You guys are thinking exactly what I am. Initially, I will lease the facilities unless there is a large probability of appreciation then I might have to reevaluate.
Jackd....What you said is the bottom line truth. A business is in business to make money. THAT is my area of expertise. I have an undergraduate degree in Finance from a top three school and a Master's degree in Finace/capital management. I know the P&L like the back of my hand and can put togther a realistic business plan that can be sold to a group of investors or a bank. I know the in's and outs of running a small business and although I may not be an expert at running a shop I believe I could be within the first year.
I believe that the employees should be accountable for their work. If it is shoddy, I will know because customers will complain. I plan to send out customer survey cards and personally contact each customer that rates our service less than "excellent". I believe that customer feedback loop is broken in most companies and that by paying attention to the customer you can learn a great deal about your own operation.
I have got a meeting with a shop owner in Houston who has implemented this model at his own place (domestic auto's) and has done extremely well. I hope to glean a few valuable insights on my visit.
I have alot of confidence in this approach and I appreciate all the input that you guys are giving.
Keep the good ideas coming!