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Discussion Starter #1
Well between lots of researching and talking between the three of us i believe we have come to agreement how to start out with the 4x4 shop.

The plan is to start with a internet based seller of parts with a note on the website that we do installs in the N. AL area (still waiting on Joes reply about a domain). After we start getting the hang of it and make a few bucks we will get a shop.

Now the shop we are going to get a killer deal with a busy road store front. Our salesmans mom is going to be building a metal building...ya know those nice, usually prefabbed, ones that you see all the time that can be had for at a good price. She will rent it out to us at a good price and more or less we will pay it off for her.

Next couple days I am gonna go talk to the Madison County Licensing Commisioner person. If I read the website right, it will be 60 bucks for it just to sell truck accessories...really good IMO. I figured it would be a couple hundred buck. Once we get a shop it will be 8.50 for the first person and 7.50 per person afterwards.

I think we are getting close to being ready to go into business....one of the biggest set backs though is what to name ourselves.

we been joking with Backyard Offroad since the first idea was to do installs in my backyard, and when the shop is built it will be in a backyard still. That and our idea was born under my bronco in my Backyard....ill probably start a thread on giving everyone a chance to help create the name of the business.
 

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Not sure what you've come up with research wise, but a meeting with a CPA is in order to decide what type of corporation to incorporate as.

Also a meeting with an attorney will help you draw up the terms of the partnership, issue stock, decide officers, etc etc. None of that matters with a small business like this but its important to avoid any squabbles later on, and determines what happens if and when someone wants to leave the business/dies etc.

The lawyer will need to know the name and type of corporation to file as, who the registered agent is (person to be served with papers if sued), and any ficticious names you will operate under, as well as the terms of the partnership.

Hope it helps
 

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Discussion Starter #3
kf4amu said:
Not sure what you've come up with research wise, but a meeting with a CPA is in order to decide what type of corporation to incorporate as.

Also a meeting with an attorney will help you draw up the terms of the partnership, issue stock, decide officers, etc etc. None of that matters with a small business like this but its important to avoid any squabbles later on, and determines what happens if and when someone wants to leave the business/dies etc.

The lawyer will need to know the name and type of corporation to file as, who the registered agent is (person to be served with papers if sued), and any ficticious names you will operate under, as well as the terms of the partnership.

Hope it helps
thanks bro...going to the commisioner is just the start to get info...do still need to find an attorney for the all that and have been looking up CPAs. There are a lot of CPAs in Huntsville and I dont know which one to go to.

Ive done most of my research at www.SBA.com but a few others too just reading and reading and reading.
 

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I was in the accessory business for 5 years, and I just had the privaledge of opeing up a shop for the mechanic at the car lot I do ebay for and one thing you will want to do is Join S.E.M.A. they provide a wealth of information and services. We are not web based but if there is any contact information I might be able to provide for you please feel free to PM I have 2 warehouse distributors currently, Keystone, and Armor Deck, and I am direct with about a dozen companies
 

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i like the whole "backyard off road" name thingy. a couple of guys set up a business here. they are state prison officers i think (one works for the post office). none of them do it full time. they just recently moved from a small storefront to a real shop. however......

they are never open consistently (not good) as they work around their "real" job schedule.
they havent been able to get a real mechanic in there. of any sort. (also not good)

so the place remains a storefront where they sell accesories off the shelf (lights winches bumpers mostly jeep/yota stuff) and the rest they special order. i went in once only and prolly wont go back. most of the other wheelers say they are pretty much a joke. only keep it open to get themselves and buddies wholesale pricing. since a couple of the partners are correctional officers and make bank, it aint to hard to keep it afloat. and im sure it gives em a tax right off at the end of the year too.

what im tryin to say is.......they have great potential. with a competent mechanic, a good fabricator, real store hours (not "when i feel like it"), and a good salesman they would be in it. there are shit loads of wheelers in this town. they are right off the highway and have good exposure. rumor has it that a discount tire might be goin in right across the street from them which could bring in tons of business.

get some "certified" guys in there and advertise right. good mechanics that are certified will pay the bills year round. if your state needs smog consider that also. smog shops will bring business to you. follow above advice (kf4mu) so you cant get screwed. this kinda thing will test any friendship even relatives so its best to double wrap it and put bags on everybodys head if you follow me. and above all BE AND LOOK PROFESSIONAL!

after 15 yrs of havin a "backyard" shop and makin a lot of people happy my best friend Bill is now bein sued in small claims by the ex girlfriend of one of his aquaintences. in a small town like this that kinda exposure (badmouthin) is bad. this on the side stuff has been a good source of income that might potentionally go in the toilet. Protect yourself.

I dont know if any of this stuff helps Daniel. just my .02

sorry it was so long.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #7
joe I appreciate the long typing.I read and took in every word. The on the side part is just until we can get it going good. That is why we are talking of doing it internet based until we get enough money for a shop. It is hard to give up a job with Health insurance. even if it is a crappy low paying over worked job. I plan, by the time we go local with a shop to make it full time.

I agree, whenever I feel like it wouldnt cut it. Most likely we will have hours from like 9-6 or 7. At least that the store front would be open. By then we will have certifications. I was reading on the SEMA site that you can get a certification from them for installers...a joint SEMA/ASE thing.

If I am going to go the length of opening a shop, then im going to go the length of doing it right. A big part of the reasoning of doing an off road shop is that the only competition in town is a shop full of ricer mechanics that do a half assed job and dont know much about 4x4s. I feel this town needs somewhere where the can actually get some good info, parts, and work done at fair prices.

I have a buddy starting up a graphics design business who said he would hook us up on ads so thats a plus.

Best part is we have all been friends for a long time now. All are current or former members of the military (so we got the being and looking proffesional down pretty good)

I think if we put forth our best efforts we can do this. And we can do this good. Just gotta take a lot of patience, effort, praying, and hoping.
 

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i think you got an edge being military. impressions are everything. i know in your type of work that everything has a place and all that. by the book and doin it the same way everytime or people get hurt. cleanliness, order and guys that are well groomed.

also dont narrow your vision to 4x4's. steal the business from the ricer guy. even if its only sellin and installing bolt ons or power chips or bling. also if you got competent welders look to the local drag strip. bracket racers are always lookin for people to weld/fabricate, install roll cages that meet the standards for the type of racing they do, or even set-up gears. look for that specialty niche that is missing and fill it.

with your background you have all you need to be succesful. cover all your bases and you'll do great. also dont be afraid to ask local business people for advice. ask everyone, yer barber, the coffee hut, anyone that is small or independent.
 

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also i dont know how much this would help, but there is this crazy bastard on tv all the time named Andrew Lesko (sp?) dresses like the Riddler who sells a book on gov't grants and programs. it might be worth checkin out :shrug
 

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Installs are good & this is a good idea...But find something differant than the other guys & also see if theres an actual need in your area...Contact clubs in your area & ask them "IF a shop opens would you use it?"...

Come up with some easy to make products that dont cost you much to make...Or even something like the DYI shop...Just look at all of the Tech questions on this site & get ideas...
 

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Start with a partnership or a limited partnership. Registering a corp with the state and the IRS cost money - renewable every year. Only exception is "not for profit" C3's, and I don't think you have that in mind...:rofl:...there'll be time for that later, maybe an "S" corp.

Here's the IRS site for small businesses. Definitely check that out.

And you might get some info from MyOwnBusiness.
 

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Daniel, the lawyer in me must talk here...set up as a corporation, S or C, your CPA will tell you...you each are EMPLOYEES, gets the liability off you all.....never know when chit will happen...all checks made out to THE COMPANY...not you....this crap about regular meetings and a good Corporate book aint bullchit....it works....you are in a high liability business...the assetts, tools, lifts, etc....have the corporation rent them, and actually pay checks for the rentals...if the corporation gets sued, the tools may not be corporate property....CREATE PAPER TRAILS.....its hard to get behind paper...
talk to the Employment security commission etc. licenses, unemployment etc. Go personally to every auto shop in town, ask for referrals, and let them know that you are willing to "thank them" for referrrals.

Word of mouth, thats the only way to get started.

Offer better service than any body in town....

A local 4WD shop here has put the word out that every Friday, just come by and talk trucks and stuff...the shop buys the beer....they get more business on Friday night than the whole week...plus, all the gear heads in town come to recognize the place as the place to be...


And when you get set up, come get my truck and put in gears and lockers!
 

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do you have a business plan? do you have enough finacing? cause a business plan will help you out getting financing,

that and it will show true dedication in creating a business,
 

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GHOSTRIDER said:
A local 4WD shop here has put the word out that every Friday, just come by and talk trucks and stuff...the shop buys the beer....they get more business on Friday night than the whole week...plus, all the gear heads in town come to recognize the place as the place to be...

wow that sounds like a liability waitin to happen
 

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Discussion Starter #18
i think a DIY shop like that would be a liability waiting to happen more then a shop buying beers every friday night.

pete expect a few phone calls from me...as you are the only lawyer i know, and granted back woods country lawyer :goodfinge...only one I trust

there is a need in the area. Pretty big 4x4 club in this area...plus a lot of rocket scientists wanting to give their kids whatever they want.

we have a business plan in the works...when we first started talking about this we were thinking more of a year or two down the road..but as we research and talk things through the more we want this. Maybe in a few months we can have the ball rolling to have the doors (be it the internet or an actual shop) open before a year or two from now.

we have a lot of work ahead of us to do this. Especially if we want this to be done right and successful. The final step of the plan when the shop opens is to be an 4x4 parts store, 4x4 installs, and custom fab shop (i.e. cages, bumpers, and stuff like that) For now we are looking more into the just selling the parts, with possibly a few side install jobs.
 
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