How to Start an Auto Repair Business at Any Scale.
Auto Repair Services are in high demands nowadays with the influx of different makes and models of vehicles on roads. We used to have a large number of youths going into auto repair business as apprentices. But now, in this technological age where everybody wants to get rich quick, repair business is no longer appealing to our youths. Therefore, the gap between demand and supply of repair services is becoming wider. This has made auto repair business to become a lucrative business for those who have expertise in that line of business.
If you are keen about auto repair business, you need to take these steps:
Auto repair business is not the type of small business ideas you can start overnight. You need to undergo some training. Even, if your discipline is mechanical engineering, you still need to learn the practical aspects of auto repairs. You need hand on training. Therefore, you may need to sign up as an apprentice with a specialist. In auto repair business, you need to specialise. That is, you need to focus on particular type of vehicle. You cannot be a Jack of all trades. Of course, certain skills can be transferrable. However, the fact that you can fix one or two things in a car does not make you to be a specialist. It makes sense to research the market very well before you decide on the type of car or vehicle you like to specialise on. It will be a waste of time, energy and resources to learn how to repair a car whose time is almost up. You will agree with me that there are certain cars which are no longer popular in the market nowadays. You will discover that in each country or locality, people usually have a general preference for certain brands of cars. For example, in my country, if you count ten cars, about seven of them will be Toyota cars. So you have options. It is either you go for popular brands. However, the competition in such market may be high too because majority of auto mechanic want to focus on popular brands. Alternatively, you can choose a less popular brand if you know that the market is big enough. Whatever may be your choice, it is very important you are properly trained.
Register your business
It is very important that you register your auto repair business properly. In fact, this will add credence to you business. In most cases, people are wary of giving their cars to “road side mechanics” to repair. The truth is that, some of these so called “road side mechanics” actaully know what they are doing. But because they way they position their auto repair business to people, people are not having confidence in them. When you register your auto repair business, people will have more respect for you. Customers will relate with you as a business rather than individual. This alone can have impact on how you charge for your services. If you see yourself as a professional, which you are in actual sense, people will be willing to pay whatever you charge. You can either register your auto repair business as a sole proprietorship, partnernership or a limited liability company. Certain factors may contribute to the type of legal structure your auto repair business may take. If you don’t know the best option for your business, endeavour to seek advice from an atorney or an accountant.
Read Also: Choosing A Legal Structure of A Business
Find a good location
Among other things, auto repair business requires that you find a location that is spacious enough that will be able to accommodate sizeable number of cars at a time. It is always advisable that an auto repair business is located via there are other auto specialists such as panel beaters, auto wiring experts and painters. People like taking their cars to a place where all their auto repair needs can be taken care of at a spot.
You need tools to work with. In fact, you don’t need to wait till the time you complete your apprenticeship before you start buying working tools. One good thing about auto repair business is that you can always get jobs even when you least expect it. Cars or vehicles can develop faults at any time and the owner may be seeking for roadside assistance. If you have the right tools and skills to assist, the person in such critical situation will be happy that you solve his problem for him. You know what? He will be happy to pay you for your charges.
You need to market your auto repair business. Don’t expect that people will start bringing their cars to you immediately you open your auto repair shop. You need to embark on some marketing exercise. I will talk more on how you can go about the marketing later.
Key to Success for Auto Repair Business
Technical Expertise on various makes and models of vehicles
If you want to make it big in auto repair business, you should offer services that cover various makes and models of different vehicles. While specialisation is good, it will limit the scope of your business. Auto repair business requires that you should be able to offer repair services on different makes and models of vehicles.
For your auto repairs business to be successful, you need to engage trained mechanics who are good in rendering auto repair services. Since you need to offer repair services to different makes and models of vehicles, the experience of your mechanics in different vehicle repair will determine the success of your auto repair business.
Vehicle owners want their vehicle repaired almost immediately. The ability of your repair company to promptly respond to the needs of its customers is very important. Of course, you will have customers that have only one car. Therefore, when such people come for repair, they will not like to entertain any delay.
Excellent Customer Service
Auto repair business demands good customer service. Your staff should relate to customers in friendly manners. In auto repair business, you will meet many aggressive customers. The ways and manners you handle them will determine whether you will be converted into repeat customers.
Good and Spacious Environment
There will be some times when you will have many customers that will come for auto repair at the same time. This usually happen on weekends. Your auto repair company should have enough space for easy movement in and out of vehicles and for parking purpose.
Wide range of spare parts
Since you don’t know what might need to be fixed in a vehicle in advance, your auto repair company should be able to store a wide range of auto spare parts. This is one of the reasons why auto repair business can be capital intensive. If you want to start your auto repair business in a small scale, you may not need to store auto spare parts. You can easily buy from vendors.
Good Relationship with Suppliers
You need to maintain a good relationship with your vendors. It does not matter whether your auto repair company will store auto parts or not. In most cases, you will need them to supply you auto parts on credit.
Trust and Integrity
Your company should earn the trust of its customers. This can only happen if you make integrity as your watch word. When it comes to quoting for jobs, you should not include irrelevant items on the list.
Read Also: How to Start Car rental Business
Markets for Auto Repairs Business
The market for auto repairs business can be segmented into three namely:
- Individual Car Owners
- Local Businesses
- Vehicle Drop-ins
Individual Car Owners
This category includes private car owners and employees of companies with assigned car. Some of them have the liberty to repair their cars while the company reimburses them.
Some local businesses operate pool of vehicles. You can market your services to them. You can also enjoy referrals from satisfied customers..
In many occasions, vehicles do break down on the roads. If your business is located in a place with heavy traffics, you will constantly enjoy vehicle drop-ins. That is why it is advised that auto repair companies are located very close to the road.
Auto Repair Services
You can render the following services:
- Auto repairs
- Sales of auto products
You can go into sales of auto product lines such as spare parts, chemicals and oils, vehicles electronics, tools (like spanners, jacks etc.) and other vehicles accessories.
How to Market Auto Repair Business
You can market your business by these methods:
- Alliance with people or company offering vehicle towing service for vehicle drop-ins.
- Engagement of marketing staff to market your services to local businesses.
- Referrals from satisfied customers
If you don’t have enough capital to start the business in a large scale, you can start small with what you have with few essential tools. No matter the size, it is essential you prepare a good business plan for your business. With good business plan, you can approach investors or secure loans from bank. But before any bank can grant you loan, there are other vital criteria you must satisfy.