I was going through some papers and found an old CD with some pictures that I thought were lost.
Lowell Lane – The man from M.A.R.S. ( Mobile Appearance Reconditioning Service)
In 2003 I decided it was time to go out on my own and start a business. I had been working for a company for 10 years and that entrepreneurial spirit of mine was ready to GO FOR IT.
When I started looking into starting a business my wife and I prayed a lot, sought counsel, and did a lot of due diligence. My first consideration was making a good living to support my family because I was sinking all our savings and everything we had was on the line. Secondly, I wanted to have a business that my family could be involved in, learn from, and in the future take over if they wanted to. Thirdly, I looked at what I enjoyed doing and was passionate about.
The first opportunity I found was an existing restaurant in town that wanted to sell out. I talked to the owner several times, went there during a lunch service and observed and talked to some of the customers, and thought it might be a good idea. I then approached the owner about financial records…. RED FLAGS!!!! We had a problem. He was not willing to share the actual records and would only give me estimates of sales and expenses. Based on the sales, the price he was asking, and what I knew I would have to invest to get the place up to my standards, I walked away.
I couldn’t find any other opportunities at the time, so I decided to research some things online. I found a website that talked about franchising opportunities and so I started looking into it. I found this opportunity for Mobile Appearance Reconditioning Service (M.A.R.S) out of Texas. I went through that whole process and it met all my criteria, so I dove in!!!
So what is M.A.R.S.? Mobile Appearance Reconditioning Service.
Mobile- I bought a 14 foot cargo trailer and traded in my car to purchase a 3/4 ton Chevy truck to pull it with. A Mobile body shop.
What is reconditioning? I was certified by the Franchiser in over 30 different services called reconditioning. Think of this way. All car dealers have a detail department. They wash, vacuum, wash windows, and make the cars look good but they don’t usually fix things. I fixed things to make used cars look as good as possible. Here is a list of the things I did.
The model for this business was awesome. Based in a metro area, the idea was to sign 5-7 major lots to do services and then have a day a week for each lot that I could spend all day at and work on 15-25 cars per day. I quickly found this was not the case in the Pittsburg, Joplin, Carthage, Neosho, area. I ended up driving within a 100 mile radius and there just wasn’t enough large dealers to support it.
After 2 years, it was time to stop. I closed the business and sold all my assets. This was a very tough time for us as a family, but we made it through and pressed forward only by the strength of the LORD and because my wife and my commitment to stick it out.
I made a lot of mistakes in starting this business and in another post soon, I will share this with you.