For many, starting an automotive business is a dream come true. The chance to be your own boss, set your own work hours and design your own brand can often be too much to resist (Just as much as the opportunity to choose your own earnings!). However, in order to have any long-term success in the world of car maintenance, it’s important to go into your new venture prepared.
Failing to plan out your business meticulously will result in poor organization and low earnings. You have to know everything from your prospective costs down to your potential location if you are to make a mark on the automotive scene.
Below we take a look at some ways that you can help make your car repair business hit the ground running.
1. Write Up Your Potential Costs
Before you put down any money, it’s vital that you have a realistic idea of how much you’re going to need to spend each month to keep the doors open. After all, the car repair business is very much feast or famine, and you could easily find yourself in financial trouble during slow periods if you don’t set money aside.
According to AppointmentPlus, the average cost of opening an auto repair shop comes to around $47,000 for all the necessary equipment and rent. The more money you can get together to exceed that figure the better, as it will take some of the pressure off once you start operations. Take some time to write up a detailed list of everything you need and triple check your monthly budget!
2. Location, Location, Location
One of the most important ingredients to success is a solid location. Opening up shop next to a busy road will pay dividends in the future as customers come through your doors out of convenience. It will also help to cut your customers costs, as they won’t be charged extra miles in terms of towing costs. Once you’ve found a location that’s visible and convenient for customers to get to, you need to check to make sure that the premises is up to scratch.
Some things to look for are a wide access area, to make it easy for customers to drive in, and a high ceiling (15 feet) so you can accommodate special equipment like car lifts. Finding a location with a suitable office area is also a massive bonus as you’ll need somewhere comfortable for your customers to wait during maintenance.
3. Set Up Your Licenses and Regulations
Once you have a preliminary idea of your cost and location, it’s time to start applying for the necessary licenses, and ensuring that your new enterprise is legal. The legal requirements for starting a car repair business will depend largely on where you are. In most countries, you’ll need a business license for an auto repair company in order to work.
Most likely, you’re going to need a waste disposal system and trained staff with certification. Likewise, you’ll need to make sure you have 3rd party theft and fire insurance and workers compensation insurance. Double-check the regulations in your area because non-compliance can turn a challenging venture into a legal nightmare.
4. Start Marketing and Networking!
Once you’ve opened your doors it’s time to start marketing. In the automotive business, one of the best ways to market is to reach out and network with other companies in the industry, such as car dealerships. Dealerships are a great source of work because they are always looking for reliable auto repair companies to work with.
If you want to be very savvy, try to get your staff trained and certified to deal with particular models or niche vehicles. Companies will be more willing to work with auto repair companies with specialist knowledge of their models rather than a generalist mechanic. If you get your mechanics certified as experts in niches like autonomous cars, you’ll be able to charge a lot more too!
5. Retain Employees
One of the biggest problems that most automotive agencies run into is that they can’t maintain a consistent workforce. A high turnover rate makes it next to impossible to remain stable over the long term, as you constantly have to retrain new recruits, particularly if your last member of staff was a specialist. Being proactive to address the needs of your employees and keeping them happy is the best way to keep them onboard.
Whether you provide good pay or flexible working hours, make sure your staff are adequately supported and praise them when they perform well. Customers like to build relationships with staff they recognize, and this is hard to do if you have a new mechanic every month or so. Regular staff will make your customers much more comfortable when they come in for their winter maintenance.