For an entrepreneur-minded individual, starting their own auto repair shop opens an abundance of possibilities. However, building a mechanic business from scratch takes a lot more than knowing every car that rolls in inside out. Running a successful startup relies heavily on advertising, marketing, accounting, as well as HR. Of course, you can always purchase an existing auto repair shop that has fallen on hard times and whip it up into shape. In this case, you’ll get both the equipment and some of the customers from the area.
Find the optimal location
The best location for an auto repair shop is alongside busy highways or halfway between the city and the suburbs. These are high-traffic areas with lots of commuters and people going about their business. Since towing services are usually charged by the distance, if you aren’t close to customers, they’ll pick another garage.
In Australia, auto dealership and repair businesses are regulated by Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation 2014, so if you want to register your business, you’ll need a vehicle repairer’s licence, which needs to be renewed after one or three years.
Offer something extra
Most garages provide general repairs and services, but you can increase your offer by specializing in niche repairs and upgrades that other auto repairers don’t provide. For example, you can include repainting, detailing, bodywork and collision repair. Since the automotive industry is leaning towards eco-friendly solutions, you can exploit the trend of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles. The new generation of mechanics is equipped with impressive knowledge of the latest technologies, which you can use to extend your garage’s service list.
Create a suitable space
You need a space wide enough to accommodate multiple cars and a ceiling at least 15 feet high to accommodate car lifts. Plan for an office area for your administrative needs as well as a waiting area for customers. Although mechanics rely on all sorts of lamps when checking cars, plenty of natural light is always a bonus.
The floor needs to support the extra weight of the lifts and vehicles, and, at the same time, endure countless feet and tyres going over it. If you’re building from scratch, make sure you hire contractors who have experience in heavy-traffic structures. For example, these commercial painting contractors from Sydney use durable driveway sealers, ensuring your concrete surfaces look and feel new for years.
Find your team
Finding the right employees can be a difficult and time-consuming task. While there are excellent vehicle engineering and mechanic courses across NSW, it’s important to make a healthy balance between experienced mechanics and recent graduates eager to prove themselves.
You can open a few apprentice positions and attract graduates with nationally recognised qualifications who will continue to work in your garage after their apprenticeship period expires. Taking on apprentices or trainees can provide real benefits for your business since they’ll be trained to your specific requirements. Contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider to learn more about finding an apprentice or trainee.
Advertise your business
Brilliant advertising is one thing, but when it comes to businesses like automotive repair, it’s the fulfilment of those promises that keeps satisfied customers coming back. Having your own website can be all you need to showcase promotions and offers.
However, it would be great to establish your target markets. The best customers are those with service contracts as they ensure a steady income and reduce both long-term and short-term cash-flow problems. The worst customers are those who only show up to take advantage of special discounts. Relying heavily on these one-timers can actually cost you money.
A lot of skilful and industrious mechanics are wasting their talents by working for those who are less capable than them. For a self-motivated mechanic with good organising skills, basic business knowledge and access to financing, becoming their own boss is the only logical way of things.