Do you love cars and trucks? Are you an experienced mechanic looking to open your own shop? If so, then opening your own automotive shop might be right up your alley! Whether you’re completely new to the car repair industry or you’ve been working on cars and trucks for years, having your own automotive shop can bring in some serious money and keep you deeply involved in the auto community. But before you run out and buy a bunch of tools, find some property, and get to work, here are the five best ways to start your own automotive shop!
Choosing The Right Location
Location, location, location. Every business needs a great location for success. So, think about where you want your automotive shop to be located, and what kind of neighbourhood you would like it to be in. There are positives and negatives with any location choice – even if it’s close by.
Here are some points to consider when looking for the perfect place:
What is the population of that area? What other industries/businesses exist nearby or in the area? Are there public transportation options available near the desired location(s)? What would you need access to, or not need access to (i.e.: supermarkets) within an easy walk or drive from your shop?
Deciding on a Business Type
The term Automotive Shop encompasses a lot of different types of car-related services, so it is important to first decide what type of automotive shop you want your business to be. When deciding on the type of automotive shop, you should ask yourself the following questions:
-What car repairs do I feel confident about and want to offer for customers in my neighbourhood or city?
-What type of payment system do I want my business to use for transactions – cash only, or a third-party app like Square?
Choosing the Right Equipment
To ensure that your automotive shop is properly equipped, there are a few key items you’ll need. The most important is a large workbench with enough space for both woodworking and metalworking projects. Make sure there is adequate lighting for your project and plenty of room for the equipment you’ll be using. You will also need a good welder, as well as storage racks that are safe and secure. Consider getting racks that not only store parts but can accommodate three or four projects at once. A spot where tools can be sorted by function and hung on pegs or stored in drawers will help keep things organized as well.
Getting the right insurance for your automotive shop is key for both you and your customers. There are several types of insurance that will be necessary, which is why we recommend discussing this process with a knowledgeable agent and making sure you have a copy of your certificates on hand in case of an audit. Some basic types of insurance you’ll need include general liability, property/business-owners, workers’ compensation and automobile coverage. You should also consider other types such as auto physical damage, garage keepers’ legal liability or if you’re doing vehicle inspections or rentals then automotive physical damage might be necessary. Again, there are many different factors that can go into this decision so make sure to consult with a specialist before getting your business off the ground.
Navigating Licensing Requirements
One of the first steps in opening an automotive shop is figuring out what types of licenses you need. There are a variety of different licenses, each with its own requirements. You may also need business and property owners’ permits as well as contractors’ insurance for anyone that is not an employee. If you do hire employees, you will need to provide them with workers’ compensation coverage in addition to giving them a pay check.
You’re not just hiring for yourself, but for the future of your business as well. You need someone who is loyal and hardworking, somebody who will work just as hard on behalf of your automotive shop as you do.
It might seem daunting to go through the hiring process, but it will be worth it when you find the right person.
Include what you’re looking for in a prospective employee, with qualifications like relevant experience or certifications if necessary.
Selecting a Logo and Brand Identity
Your logo is the centrepiece of your company and conveys your identity. It will likely be the first thing potential customers see, and it’s what sets you apart from your competitors. Remember, even though you can change your logo or graphics later, it is best to get a plan in place from the start because certain logos have different meanings and might not fit with your brand identity.
For example, let’s say that our automotive shop specializes in cars for pets: do we really want a sleek logo reminiscent of Bugatti or Rolls Royce? A better idea might be incorporating paw prints or hearts into the design.
Managing Communication with Customers
Are you ready to take the plunge and start your own automotive shop? There are many factors to consider before opening a business, but one of the most important things you need is a way for customers to find you. Use your website, newspaper ads, and flyers for advertising purposes. When communicating with customers by phone or email, try not to make them feel pressured into buying anything. Make sure your customer service is exemplary and that every customer knows they are valued as an individual. This may mean not trying as hard when sales are down so that a customer will return in the future rather than being discouraged by now having built up expectations that were not always met by low-quality service or unavailability of products.
Promoting Your Business
Start by branding your automotive shop. Choose a name and logo for your business, which will make it easier for people to remember you and make it easy for potential customers to find you online. If you plan on doing car repairs in addition to selling cars, it’s important that the name reflect both parts of your business so that your clients know what to expect from you. Registering with an automotive trade association is another way to connect with other professionals in the field and grow your business at the same time; plus, membership can come with perks like discounts on advertising or access to industry-specific information like pricing guides, inventories, and publications.
Staying Up to Date on Technology
As of today, 74% of car buyers want digital service, and the numbers only grow. So how do you keep up with the needs of these customers? Listen to what they are saying and try new ways to provide them with a superior experience. With all this in mind, there are a few things that every automotive shop owner should focus on in order to stay competitive as technology changes around them.
Opening your own automotive shop has many advantages, and for the right person, can be a good way to start a new business. Depending on your experience level, you might want to get help from professionals in finance and accounting. You will also need someone who is experienced in day-to-day operations of a dealership. These people will advise you and share their knowledge as you grow your business into what it can be. If you have any questions or concerns while on your journey of opening an automotive shop, make sure that you reach out for help as soon as possible.