The auto repair industry is immensely competitive and allows those at any experience level to see incredible levels of success. Yet, with such an ambitious and dynamic landscape to explore, smaller auto repair shops risk falling behind and losing tremendous amounts of revenue. This not only makes it harder for smaller businesses to enter this field but also ensures that the dominant leaders cannot be moved from the top spot. Thus, this article will offer a wealth of advice and guidance for those looking to learn more about how to start an auto repair shop business.
1. Focus on Minor Complaints and Larger Projects
If you’ve been working in this sector for many years, you may be tempted to only focus on larger issues, as these jobs tend to pay the most money. Therefore, you may begin to concentrate on collision repairs and auto detailing to avoid repeating the same old tasks over and over again. However, some of these smaller jobs can really benefit your business, especially for drivers who have been hit with an unexpected issue. For example, a driver may enter your shop for a simple auto glass repair, giving you the chance to acquire a new customer as well as a hefty amount of revenue.
Even though this process usually only takes a matter of minutes to complete, AAA informs us that most mechanics tend to charge $60 to $100 for this job. Therefore, by working on a mix of small and large projects, you have the potential to earn a consistent influx of earnings and develop a strong customer base over time. In turn, for those looking to discover how to start an auto repair shop business, ensure that both you and your staff members are well-versed in a collection of minor repair strategies.
2. Keep Your Affairs in Order
For those eager to uncover how to start an auto repair shop business, it’s vital that you also have a keen appreciation for good timekeeping and organization. Every type of business requires these traits, but the auto repair industry places them at the forefront of its strategy. Although you could easily juggle all of your appointments and clients with a traditional notebook and pen, this technique might become a little redundant once you start to increase the size of your audience base. Thus, in order to help them keep better track of things, a lot of auto repair shops use auto service schedule software.
This is a type of business management software that allows you to track your appointments and also encourages customers to book themselves for a meeting using an online form. Therefore, businesses are no longer required to chase customers to remind them of their next maintenance checkup and can instead encourage the driver to book the appointment at a date and time that suits them best. Each software system offers a unique range of merits and drawbacks, so it’s crucial that you carry out some extensive research to help you select the right option for your auto repair business. Yet, Ari highlights that this software can cost anywhere from $19 to $499 per month, so it’s good practice to factor in these costs when creating your budget.
3. Build an Attractive Online Presence
There’s no denying that the internet has transformed the way we do business, so it’s beneficial that your auto repair shop follows the same path. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be very tech-savvy, there is an abundance of resources available to help you craft an alluring online presence. By building a simple website, you can invite customers to interact with you online, making this a great resource for forming stronger bonds and advertising your services.
If you’re still taking the first steps of learning how to start an auto repair shop business, consider hiring someone experienced in custom web development to give you a helping hand. These professionals will not only help you create an eye-catching platform but will also make sure it can be discovered on a plethora of popular search engines. According to Fresh Books, a web developer will usually charge $75 an hour for their services, making this a very affordable resource for most auto repair shops.
4. Ensure That Customers Can See Your Website on Different Devices
Once you’ve created your dream website, you should also work to ensure that it can be viewed on a collection of modern devices. Data from Statista shows that over 60% of the global population uses their phone to search for information online. In turn, it’s imperative that you build a website that can easily be read and interacted with on smaller devices such as cell phones and tablets. A good way to resolve this issue is to learn more about responsive design best practices.
Responsive design is a form of web design that aims to render certain web pages so that they can be experienced on a screen of any size. As such, this practice ensures that customers can learn more about your business wherever they are, allowing them to book an appointment in your shop while on the go. Therefore, if you’re eager to discover how to start an auto repair shop business, it seems that you should place a strong focus on the versatility of your website.
5. Work Alongside Other Local Businesses
Although it may seem a little counterproductive to start collaborating with other small businesses in your area, with the right contacts you can take your auto repair shop from strength to strength. For example, if your team has experience working on vans and niche pieces of machinery, you could benefit from reaching out to a native construction company to see if they need any help with maintaining their vehicles. Thus, this is a great way to help others operating in your area and can also help you to showcase your high levels of experience and professionalism.
It should also be noted that you should not feel obliged to offer these businesses a discount on your services, but it may be an effective way to attract a loyal and lucrative set of customers. You could also educate these businesses on how to better maintain their most used vehicles, ensuring that you can quickly become a thought leader in your respective industry.
6. Offer a Range of Unique Services
If you’re fortunate enough to work alongside a team of diverse and skillful employees, it’s imperative that you use these assets to the best of your advantage. Though it’s important that your staff focus on completing a range of essential auto repairs, if they can complete other tasks, consider adding those skills to your long list of services. For example, if one of your workers used to craft paver driveways, you should consider letting them complete this job as part of your own company.
As such, this encourages your team to use their entire skill set to the best of their ability, helping to keep them motivated and driven at all times. This service can also allow your business to earn high levels of revenue and profits, especially since Home Guide explains that these contractors commonly charge between $10 and $30 per square foot. Thus, your business can continue to see immense levels of success just by simply using resources that are already available to you. In turn, if you’re eager to learn more about how to start an auto repair shop business, begin by monetizing services that are within arm’s reach.
7. Build a Positive Repertoire With Your Customers
No one likes to experience bad customer service, so for those looking to know how to start an auto repair shop business, you should place the needs and wants of your audience at the forefront of everything you do. However, customer service techniques can differ from establishment to establishment, so you may benefit from developing your own style. Whether it’s offering a useful loyalty card scheme, or just having a pleasant conversation with those waiting for their next car maintenance appointment, your workers should always strive to make the customer happy.
Yet, if your staff are quite inexperienced in this skill, they may need to complete some training to help them out along the way. Business.com states that these types of courses can cost a minimum of $100 but can also reach highs of $1,000. Yet, the source also notes that an on-demand video course can cost as little as $10 per employee. Therefore, depending on the size of your budget, you can teach your staff the nuances of customer service and help them keep your most loyal customers satisfied and content.
8. Use a Wealth of High-End Equipment
As the owner of an auto repair shop, you’ll probably be required to purchase a wealth of specialist equipment, such as jacks, air compressors, and vice grips. A lot of these pieces can be quite expensive, but business owners should try to purchase a collection of high-quality amenities, rather than just buying the cheapest option in an attempt to cut costs. So, if you’re striving to uncover how to start an auto repair shop business, consider applying some of your budget to more affluent pieces of machinery. It’s also very important that larger pieces of equipment are installed correctly so that your staff can begin working with them right away.
Although you may feel experienced enough to install these items yourself, it’s always good practice to hire an array of industrial electrical services to help you avoid any potential mishaps. These contractors will ensure that your new purchases are wired correctly so that you and your team no longer have to worry about any potential shocks or blackouts. The Spruce explains that it usually costs $141 to $419 to hire a professional electrician, so although this may seem like a costly investment to some businesses, it can help you avoid issues in the long run.
9. Keep Your Shop Secure
Even if you believe that you work in the safest neighborhood on earth, it’s always a good idea to make sure your auto repair shop is as secure as possible. Luckily, there is an abundance of different ways that you can achieve this goal, so you should aim to reach out to a range of local security companies for some more advice. Some businesses hire a security guard to help watch over their operations and ensure that both the patrons and the staff are safe at all times.
However, this can be a very overpriced expense for some small businesses, so it’s more cost-effective to purchase a comprehensive security system. Complete with motion-detection cameras and video doorbells, these systems can protect your shop 24/7. These systems usually offer different levels of protection, so their process can differ greatly. Yet, Forbel Custom Security Solution explains that these systems can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for the hardware and an additional $200-$500 for the installation process.
10. Provide a Catalog of Customization Options
Some drivers consider their cars to be their most prized possessions and will do anything in their power to make them stand out from the crowd. As such, your auto repair shop should try to offer a wealth of customization services for those eager to give their car an added touch of TLC. Whether it’s providing the car with a shiny new paint job or working with a commercial glass company to improve the windshield, all of these services can help your business see incredible levels of additional revenue. Garage Living estimates that a full respray can cost a minimum of $1,000, so this type of service can offer you a very profitable revenue stream.
If you’re looking to learn how to start an auto repair shop business, it’s vital that you aim to defeat the competition that surrounds you. But, since this industry can be so unpredictable at times, you may be forced to diversify your services to become more attractive to a wider selection of customers. Therefore, if you’re looking to finally make your mark on this sector, be sure to implement the advice and guidance discussed above.