There are few people who truly enjoy what they do for a living. In some cases, they love what they do, but dislike working for other people. If you fall into either of these categories, you’ve probably thought about what it would be like to own your own business.
But what should you do?
If you’re a mechanic by trade or enjoy working on cars, learning how to start an auto repair shop might be your best bet. However, if you’ve never owned a business before, you probably don’t know where to begin.
Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here for. Keep reading for a quick guide on how to start an auto repair business.
Conduct Market Research
First, you need to find out more about your industry. Simply opening a business and hoping for the best is not enough to ensure your success. In fact, nearly 50% of small business owners learn this the hard way by the fifth year of business.
Instead, study the auto repair industry before starting a business to learn about:
- Your local competition
- The costs of operating a garage
- Licensing, certification, and insurance requirements
- Average rates in your area for the services you’ll provide
- Effective marketing strategies
- Initial startup costs
- And more
You need to know exactly what you’re getting into before starting your own company. Don’t make the mistake of assuming everything will work out or thinking you’ll figure it out as you go.
Identify Your Niche or Specialty
Based on what you learned about the auto repair industry, can you see an area in which the market is lacking? Is there a niche or specialty you can offer that will set you apart from your competition?
Identifying your niche is essential for defining your brand. Your brand will play a major role in the types of customers you attract and the success of your auto repair business.
Perhaps you’ll focus on foreign cars? Maybe you want to specialize in hot rods and other classic vehicles? However, make sure there’s a market for your type of services before committing to a niche.
Create a Business Plan
Now it’s time to create a business plan. This is one of the most important steps in learning how to start an auto repair shop. The quality of your business plan will impact your ability to get the startup funding you need from banks or investors.
Your business plan should include:
- An outline of your business
- Your market research and analysis
- A description of your business
- Your products and services
- Your business structure (staff, employees, management)
- Your operating costs
- Your marketing stragegy
- Your financial projections
- Your funding request
The more researched and well-written your business plan is, the more seriously you’ll be taken by potential lenders or investors.
Get Startup Funding
Once your business plan is complete, it’s time to consider your startup funding options. Remember, the smaller you start, the less overhead you have. The less money you ask for, the easier it will be to get approved for funding.
We recommend looking for a small business loan back by the SBA. You can get SBA loans through your bank, assuming you qualify.
If you don’t qualify for a traditional business loan, however, don’t throw in the towel. You have a myriad of other business financing options. For example:
- Private investors (friends, family, co-workers, etc.)
- Crowdfunding groups
- Angel investors
- Business partners
- And more
Sometimes, learning how to start a business means making compromises. You might have to start smaller than you wanted and allow your business to grow as you build up a client base, business credibility, etc.
Buy, Rent, or Build a Garage
Once you acquire the funds to start your auto repair business, you can decide where to set up shop. Based on your budget, you can decide if you want to buy, rent, or build a garage. If you have a large shop at home and live in a neighborhood that allows it, you might consider starting your auto business on your personal property.
However, learning how to start an auto repair shop that will thrive means finding the best possible location for your future business. It needs to be easily accessible for people or you’ll struggle to attract new customers. You also need to think about the other costs of the property you choose, such as:
- Additional services
- CAMs (common area maintenance fees)
- Building and property insurance
- And more
Once again, we highly recommend starting small and scaling up as the success of your business demands it.
Take Care of the Logistics
Taking care of the logistics is an all-inclusive step in our guide of how to start an auto repair shop. This is where you acquire everything you need to open up shop and become fully operational. While the details largely depend on your budget and business design, this typically includes:
- Business software
Additionally, managing an auto repair shop is not a small responsibility. As the business owner, you’re going to have a lot on your plate. However, proper management and delegation of duties can save you a lot of time and personal manpower.
For example, check out Tekmetric.com for amazing auto repair shop management software. This system will help you automate some important aspects of your business so you can concentrate on other things.
Implement a Marketing Campaign
Finally, running a successful auto repair business requires an effective marketing strategy. If you don’t know anything about marketing, work with a professional marketing agency to help you establish some brand awareness in your community.
If you want to learn more about marketing for yourself, here are the most important forms of modern marketing that you should look into:
- Website design and development
- Search enige optimiztion
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Traditional marketing (radio, TV, newspapers, direct mailing, etc.)
Experiment with different forms of advertising to determine which methods yield the best results. And remember to give each method several months to accurately gauge its efficacy.
Learning How to Start an Auto Repair Shop?
If you’re learning how to start an auto repair shop, start by implementing the instructions listed in this article. Research each topic covered above and continue to learn to become a successful business owner. And it’s okay to reach out for help, no one expects you to do all of this on your own.
Speaking of which, if you want more business advice, we’re here for you. Stick around and read through some of our other articles to find more helpful guidance, tips, and information. Our blog was created to help entrepreneurs like you find success.