If you’ve been in a fender bender and live in the Adamsville, Alabama area, there’s only one place to go. Family-owned Rich’s Collision, LLC does collision repair, auto body repair, glass replacement and more. They truly live up to their motto: “Big or small we do it all”. Rich’s Collision also offers auto, recreational & commercial vehicle storage in their 43,000 square foot facility or on their 7 acres of gated property.
When owner Richard Hayes needed additional funds to strengthen and grow his business, he came to SmartBiz Loans. We caught up with this busy entrepreneur to learn more about his business and future plans.
SmartBiz: What was your previous experience in the auto body field?
Richard Hayes: My dad is a body man and his dad owned a body shop. I’ve been doing this for 25 years out of my garage. Before I opened my own place, I worked at two other body shops.
SB: How many hours a week do you put into your business?
RH: I put in every day and night. Usually 7 and 8 hours a day.
SB: How has your business been financed in the past?
RH: I’ve had small loans through Lending Club but mostly I’ve been doing it on my own. I was going to take on business partners, but I changed my mind. I now have one partner – my wife who I’ve been married to for 28 years in June. She’s my cosigner and best friend.
SB: What made you decide to go for an SBA loan?
RH: I had maxed everything out to buy the building where I operate now. I wanted to free up some money to make my life easier.
SB: How was the SBA loan process with SmartBiz?
RH: When I first started, the timing was off – I just wasn’t ready. I talked to Radica (his SmartBiz Relationship Manager) and she helped me get my ducks in a row.
SB: What were some issues you faced during the pre-approval process?
RH: First, I needed to improve my credit score by paying down debt. Radica told me exactly what I had to do to raise my score and it worked. Also, my taxes were kind of messed up, so I got those corrected and now I work with a different tax guy.
SB: Once you got into the process, did you face any additional challenges?
RH: There was required insurance that I didn’t have. The insurance I had didn’t cover my building and tools. I had no clue and was terrified once I found out. Radica helped me find an insurance company so I could be covered the right way.
SB: What was your experience putting together the paperwork required to qualify for an SBA loan?
RH: My office manager uploaded everything. I was still working the shop and just couldn’t stop. She started working with me last September and has been a blessing. Before it was just me. She takes things off my mind. When she started, she shook her head and asked where all the receipts were. I had them in a drawer, but they weren’t inventoried the right way. She straightened everything out.
SB: How did the process go once everything was uploaded?
RH: Radica is awesome. She worked with my office manager and the bank and made everything so easy.
SB: What are your plans for the funds from your SBA loan?
RH: I currently have three employees and I’m going to hire one more. I’m also going to buy a tire machine and other tools to make my life much easier. This loan will help take my business to the next level. It’s worth more than I could imagine.
Not sure if you qualify for an SBA loan? Try the new SmartBiz Advisor™, an online educational tool to learn about how you can get your business SBA or bank loan ready before you apply – no cost involved. You can assess key criteria banks consider and where your business stands on each. Learn more about SmartBiz Advisor here.
* The information provided through SmartBiz Advisor, including the Loan Ready Score, is for educational purposes and is not the same as scores used by lenders for credit decisions. SmartBiz Advisor is not a financial or legal advisor as defined under federal or state law. Use of this information is not a replacement for personal, professional advice or assistance regarding your finances or credit history.