Partnering with the big guys

Over the last eight years, a lot of smaller shops have closed their doors. Now that we are in something of a recovery, a lot of them are thinking about getting back into the game. But start-up capital is not so easy to come by.

One guy I know had sold off most of his equipment and given up his shop space as part of his survival tactics. When he started thinking about going back into business, he found that he was unable to borrow money or get leases on new equipment. He thought about trying to hire on with one of the bigger survivors but then he had an idea.

He worked up a proposal which he presented to several large shops. These shops were pretty much production shops, geared toward mid-priced, large volume work. They needed custom capability to meet the demands of the more discriminating clients that were beginning to reemerge.

My friend’s proposal was that the big shop would set up a small satellite shop in which he would produce custom pieces that did not fit into the work flow of the production lines. He would bid the work as an independent contractor. At the same time he would be free to solicit other work as time allowed and, over time, he would buy the satellite shop while continuing to provide the larger operation with the same services.

If done right, a win/win all the way around.



  • Howard N. Rosenberg says:

    Very creative and practical idea.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    In the car business, a more senior and established dealer will fund a talented employee in their own dealership. As time progresses and profits increase, the newer dealer starts paying back the senior dealer at an accelerated rate.

    In car-biz lingo, it’s called buy-in buy-out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Terms of Use.