So You Want to Start An Auto Repair Shop…
Opening your own auto repair business can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience. With so many unknowns, it takes a lot of planning and courage to give your future company the best start you can. While this is going to be a long and hard road to journey down, there are a few things you might consider doing to make it a little easier on yourself.
A lot of people dream of starting their own business so they can be their own boss. However, oftentimes, all the negative aspects of being a business owner don’t register as fully as the positive aspects. That is, until you start figuring out exactly what it will take to make this dream a reality, you might not be seeing the entire picture. For this reason, we want to bring up the fact that there are ways to make this process a little easier. One option is to take over a shop that is already established. This could mean that there is already a location, equipment, client base, and marketing strategy being used. Potentially, this could limit the start-up issues that typical businesses have to work through prior to opening their doors. Another idea is to open an auto repair franchise in your area. This route could be a lot of help for you if you want to be in this line of work but aren’t sure if you really want to go out on your own. Opening a franchise allows you to instantly have a company name that people recognize and have associations with.
While these could be great options for some people, this could still present some problems for others. Sometimes you still won’t have all the freedoms you want as a business owner when you come into a pre-established business or franchise. Regardless, this is something that should be taken into consideration.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
If you decide that you do want to start your own automotive repair company from the ground up, you will need to take a different approach to the endeavor. Arguably the most important thing you can do before you really jump into starting your business is to plan it. Plan as much as you can about as many aspects as you can. The more details you can nail down at the onset of your business, the better chance you have of creating a successful business for yourself. Try to figure out what kind of expenses you’re looking at, what equipment you will need, how you plan to advertise your shop, and what your goals are as a small business owner.
Financing Your Shop
After you have planned all that you can, it is time to take some steps forward. One of the most pressing situations is that of financing your auto repair shop. Depending on what kind of pre-existing tools or equipment you have, you could end up paying upwards of $100,000 to fully outfit your shop. But before you start applying for loans or asking friends and family to support your cause, there are a few things you should consider about the type of business you want to start.
What size of a shop are you hoping to open? If you are looking to have a small garage with only one or two lifts, you will not require the same amount of capital as someone hoping to open a garage with five or six lifts. The size of your shop will also affect the size of building you need to acquire and the amount of money you pay for that building. If you don’t need six lifts, don’t look to buy six lifts.
Getting all the equipment necessary to run an auto repair shop at one time could be extremely expensive. When you are first launching your business, consider just getting the absolute essentials. Then, as you start making a profit, you can start investing more of that money back into your business. Another option is to lease your equipment as opposed to buying it outright. This would allow you to keep more money on hand while still having access to the equipment you need to successfully run your repair shop.
Choosing to have your repair shop specialize in something could also be beneficial to you as a start-up. Deciding to only do tune ups and oil changes or engine work could help you narrow down the exact tools you need to have your business up and running. Specializing in a certain area of automotive repair will also help to keep costs down. As opposed to getting all kinds of equipment for all kinds of cars, you can focus your efforts in a more narrow scope.
Prepping Your Shop
Once you have your business plans taken care of, have acquired the money necessary to get your auto repair shop off the ground, and have found out what kind of equipment you will need, it is now time to change your direction from the shop to the other areas of your garage.
The Shop Floor
The floor of your building is something of extreme importance that you might not have thought of. You will want to make sure that the floor of your shop will allow for you to work on vehicles effectively without having to worry about spilling or slipping. A good practice is to paint the floor of your shop with non-skid paint. This will allow you to not have to worry about fluids ruining the floor or making your workspace dangerous.
Reception rooms should be comfortable for your customers who are waiting for work to be done to their vehicles. These rooms don’t have to be large and fancy, but they should be a safe location where your customers can sit and relax while you service their car. Try to keep these rooms as clean as possible and supply a few basic comforts like a restroom and drinking fountain. These additions will go a long way for helping your customers feel content while working with you.
Once you have your business going and are able to focus more on the work you are doing as opposed to just preparing to begin work, you are going to want to make sure you are keeping up with your trade. It is so important to stay current with auto repair trends and different technologies that are coming out in new vehicles. In order to reach the largest market, you are going to have to have a wide knowledge base. Don’t become complacent, and you will never have to worry about facing a repair situation that you can’t handle.