Knowing how to repair cars is a valuable skill, and everyone who drives will need a good mechanic at some point in their life. If you’re a qualified mechanic, then your skills will no doubt be in high demand, and at some point, you’re likely to think about starting your own auto repair shop. While this can be a lucrative business, with car repairs often costing hundreds of dollars, it can be scary to take that first step and strike out on your own. So, here are some things to consider before you start searching for a property.
Work out your startup costs
Start up costs for an auto shop are around the $50k mark, but this will depend on:
- The cost of rent in your area
- Whether you already have some tools and equipment
- Whether you’re renting a fitted-out unit with a lift etc. or starting from scratch
- Insurance costs – while you don’t need an ASE certification to work as a mechanic, insurance costs will be higher without one
- Average salaries in your area if you’re hiring employees
It’s important to be generous in your estimations when you work out these costs, as start ups rarely come in under budget, so you start off on a better foot if you have some breathing space in your finances.
Create your business plan
Auto repair covers many different specialisms and you need to decide what services you plan to offer. Some shops specialize in collision repair, trucks or body work, while others focus on specific manufacturers. The advantage of specializing in one area is that you don’t spread yourself too thin and can build an excellent reputation in this category. However, you need to consider whether there’s enough potential custom in your area for this type of work. If not, you may want to offer general services too.
There’s lots of advice available on how to write a business plan, and while you can do it yourself, it’s worth speaking to a business advisor who can help you set your objectives and produce realistic projections. A well-written business plan is essential when it comes to looking for a business loan.
Find trustworthy suppliers
It’s important to find suppliers that you can build relationships with and who offer excellent value for money. Websites such as www.tearapart.com can be great for finding cars for parts, and you may also want to work directly with manufacturers.
Invest in marketing
Getting the word out will help build buzz around your business and ensure that locals know that you’re there. This is especially important if you’re in a low traffic area where people may not pass you very often. Consider holding a grand opening and offering discounts and giveaways in the early days to get people through the doors. Many people will come across your business when searching on the internet, so make sure you have a great website and learn a bit about SEO for small businesses, as this will help you get lots of clicks from potential customers.
It’s never easy to start your own business and opening an auto repair garage is a big commitment both in money and time, but it can be extremely rewarding to do something that you’re passionate about. Best of all, you get to be your own boss, getting the satisfaction of building your own empire.