So what do you do when you're fresh out of high school, want to do... something... right now... but have no idea what? You know, that time, right after high school, where four years seems like an eternity to have to wait to be able to go do something? But you don't really have any goals because, hey, you've spent the entirety of your life treading water until you get out of high school to go... I dunno, go to college? Yeah, go to college... that sounds good. Um... maybe... like, business school? And then... do something? I guess?
Why, isn't it obvious? You decide you'll get into painting cars. No, not "getting a job at a body shop" or "taking classes at the local vocational school." No, that takes too much time, who knows when you'll actually be allowed to do anything. You need your own building, your own cars, your own paintbooth.
Well, lucky for you, it's the days of Adjustable Rate Mortgages and easy credit! You want to paint cars, you say? You'd like to take out a loan, you say? Do you have any credit history? No? Well, what about savings? A job? Any auto-body repair experience? Have you ever worked on any vehicle ever? No?
Well, congratulations, you're approved! Really, though, we don't think you're asking for enough. Certainly you'll need more than that... double, maybe triple what you're asking for. There. Perfect. Go have fun!
Yes, that really is a pretty accurate run-down of how my foray into car-painting transpired. I was not alone in this endeavor, not by a long shot, but there were still only two of us at the core of it, and a handful of fantastic friends that rolled in and out along the way. So what kicked this off? A horribly over-priced quote for a custom paint job. While discussing this obscene quote, tearing down all the costs and variables, we uttered that most dangerous of phrases: "We could do that."
"That's ridiculous! For that price we could just buy our own paint booth and spray guns, rent a shop, and buy some old cars with messed up paint. We could train on those, sell them, then get more cars." "You know, I bet we could." We learned about business loans, types of paintbooth, car paint, business licenses. We found a shop for rent. We picked up a bunch of old police cruisers at auction. The loan company really did give us 2.5 times the loan amount we had asked for. "We really don't need that much, this is enough." "Well, just to be on the safe side then? You're approved for it, and you can always put any money you don't need back towards the loan payment."
That's like giving a kid a pack of cherry bombs and telling 'em to light them with roman candles...
And what do you say, as that kid, suddenly given copious amounts
of dangerous fireworks? Do you politely turn down that offer, or ask to have
some assistance and supervision while setting them off? No, you say...
"Woo-hoo! Cherry bombs!"
Surprisingly enough, the loan company made a good call on
this one... even though the building we were renting sold at the end of the year, we still managed to huck all the cherry bombs before they went off, and
wound up with only a few scorches from the roman candles...
One of our cars even made the newspaper a few days after we sold it... I don't care how much paperwork you have to back it up, it's still more than a little unnerving getting a call from the police, "So, we need to talk about the other day."
"... Did you sell a car recently?"
The car hadn't been registered to the new owner yet, so we were still on file as the owners. For the love of all that's holy, keep good records. I'm blessed with a healthy sense of paranoia when it comes to legal paperwork, so we made certain we had copies of all our sales paperwork, but this kind of stuff bites people far too often. So. Yeah. Good records are important.