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Old 04-06-2004, 01:02 AM   #1
*CuTlAsS*
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Post I Need tips on starting a car customizing business

I would really like to get into customizing cars. Unfortunatly at this time I have little experience in this area, but would like to go to college to learn this trade. I've been a little fustrated due to the lack of information I've found so far. I welcome any tips in this area including what type of profits could be made in this industry. Thanks

Last edited by *CuTlAsS*; 04-06-2004 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:04 AM   #2
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Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

kidding me right, go back to fixing your bicycle
people like you bring down the true customizers
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Old 04-06-2004, 01:08 AM   #3
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Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Hey jetts everyone needs to start somewhere, don't knock newbies wanting to learn something new. Also how am I bringing down the true customizers? All I'm asking for is information!
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: I Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Quote:
Originally Posted by *CuTlAsS*
I would really like to get into customizing cars. Unfortunatly at this time I have little experience in this area, but would like to go to college to learn this trade. I've been a little fustrated due to the lack of information I've found so far. I welcome any tips in this area including what type of profits could be made in this industry. Thanks

So I'm not the only one...yea...
I have some ideas and I'm talkin with some friends of mine who have experence where i don't, conserning cars... so ya...
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Old 04-08-2004, 06:13 PM   #5
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Re: I Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Quote:
Originally Posted by *CuTlAsS*
I would really like to get into customizing cars. Unfortunatly at this time I have little experience in this area, but would like to go to college to learn this trade. I've been a little fustrated due to the lack of information I've found so far. I welcome any tips in this area including what type of profits could be made in this industry. Thanks
Most useful info u can get is from some reputable customizers. they have experience and knowledge to back them up
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Old 04-09-2004, 12:37 PM   #6
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Re: I Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Quote:
Originally Posted by *CuTlAsS*
I would really like to get into customizing cars. Unfortunatly at this time I have little experience in this area, but would like to go to college to learn this trade. I've been a little fustrated due to the lack of information I've found so far. I welcome any tips in this area including what type of profits could be made in this industry. Thanks

I have been collecting classic cars and trucks for over 30 years and had up to 28 cars and trucks ranging from Alfa Romeos to Volvos, corvettes, camaros and some ford trucks. I opened a shop to customize, repair, and sell collectible vehicles. As this wnet on my son opened my eyes to imports specifically Japanese imports as we purchased his first car a 1992 Prelude Si that we converted to JDM specs.

Anyway he is now going on 19 and will be attending Auburn University in Auburn Alabama. Auburn UNiversity has a mjor in computer engineering/design specifically for the auto industry. He hopes to complete his major in 3 years as he will be attending summer courses. His love and passion for cars is centered around not only having a god looking car but one that runs as well as she looks...specifically within the tunign side. WE redid our business plan and started a small local company called GTC MotorSports. We started by strictly doing body and interior customization...you know the usual stuff body kits, molding and shaving, custom paint jobs, custom interiors etc....now we have gotten into adding suspension systems and doing engine swaps.

My advice is there is a huge market out there and a lot of competitors who are taking young peoples money and delivering crap. We thought we could do it better but after a few years realize that it takes not only talented people to do the work but stable individuals who are team players and must possess a passion for their work. This is where the greatest challenges are reliable people who deliver consistent quality. We have had to redo customer cars more than once because our motto is "To create the ride of a lifetime". If our work is not good enough for my son and I than it is not good enough for our customers.

Is there money to be made? Yes! Are the headaches worth it? I decided that we are actually going to scale down to working on one car at a time and completing this car from the ground up...reduce the overhead( people, shop size) and improve quality that is manageable and controllable.

Dont be discouraged by others,,,,,identify your goal that hopefully compliments your passions and develop a roadmap that will help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Write down your goals were you can seeit every day and share these with others. Let your friends, family be aware of your goals so they can keep you focussed and real. Should your goals change along the way rewrite them and get focussed again. There will be detours along the ay of meeting your goals but remember " If you dont know where you are going any road will get you there"

Keep asking questions...do not be discouraged bu those who are quick to judge you and your ideas. You obviously have courage and initiative to post the question for all to see and judge. So use this to your advantage where you wil find strength to overcome diversity.Get on the net and check out the size of the industry, marketplace, what services wiill you be delivering and are these services/goods in line with what customers want? If you are contemplating a service/retail business find out how much space you will need( location location location), rent cost, utilities, insurance, licenses, tools, inventory, labor, advertising, signs, permits, maintenance/replacement of tools, material costs. than how much can your market bear for final cost to deliver these services/goods? DEVELOP A BUSINESSPLAN! There is profit to be made but by no means is this a get rich quick scheme. It will require attention to details and most importantly a love and passion for the business/industry.

I have been in the high tech business for 30 years and recently became ill which caused a major loss in income and ability to do things myself. Since this time I physically can not do much but I still have a brain and 30 years of experience as an enterprenuer. However, my past experience has taught me that you can make money at anything if you follow your passions, heart and mind.

I wish you great success and happiness and if I can be of further help you are welcome to email me at beaudeg@bellsouth.net
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Old 04-09-2004, 10:22 PM   #7
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Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Thanx for the pointers...and the wishes... I really apprechiate it
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Old 04-09-2004, 11:09 PM   #8
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Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Da Nada! Keep up your enthusiasm and you will find yuor way by asking pointed questions
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Old 04-12-2004, 11:58 AM   #9
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Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

I have a 96 maxima and somehow the car just died. I'm pretty sure it's not the battery or alt. All the lights are out besides the the panel. It cranks but doesn't turn over. I'm assuming it's the factory alarm because all the electricals are out even when I tried jumping it. Does anyone one know what might be the problem?
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Old 04-12-2004, 01:40 PM   #10
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Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Not really sure if I can help you based on the limited information you provided. But here are a few quick questions. Do your headlights come on with the battery jumped? Does the open door dinger ding with the key in the ignition? If not yuo have more than an alarm problem and there is probably a loose post from the battery to the starter check this out!
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Old 04-12-2004, 02:05 PM   #11
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Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

aayou might also try creating another thread and post this question so all on the Forum can se and respond. Ia m just not that good with first hand knowledge of a 96 Maxima but I would start with checking the lights with the battery fully charged or jumped.
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Old 04-12-2004, 06:02 PM   #12
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This thread just kind of blows me away. What are you going to customize, your Cutlass? If it isn't a classic, then its not customizing, its aftermarket. The ricers may call it custom, but its really just caliper and ac vent paint. If you are talking REAL custom cars, then maybe you could convince George Barris that you are his grandson, and he can teach you something. Always glad to see an interest in custom classic bodywork(as I assume it is).
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Old 04-12-2004, 06:08 PM   #13
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Here is a cool custom. Feast your eyes on the infamous '50 Merc!
[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 04-12-2004, 07:26 PM   #14
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Cool Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

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Originally Posted by Rod&Custom
This thread just kind of blows me away. What are you going to customize, your Cutlass? If it isn't a classic, then its not customizing, its aftermarket. The ricers may call it custom, but its really just caliper and ac vent paint. If you are talking REAL custom cars, then maybe you could convince George Barris that you are his grandson, and he can teach you something. Always glad to see an interest in custom classic bodywork(as I assume it is).
My... my aren't we just a bit critical. The young man simply asked a question about wanting to start up a custom shop. His log on name is Cutlass and maybe he has a sweet Cutlass that in many peoples eyes and mnds have become classics. I would not turn my nose up to an individual who enjoys customizing a Cutlass as a place to start. Nor would I be so quick to label ricers as really just caliper and ac vent paint. Do you really believe that is all that takes place with imports? You better look again. My shop who has 30 years experience in american and european classics recently, for the past 3-4 years, applied the same passion with Japanese IMports. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised if you attended some of the shows such as SEMA and see how these rides are truely customized or even try to attend some of your local clubs. When I started with a 1957 Nomad Wagon many many moons ago and was not considered a classic at that time, my father had a similar attitude and looked down on my conversions/customization/restoration. Lets not have the same wooden ears and eyes as our parent. Today that 57 Nomad Wagon is obviously considered a beautiful classic and I wish I still had her. AC vent paint and caliper paint is obviously not really what the younger generation is working towards.......customizing for ricers or a nicer label would be imports, is not exclusive to your examples. It in fact might be limited on some cars for budget reasons, but even many of these are sleepers.
Customization encompasses a variety of personalization to their rides to lowering not just for looks but also for greatly improved handling, custom paint jobs that will make the 50 Merc cry with envy, engine swaps that go well beyond changing a 6 cylinder to an 8, they do hybrid swaps in their cars that will blow your mind, they also take these little ricers with 4 bangers and produce mind blowing horsepower with 1/4 mile runs in the 8s, while turning heads with their awe inspiring stunning good looking paint jobs, body kits, rims, sound systems, bad ass custom multitone interiors wrapped in leather........to top it off if they are not putting the pedal to the metal these little cars get an average of 28 miles per gallon.
I highly encourage the members of this Forum to continue their passion and quest to modify/improve their rides regardless of what their rides happen to be. Start somewhere with something and let your experience become a step ladder to creating the ride that you enjoy. Our motto is " Creators if the Ride of a LifeTime" This means something different to all and that is what makes this such as huge success. It really is no different when all I could afford to do to my 57Nomad at the beginning was change the rims to chrome reverse rims and added some wider tires. At the time I though this addition was not only all I could afford but it was the beginning of a true love and pursuit of my passions.
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Old 04-13-2004, 03:34 PM   #15
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Re: Re: Need tips on starting a car customizing business

Quote:
Originally Posted by beaudeg
My... my aren't we just a bit critical. The young man simply asked a question about wanting to start up a custom shop. His log on name is Cutlass and maybe he has a sweet Cutlass that in many peoples eyes and mnds have become classics. I would not turn my nose up to an individual who enjoys customizing a Cutlass as a place to start. Nor would I be so quick to label ricers as really just caliper and ac vent paint. Do you really believe that is all that takes place with imports? You better look again. My shop who has 30 years experience in american and european classics recently, for the past 3-4 years, applied the same passion with Japanese IMports. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised if you attended some of the shows such as SEMA and see how these rides are truely customized or even try to attend some of your local clubs. When I started with a 1957 Nomad Wagon many many moons ago and was not considered a classic at that time, my father had a similar attitude and looked down on my conversions/customization/restoration. Lets not have the same wooden ears and eyes as our parent. Today that 57 Nomad Wagon is obviously considered a beautiful classic and I wish I still had her. AC vent paint and caliper paint is obviously not really what the younger generation is working towards.......customizing for ricers or a nicer label would be imports, is not exclusive to your examples. It in fact might be limited on some cars for budget reasons, but even many of these are sleepers.
Customization encompasses a variety of personalization to their rides to lowering not just for looks but also for greatly improved handling, custom paint jobs that will make the 50 Merc cry with envy, engine swaps that go well beyond changing a 6 cylinder to an 8, they do hybrid swaps in their cars that will blow your mind, they also take these little ricers with 4 bangers and produce mind blowing horsepower with 1/4 mile runs in the 8s, while turning heads with their awe inspiring stunning good looking paint jobs, body kits, rims, sound systems, bad ass custom multitone interiors wrapped in leather........to top it off if they are not putting the pedal to the metal these little cars get an average of 28 miles per gallon.
I highly encourage the members of this Forum to continue their passion and quest to modify/improve their rides regardless of what their rides happen to be. Start somewhere with something and let your experience become a step ladder to creating the ride that you enjoy. Our motto is " Creators if the Ride of a LifeTime" This means something different to all and that is what makes this such as huge success. It really is no different when all I could afford to do to my 57Nomad at the beginning was change the rims to chrome reverse rims and added some wider tires. At the time I though this addition was not only all I could afford but it was the beginning of a true love and pursuit of my passions.
Very nicely said.

Anyway, I am in the aftermarket area and run a one man crew. Mostly I am mobile but I also have a small shop. I mostly deal with vehicle electronics by adding things like remote starters, keyless entries, and the such. I also do DVD systems and HUGE sound systems along with custom stripes. Inbetween that, I do high end detailing.

I will tell you that it is a rough job but rewarding. I only did it because I lost my job and couldn't find anything else to do. I LOVE cars and working on them. The satisfaction of seeing the customer watch the neat things that their vehicle now does is priceless. I worked in a high end shop when I was attending Ohio State. I continued to work for them for a while then decided to try other things. Well, people kept tracking me down to work on their vehicles so it was kinda a no brainer to start a shop.

Money is real tight at times and other times it isn't. I'd love to have a huge bizz like West Coast Customs but I know that my rural area will never support it. At least I do not have to rely on many people other than me.

One thing you need to be is honest. If you are not, most people will pick up on it and it will catch up on you. I keep my overhead very low. I don't even have a published phone number. Most of my work comes from either area dealerships or word of mouth. That is the best way to get people to come to your door. I don't want people calling me for prices. Most of them will get their car hacked at a big chain store to save $20 anyway.

My suggestion is to get a quality college education first. While you are there, try to get hooked up at a high end stereo shop or custom shop even if you are just sweeping floors. Trust me, if they see your into what they are doing, they'll inadvertantly teach you things that you can not learn in a textbook.

Remember that this bizz is one of the toughest to get into but is certainly doable.
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