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Management

7 Essential Tips For Opening a Mechanic Shop

mechanic

mechanicFor you, the feeling of working on a car is extremely satisfying, but it isn’t enough. You want more. Specifically, you want to open your own shop.

You’re not the only one.

For many people, their American Dream is to own a business and achieve personal wealth. As a mechanic, owning your own business means being able to set your own hours, specialize in unique vehicles and essentially control your career in the years ahead.

However, being a business owner is far from easy. From marketing to business planning, there’s a lot to consider when opening a mechanic shop. Here are seven essential tips for opening a mechanic shop.

Let’s get started!

1. Certification Can Help When You’re Opening a Mechanic Shop

This is one of the most important things you can do — aside from developing a written business plan — when it comes to opening a mechanic shop.

No, having Automotive Service Excellence certification is not necessary to repair cars. But without this certification, you may find it harder to secure financing as well as liability insurance for your venture.

On top of this, having this certification essentially tells possible customers that you’re an expert in your field. The more confident they are in you, the easier it will be for you to draw them in and promote yourself.

Note, though, that your educational and work experience combined must span at least two years.

A particularly great thing about ASE certification is that it is divided into 16 specialties in which you can become a Master Technician. Here are some of them:

  • Truck Equipment
  • Transit Bus
  • School Bus
  • Medium-weight or Heavy Truck
  • Collision Repair
  • Automobile

In addition, you may specialize in repair work for certain automobile manufacturers or even kinds of repair.

For instance, Revolution Automotive Services, Inc. focuses specifically on BMW auto repair as well as repair work for Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Mini cars.

Of course, if you choose to specialize in brakes, for example, you might lose out on plenty of other business. So, before you open your shop doors, research your market to ensure that plenty of demand exists to support your particular area of interest.

If not, becoming a generalist is likely in your best interest.

2. Location, Location, Location

This doesn’t just apply to prospective home buyers. It also applies to aspiring business owners like you who are on the prowl for your future business’s location.

One of the most critical things you could do while searching for the prime commercial real estate is to find a piece of property that’s not too far from your customers’ homes.

Also, choose a facility that is a little bigger than what you think you need. In this way, you can easily expand if needed.

Another smart move? Remain as close as possible to your town’s or city’s main roads.

Finally, select a building that has a lobby area in which clients can wait. The more convenience you offer your customers, the more convenient it’ll be for them to pay you.

3. Beginning Expenses

Before you embark on the road to entrepreneurship as a mechanic, it’s paramount that you know what your initial costs will be upfront.

It’s better to plan ahead than to experience sticker shock later. After all, do you really want to run out of capital before you even gain your first client?

Didn’t think so.

So, first, take time to price a diagnostic machine, which can easily cost you a few thousand dollars. And don’t forget to price a toolset that includes specialty tools as well.

You’ll also need to consider the cost of insurance for your business. And don’t forget to research the price of a quality lift for your shop, too.

In the end, you can expect your total cost to easily reach tens of thousands of dollars between rent, equipment, and insurance. However, if you plan to renovate a building to transform it into a shop — versus purchasing an existing shop — this will drive the cost even higher.

4. Get Permits

Once you have a business plan and adequate funding in place, you’re certified and you’ve purchased your building, it’s time to get the necessary permits to operate your business.

This might include securing a state tax ID number as well as a DBA. You can get in touch with your Small Business Administration local office to determine if getting a DBA is necessary, in your vicinity.

5. Marketing

This is one of the most important parts of starting any business, including a mechanic shop. But it’s also the one thing that many entrepreneurs hate doing.

If you’re one of those who hates marketing, we understand. After all, your specialty area is car repair, not marketing.

However, if you don’t master marketing, you won’t be in business long.

For starters, hang up marketing fliers around the city, and offer competitive discounts on oil changes and common repairs for your opening day or first week in business.

Also, don’t forget to create a social media profile and promote your new business online. This is one of the best ways to draw new customers and maintain relationships with existing customers today.

It may also be a good idea to talk to previous customers or even employees for testimonials that you can promote on your website. This is particularly critical if you do not have industry certification.

6. Accounting Advice

Enlisting the help of an accountant is another smart move as you navigate the path to owning a mechanic shop.

The right lawyer can prevent you from making costly mistakes, such as those associated with tax reporting and payroll. How wisely you handle the tax side of your business will no doubt will have a major impact on your business’s bottom line from one year to the next.

7. Hold Interviews

You’ll probably need to hire a minimum of one worker to handle your customer service responsibilities and telephone calls. In addition, hiring a couple of mechanics may be wise if you have two lifts and wish to maximize the business’s capacity.

Be sure to start your hiring process a minimum of one month prior to opening your doors. You’ll need plenty of time to find and select top candidates, verify references and negotiate your prospective employees’ compensation packages.

How We Can Help

We offer a wide range of business information and tips related to areas such as finance, sales, insurance and legal matters for those interested in opening a mechanic shop.

Contact us to find out more about how we can help you to start a successful business and keep your bottom line strong long term.

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Management

4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace

food

foodA healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.

Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.

Use Snack Services

There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.

However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.

Incentivize your Employees

There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.

Do not Neglect Break Time

You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.

Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture

If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.

Conclusion

Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.

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Management

How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer

self publish a book

how to overcome writer's blockIf you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.

There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.

Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.

There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.

Job Boards

There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.

Start a Blog

Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.

Guest Post

As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.

Self-Publish your Own Books

Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.

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Management

4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings

stress ball

stress ball

Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.

Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.

Visuals

One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.

Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.

However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.

Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.

Recording Device

One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.

The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.

However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.

Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.

Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.

Stress Ball

This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.

Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.

People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.

A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.

Whiteboard

When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.

Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.

Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.

Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.

Conclusion

These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.

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