Willis Johnson recounts the early beginnings of Copart. This is a story he shared in his book Junk to Gold.
With all the inventory that was going in and out after the success of buying more cars from Bob’s Towing Service, we needed a more efficient way to track it.
At the time, most people kept paper records of all their parts. I was one of the first in the business to computerize inventory—an idea I got from my buddy Marv Schmidt.
I spent $110,000 on a large reel-to-reel computer—about double the amount most people spent on a house at the time. Other people thought I was crazy for spending so much money on a computer for a wrecking yard. It turned out that the whole industry would end up computerizing once they saw the benefits it gave people like me and Marv.
As large and foreign as this machine seemed back then, it paid off because it gave me a complete picture of the business and the inventory, which in turn gave me more knowledge and control over the yard, which helped me make more money.