How to Start a Car Repair Business
According to the Small Business Administration, over 52 percent of businesses in the
United States are small businesses. If you're mechanically inclined and skilled at troubleshooting
mechanical malfunctions in automobiles, you may be interested in starting your own car
repair small business. By having the knowledge and abilities for car repair work, the most significant
needs of such a business are already met. The steps that remain are mainly organizational and
Determine the scope of your business
Some mechanics specialize in particular types of automobile repair. Consider whether
or not you wish to limit your business to what you're most skilled at or prefer to open it
up to all types of repair. For instance, some repair businesses specialize only in transmission
work or engine rebuilds. Some shops do only oil changes and basic tune-ups. Other shops work
exclusively on exhaust issues or brake systems. However, many individual mechanics who own
their own businesses choose to work on all types of issues.
Write a business plan
Write a business plan that not only includes the scope and direction of your business,
but also provides detailed information about financing, number of employees, planned operating
hours, plans for supply/parts ordering and any other details that show your garage will be
a viable business. If you are having trouble with this step, a representative from your local
Small Business Administration will be able to help you write a business plan.
Find a suitable location
If you already have a garage set up that suits your initial purposes for start up, don't
relocate your business. However, if you location doesn't suit your needs in size, drive-by
traffic counts or any other aspects, consider moving to a new spot. Your new location should
be accessible for customers, provide a waiting area and a restroom they may use, and have enough
room for you to work and store your tools.
Organize your garage
Create proper storage for your tools and supplies, along with an organized parts room
for spare parts. If you need additional tools or new equipment for your new business to function
efficiently and effectively, purchase them. Be mindful of your budget and do not exceed it
with extravagant and unnecessary items.
Establish an office
Set up your office so that you can keep detailed records about customers, jobs and billing.
Keep in mind that not only do you need a functional accounts receivable bookkeeping system,
but you also have to have a reliable accounts payable system. Purchase accounting software,
a computer, telephones, filing cabinets and other office tools that will help you keep things
organized. In addition to setting up your office, take care of some administrative duties by
registering with the state as a business and acquire a city business license, if your business
is within the city limits.
Market your business
Create a flyer with your business name, address and contact information. Hang the flyer
up around town on free bulletin boards, hand it out at a parade and distribute it as in insert
with your newspaper or local free shopper, if your budget allows. Advertise on the radio and
in the newspaper. One cost-efficient way to advertise is to buy an ad in the classified section.
Join the local chamber of commerce. Typically, as a new member, you will receive a free ribbon
cutting event as a benefit. Often, pictures of ribbon cuttings make it to the newspaper, which
gets your business name out there even more.
Stay current on auto repair
As new makes and models of vehicles come out every year, the technology for them increases
more and more. If you stay up to date by attending workshops and reading material about the
new technology, you help to ensure you are able to work on new vehicles, as well as older ones.
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