Setting up your own auto shop may be the best way forward if you want to move on from just being a car mechanic. A business venture enables you to essentially become your own boss.
But before you pursue this goal, there are a couple of things you need to consider when setting up a car shop for the first time. Below are four tips you should ponder on.
Acquire ASE certification
Aspiring car shop owners should seek out the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) to get certified.
ASE certification can mean the difference between attracting a steady stream of clients and barely making profit margins. People are more likely to have their vehicles serviced by a duly certified shop.
While it’s possible to be knowledgeable and hands-on with cars without the certificate, you may encounter difficulties when exploring business financing options where certification is a prerequisite.
In addition, ASE certification allows you to specialize in certain types of vehicles and repairs. For instance, you can earn specialization for heavy trucks, automobiles, collision repair, and many more.
Allocate capital for startup costs
According to industry statistics, you need to allocate approximately $50,000 just to startup a car shop business. Take note that this amount still doesn’t include staff salary and marketing.
Depending on what type of work your car shop will focus on, you need to take into account all the special tools and vehicle repair equipment you will need. Of course, rental fees, insurance, and construction costs will also need to be factored in.
However, depending on your capital situation, you could get a better deal if you buy out an existing auto shop. If you’re having difficulty sourcing quality equipment, you can get affordable rates from shops that are selling off their equipment at a discount.
Find a suitable location
Next, look for a good location for your auto shop. Ideally, it should be in an area where customers or clients won’t be in short supply.
Your ASE certification and specialty will most likely play a big factor in deciding on a location. For instance, if you specialize in school bus repairs and maintenance, it would be reasonable to set up shop in a market where bus repairs are fairly frequent.
Setting up near a densely populated residential area gives you access to a number of car owners. Additionally, you should also take into consideration potential competitors that are already established in a particular area.
Lastly, you should have a decent marketing plan that will inform locals about your service. There’s no use in setting up an auto shop if people don’t know it exists in the first place.
Aside from posting local advertisements, harness the power of social media and other digital platforms. Using platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn can help you provide helpful information about service offerings, operational hours, and other aspects of the business.
Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone and computer — making it easy for them to discover your shop’s online account.