From Drawing Board to Garage: Starting an Auto Repair Shop

For a lot of people, owning a business, even a small one, is part of the American Dream. After all, not everyone is fortunate enough to be given the opportunity and privilege to provide for their family, be their own boss, and employ other people.

Perhaps you’re a mechanic or an automotive specialist that dreams of owning your own auto repair shop. While it may seem like a steep uphill climb to get there from where you are now, hope is never lost.

If you have that vision and you can see it in your mind, then you need to take a step in that direction. Start planning for it.

How to Plan for and Start an Auto Repair Shop Business

Step 1: Get legal advice.

Before you make any move, you need to make sure you have quality legal service that’s easily accessible to you. Getting into any business requires legal documents and procedures. You want to make sure you’re doing things the right way so that you don’t get into trouble later on.

Having an expert on all things legal to help you navigate the confusing business landscape will work to your advantage.

Step 2: Raise money for capital.

Once you’ve found the right person to guide you with things related to your business and the law, you need to start building your capital for your dream business. Even the simplest of auto repair shops will cost you a lot of money.

Other than the typical rentals or lease and building the main structure, you also need to look for 4-post automotive lifts for sale, an adequate amount of the right tools and equipment, professional and consultation fees, and other expenses usually involved in startups.

Step 3: Look for a high-traffic location.

When it comes to a business, especially an auto repair shop, your location matters a lot. You need to have a place big enough to house all of your equipment, your clients’ cars, office space, storage space, working area, and waiting area for your customers, among other things.

As far as location is concerned, it has to be easily accessible and very visible to people. It doesn’t need to be at the heart of the city, but at the very least, it should not be so far out of the way that no one would want to go to you. Look for a spot where you have a decent amount of traffic.

Step 4: Make a well-devised business plan.

businessman using laptop computer sitting working office

Never go into business without thinking things through. You need to give careful thought to everything you will do and every step you will make. Forethought will play a vital role in the success of your business. You need to plan not just for the opening but also for your business’ longevity.

Here are a few things you should give plenty of thought:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Priorities
  • Startup summary
  • Initial services offered
  • Future services planned
  • Market analysis
  • Pricing strategy
  • Management plans for staff
  • In-depth study of profits and losses
  • Marketing plans

Step 5: Look for the right people to work with.

Based on everything you have so far, you can now start looking for the right people to help you build, establish, and run your shop.

When screening candidates, do not be easily impressed with their work output. Of course, you need to look for the most qualified mechanics and personnel, but more than their skills, you also need to look at their character and attitude.

Keep in mind that these will be the people you will spend at least eight hours of your day and serve people with. Even if you get the best mechanics and staff in the world but they have an unpleasant and unprofessional attitude, you will not attract customers. Learn to look for the right balance of skill and attitude when hiring people.

Step 6: Get the word out.

Finally, once you have everything and everyone in place, start marketing your shop. Schedule a grand opening and invite as many people as you can to join you on that day. Give introductory discounts or promos for the first few clients (depending on what number you choose). Advertise locally by placing an ad in your local newspaper or giving out flyers.

Don’t forget to create a web page for your shop and social media accounts. Digital marketing is easy and relatively cheap, so you would want to take advantage of it.

We hope that you found this helpful. We wish you all the best as you get your business off the ground.

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