Willis Johnson shares the early beginnings of Copart. This is a story he shared in his book Junk to Gold.
With the increase in demand from our specialized Chrysler inventory at Mather, I needed more money to buy more cars and continue to grow the business. I turned to the paper and read about Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. I signed over everything I had as collateral to get the loan amount I needed.
One of the conditions of the loan was that all the money had to be spent on inventory, so I started going out and buying all the cars I could at car auctions. One of my regular stops was Bob’s Tow Service (BTS) in Vallejo—an insurance auto auction that sold whole cars for the insurance industry. With the SBA loan, I could now spend $10,000 a week on cars. And as fast as I could bring in the inventory, Curtis was selling it.
This was a turning point for the business, as it was the first time we could really grow.