Thinking about starting your own auto repair shop? If you do it right, you could set up a business that supports families for years to come — yours, your workers’, and your customers’.
But it’s not as easy as knowing how to fix cars and having a garage. There’s a lot more that goes into running a successful business.
To help you out, we’ve compiled the following list of five tips to start your own auto repair shop.
1. Decide on Your Speciality
Every auto repair shop wants to be known as the one-stop shop for all types of service, but since there are so many different types of auto repairs and common services, you want to narrow your focus and choose a specialty.
Will you be known for the fastest/cheapest oil changes in town? Classic car rebuilds? Brake and tire service? Import vehicles? Full engine rebuilds?
The list goes on and on. The bottom line is you want to research the other auto repair shops in your area and see what specialties might be lacking or find an area of service that could be improved. Then, put a team in place that has the necessary skills to fit those needs. This is how you find your niche and attract the right customers to your business.
Identify an area of need, establish demand, and put the solution in place to solve your customer’s problems.
2. Think About Your Name
Sure, you can go with something like “Your Name’s” Auto Shop. But those are a dime a dozen.
Why not take things a step further?
See if you can come with a name that stands out. That’s memorable. That isn’t too similar to the competition in your area. And most importantly — that describes what you do.
Think about how your customers will find you — for the most part, it will be by typing a search into their phones. For example: If a consumer is looking for an oil change, they will most likely just punch in “oil change” into Google Maps and see what pops up near them.
“Bob’s Auto Shop” might show up, but it will be difficult to top the results since you won’t be established over your competition who will have reviews to back up their services. But if you’re called something like “Oil Change Specialists of (Town Name),” you’ll directly answer the inquiry and will surely be toward the top of search results if you’re in the customer’s local area.
This attention to detail will help customers find you in their time of need. That’s how you drive sales.
3. Plan Your Budget In Advance
Starting a new business requires a lot of startup cash. Where is yours coming from?
Will you borrow any money or are you taking out any small business loans? Are you funding your shop personally? Will you start a line of credit?
Be careful not to dig too big of a hole or you’ll be digging out for months and years to come. Help yourself out by ensuring you’ve accounted for ongoing costs like employee salaries, equipment upkeep, and insurance/licensing.
An auto repair shop has more moving parts and expenses than you might think, so make sure you do your due diligence, account for all costs related to your business for a year and beyond, and make a smart plan to become profitable.
4. Plan For The Long Haul
Speaking of planning and profits, let’s be clear here — it’s highly likely that you won’t turn a huge profit right away. You might not even break even for a while!
That’s just the nature of the beast that is starting a small business. To prevent any heartaches down the road, make a long-term plan. Cover expenses for the long haul while you stay the course and build up your clientele.
If you keep grinding and attracting loyal customers, you’ll inch closer and closer to turning sustainable profits. It likely won’t happen overnight, but if you make a smart plan and stick to it, you’ll eventually become a profitable business.
5. Work With Partners You Trust
Having people and partners in your corner who you can trust is paramount to the success of your business. This includes your shop management software.
Having a partner like Omnique can make running your shop simple and streamlined. Designed by shop owners just like you, Omnique’s fully-customizable shop management software gives you everything you need (and nothing you don’t) to make sure your shop is efficient and profitable.