'Hoops Unlimited' and a Shop's Renovation Struggle

Feb. 25, 2021

The original timeline was a two-year project. It's now entering year four.

Feb. 25, 2021—The renovating process is never easy, especially for a first-timer. The processes seem endless at times, from working with the city, to finding architects, contractors and subcontractors and everything in between. For some, the process goes smooth. For most, there’s a few, if not many, bumps along the road. 

Vikram Randhawa, a California broker and owner of three Big O Tires who bought a two-bay quick lube in San Jose with the plans of a total remodel, has described his project as jumping through “unlimited hoops.” 

His Story

He imagined the process would take about two years with a $2.7 million budget. Now coming up on four years later, the project is near completion but not finished, and he’s spent $3.5 million. The revenue from his other shops is the only way they’ve been able to supplement that increased financial and time burden. 

The first two years were spent in the permitting process. Once they believed they were done with the process, they began building, only for some details to pop up later that the general contractors missed. That caused even more delays as the city had to get involved again. Since then they incurred stoppages for COVID and disagreements with equipment crews. Each step of the process has been a “grind.” 

Randhawa sees light at the end of the tunnel, with just around four months left to go on the project. National Oil and Lube News will have much more on the topic of renovating and remodeling within the next weeks and months. Stay on the lookout for more on how to talk with the city and how to make the renovating process as smooth as possible. 

But here are some of the most important things Randhawa has learned from his situation and would advise other shops to be aware of the following:

Only take upon what you need.

As the process has nearly doubled from its original timeline, Randhawa recommends waiting until you know you need something before buying it. Equipment was the biggest challenge for him. Randhawa bought much of the shop equipment before there was anywhere to put it, leading to the unnecessary expense of paying for storage space. 

Look out for specialties.

An issue with underground access is what tripped up the Randhawa’s general contractor and caused a delay. Make sure everything the city needs is checked off and make sure the contractor in the project is skilled and understands the city's needs. All cities are different and will require different specialties. Understand what those are. Randhawa estimates his delay set the project back at least six months. 

Give yourself extra of everything.

Time, money, knowledge. Everything that you need for a project, have more ready than might be needed. Randhawa’s three shops have helped offset the time and cost implications. Not every shop has that luxury.  A lack of expertise cost Randhawa. This was his first quick lube remodel. With extra knowledge could’ve saved time and money. He says it will be much more efficient when he remodels again.