Many of us have seen at least one in our lives and many more of us have been involved in one. I’m talking about a car accident. Statistics from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration state that a car accident occurs in this country at a rate of 1 every 12 seconds.
That’s a lot of cars that will need to be put back together and sent on down the road. Maybe that’s why you got into auto body repair business in the first place or maybe you just like the artistic side of it, taking something that is damaged and skillfully making it beautiful again.
Some mechanics just want to have a great neighbourhood shop that serves their surrounding community fixing minor dents and scratches.
While some want to open a shop that not only serves their community but become a shop highly recommended by insurance companies for repair work. Being on their list of “preferred” providers is very lucrative.
Before opening your shop you should know who your target market is, take the time to create a business plan so that you have a clear plan of action.
The customer experience
Do you remember going to the auto body shop with your parents when you were younger? The hard plastic chairs, dirty, fume-filled atmosphere with old magazines littered around the place, and if you were lucky. A working t.v, are now being replaced by the ultra-modern auto repair shop. That not only can rival the showrooms at the dealership, but are run by highly skilled and certified mechanics.
Come on think about it, you would go into a place like that these days? Even if I’m just dropping my car off. Or even if the insurance company recommended it, I would slowly back out the door, get in my car and call them for another referral!
If you look under the hood of a modern car, it’s more computerized than ever! Long gone are the days when ANYONE could work on a car, you need the right type of equipment to just start to find the problem! In order to run a successful body shop, you need to have the education, skills, training and the right equipment.
First impressions mean a lot. And if a place looks run down, what kind of equipment are they working with? With the average car price being $39,000. Would you leave your car with a place that looked suspect? Or one that has to send your car to several different locations to get the work done? Of course you wouldn’t
The modern auto body repair shop is not just clean but well planned out with distinct areas:
- You will have an estimates/dropoff area – that reception room that needs to impress
- Then the body shop where the work gets done
- The paint area – a well-ventilated area where you have your paint booths
- The detail work – where you do those “finishing touches” When I got rear-ended. The body shop that I took my SUV to was not only highly recommended, but when I picked up my car they had washed it AND vacuumed the inside. I was really happy to get my car back and really pleased when I saw that not only was the dent gone, but my car looked better than ever! When I spoke to my insurance company, you bet your bottom dollar I praised them highly!
To get on insurance list your shop needs to be top notch and highly recommended. Not only do you need to build a reputation for doing good work, but your customer feedback needs to be high.
Insurance companies are looking for body shops that will help them get their policyholders back on the road and into their own cars ASAP. You need to have a streamlined process that allows you to get the car in and out of your shop as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of your work! Having the right equipment can help you do that.
Equipment needed to have a top notch auto body repair shop
Before you can even hire an employee or work on your first car, you will need equipment to raise the car in the air, set the alignment, straighten the frame and, of course, do the paint work.
- Frame Machine
- Laser Measuring Systems
- Vehicle Lifts / Hoist – don’t cheap out when buying a hoist! A cheap hoist will only last about 2 years. Then they need to be repaired. The downtime will be costly. And you should make sure you have at least 1 clear floor hoist.
- Paint Booths
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! You will also need: air compressors, diagnostic scanners, transmission jacks, air conditioning tools, shop presses, sandblasters, benches, pedestal drills, brake lathe, tyre changer, wheel balancer, engine analyser,….and the list goes on!
A lot of what you will need will depend on what type of shop you open. Will you specialize with a certain vehicle maker? I take mine to a shop that is a Lexus authorized shop. They do great work and are a bit cheaper than the dealership!
How to finance the equipment you will need for your auto repair body shop
There is no doubt that the equipment can be very expensive and cost tens of thousands of dollars. The frame machine alone will cost you over $10,000! And a good vehicle lift, some good hand tools and maybe a couple of paint booths, easily another $30,000. How are you going to pay for all of this?
The best way to do it, and it’s what the big-name shops do, is to lease the equipment you need.
Equipment leasing your shop equipment will save you money in upfront costs and will enable you to purchase more equipment sooner than you expect. Imagine how much easier the work will be by having all of the equipment you need the day you open your shop.
By having the right equipment, you can offer a wider range of services allowing you to be competitive and bring in more business. Insurance companies will be your best customers but they need to see that your shop is well equipped to handle all of the business they will be sending you on a weekly basis. Don’t get left behind, get the equipment you need right from the start and start living your dreams today!
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Liz Roberts has been in the business financing industry for 20+ years. She got her start in banking, went on to consumer and commercial collections and then onward to becoming a senior credit analyst for several small leasing companies. She has also been a freelance writer for 15 years and has written about business and consumer financing on several blogs. She also maintains a low carb living blog.