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Dream Shop Advice

Here’s some advice for those of you who might be considering investing in your shop in the near future and bringing your vision to life.

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We talked to the owners and operators of new and/or newly renovated tire stores across North America to capture the inspiration and innovations that went into building their dream shop. Here’s some advice for those of you who might be considering investing in your shop in the near future and bringing your vision to life.

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Financing

“For us, our buildings were expensive. I’ve got a brick, 12-bay, 8500-square-foot building in an expensive area. I know what my nut is to the bank. You just got to look at your own expenses and make sure you have enough money to pay that out for the year or two years and not make any money. Could be several hundred thousand dollars in cash. You just make sure you’ve got that ready.” – Cami Mourao, Auto Spot Tire Pros, Florida

Growth

The only thing, the manager there, which is my youngest boy, Jason, wishes he had more of is tire storage for winter tires, and storage for customers’ tires. So, I would build, in the next store, more warehouse space and make another 10 feet. Get a couple more racks all the way down and up above. He’s still got a really good supply of tires, but I would make it even bigger because of the tire storage for customers.” – Wendel Burt, Burt Brothers Tire & Service, Utah

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Approvals

“I only had two bays, so there’s only so many cars you can do with so many bays. So, I had to look elsewhere, and I found that a window and granite company on the same street was coming available. Obviously, it was not an automotive shop. I would have to look into the city to see what I would need to do to make it approved for automotive repair. [Sometimes] you have to do a lot of things for it to be approved.” – Barry Butavia, Lucky Eight Auto, Ontario 

Customer Privacy

“In my experience, when you’re talking to people about their finances and especially if they cannot afford what you just told them, it’s private.  The [car] dealerships actually have separate offices. But I never want a customer to feel… like they’re being sold something. But we also want to keep their privacy.” – Cami Mourao, Auto Spot Tire Pros, Florida

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Embrace Social

“Myself, I take video and pictures of before and after jobs. I have Instagram and all that stuff. Get on social media and basically show the job. It validates the job that has been done. It makes the person feel more comfortable about paying for it….Right away, he’ll come in here without any premeditated either anger or frustration or whatever. [It] validates the job that you’ve done and also validates your diagnosis.” – Barry Butavia, Lucky Eight Auto, Ontario

Get Serious or Get Out

“First of all, I would say this business is probably too hard for you, and you really don’t want to do it. This is a hard-working, fun business, but if you don’t have the energy to really get in there and be excited about your business, don’t do it. It’s really super rewarding if you have a good attitude, because the customers are just waiting to be served and just want to be taken care of and appreciated.” – Wendel Burt, Burt Brothers Tire & Service, Utah

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Do the Work

Don’t hesitate to just go all in and get the equipment, get the people and go for it….If you’re willing to do that, it’s a really, really lucrative, great business.  But it doesn’t come without a lot of work.  It’s kind of like a dairy farm.  You’ve got to go there every day to milk the cows.  It won’t run by itself.  For the faint of heart and the person that doesn’t want to work, don’t get into this business, but if you do decide to get in the business, it’ll provide a fantastic lifestyle for you.” – Wendel Burt, Burt Brothers Tire & Service, Utah

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Why Wait

“It’s just like if you always say I have to wait until, it’ll never get done.  You’ve just got to do it.  You just got to do it. Think it through and follow your dream.  Don’t hold back and say you can’t do it.  The return is phenomenal.” – Gerry White, Bay Area Tire & Service Center, Maryland

Always Be Innovating

“If I started over, it would be a bigger waiting room and more for the customer. I would also incorporate a gym area for my customers, a treadmill or something like that. I would [continue] to improve that whole thing – and a computer [in each bay] because I am going to go paperless eventually.” – Cami Mourao, Auto Spot Tire Pros, Florida

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