ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Douglas Layman learned the auto business from the back to the front, working as a mechanic.
But when the opportunity came along to own a dealership, he jumped at the chance, but still preferred to get his hands dirty working on vehicles while his partner sold them.
When that partnership fizzled, however, Layman was determined to keep Autowerkz going.
It was a difficult transition, but hard work helped smooth it out, he said.
“I definitely had a lot to learn,” Layman said. “I had to learn about contracts and bank financing and repos.”
And when it comes right down to it, “I’d rather be in the back looking at the cars,” he said with a grin.
It’s been a bit of a haul to get the lot to where it is now, Layman said.
“When I started, I only had five cars out there on the lot,” he said. “But I kept on investing. I kept putting money back into it.”
He actually started off by selling vehicles on the side, investing in a couple, fixing them up and selling them before the opportunity to do it on a more formal basis arose.
And that worked out pretty well by showing him a different side to the auto business.
“I liked it better than wrenching,” Layman said. “But I never thought I would own a car lot. It’s different.”
Once the novelty wore off, however, he couldn’t resist getting back under the hood when he can.
Still, these days he has plenty of other duties keeping the lot going, like the never-ending search for inventory.
But Layman has a pretty easy way of selecting his cars: “I started by buying cars that I like,” he said. “If it’s a car I like and it’s a car I wouldn’t mind driving, then that’s one I’ll want to buy.”
It’s all turned into a well-tuned, successful formula that Layman plans to keep going for some time.
“I think it feeds off of itself,” he said. “It’s been going good.”