There are millions of cars driving around the country each day and a percentage of those won’t get their owners to their chosen destination because of a mechanical failure, and the rest of them will need a tune-up at some point in the future.
These two scenarios are music to the ears of anyone running a vehicle repair business as it offers the promise of an almost endless line of potential customers who could use your services.
Here is a look at why this type of business offers so many opportunities to thrive and expand, including an insight into all the key questions you need to ask before you open for business, what sort of money and equipment you might need, plus some tips on choosing the right workshop premises.
Before you open the doors for business
If you have decided to start your own vehicle repair business there are few things you will need to get sorted beyond having a good selection of service repair manuals to refer to when customers bring their car in for you to work on.
Although you will likely be someone who is comfortable with the idea of looking under the hood and working out a mechanical problem it would be advisable to get a bit more than a confident smile and manner to help you build up the business.
You don’t actually need to have an ASE certification to work on cars but there is little doubt that you will find it easier in a number of ways to have that piece of paper that confirms you know what you are doing.
Being certified as a qualified mechanic gives customers the confidence and reassurance they need and you will find it easier to get insurance coverage and even funding for your business if you can backup your plans with a demonstration of your skills.
On the subject of finance, you will need to invest in your auto repair business at the beginning in order to have all the commercial equipment you need to be able to repair cars competently and safely.
It is estimated that the average auto repair business will need to inject about $40K of capital into the venture, which will be used to finance the tools and specialist equipment you need along with some money for getting your workshop into shape and ready to trade.
Choose your market
Running an auto repair business can mean a whole bunch of different things and one of the questions you need to ask yourself is whether you will specialize in certain sectors of the business or offer a general service.
To give you an idea of the choice of options available, the ASA certification system offers you the chance to obtain Master technician status in no less than 16 different specialties.
So you might want to decide if you want to specialize in repairing trucks and other commercial vehicles, collision repair, general automobile repairs, or a particular niche that you have spotted where there seems to be little competition in your area.
Some auto repair shops specifically repair certain makes of car, so if you know Ford’s inside out you might decide to advertise as a specialist repair center. The main thing to remember is that you should do some market research and check out the potential for regular customers, especially if you decide to narrow the options by specializing in one main area of auto repairs and maintenance.
Check out your premises carefully
When you are first starting out in business you will no doubt be working on a tight budget and that means you may have to make some compromises on the workshop premises you choose for your auto repair company.
It is still really important that you take the time to find premises that tick as many boxes as possible in terms of location and facilities.
You want to be in a convenient location that is easy to find and get to for customers. You also ideally want a workshop area that will accommodate at least 2 hoists and ideally between 4-6 hoists.
This gives you the room to expand the business and employ some extra mechanics as the business starts to grow.
Don’t forget to check out things like how much natural light the building provides, as this can be quite a factor if you are trying to work on vehicles under unnatural strip lights all day long.
These are some of the main considerations that you need to think about when planning to launch an auto repair business, and if you get them right there is a fair chance that it could turn out to be a career decision that rewards you well.
This post was written by Jeremy Brennon. He is a small business consultant. He is always on the lookout for new trends in marketing and SEO and shares what he finds on a number of websites.