So you are starting an auto repair shop but don’t know what to do?
Either you have a love for cars or just like to work with your hands. Either way, becoming part of the $130 billion a year industry isn’t as easy as buying some tools and hanging up a sign. To open an auto repair shop you must first have a well devised plan. No matter how large or how small you decide to start out, a good plan will mean the difference between staying in business and going out of business in a few short months.
The auto repair industry is tough and the work is sometimes hard, but with some determination you can open a very lucrative auto repair shop. Let’s take a look at some of the more basic things you will need.
- The very first, and the most important, thing you should do is sit down and write up a good business plan. This plan should include answers to some of the questions you will be facing; how many employees will you have, where will you set up shop, what services will you be able to offer at first, what equipment do you need and so on.
- Choose a location for your business. You will want a high traffic area so that you can be seen and, if possible, choose a location that isn’t already flooded with other repair shops that you will have to compete with.
- You will need to register your business with your Secretary of State and the IRS. They have a lot of good information on their respective websites for you to look over before you go in person. Make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork before opening your doors.
- Consult a business attorney when you are setting up your various policies. They can be a big help especially for a new business owner. They will also show you the legally structured quote forms and where to hang your fee policies and any other certifications that need to be displayed for the customers to see.
While on the subject of certifications, get your auto repair certifications. This will make you stand out among other repair shops and is required by many states.
- Create a budget for your shop and update it as your business grows. You will need to factor in the cost of utilities and equipment. As your income allows, you will need to expand to stay competitive. You will need to lease some of the larger equipment that your shop will need.
- Set up wholesale and commercial accounts at your local parts stores. This will give you much better prices and enable you to get more work done as they will deliver your parts to you.
- Market yourself. Advertise your business and promote what you do. Spreading the word about your repair shop doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Everybody needs their cars repaired so you can talk about your shop anywhere and someone within earshot will need your help. Pass out flyers or business cards anywhere and everywhere. If you do a good job, your customers will tell their friends and family about you and send you more business.
- As with any type of business, it takes a lot of work and there are literally hundreds of things to do and many more that you will forget. The above list is just a basic one that will aim you in the right direction and get you on your way to a career as an auto repair shop owner.
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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.