You’ve been dreaming about opening your own mechanic shop for years. But what if I told you there was an easier way? Keep reading this business blog so you learn how to open a mechanic shop in next to no time at all!
For you, the feeling of working on a car is hugely satisfying, but it isn’t enough. You want more. Specifically, you want to open your own mechanic shop.
You’re not the only one, and you’re in good company as many of us dream of starting a business.
It’s an American Dream to own and run a successful business. As a mechanic, owning your own business comes with a lot of responsibility and risk but is also rewarding.
For example, being your boss, setting your own hours, or choosing the type of vehicle for your mechanic shop.
Specializing in sportscars, trucks, or a specific brand to become a leader in your own category. These are the 22 immutable laws of marketing and how to avoid your business failing before it’s well established. Another core motivation for opening a mechanic shop is the customers and the camaraderie with them that ensures every day is enjoyable.
However, being a business owner is far from easy. From business planning to competitive analysis, there’s much 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 opening a mechanic shop.
No, having an Automotive Service Excellence certification is not necessary to repair cars. But without this certification, you may find it harder to secure financing and liability insurance for your venture.
On top of this, having this certification 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 that your educational and work experience 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
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 and repair work for Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Mini cars.
Of course, if you specialize in brakes, you might lose out on plenty of other businesses. 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
If you’re looking to open a mechanics shop, you’ll want to find a place where people walk by frequently. It’s not just about finding a good location; it’s also about finding a location with enough foot traffic so that customers will return.
Therefore the location, location, location 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 location. However, if your focus is fixing and tuning trucks, and vans, your location will not need foot traffic; it will need visibility from main roads and good access and parking.
Ideally, choose a facility that is a little bigger than you think you need. You’ll be surprised how quickly your mechanic shop grows and you’ll want to accept as many customers.
Finally, select a building with a lobby area where clients can wait if funds permit. Customer service should be your top priority. Have a coffee machine, hot and cold drinks available. It may seem luxurious; however, your customers will pay more for top-quality service. Convenience, speed, and consistency will reward you with loyal customers who will also become your salespeople, referring new customers to 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 want to run out of capital before you even gain your first client?
Didn’t think so.
So, first, take the 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.
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.
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 and a DBA. In your vicinity, you can contact your Small Business Administration local office to determine if getting a DBA is necessary.
Every business needs marketing, including local businesses like retail stores and mechanic shops. But it’s also the one thing that many entrepreneurs hate doing. The good news is, you don’t need to do it – use a marketing expert who understands your business and the importance of digital marketing for a mechanic shop.
There are two main ways to create a website for your mechanic shop. One option is to use WordPress as your platform. This is a popular choice because it’s easy to set up and customize. The other option is to build your own custom website using HTML5. This is a more expensive option, but it gives you complete control over your site. You don’t need to commit a huge budget to get your website designed, developed and hosted.
Also, don’t forget to create a social media profile and promote your new business online. Actually, this strategy is best left by a social media marketing expert, as it is one of the best ways to draw new customers due to the volume of people online. By posting on your Facebook or Twitter accounts, you will want to know how to attract new and retain existing customers. Use social media marketing experts to manage your profiles and postings.
It may also be a good idea to talk to previous customers or employees for testimonials that you can promote on your website. This is particularly critical if you do not have industry certification. Plus, you’ll need to get involved in Google Reviews.
Discounts and Promos
For more traditional marketing, you can do it even if you’re one of those people who hate marketing; we understand. After all, your specialty area is vehicle repair, not marketing.
Before you hang up marketing fliers around the city, consider the types of discounts and other customer loyalty deals you can provide. For example, competitive discounts on oil changes and common repairs for your opening day or first week in business. Referral bonuses for every client who successfully refers a new customer.
6. Accounting Advice
Enlisting the help of an accountant is another smart move as you navigate the path to owning a mechanic shop.
The business lawyer can prevent you from making costly tax reporting and payroll mistakes. How wisely you handle the tax side of your business will undoubtedly significantly impact your business’s bottom line from one year to the next. Plus, getting it wrong will be costly in penalties and damage your business reputation.
7. Hire Staff
Starting your own mechanic shop will include one or two personnel hires. You’ll probably need to employ a minimum of one worker to handle your customer service responsibilities and telephone calls. In addition, when your business gets going, you will probably need to hire a couple more mechanics. Do a lot of research on employee benefits and ensure they are valued at work.
Be sure to start your hiring process a minimum of one month before opening your doors. You’ll need plenty of time to find and select top candidates, verify references and negotiate your prospective employees’ compensation packages.
If you’re looking to start a mechanics shop, you’ll need to ensure you have enough business to sustain yourself. That means building relationships with local businesses. In fact, one of the easiest ways to do this is by offering free estimates. People love getting free estimates, especially when they’re having car trouble. They’ll often come back to you after they fix their problem.
It’s also important to offer services that people actually need. This will help you build trust with customers and keep them coming back. For example, if you’re a mechanic, you might offer oil changes, tire rotations, brake repairs, and other routine maintenance.
For more helpful tips and information on starting a business, read our informative articles on business management and startups by scrolling to our ‘you may like’ section. Our business blogs have a wide range of business information and tips related to finance, sales, insurance, and legal matters for budding new business owners.