By Anna McConnell, Iowa Small Business Development Centers
Joe Roush’s grandfather gave him his very first car, an ’88 Ford Mustang GT, the day he turned 16. From that moment on Joe was infatuated with fixing it up and making it even nicer. When his high school counselor encouraged him to pursue his hobby as a career, Joe began working at the local body shop.
Throughout the years Joe did plenty of body work at body shops and then moved on to paint jobs at Iowa car dealerships.
At 28, he decided to pursue opening his own shop since he had established a loyal customer base doing side jobs after working all day at Willis Auto Campus. In January of 2012, Joe began working under the name of Roush Collision and Restoration doing everything from custom paint jobs to restoration to collision repair in his hometown of Winterset, Iowa.
Joe credits Dave McLaren, director of the South Central Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), with helping him to establish himself as a business owner. Dave provided business plan assistance, market research, financial projections, and even attended bank meetings with Joe to help him obtain financing.
“If it wasn’t for Dave I probably wouldn’t have a business today,” Joe says. “I had all the talent, tools, and drive, but I needed to know how to be a business and he helped me do that.”
To this day, Dave and Joe meet up to go over any questions Joe may have and Dave makes visits to the shop on occasion. Dave was also able to train an employee of Joe’s on how to effectively use QuickBooks for shop accounting.
“He’s the most important person of all the steps I went through in terms of finding a banker, getting my loan, becoming an LLC, and more,” says Joe. “He’s been there and had an answer for every question I’ve had.”
Finishing up the shop’s third year of business, owner Joe is proud of how the business has grown and established loyal customers. Roush Collision and Restoration should be up about $30,000 from third to fourth quarters of the 2014 fiscal year. Joe is well ahead of last year’s total revenue and has seen a significant spike in business since October.
“I’m getting as much work as I can handle right now,” Joe says. “If you make a good name for yourself and treat people right and fair, you shouldn’t have any problem staying busy.”
Word of mouth advertising is the easiest way Joe can get the word out about his business, but he also uses his website, a very active Facebook page, and a YouTube account that has over 70,000 views on his many restoration videos. Those videos have gotten him phone calls from all over the nation asking about his work. A revamped “shop van” with an impressive paint job has Joe’s logo on it and is known around town, as well.
The shop’s involvement with the Winterset Booster Club allowed the business to sponsor the school’s football and basketball scoreboards and to have his logo prominently displayed on both of those. Roush Collision and Restoration is also a member of the Madison Chamber of Commerce and hosts a chamber meeting annually at the shop.
As business continues to increase, Joe would like to hire on a couple more technicians to work at the shop with himself, another full-time employee, and a part-time worker. He also plans to put a new addition on his current shop as he is quickly outgrowing his space.
Joe still works quite closely with Dave and will continue to reach out to the SBDC if he needs advice, assistance, or reassurance.
For more information on the high-end services offered by this Winterset, Iowa business, check out the Roush Collision and Restoration Facebook page.