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Can`t decide for myself...

chaosmschaosms subscriber Posts: 1
edited January 2008 in Selecting a Business
Hi Everyone!
I`m new to this forum and am excited to have become a member.  I have been pondering a business for a few years now.  I have previously owned a business, and it did well, and could still be doing well, just wasn`t "me" and eventually I lost interest.
Remember, both of these are a passion of mine.  I`m fortunate to have found something that I can see myself doing everyday for as long as I live and continuously become happier. I loose sleep thinking of these!  Problem is, can`t decide what to keep as a hobby and what to turn into a living.
The First:
Motorsport/Recreational Vehicle and Accessories Dealer.
Basically I would be selling ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, golf carts, ect... A big part of business would also include accessories such as performance parts, safety, clothing, and even a full-service shop for machine repairs and upgrades.  Eventually, I would like to create an online store selling this inventory also.
Some potential problems I see.  I`m not sure how manufacturers work but I`m going to assume only so many dealers are allowed per zip or county. (For brand new models)  In my area there is two within four miles,  and approx 40 within a 45 mile radius. 
However, considering most require a minimum of $250k liquid and an actual storefront, I will have to start with used machines.  This might be good.  Not very many dealers carry a large used inventory around here.
Some things that might help me stand out are the `for the enthusiast, by the enthusiast` type of feel that will surround the business. There will also be a `dyno` machine that will allow me to tune and sell dynoed machines.
The Second:
Metal Artist
I spend much of my free time sketching or creating sculptures out of metal.  I have yet to sell a completed piece, but I haven`t tried either. 
I have researched quite a few metal artists and they seem to being doing well for themselves.  Better than the general artist community I would say.
I have considered this as a career or business however I wouldn`t have the financial security I need.  I need to see projected earnings.. ect...
Nor do I see myself fitting into the artist stereotype.  I usually don`t over-analyze anything art, I don`t even care for the traditional art like paintings and such.  Just have a passion for creating from my imagination in metal.
Does anyone think selling used machines is a good way to start?
Does anyone think I should just pursue the metal art?
Does anyone believe I could use my metal art as a means to raise some capital to start the ATV business?
Any feedback, good or bad would be great!


  • RichRich administrator Posts: 582 Site Admin
    first, a few questions:

    is your motivation primarily to make a lot of money?
    what amount of time will you be able to throw at either of these passion plays?
    what level of financial risk are you willing to take?

    we explore these and many other related questions in our Life Planning advice, but here and now, it`s crucial to know the answers to these questions before providing advice.
    (what a bummer to ask for answers and to get only questions in return, no?!)
  • ayjayayjay subscriber Posts: 7
    I am fairly new here, but I`d like to weigh in since I know a small bit (2nd hand) about option 1.
    My husband is very into this hobby and had friends who had a shop like the one you`re proposing. They started out with a small service shop and grew that into a storefront for used bikes and recently got a KTM dealer license. They did well, except that all their regular customers became their buddy and got the buddy discount. I don`t think they were the best at tracking their sales & financials. People bought stuff on account that didn`t get paid for. They`ve recently sold off the shop & KTM dealer to another person because they couldn`t afford to keep it going. So, warning is that if you`re so enamored with this that you can`t separate the business from the fun, it might not be for you.
    Also, watch your market. We live ~3 hrs from these guys. My husband would love to open a shop here, but he doesn`t think we have the market in our city. We live in a bigger city, but there are less places to ride here, therefore less enthusiasts here.
    Adding the online store would be good too. Again with my husband, he buys almost all his parts online, unless it`s something he needs right away because the dealers near us always charge 2x what online retailers do. Question about the dyno - other than sport bikes, do people do dyno testing?  I only know a couple guys who build some crazy ATVs that might do that. Seems like the machine might be expensive. I think you might be best to start with a narrow focus to avoid overextending yourself, i.e. just ATVs & offroad bikes, just snomobiles, etc. Also, if you are the mechanic, do you know enough about all of these?
    As for the metal art idea, I think that`s pretty cool. I have always wanted to do that myself. . .I did a little machine work in engineering school. If you start the bike shop, you could consider doing some metal work in the back in your "free" time. You could do pieces with an industrial look that might appeal to your shop clientele and sell them out front. . .if people really get into it, maybe you can expand that and sell the shop : )
  • chaosmschaosms subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for the replies.
    I forgot to note your first question in my original post.  My future endeavor is not motivated my money.  Not looking to get rich........
    I am able to put as much time as needed into either `passion play`  If I felt I need to devote more time, I could quit my full-time day job or take some time off.  Average sleep per night is about 4-5 hours, so lack of sleep is not a problem either.
    As for the financial risk. Everything I have I will put into it.  I do not want to seek out loans, but if it comes down to it I will, only to expand or purchase real estate/property.
    Ayjay -
    I know how it goes with the `buddy system` when owning a business.  My grandfather owned a body shop for several years.  In the end it was his friends who put him out of business and he has educated me well on this subject.
    As for separating hobby from business I wouldn`t have a problem their either.  I`m not a hardcore racer, but I`m not clueless when it comes to the machines.  I can carry on a conversation with a customer and not loose credibility.
    The dyno.  This would be mostly a marketing tool.  I could use it on `free dyno` Saturdays, help sell performance parts and installation, and even build performance machines to sell.  I believe there are enough racer types around here that would utilize it and make the investment worth while. This would be down the road of course if things worked out.
    I`m quite mechanically inclined and currently work as a machinist so repairs wouldn`t be difficult.  I could always hire a part-time mechanic until it got busy.
    The metal art is still a gray area for me.  Not sure how it would pan out.  This would be something I can do with minimal investment, even on the side after my day job to raise more money. 
    Unless I make a name for myself in the artist industry I don`t believe this would be a wise choice as a full-time career.  Not to mention it wouldn`t involve all the things I love about owning a business; the retail, the stocking, the ordering, the shipping.. I love it all!
    Still undecided!
    Thanks again for the input.chaosms1/23/2008 5:49 PM
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