A lot of car repair technicians dream about opening their own workshops and one day be their own bosses. However, most employees who repair cars for a living don’t have the first clue about running a business. Their technical knowledge doesn’t teach them about marketing, accounting, finance, and other important aspects of business management.
In other words, a man with proper business acumen but no technical knowledge has more chance of being successful than a technician who knows nothing about business operations.
However, many former technicians have made this transition and are now successful owners of repair shops. The following are 6 tips that will help you on your way to open an auto repair shop.
Understand the Realities
Considering you already earn your living as a technician, it’s best to introspect and figure out if opening a car repair business is the right move for you. A lot of people make hasty decisions thinking that owning a business would give them more time and they will not be answerable to anyone. In reality, running a successful business is a 24-hour commitment. While you won’t have a boss per se, you would still be answerable to government inspectors and your customers. You also need to realize that your job role is going to change. This means if you love repairing cars and don’t like crunching numbers and paperwork, then you would not love your role as an owner.
Buy a Versatile Vehicle Lift with High Load Capacity
The total number of vehicle lifts determines the number of cars you can serve at a time. More lifts you have the more cars you can service and thus earn more money. Considering vehicle lifts are a significant investment, it’s advisable to buy something that’s versatile and has a high load capacity. That way you will be able to work on everything from small cars to large SUVs. Mobile column lifts are great for new garages, they are portable and they have great weight lifting capacity. They usually come with special adapters that allow you to lift everything from hatchbacks to full-sized trucks.
Underestimate Your Profits
This one applies to all new businesses. New business owners often overestimate their profits when drawing up the initial plan. This can be a huge mistake as it can leave you underprepared during the initial tough days. Overestimation is probably the most common reason why most businesses close down within the first eighteen months. You should have enough funds set aside for expenses and marketing to last the first six months and not be dependant on how much the shop earns.
Learn the Basics of Running a Business
If have no idea about accounting, taxes, regulations, and marketing, then it’s best to get educated. Take a course and learn about how to run a business. You don’t need to go to an expensive business school. There are plenty of cheap and even free online courses that can teach you the basic stuff.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of a Customer Lounge
While it doesn’t need to be fancy, you need a relaxing customer lounge. Get couches and beanbags and ensure there is air conditioning. A vending machine can also be a way to earn some extra money while your customers are waiting for their cars to get repaired. Customer lounges are also a great place to upsell services.
Start the Hiring Process Well in Advance
As unemployment drops in America, it’s getting harder and harder to find good employees. Don’t just assume that you will get great technicians after placing an ad in the local newspaper. Start the hiring process at least two to three months prior to the actual launch date. This will give you time to interview enough candidates to find the best manpower for your shop. Apart from hiring expert technicians, it’s also important to find an experienced receptionist to attend customer queries and complaints.
Check out my guide on how to start your business right with tons of useful tips I learned by successfully starting, building, and selling multiple companies.