Years developing business concept
Terry Moore was looking to purchase an existing metal fabrication shop from his boss and mentor. After that unexpectedly fell through, he then decided to start his own shop from scratch. Having worked in the industry for close to 20 years, he knew how to do the work and what the day-to-day operations entailed but was not familiar with the ins and outs of owning his own shop. He also didn’t know where to get started or how to obtain financing to launch the business.
How the SBDC helped
Initially, Terry reach out to the Michigan SBDC for guidance in securing a loan to purchase the existing business. As the plan changed, he found himself in unfamiliar territory. He then reengaged with his SBDC business consultant, who provided him with the resources and tools to develop a business plan for starting a business from the ground up. Through the SBDC, he received market research and hands-on guidance in navigating the startup and loan application process.
With the support of the Michigan SBDC, Terry obtained a six-figure Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and launched Legacy Metal Services, Inc., in September 2017. A month later, on October 26, 2017, the doors to the business opened with zero sales and two employees. Within the first five months, the company grew to 10 employees and more than $322,000 in sales.
Over twenty years ago, Terry Moore was just a young man looking for a job when a friend from church gave him an opportunity to work at his metal fabrication business in metro Detroit. Soon this friend became a mentor and Terry was moving up the ladder to secure a position in the office. After a few years, the pair decided that Terry would take over the business when the friend retired.
“I never had any thoughts about being a business owner,” said Terry. “Then one day while standing on the shop floor the Lord gave me a vision of owning my own shop like this someday.”
Unfortunately, after 18 years of working towards that goal it came to an abrupt end when Terry’s friend/mentor/boss died unexpectedly. Shortly after his death, the new owners decided not to sell the business as they wished to continue running it themselves. Terry was given a buyout so he could pursue his vision of becoming a shop owner. There was just one catch. He had to wait a few years as he signed a two-year non-compete agreement as part of the buyout.
Since Terry was preparing to take over the business, he was already working with a business consultant from the Michigan SBDC and receiving consulting services on the process of purchasing an existing business, securing a business loan, and transitioning the team. As the plan changed so did his consulting needs.
When the agreement was close to expiring, Terry along with his wife and now business partner, Sherry, reengaged with the SBDC. They knew three things – the radius of where they wanted the business located, what equipment they needed to purchase, and how to do the work. The gray area for them was starting a business from the ground up. With the support of the SBDC, they developed a business plan, gathered market research and industry benchmarks/standards, negotiated a fair lease agreement, and secured a six-figure Small Business Administration (SBA) business loan. To assist in their search for a building that had the right amount of space and power to run the equipment, their SBDC business consultant referred them to the Lapeer Economic Development Corporation.
“Starting from scratch was a foreign concept and not one I had planned for,” shared Terry. “Whether they were providing us with business resources and tools or meeting with us face-to-face, the SBDC was instrumental in walking us through each step of this journey.”
On September 11, 2017, the couple signed a building lease and Legacy Metal Services, Inc., began to take shape. They spent the next month updating the electrical and preparing the layout of the building. The doors to the business officially opened on October 26. Within the first five months of operation, the business went from zero sales and only two employees to having ten employees and more than $322,000 in sales. They were also named the 2018 Best Small Business Honoree for the Michigan SBDC I69 Trade Corridor.
“Looking back at the journey, it would have been much easier to buy the existing business but I wouldn’t change any of it,” stated Terry. “Being named Best Small Business honors our hard work and the steps put in front of us by the Lord.”
Legacy Metal Services is a full-service, custom metal fabrication shop. If you can draw it, they can make it. The shop features their “Dream Team” – a 4,000-watt laser cutter, full CNC press brake, shear, punch, iron worker, welder, saw cutter, and a plate roll.
Sherry shared that at the current growth rate they are looking to possibly build a structure behind their current building and add a second shift. They also plan to purchase the building within the next three years. Though, looking far into the future, the ultimate goal is to transition the business to their son when they retire – hence the name “legacy”.
Learn more about Legacy Metal Services at www.legacymetalservices.com.