Most shop owners begin their careers as technicians, and eventually buy their first shop. They are often the people who feel they own a business, when in reality, it’s the furthest from the truth. Consider this …
When most past-technicians open their first shop, they spend most of their time test driving or under the hood of a car. They know if they stop working on cars, their income will come to a screeching halt. They feel that as long as they are turning wrenches they will have an income stream, and the faster they work, the more income they’ll make. So what they have in this scenario is a job; not a shop, and not a business. Ironically, they’re not much different than the tech down the street. They’ll go home tired, and they’ll judge their success by the number of vehicles they fixed that day. The only real difference is that the tech down the street doesn’t have all the liabilities, and they don’t take their problems home at night.
Some of these aforementioned past-techs will make it to the next level, which is being a “shop owner.” The difference between having a job and being a shop owner is that shop owners have more than one person working for them, and they are able to take a few days off without everything shutting down. In most cases, shop owners feel this is a good place to be, and it is, until it’s time for them to either retire or sell their shop before their planned retirement. You see, what most shop owners fail to realize is that very few people are willing to buy shops, and if they do find a buyer, it’s typically a tech with very little money. The reason that business people with real money will rarely buy shops is because shops are typically dependent on the current owner, and there’s a shop on every corner.
Now here’s the good news: Every shop owner can turn their shop into a business. You see, a “business” is not dependent on the owner. It has clear-cut, written systems in place for all facets of the business (pay programs, the recruiting process, the marketing plan, the sales process, etc.) so that when the new owner steps in they have everything they need to continue building the business. They have the business plans that were created by the seller, they have a seasoned staff, and they have all of the established systems in place for the business to continue to prosper and grow. In this case, what the buyer has bought is a “business”, not a job, and not a shop.
The shop owners that are willing to embrace the fact that there is a major difference between a job, a shop and a business all have one thing in common: They are creating their own future, and they are building real equity at the same time. Is it worth the effort to transform your shop into a business? Well, the best answer I can give you is this: When the day comes for you to sell, I have a very strong suspicion that you will be thankful you turned your shop into a business.