing automotive business entrepreneurship advice to common-folk in an industry where your advice is not sound.

Again, none of this is personal in anyway, just trying to set the record straight for the public and maybe help you understand the industry as well.

Have a GREAT day!

Sincerely,

Scott Krause
AutoBizBrokers, LLC

Jan 6, 2016
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The BAF Group LLC
MD

You do not necessarily need a mechanic to run the business, but it put you at a tremendous disadvantage if you are not one yourself. For one thing, how do you oversee a staff, when you have no idea what they actually do? When you get a complaint from a customer, how do you know whether the customer's complaint is valid?

From a financial perspective, let us suppose that you have three mechanics on staff. What happens when one of them becomes ill or goes on vacation? If you are a mechanic and can fill in temporarily, there is no loss of revenue. But if you do not know how to turn a wrench yourself, you suddenly lose 33% of your income for the entire time that mechanic is gone.

Can you do it? Certainly. Should you do it? I would not, but I am very conservative in that area. I would not buy any business where I was not exceedingly experienced, or at least had the ability to become extremely familiar with the product or service in a very short period of time. In some areas, with some businesses, there are ways to overcome these issues. But you have to be incredibly studious in order to study the situation before you buy, in order to plan accordingly.

Oct 27, 2015