How To Start An Auto Repair Business From Scratch
If you’re an auto enthusiast, then you probably know a thing or two about cars. If that’s the case, then starting an auto repair business may be right up your alley. However, how to start an auto repair business from scratch needs one to think through some of the most critical considerations of the business. Here are some steps to get started:
How To Start An Auto Repair Business Begins With Learning How To Repair Vehicles.
To start an auto repair business, you need to know how to work on vehicles. If you don’t have the knowledge and skills yourself, then find someone who does. Remember that there are plenty of people out there who love fixing cars—so if the person you hire isn’t a good fit for your business, it’s easy enough to replace them with another candidate.
Once you’ve got that covered, learn how to diagnose problems in vehicles so that when customers bring their cars into your shop for service or repair, they can be confident that their cars will be fixed correctly and safely at a reasonable price point.
Here are a couple of online automotive repair technician schools to consider:
- Alison Car Mechanic Training
Find a niche.
Now that you know your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to find a niche. For example, if you’re not an expert in all things automotive and don’t want to be, don’t try to be all things to all people. Instead, find something that you can add value to. Find a problem and solve it:
Example: Auto repair for large trucks
If you’re a mechanic who specializes in big rigs and tow trucks, this is where the money is—and it’s where customers will come looking for help! You’ll have no trouble finding work or referrals because there aren’t many mechanics who can service these types of vehicles effectively or conveniently.
Niches available in auto repair services
- Country Of Manufacturer Based Approach
- Make Based repair shop
- Transmission based shop
- High-End Cars Repair Shop
- Part(s)-Specific-Based Shop (Suspension specialist)
Find a location.
Location is important. You need to be near a busy street so that your cars can drive by and see your shop. You also need to be near a lot of people and businesses—that way, you’ll have more potential customers on the street.
There are other things you should consider when choosing a location: parking spaces, the number of cars in the area, etc.—but they’re all related to location and can help determine what kind of business you start with (e.g., if there aren’t enough parking spaces nearby, then maybe not). The point is that location matters!
Build a website.
For many artisans and entrepreneurs with an old-school mindset, a website is a complimentary nice-to-have thing. While this may have been true in the yesteryears, things have moved.
An average person first goes online about where to find a particular product or service. Very few people still just get in a car and drive around to find a product or service. When they put that search query about auto repair shops or auto repair services in an area ideally you want your business to pop up somewhere.
You may just choose to make a simple google location listing but that does not suffice to convince one to drive to your location, phone, or contact you by email. However, a well-structured website will allow people to do so.
- Make sure your website is easy to use.
- Make sure your website is secure.
- Make sure your website is responsive.
- Make sure your website is SEO friendly.
- And make sure it’s fast!
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
- Set up your marketing plan.
Develop An Aggressive And Efficient Marketing Strategy
After you have a solid foundation, it’s time to focus on the marketing plan.
Marketing is how you get people in your door and make them want to stay there. Your marketing strategy will determine how many customers you attract and how many of those customers return.
You need a sales funnel that brings in leads (people who aren’t currently interested) and converts those leads into paying customers (people who are). The best way to do this is through social media advertising, but it’s also possible with newspaper ads or local events like garage sales or open houses.
Purchase equipment and supplies.
The next step is to purchase equipment and supplies. Equipment includes your tools and diagnostic equipment, as well as any items you might need for the repair process itself (such as hoists, and lifts).
It’s important to note that while you’ll want to start with a basic set of tools and equipment, it can also be helpful to rent or lease some items as a start-up.
Supplies—including product manuals and technical manuals—are equally important; they support your ability to perform repairs correctly, so make sure that you stock up on these supplies before opening the shop.
Here is a quick list of some of the basic stuff you will need to establish an able and reliable auto repair shop:
- Tool Chest
- Set of Spanners
- Diagnostic Machines
- Various Testing Machines
- Floor mats
- Product Manuals
- Technical Manuals
- Oil/liquid draining pans
- A stock of common replacement parts
Establish your business as an authorized service center for certain brands and makes.
You should also be prepared to deal with the following:
Getting certified by manufacturers. There are several different types of certifications, but the most common is a manufacturer’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) certification. This proves that you’re an authorized service provider for certain makes and models of cars, as well as their parts. If a customer needs a replacement part, they can bring it to your shop knowing that you have tested and validated its quality before installing it on their vehicle.
Getting insurance coverage in case something goes wrong during repair work on someone else’s car (or even yours). You need to be prepared for any legal issues arising from injuries or damage caused by negligence in performing repairs, so having professional liability insurance is essential to protecting both yourself and your business against lawsuits down the line.”
Offer Convenience To Your Clients
One of the most important things for many motorists and car owners is convenience. The reason why they buy cars is the quest for convenience. If your business can demonstrate its sensitivity to this need then you would have opened up one critical ‘valve’ of success.
The automotive maintenance and repair space is quite established and extremely competitive. In most cases, you will be dealing or competing with the ‘big boys’ of the industry. There are some areas where you won’t have competitive advantages like specialist tools and equipment, and economies of scale.
However, there are several ways to offer convenience in your business and effectively compete with the big players of the game. Here are a few things to take note of:
- Have a website or digital platform that gives multiple options on how people can access your services.
- Give people the option of you coming to them without a vast difference in the cost of your services.
- Offer to pick up and drop off their cars for repairs.
- Have a service of dropping them off to work or home with your vehicle after they have dropped their vehicle at your shop.
- Allow some clients to bring in their cars after hours whenever it’s possible.
- Communicate and give honest feedback on the diagnosis of their problem and the prognosis thereof.
- Offer complimentary coffee and a snack in a separate space with all the office conveniences like free wifi, power points, and more.
Find a way of communicating or sharing all these services on your website and other platforms of your choice. It’s important to inspire or nudge potential customers to choose you over other service providers. With a see of other potential service providers you just have to find a way of standing out.
Offer after-service support.
If you’re selling a product or service, it’s important to offer after-sales support. Customers will want to know that you are there for them even after the sale. For example, if they have any questions about their new car, they should be able to contact you and get the answers they need.
To do this, offer a warranty on your products and services. This will add value to the customer experience and allow them to feel confident when buying from you in the future because they know their investment is protected by an insurance policy that covers breakdowns or malfunctions due to manufacturer defects within a specific timeframe (usually 6 months)
Create an easy access culture and policy in your business even for those who may from time to time be disgruntled by your service. Make sure the channels of feedback and reporting are open and clear to all of your customers. What you cannot afford is for them to be frustrated about failing to express their displeasure and opting to use other channels to vent out.
Starting an auto repair business is a tough business, but if you work hard, know your customers, and are a service-oriented individual, chances are you will be successful. Keep these tips in mind, stay focused on the important tasks at hand, and use the Power of Three to help control costs while keeping your revenues maximized. That’s all there is to it!
I wish you all the best with your new business.