Being amazing at repairing cars is not enough to open your own car repair shop and run it successfully, so that you get quite reasonable profit to be able to cover all expenses, loans and keep something to yourself. However, starting a business can be really beneficial if you do everything consistently and correct. In this case, you’re going to be engaged in the sphere you’re passionate about and be able to control and determine the course of actions and set up goals for your company. From the moment you start operating as an independent businessman, you’ll have much more freedom and opportunities. You won’t be limited by aims, instructions and deadlines someone has stated for you. You’ll be your own boss.
However, a great responsibility for your employees and financial state of company will kick in as well. You’ll have to deal with it all the time, along with solving other problems like the lack of orders or legal issues. So, before you even consider opening a car repair shop and pretty much any kind of business, think really carefully if you have all the strength, personal qualities and ability to be flexible and learn as you go. Otherwise, you won’t manage to plan everything out successfully and not to spend humongous amount of money you’ve managed to collect to open your company in vain.
Considering the car repair shop, it’s important to have some mechanic skills and management knowledge to run it smoothly, as you’ll need to hire professional specialists and look for proper equipment. And, it’s quite easy to fail in it if you know nothing about cars, but just want to develop business in this area just because it’s quite profitable now.
I’m not discouraging you by any means, but I still want you to consider all pros and cons of your decision. I still really think that you should do more of what you’re willing to do, as you’ll probably success in it more than in anything else.
So, let’s figure out the most essential steps of opening car repair or mechanic shop of your own, as this industry has its own specifics one should take into account while operating within it.
1. Professional training
You may be really good in car repair and be a congenital mechanic, who can take just one brief look at a car or any other vehicle and say what’s wrong with it and what has to be done to eliminate the problem (if it’s possible at all). But your clients won’t know it until they actually decide to trust exactly your car repair company and see the results of your work. And, to do that they must choose you among other mechanics shops on grounds of quality and professionalism of your service.
So, make your potential clients believe that you’re worth entrusting theirs automobiles to and that they won’t pay money for nothing by going through professional training and receiving according certificate.
It won’t harm you anyway, as you’ll be able to renew some of your knowledge, improve your skills and possibly obtain new ones. Besides, it’s important to keep pace with the times and constantly learn about new trends and innovations in car industry to be aware of how to fix problems that can arise when working with certain mechanisms of various car models and sizes.
2. The scope of operation
It’s necessary to choose the kind of services you’re going to provide depending on your skills and financial abilities. Will you offer only such basic services as tire inflation, change and repair, change of wheels and oil replacement? You can totally do that, especially if you find a motorway location to be able to serve a lot of customers a day and do it quite fast, as these operations don’t require too much time or skills to get them done.
You can also extend the list of your services by adding more comprehensive ones, even those that include diagnosing and many hours of work to repair one car.
Besides, it’s necessary to define if you’re going to work with automobile cars and offer moto services only or take semi-trucks and trucks as well. It will influence the kind of equipment and the size of a building you’ll have to opt for and kind of professionals you’ll need to hire. My suggestion is to start small and offer services to ordinary cars at first and expand your horizons if the business goes well. Offering mobile mechanic’s services is probably the wisest decision for a beginning car repair business.
Moreover, determine how many clients you’ll be able to accept every single day. See if you’re willing to sell related items like engine oil, the most requested repair parts, tools and tires, as it might bring quite reasonable additional income as well.
3. Business plan
Develop your own business plan including the issues mentioned above. Also, think about the location. Provide estimates of funds you’ll need to open your car repair shop, list all the services you’re going to offer and what means you’ll need to do so. Mention your prospect income and the ways you’re going to pay your loans off.
Come up with a catchy name of your car repair shop and its logo design. Decide, whether you’re going to start an independent company (business) or rather join a franchise, as in the last case, you’ll need to spare quite a significant sum of money to become its member.
4. Work on the price list
In general, it’s like your plan of actions you’ll use while developing your auto repair service. Besides, a motivated and well-grounded business plan is a vital thing for a person, who’s planning to borrow some money from a bank or even friends and relatives to convince them that your cause is worth investing in.
As I’ve already mentioned, you can borrow some money from a bank, but it might set really strict conditions and requirements. For instance, most of financial institutions want you to have from 50-70% of the total sum, mentioned in your business plan. And, only then, they will agree to give you the rest of the money in the form of a loan. Generally, you’ll need from 70,000$ to 500,000 to open your own car repair spot (depending on the scale of business and your existing resources like property and tools)
You may ask your friends and family if they have some extra money to lend you. However, you must be really careful and set the debt maturity up to the point, when you define certain day of the month and certain sum you should pay. This is going to save your relations with people and show them your serious approach to the issue.
6. Location and equipment of your car repair shop
One of the easiest options is to start your shop in your own garage or buy the already existing one. In the latter case, you might also get some equipment from the previous owners. Just make sure that your car repair is situated in a place, where your target clients will easily notice you and where there is the most demand for such services (like highways, main roads, etc.).
Considering equipment, you’ll need to purchase, lease or rent an advanced set of various mechanic tools, one or even a couple of diagnostic machines, the most necessary spare parts and materials along with a lift and installs, towig things. Their total cost might vary from 20,000 to really high numbers, depending on which services you’re going to provide and the state of equipment (brand new or already used).
If you’re going to hire people to work for you, make sure that you’ll be able to pay salary on time. Find certified mechanics and other professionals or encourage them to go through the according training to get certified.
8. Legal and administrative issues
You’ll have to file all the documents to your local clerk or state department of business regulation in order to obtain all required licenses and permits to be able to run your business legally. You’ll also need to go through various inspections and get permissions to provide all kinds of services and operate within each of the auto repair areas you’re planning to.
Figure out taxes. Apply for your own tax registration and get proper certificates if you’re going to sell some items along with providing the actual repair services.
In order to protect your business from liability cases and possible accidents, purchase insurance.
Hire a lawyer to do all the paperwork properly and according to the municipal, state and federal law. You may also ask for his help later on, if you have some problems or disagreements with your clients and co-workers, or if there’s any trouble considering the business operation.
An accountant or a financial consultant will also make your life easier while keeping finances in order.
You may find those professionals on HireRush.com and hire them after talking on the phone and carrying out a personal interview.
9. Customer service
Treating your customers well and providing various discounts and additional free services to your regular clients and frequent visitors is the best kind of promotion one may think of. Just be nice with people, tell them about your business, ask them for some references and recommendations, complete your tasks in time and don’t be rude in any case.
If your customer thinks that you did something wrong or his car is still not working well, despite all your actions, offer a repeat examination and correct your mistakes free of charge.
10. Promotion and further development of your business
Let the world (or at least people in your local area) know about you. Order some leaflets and business cards to spread the word about your company and the services you’re ready to offer. TV and radio advertising is great, but it can be too pricey for a young company.
On the contrary, posting ads online is often free of charge, but it’s still quite effective as most people use Internet to find some services. You may come up with a memorable ad and post it in the Automobile Services section on HireRush.com along with your contact information, especially if you’re going to provide mobile mechanic’s services.