So you want to start an automotive repair shop? From a business plan to marketing, the process can be a huge undertaking. It can be challenging knowing where and how to start, but with the right steps, you can open your doors to customers before you know it.
The following is a guide to help you learn how to start an automotive repair shop.
Create a Business Plan
Creating an automotive repair shop business plan is one of the most important steps to opening your shop as it serves as an outline for how your business will be managed, any specialties you offer, and how you plan to reach customers. Essentially, it should define your goals and objectives, priorities, and other factors, such as:
- Business Expectations: This can include expected sales revenue, customer services targets, and hiring a competent staff
- Standards of Service: This should detail what services you will offer to customers and competitive charges for each service
- Finance: Cost, assets, loans, investments and other things to help you build a budget
- Market Research: Current competitors and marketing strategies you will execute to become relevant
- Investment Protection: A fail-safe to avoid business losing money, and how to break even on your initial investment.
Determine Your Start-Up Costs
Once you have a well-trimmed business plan in place, it will be easier to determine how much capital investment you will need. The cost of starting an automotive repair shop will vary with its size, services offered, capacity, and day-to-day business expenses. However, some general overheads to consider include:
- Shop Rental Fee: A decent shop or garage rent can range from $1500 to $15000, make sure you do your research and budget for your payments.
- Diagnostic Machine: Being that a diagnostic machine is imperative to the services you’ll provide, it’s important to invest in one that is built to last. Machines can cost anywhere from $ 5,000 to $ 10,000.
- Tools: Another crucial purchase to support the services you’ll provide are the tools. The more specialized services you offer, the better the tool kits you must have. On average, this can amount $15,000.
- Hydraulic Lift: A must-have for any automotive repair shop and can cost up to $4000.
- Insurance: You need to protect yourself (as a business owner), your labor, and your business. Consider these important insurance policies.
- Business License: A business license cost ranges from $50 to $100.
Depending on what you spend on equipment, tools, location, and marketing you can expect startup costs to be north of $25,000.
Hire Your Team
You have a business plan, and you have the money - now you are ready to hire a skilled workforce that will drive your business. General staff members to hire before opening include:
- Receptionist: This person will be your first point of contact. Find someone who is not only good at customer service but also has strong knowledge of the automobile industry.
- Service Advisors: Your service managers are essentially PR agents who will deal with customers and walk them through the facilities, services, and prices offered. They also work closely with mechanics to ensure everyone is staying on task and hitting timelines.
- Mechanics: Hiring a team of skilled mechanics is going to make or break your business as they are not only your primary source of revenue, but they are the face of your business.
Get the Word Out
Driving business means more than just getting the doors open. There is a lot of footwork that goes into making your business notable within your community so you can actually have customers pulling into your bays.
Determine Your Target Audience
Assuming this is your first shop, you’ll likely be targeting exclusively local and surrounding towns and cities. You can geo-target and behavior-target with paid advertisements to reach the right audience. Additionally, you can reach your local customers by setting up your Google My Business, Yelp and sending print ads to zip codes that are closest to your shop.
In a recent article published by Wombly, they found that 84% of customers search online for local business and 97% of them read online reviews. This means that it’s extremely important to ensure the reviews being posted about your business are positive.
Luckily, there are companies, like BayIQ, who help in soliciting online reviews and then automatically post them to Google and Facebook to further spread the word.
Developing a Website
With the number of people that search for a local business online, it’s important to invest in a good auto repair shop website. This gives you the opportunity to highlight your services, specialties, prices, and promotional offers. Additionally, consider writing automotive repair blogs to educate your clients and establish yourself as thought leader in the industry.
Get Marketing Help
Whether you’re toying with the idea of starting an automotive repair shop or you’re already in the process, there are a lot of moving parts that can feel overwhelming. Following this basic guideline is a great way to ensure you have your bases covered. If you want to lighten your workload, take your marketing efforts to the next level with BayIQ.
BayIQ is a marketing automation platform that specializes in the automotive repair and tire industry. They take the guesswork out of email and text marketing, the creation of loyalty rewards programs, and customer reviews. BayIQ can streamline your marketing efforts with an all-inclusive suite of marketing tools.