Opening your own auto repair shop means you could turn your hobby into a profession and potentially make a considerable amount of money. If you are a car lover, you may already know how to perform many common repair tasks.
But, if you want to maximize your income, you’ll want to consider how to find loyal customers and employees that can help take your business to the next level.
Read on for 7 helpful tips on starting an auto repair business.
1. Choose Your Niche
The first aspect to consider is what kind of repair shop you want to open. For example, would you prefer to be a general auto repair shop that can fix just about every issue? Or, would you like to specialize in particular elements?
Perhaps you have an interest in working on collision repair jobs or really enjoy fixing the high-tech electrical systems that are in many modern vehicles.
As consumers become increasingly aware of the importance of reducing their carbon footprint, many are thinking of purchasing hybrid vehicles. Again, this could be a niche market that sets you apart from your competitors.
2. Make a Business Plan
Starting a business can be challenging as there are a lot of different factors to consider. It’s easy to overlook certain aspects or become overwhelmed with the number of tasks you need to perform.
Making a business plan means you have a clear roadmap of the steps you need to take for a successful launch. You can also see if there are any obvious flaws in your plan so you can address them at an early stage.
Your business plan should be a living document. As your repair shop grows or suffers a setback, you can amend the plan to take account of your new circumstances.
This can help your business to make the most of every situation and become more effective and efficient over many years.
3. Choose Your Location
While you may want to open a business close to home, this might not be the best option if not many people live nearby.
When people are searching for an auto body repair shop, they are unlikely to want to travel large distances.
It can be a good idea to locate your business in an area with a large population to increase your chances of having a steady stream of customers.
You may also prefer to have nearby transport links such as bus stops or a train station. Then, when people leave their vehicle at your shop, they have an easy way to get home.
4. Obtain the Relevant Permits and Licences
Depending on the services you provide, you may need different types of licenses and permits. For example, you might require a license to dispose of hazardous waste.
These requirements may vary from State to State, so it’s always best to check before opening your doors to customers.
5. Buy Your Auto Body Repair Equipment
When buying your repair shop equipment, you can decide if you are buying brand new devices or would prefer to start with used equipment. While new apparatus may last for longer, it is also likely to be more expensive.
Second-hand equipment may operate just as well as new machinery but could cost considerably less. You may appreciate the cost savings as you could need to buy quite a few pieces of equipment for different tasks.
For example, you may require a diagnostic machine for dealing with electronics and a car lift to make it easier to work on vehicles.
However, it’s not only workshop equipment you need to consider. Auto repair shop management software can help streamline your business and make it easier to operate efficiently.
It’s important to choose intuitive software such as the system provided by Tekmetric so you and your employees can make the most of its benefits.
6. Recruit High-Quality Staff
While you may wish to start out on your own, it can be useful to recruit staff who can help you maximize your income.
Having several mechanics means you can take on more work, and you can hire employees with skills in areas where you may be weaker.
For example, perhaps you could use someone who has experience in spray painting or dent repair.
Recruiting office staff can also be a huge help when dealing with customers. Employees on reception could book jobs, provide customer updates, and handle billing.
This support system means you can concentrate on repairing vehicles and ensuring customers are satisfied with your work.
7. Advertise As a Car Lover
If you’re going to attract a large number of customers, it’s essential you are able to cost-effectively market your business.
You can use free tools such as Google Keyword Planner to find out what words and phrases people enter into search engines when they need an auto body repair shop.
Then, you can use both online paid and organic advertising techniques to place your website in front of potential customers.
For example, you could write useful blog posts that show people that you are a car lover as well as a mechanic. This could be a great selling point that encourages people to use your services.
While you can learn these skills, it’s also possible to work with a professional online marketing firm that can perform these tasks on your behalf.
Enjoy Running Your Auto Repair Business
While it is a lot of work, opening an auto repair shop can be a great way to make money while indulging in your passion. As a car lover, it may not even feel like work when you get to spend all day fixing your customers’ vehicles.
If you’ve found this article helpful, be sure to take a peek at more posts in our Business section before you go.