How to Start your Own Auto Repair Shop

As more and more new cars are manufactured each year, so will the services of skilled mechanics. However, owning a successful auto repair shop depends on many factors. Government regulations require business owners to recycle or dispose of oil properly. Accountability in servicing vehicles before huge breakdowns occur is also expected. A strong business plan will set the foundation and proper business structure registration is essential. Accurate record-keeping is vital too. Busy auto repair shops are transparent in defining business policies to all customers. This practice often leads to an early sale at the beginning of each business day.

    Create a business plan. Visit the EPA’s Wastes Resource Conversation and On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) web pages and read the information specifically for repair technicians. Incorporate your policies on how you will dispose of, or recycle used oil into your business plan. Include how you will utilize the OBD system to identify and prevent small auto repair problems from turning into larger ones. Determine where your shop will be located. High-traffic areas are ideal, since where many cars travel provides potential prospects for your business. Seek the direction of a business consultant to help you design a solid plan with marketing tips best for your geographical area.

    Decide on your business structure and then register your business with the Secretary of State. A sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation will differ in the types of forms that must be filled out. Your local Secretary of State office will identify the appropriate forms required for your business structure.

    Visit the IRS’ website. Determine how you will keep your books. For example, decide if you will hire a bookkeeper to keep track of your records and pay your business taxes on time. Study the process in advance anyway so that you are able to spot record-keeping inconsistencies.

    Register to receive the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) newsletter. The non-profit NASTF is a valuable resource. The newsletter contains news and trends relating to the automotive repair shop industry.

    Post your fees and other repair policies in a high-customer traffic area inside your business to encourage consumer trust. Seek the advice of a lawyer when in doubt of what kinds of policies to create. He will be able to tell you what common complaints arise in the auto repair shop industry in your geographical area. She will give you advice on how to legally structure quote forms. For example, the quote policy should on the front of the form. Other policies may be listed on the back with a notation on the front indicating this fact.

Tips & Warnings

  • Become a certified auto repair shop technician. Your certification will add credibility and give your new business a boost in new customer sales. It will also add to the value of your business plan when you seek financing from lending institutions.

  • Do not neglect the step of purchasing liability insurance. Be prepared to handle unforeseen negative issues regarding the repair of your customers cars. Insurance is also required if you plan to obtain a loan.

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