If you wondering how to start an auto shop business, you should make sure that you’re being smart about it so that your business and investment are safe. Starting any small business is difficult and time-consuming, but you’re already on the right path if you’re researching the best ways how to start an auto shop business. Below are some ideas and tips to take into consideration to help make your new auto shop a success.
Find Your Niche
Finding your niche is a big requirement for any field that you want to go into. No matter where you are starting your business, there will be other auto shops around. Because of this, you’ll need to find what makes you and your business stand out from the other auto businesses in the area. You can do this in a few different ways, such as:
- Specialize Your Business. You can work on one specific type of damage, such as collision-based damage, work on just luxury cars, or do custom add ons and upgrades to cars. If you choose to work on only one thing, it shows a level of expertise that your customers will be able to depend on you for. If you’re stuck wondering how to start an auto shop business, you can pick what you are already good at and lean into it full force.
- Do It All. On the opposite side of specialization is offering an auto shop that does it all. If you are able to offer everything from car inspections to collision repair to detailing, your customers will be able to come to you knowing that no matter what is wrong with their car, they can trust you to fix it. If you’re choosing to do this, you will probably need a larger team of mechanics since you will need more combined experience to be able to do anything a customer may want.
- Offer Perks. If you offer perks to your customers, like roadside assistance services or a loyalty program, they may be more likely to choose your shop over a similar one without your added perks.
- Partner With Other Businesses. If you partner with local car dealers, specialty shops, or mechanics, you may be able to get recommendations that will increase your business. For example, if you are a motorcycle repair shop in Michigan, you can contact a motorcycle dealer in Michigan and build a professional relationship so that you can be their go-to recommendation for a nearby motorcycle shop.
Making sure that you figure out how to set yourself apart from other auto shops in the area is an important step if you’re wondering how to start an auto shop business. Once you figure out what your niche is, you can continue building your business.
Develop Your Business Plan
A business plan is a document that details how you start and manage your business. It is essentially your detailed answer to the question of how to start an auto shop business. In a typical business plan, you’ll need an executive summary, a company description, a market analysis, your organization and management plan, the exact service you will be offering, and your marketing strategies. If you are asking other people to invest in your company, you’ll also need to include a funding request where you outline exactly what it is you’re asking for and why you need it. Try to add any projected ideas of your financial situation if you can — this will help you show investors that you know approximately when you’ll be able to pay them back and that you will be able to meet any deadlines that they set.
Know Your Costs
If you start a business thinking that you will not have to spend any money, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. Between paying for any equipment you will need and paying for labor from your employees when it comes to how to start an auto shop business, you will need to consider your costs. If you know exactly what you’ll be spending, it is much easier to make an accurate budget that will keep you afloat in the time it takes to start turning a profit. Unexpected costs that you could have seen coming with proper research and planning can destroy your small business before it has fully gotten off the ground, so makes sure that you know what your costs are before you open up.
Depending on a few different factors, such as the state or county where you open and what kind of auto work you’ll be doing, you may need different certifications. To make sure that everything you’re doing is completely legal and set to go, do some research to find out exactly what licenses and certifications you’ll need to open your doors.
Insuring your business against any issues that may arise is very important. Make sure that you are getting all of the proper types of insurance for whatever the specifications are for your exact business. For example, if you’re running a small repair shop out of your home, getting in-home business insurance would be the right move for you. There may be certain types of insurance that you have to get that are specific to the types of services that you offer, so make sure that you double-check all of your local laws and regulations. Insurance is key to making sure that one mistake or break-in won’t destroy your business, so it is very important to have it before you begin to do work on your customers’ automotive.
Decide Services to Offer
Although you have already chosen your niche, you have to decide how you will take advantage of that niche. If you’re focusing on a range of automotive repairs, you will need to have your shop be prepared to actually perform all of those repairs. Make a list or a spreadsheet that lays out all of the services you want to offer, like clutch repair services, and add any tools or special items you will need to make those repairs. This will ensure that you are completely ready to perform the full range of services that you plan to. If you’re focusing on something more specific, you should still make a list of all of the services you plan to offer, especially since you might need more specialized equipment in order to do what you want.
Before opening up your shop, you have to make sure that you are properly equipped to handle all of the repairs and business that you want to do. Make sure that you prioritize things such as safety products so that both you and your employees are able to do your jobs without being injured. Any protective gear that you may need is key to how to start an auto shop business and keep it running.
You’ll also want to purchase any tools or machinery that you will need to properly perform the repairs you want to. If you plan on offering any additional services, you’ll want to make sure that you have the proper equipment for that as well. For example, you might want to buy wholesale gasoline so you can have a store on hand in case you need to provide roadside assistance to someone who has run out of gas.
This step is when the importance of knowing your costs will become apparent. If you did not properly plan for what you would need in that step, you will probably end up with some sticker shock during this step.
Set Up Your Office
Having an office space, even if it’s a small one with barely enough room for a desk and a chair or two, is important for your business. You’ll need a space to talk with clients and accept forms of payment if you’re a smaller mom and pop type of auto business. In order to save money on something that will not necessarily impact your business’ revenue or profit, look into discount office furniture for your auto shop’s office.
Think About Advertising
Advertising is the most important thing when it comes to growing your business. You could have the best service in the entire world, but if you don’t advertise it, then no one will ever know about it. In order to gain and retain customers, you have to put time and effort into advertising. Here are a few ways to advertise once you get through how to start an auto shop business:
- Optimize Your Website. You want to make sure that your website not only attracts customers but keeps them there. In order to get people to view your website, you should have quality content that will tell your customers exactly what you do. Include sections of your website that detail your services, how you do your pricing, and anything else that you feel is important for your customers to know. For example, if you work closely with a certain type of motorcycle insurance, you can put that on your website so that your customers who have that insurance know that they will likely be covered.
- Optimize For Mobile. Not only does your website need to look great on a computer, you need to make sure that it also looks great on someone’s phone. A lot of people do their research on a new mechanic or specialty auto shop from their phones. If someone goes onto your website on their phone and the site loads in a way that makes the information difficult or impossible to read, the odds are that that potential customer will click out of your site and into another one. There are many website templates and website building companies that can optimize your website for both desktop and mobile devices, so make sure to do your research on different platforms while you’re building and developing your site.
- Play Up Your Niche. If you’re wondering how to start an auto shop business that not only stays afloat but flourishes, it will once again come back to the niche that you are filling. For example, if you do work on Powersports vehicles like ATVs, you should make sure that you include that on your website and in your advertising. If you make your site as optimized as possible, when someone looks for a Powersports dealership near me, they may also find your site that does repairs to Powersports vehicles.
- Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is the concept of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher on google and appears towards the top of the first page of results. In order to properly rank on Google, you will need to optimize for certain keywords, have quality content on your site, and have a well laid out website that is not overly busy or otherwise bad for user experience. Google has certain algorithms that it uses to help put websites in their proper ranking, but if the idea of designing and optimizing a website sounds like a foreign language, you should look into investing in an SEO firm to optimize your site for you.
- Think About Your Customer Base. In order to effectively market to your potential customers, you’ll have to think about who it is that you’re advertising to. For example, by the time that 2050 rolls around, it’s estimated that one-fifth of the population of the U.S. will be over 65 years old. That means that you may way to take out newspaper or print ads since many people over 65 won’t necessarily use google in order to find a new mechanic. Think about what demographic you’re trying to target with every advertisement you put out to ensure that you’re really locking in on who you’re trying to attract to your business.
If you’re looking into how to start an auto shop business, you’re already on the right track for starting one that is successful and well thought out. If you take into account these tips and ideas, it can be very helpful in ensuring that your business lasts for the long haul.
What kind of auto business are you planning on starting? Were these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below.