Cars have become increasingly complicated machines over the years: Emission controls, electronic amenities and safety features are tied to every new vehicle. While a significant number of car owners perform simple maintenance of their vehicles, major repairs are usually left to experts. However, backyard mechanics who enjoy performing more complex repairs may dream of someday opening a repair shop. If you enjoy diving deeper under the hood and dream of opening a local auto repair shop, these tips will help you tune up your preparations.
Create Startup Plans
On day one you should start creating a business plan. Doing so will serve two purposes: First, you will need to present a business plan for obtaining necessary loans or other forms of financing. Second, writing the plan will provide a blueprint for your business. Form the plan by researching online industry articles and forums and asking questions of established auto shop owners; make certain to reach out to owners distant enough that you would not be seen as competition.
As part of your business plan, you need to include information on where you will operate. Your shop needs to be located where customers can easily access it and on a property that has enough space to park clients’ cars. You may consider buying into a franchise or working independently, but starting out you may find it easier to purchase an existing facility rather than building a new one.
Stock Your Garage
To operate your garage, you will need to purchase machinery and tools. You will work on the underside of cars either in a pit or beneath a hoist; if the latter, spend time researching reliable hoists since they must operate flawlessly. Buy sufficient cabinets with tool box wheels that roll smoothly under the weight of heavy wrenches and other implements. Invest in diagnostic equipment specific to your current specialty areas and those you plan to assume in the future.
Hire mechanics based on your initial business plan. In other words, decide how much support you will need to start. Do not hire more than you can afford to pay; you can always add staff as necessary.
You will need to generate business through many avenues. Consider contracting with a small marketing business that will know how to promote your business. To stand out from the crowd, create a professionally-designed website.
These are just a few kick-off tasks necessary for those planning to start a small auto-repair business. Be prepared to invest time and money. However, if you decide opening a shop is the road you want to travel, you will find those investments can drive you successfully down that road.