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oneace
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1490 south central pa
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2005-11-26          119872


Would any of you take you piece of equipment to a repair shop instead of a dealer to both service and non warranty work?

I am contemplating opening a shop to do this and would like any input or suggestions as to what you might think. I know the dealers around me are getting up to around $70 per hour. I would be at almost half that at $40 and hour.

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DK35vince
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 689 Western,Pa.
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2005-11-26          119875


If I had a tractor machanic in my area that could fix my machine, make it work, do a decent job at a semi-reasonable price.
Yes I would go there to fix my tractor. If it had a problem I didn't feel I wanted to attempt to fix myself. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2005-11-26          119883


The is a shop in the country here that does a good business in foriegn car repairs, BMW, Mercedes etc. If you have enough business in the area and can get the parts you should do quite well.
Just remember it is one thing to be a good mechanic and another to be a good business man. Money is not everything, but you don't want to be fixing tractors for free. ....

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oneace
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1490 south central pa
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2005-11-26          119885


I have other people that will do the numbers part of it. I would handle the customer service and the actual work.

I am terrible with the money part. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2005-11-26          119886


It is the collection part that gets most of us in trouble. Most of us are not mean enough.

Even the big boys can have trouble in this part. JD lost millions when the local dealer went south. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2005-11-26          119887


I really like my local dealer, but they are very expensive. If there was less expensive and quality service within a reasonable distance I would sure give them a shot. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2005-11-27          119898


Be VERY careful what you ask for. What you propose may sound like a very reasonable business proposition. Where in lies the rub is that most folks will try to fix their machine themselves first and THEN bring to you if they FUBAR the job. Typically, OEM services are a piece of cake for the most part and most folks can do it themselves. Those who choose to bring the OEM service work to you can allow you to make a decent dollar but don't expect the majority to do this. Regular wear and tear work such as splitting a tractor to replace a clutch or rebuild a hydraulic pump or injector pump but again be sure of what you open yourself up to. When I worked in a John Deere dealer shop, most of the work that came my way were jobs that the customer made a soup sandwich out of and THEN brought it to the dealer shop. I am SURE Oneace can expound VOLUMES on this subject. ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2005-11-27          119906


My thought is: If the customer has to pay transportation they are going to the dealer and many times the dealer will transport for no charge (as part of the repair not seen on bill).

Consider a mobile repair set up. A shop on wheels. Proceed with the convenience to the customer charge by the hour you might as well get paid well to teach your customer how to do it and why you do it this way...Hell just to drive in and sharpen their blades change oil, spring tune ups, would make you a living. Many people do not have the time and will pay someone to do that work. Help change attachments (how many times on this site have you heard someone whine about how hard or what a pain it is to do).

Also sub out to other heavy equipment mobile repair shops.

Charge for shop rag cleaning, haz disposal etc...

Only do the jobs that can be done in a driveway.

I believe mobile service, diagonistics and repair is going to be a very excellent field. The testing equipment alone and where to test would put you well into a very secure and comfortable living.

I do not think you can get away with $40 per hour even at your home unless it is all under the table. Insurance and libiality would eat you alive. ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2005-11-27          119910


I like Harvey's idea of mobile repairs. Those of us without trailers would figure we have already saved $150 towards the bill by not having to pay the dealer for transport. It would be the ultimate in convenience. It would be kind of like those guys who come to your home now to replace the glass in your car after your daughter parks your car next to a high school softball game. :)

....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2005-11-27          119911


I've got a good friend who has been an independent garage operator most of his life and he will echo what has been already said about collection. He's just too nice of a guy to turn anyone away. He is still in business, but now requires a cash deposit on any parts before he will order them. He mainly works on cars and light trucks, So I will answer yes I do use a person who charges about half what the GM and Ford dealerships charge. I'm sure all of the above would apply to repair of compacts and their related equipent. Best of luck. Frank. ....

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ksmmoto
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 41 Central Lower Michigan
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2005-11-27          119918


I did the same type of business with Motorcycle/ATV/Snowmobile repair several years ago. I gave it a try as a side line to test it out.

What I found was people will bring JUNK wanting it done for $50.00. Also have to watch for people ordering parts and not picking up. Two out of three jobs went well and were profitable. Its that third job that hurt.

Give it a try, oneace. I would charge more than $40, maybe $55 if the dealers are $70. Be sure to check out any tractors BEFORE the customers unloads and tell them a price and if it looks real bad ask for half in advance of any work.

ksmmoto

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oneace
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1490 south central pa
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2005-11-27          119921


Many compact owners are very loyal, to there tractor and to there dealer. I would work on them if the came around but my main target would be heavy equipment. When I was working for the dealer I wold work on every manufacture because big iron dealers in this area are far away > 50 to 75 miles. One of my features would be on site repair and service to minimize down time w/ 24 hour emergency repairs (for an extra fee). ....

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Iowafun
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 955 Central Iowa
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2005-11-27          119931


You've gotten some good advice so far. Being mobile is an advantage and a convenience when a unit is down in the field. One thing you can do is require a deposit/downpayment on parts ordered so you will be covering that part at least. Cuts down on the riff-raff. I used an independant on my old Oliver. I bought the parts, he did the work. Worked out fine for me. He did it right in my shop. He split it and figured out what parts were needed. I then bought the parts and he finished it once they arrived. ....

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kentfield
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16 southern VT and western Ma
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2005-11-27          119936


Have been doing onsite equip repair for the last 15 years
and make a good living at it. With a little care I have only been burned a few times good luck ....

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44trxfun
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 110 western NY
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2005-11-27          119953


"Would any of you take you piece of equipment to a repair shop instead of a dealer to both service and non warranty work?"

Reputable mechanic, fair price, good value...yes I would.
....

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shortmagnum
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 848 Wisconsin
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2005-11-28          119963


Oneace, this sounds like an interesting idea. I recommend starting with the cost of YOUR expenses, building, truck, equipment, heat/power, insurance etc. After you figure out the monthly expenses, it should be easy to calculate the expenses per hour. Even if you own many of the tools/equipment already, you should charge as if you need to make payments on those items. That way you'll get a return off the equity in your stuff.

Don't forget to add something for yourself. :)
Dave ....

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6885 Waterville New York
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2005-11-28          119970


When looking at heavy equipment repairs their are fast moving contractors that also get stiffed by the people they are working for both small and large in size. It will take about three years to find out the people that will keep you in business and those that will run you out. There are the same types of people in all walks of life. We have people that are in our stores weekly at a minumum to go through the shops to see what is going on and to try to get our tech's to help them fix a problem they might or not be having. We do have several people in our area that are doing the same as you are interested in. For the most part they are the marginal customers that we have not done the best with for making a profit from. There is a old rule that applies to many things, 80-20, twenty percent of your customers will give you 80 percent of your business! Just like 20 percent of sales people sell 80 percent of the products. It is often hard to focus and find that 20 percent and we are often shooting for the 21'st percent as customer bases change and you need to be ready to adapt to these customers. You will be in a position to give your shirt away while on a call far more then the back-up in billing so beware! The next is to be strong enough to collect as mentioned. For some customers it would or might be easy to replace you so the debt might not be easy to collect. ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2005-11-28          120033


Start out slowly! Put a business plan on paper, get all the cost and revenue details worked out before you buy a single bolt. Create a hypothetical scenario where you have 2 or 3 hunderd jobs over a year, figure out how long it would take for each one and what the parts inventory would need to be, the cost of idle time and the cost of traveling. Project these over the next three years. Here is where you get to see if the business will float without spending anything more than some time behind a computer. Even if you dont need the money take the plans to a lending institution (bank?) and ask if they will look at them with a view to bank rolling the business, if they wont it's because they recon you wont make money. IMO it takes about three years before a business like this can go it alone. Figure how many hours of the day you will spend driving and fetching parts etc and how many will be left for actual repairs. Then decide how much the hourly rate will have to be. The fixing part is the easy bit, it's the business end that requires savvy decisions and that's the bit that you know least about. Ask yourself what makes me special. Off the bat I recon it's a much riskier proposition than you think. DONT sink your retirement into it. Good luck. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7160 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2005-11-29          120043


I've been shying away from this thread for fear of skewing the results.

I'm NOT exactly the typical CUT consumer / owner, so my input would be of little use, however, Harvey's point got me to thinking a bit about this idea.

For the first number of years I was in business, I played Chinese Checkers with CUT's, job site, my yard, dealer, my yard, job site, etc., they spent more time on trailers than in the field working. It kept the machines in good repair and working though. Then I made a deal with my dealer, two days a week one of his mechanics (who lives really close to my yard) would work in MY shop on MY machines. This worked well, but the time delay was too much, if a machine broke down due to something simple on Friday, it wasn't fixed until Tuesday. Too much delay and down time.

Finally, I bit the bullet, and hired a full-time maintenance man. This was the magic potion, for a while. Now we have come full circle in the process. Now the problem is I have machines out on site 'for the duration' on big projects, that means the service guy & truck have to go there to do maintenance & repairs. Now there is no one to do work on the stuff back at the shop either.

This past summer we again 'bit the bullet', now we have added two more service trucks to the fleet, one of the operators who was a mechanic previously splits his time between operating & swinging a wrench, and a mechanic who just retired from a dealer nearby works a couple days a week on the road doing strictly maintenance stuff.

All in all though, I would say if you were to offer mobile service and maintenance you wouldn't be too short of work for the next 30 or 40 years. LOL.

Knock on the doors of some local businesses, contractors, landscapers, and golf courses. During most of the year they are far to busy to even think about fixing something themselves, or even sparing a person & truck / trailer to take it in for service.

If I get any more jobs in your area I'll know not send a service truck, I'll just use the local one..... ;->

Best of luck. ....

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oldrental
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13 Alaska
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2005-11-30          120092


If you’re providing a mobile service you should charge at least as much as a fixed repair center. The dealer charges more for off site work, so you should also.

Remember your going to incur costs that must be paid by you or your customer. As a new business collect on the spot, and if possible before you do the work. The nicest people will screw you over money.

So you might want to look at a system where you call in a credit card, but get paid……
....

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Carldarnell
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91 Taylorsville Ky
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2005-12-27          121818


The first thing you should do is what shortmagnum said. Spend a lot of time thinking of ALL the expenses/overhead that you will have and I mean EVERYTHING. You need to include how much money you want to take home each week. Try to figure it as monthly costs, that is monthly rent, elec., heat, etc. Multiply by 12 then divide by 52. Now you have your weekly costs so divide it by 40. Now you have your hourly costs with your take home pay. Is that anywhere near your $40 per hour figure. Don't forget you have to pay taxes. It is tricky to be in business and really make money. DO NOT ALLOW CREDIT, your best friends may stiff you. Come backs will eat you up. Been there, done that. A little bit gun shy now. ....

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lbrown59
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 931 First Organized Permanent Settlement In The Northwest Territory.
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2005-12-31          122066


I've got a good friend who has been an independent garage operator most of his life and he will echo what has been already said about collection. He's just too nice of a guy to turn anyone away. He is still in business, but now requires a cash deposit on any parts before he will order them. He mainly works on cars and light trucks, So I will answer yes I do use a person who charges about half what the GM and Ford dealerships charge. I'm sure all of the above would apply to repair of compacts and their related equipment. Best of luck. Frank.
hardwood
**********************
A good honest dependable / reliable reasonably priced independent mechanic can't be beat.
In 25 or 30 years of taking many cars and trucks to him I've only had to take something back to him twice. This compares with several cars I've taken back to dealers 2 or 3 times for the same thing because they didn't get it fixed right the first time. The bad thing is there were even cases where the dealer didn't get something fixed no matter how many times I took it back to them.
Warranty work is a joke in a way. You take the car in to fix something they don't get it fixed you make trip after trip back trying to get them to take care of the problem till the warranty period expires.
In 25 to 30 years He's saved me a lot of money over going to a dealer.

Most recent Example >Yesterday He put new drive belts a water pump new timing belts and a new bearing in the AC pulley on my 1989 Dodge D50 pickup. Cost me $218.09 Tax and all.
The Dodge dealer wanted $300.00 before tax. just to do the timing belts.

I have always paid him when I pick up the car/truck - He's to valuable to loose because he didn't get paid!



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unit5alive
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 250 Latrobe Pa
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2006-10-11          135865


Major problems the dealer gets the work , otherwise I do what other work I can , Craig. ....

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