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Mind if I do a J?
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Hey guys, finally found the time to take a Sunday morning off and post what I've been up to. A few months ago I made the decision to follow my dream and start working for myself. I was working at a well-known Supra shop but things had taken a turn in the last couple years. I found myself being the only employee and had the motivation to really bring the shop back to life but my ideas fell on deaf ears and I felt defeated and stuck on a sinking ship. I ended up leaving and started renting a bay/lift at another shop where I was free to build what I wanted to build and how I wanted to build it. It took off way faster than I expected and I was forced to look for my own place to facilitate the demand I was having after only 3 months. I searched for a couple months, going as far as contacting a real estate company in the Inland Empire to look for me and any free time I had I would spend driving around industrial complexes looking for "For Lease" signs. Had a couple bites but nothing hooked. One day I was on the phone with my mom, she asked how I was doing and what was going on and I told her I'm looking for my own shop but can't find anything. She gets on her computer and literally the first place she finds is the perfect location. 3000 square feet and has 3 lifts installed already. Immediately I contacted the property manager and I was there the next day with my good friend Shant taking a look at the building. I knew right away that this was the one. A week later I had the lease signed and a week after that I had the keys and started renovations.

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Obviously the place needed some work but I was willing to put in the time and money mainly because it came with three lifts already and that was a huge weight off my shoulders. I had priced that out to be almost $10,000 including buying the lifts, transport, installation, etc. Immediately the renovations began, starting with the shop floor and office. My amazing girlfriend and her dad came to help with most of the clean-up. We swept and mopped the shop floor to prep for epoxy, dug the old office floor tiles up and smoothed the surface for fresh tile, cleaned the bathroom, threw away all the old ceiling tiles, washed the walls, etc. The shop used to have a wall separating two units that had been torn down. The previous occupant decided to keep the sink right there in the middle of the shop floor which I hated, so my girlfriend's dad (Bill) took the sink out, patched up the holes in the floor with concrete, removed the plumbing, and made it look like it was never there. It started looking like a nice shop after the first couple days.

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Mind if I do a J?
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3,345 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Floor epoxy came next. Really wanted the shop to look nice because I'm crazy OCD about cleanliness and organization.

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Started moving in shelving for parts.

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Built a huge workbench for dirty work and fabrication.

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Mind if I do a J?
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
72 hours after the floors were coated I started bringing in cars, starting with Dhar's 10k-mile '94 turbo which is easily the nicest Supra I have ever seen or worked on, and Jordan's 1200whp street driven beast. The shop filled up quick...

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Mind if I do a J?
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3,345 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I've never been big on social media or anything but started to understand the importance of posting pictures and updates on Instagram at this point, thanks to basically everyone who came to the shop and told me so. I noticed almost immediately that I was being contacted by people outside of the Supra community to work on their cars. I always wanted to move to the GTR platform eventually and got my opportunity with this '13 in for E85 conversion with Visconti flex kit and ID1700x injectors and Cobb tune.

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Then the big boy stuff started to arrive. Black Huracan for MoTeC M142 package, custom twin turbo kit built by a good friend of mine. White Huracan just wanted to visit. 458 Italia got E85.

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Anyway that's pretty much all for now. I just hired a full-time fabricator and have one part-time guy who comes in to help me wrench. Still knocking out work, everything from quick maintenance and repair to full race car builds. I'll continue to update this thread with pictures and information on builds. Thanks!

Patrick Blake
760-218-6440
Located in San Bernardino, CA - where the 215 meets the 10
[email protected]
[email protected]
 

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Unbelievable, Patrick!! You're probably only 3-miles from my house. I can't believe all the work you put in in such a short period of time. BIG props to your girlfriend and her dad. Can't believe how fast the place has filled up.

The very best of luck to you going forward. . I'll stop by sometime in the future when I have more COVID-19 freedom of movement.


Ken.
 

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WOW that's AWESOME Patrick, I'm really happy for you! I almost took my Supra to that 'Other well known" Supra shop but CV-19 came along and I put it on hold. At the time, the current owner did mention he only had one mechanic, you and he was only taking a limited number of customers. I'm glad I waited. Is that the shop number you posted? I'd like to set up an appointment.
 

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Mind if I do a J?
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Discussion Starter #8
Unbelievable, Patrick!! You're probably only 3-miles from my house. I can't believe all the work you put in in such a short period of time. BIG props to your girlfriend and her dad. Can't believe how fast the place has filled up.

The very best of luck to you going forward. . I'll stop by sometime in the future when I have more COVID-19 freedom of movement.


Ken.
It's been a long time coming and I've had great support from the community and family. Really appreciate your words Ken, and as I said in the other thread please stop by when the COVID settles down. Would be great to see you. Let me know if you need anything.
 
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Mind if I do a J?
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Discussion Starter #9

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Mind if I do a J?
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Discussion Starter #10
WOW that's AWESOME Patrick, I'm really happy for you! I almost took my Supra to that 'Other well known" Supra shop but CV-19 came along and I put it on hold. At the time, the current owner did mention he only had one mechanic, you and he was only taking a limited number of customers. I'm glad I waited. Is that the shop number you posted? I'd like to set up an appointment.
Thanks man, really appreciate it. Yeah I was the one mechanic but ultimately I think it was just better if I left and I'm glad I did. The number I posted is my cell phone. Feel free to call or text or email with what you need done. I am getting a secondary phone for the shop but for now just using my personal. Would be great to have your car here.
 

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This is awesome to see and wish you best of luck moving forward with the business. I cant believe you have that many supras in house already. The place looks great!
 

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Well done Patrick. Love that entrepreneurial spirit bro. 👍
 

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Looks good Patrick, congrats on reaching for a dream. My only word of caution (birthed from a lot of prior experience with a small shop), would be to know when you need to say no, for whatever reason. Managing customer expectations is a great way to ensure success. Promising the world and delivering less? Quite possibly the worst approach you can take.

I reckon you'll do just fine though. :)
 
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Mind if I do a J?
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Discussion Starter #14
This is awesome to see and wish you best of luck moving forward with the business. I cant believe you have that many supras in house already. The place looks great!
Yeah the shop filled up quick but I've moved a lot of cars out already and have a line out the door for more. I'd really like to operate at a lower capacity, maybe 5 or 6 cars at a time, but for now I just want to work as much as possible and recoup some of my investment then start thinning out. Thanks for the kind words.

Well done Patrick. Love that entrepreneurial spirit bro. 👍
Thanks Craig!!

Looks good Patrick, congrats on reaching for a dream. My only word of caution (birthed from a lot of prior experience with a small shop), would be to know when you need to say no, for whatever reason. Managing customer expectations is a great way to ensure success. Promising the world and delivering less? Quite possibly the worst approach you can take.

I reckon you'll do just fine though. :)
Man I've already ran into this a couple times and am learning quickly. Had a couple cars come in that were half-done projects from other shops and damn did they really hack them up and create issues. Cars left great and customers were very happy but I lost my ass on them.
 

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Seems you already know exactly what I was warning you about. There's really two ways that ends, either you lose your ass on the time you have into them, or you charge your customer for all of the time you have into them, and the shock of a bill that FAR exceeds what they were expecting is a rough one.

I ended up in that second camp. Was told that my engine build (machine work and assembly, some minor fabrication a bracket or two) would be around $2000. What I ended up with was a bill for around $12k, if I recall correctly, and the paperwork was, shall we say, extremely lacking in detail. Needless to say, I'll never recommend that shop to anyone.

Your strategy for thinning out your work load is a wise one, it will ensure that you don't get overwhelmed, nothing gets lost or shuffled between customers, things stay organized, and customer expectations are well managed. Totally understand wanting to get your name out there though. :)
 

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If you run into an issue where it changes the agreed upon estimate cost for the job, call the customer first and explain the situation to them.
Do not just assume that they will be ok with what you're doing, and don't lowball yourself your labor either.
 

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^ this.

I was so happy to find a reputable shop local to me until they they assumed I would be fine paying more and getting less.

Would love to visit your shop someday soon. Congratulations to you and team on a monumental accomplishment. Seems like success is now yours to lose (but probably won't).
 

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Patrick, I couldn't be more happy for you! I remember Jess telling me why you did not have shop of your own and I was bewildered myself. All I can say is that good things happen to good people and you are one of them!

We both wish you the best and will be stopping by soon! Congratz!

-Robert
 

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Shops like 10-15 mins from home. Pretty awesome to have another option. Tried to look up the IG account don’t seem to find it though.
 
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