After thinking about it for years, you are finally ready to take the plunge and open your own auto repair shop. To help you transform your dream into reality, there are a few tasks you need to take care of first. Here’s what you need to do before opening a new auto repair shop.
Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row
Unless you are buying out a mechanic business and the equipment is included in the sale, you will have to build your automotive shop from scratch. As the Houston Chronicle notes, your start-up costs will probably be in the $50K range; this will be used to pay for equipment, rental fees, tools, insurance, an auto lift and other supplies. If you have been saving for years and have this amount ready to go, great. If not, call around to local banks to see which ones specialize in helping small businesses get off the ground with loans.
Create a Business Plan
Successful businesses need more than an owner with an entrepreneurial bent; they also need a well-thought-out business plan. As Business News Daily says, your business plan will address key things like what services you will provide your customers, what your goals are, who you will target as customers and also information about finances. For example, will you work on all vehicles or will you specialize in certain makes and models? Will you offer engine repair and tune-ups only, or do you also want to get into body work? A business plan is a great way to get all of the thoughts, ideas and dreams out of your head and onto paper, and it will serve as a blueprint for your company moving forward.
Shop Around for the Best Suppliers
As the owner of an automotive shop, you will need to keep plenty of supplies in stock at all times — everything from a variety of motor oils to cabin air filters, engine parts, tires and more. As you research and interview vendors, strive to choose manufacturers that create products that are designed for your specific business; this way, you can rest assured that you are following all regulations and compliance standards. This advice holds true for the largest pieces of equipment down to the tiniest o-rings that are used in auto repair. For example, go with a company that offers viton o-rings in a wide number of sizes rather than more generic silicone rings. Viton o-rings are built to sustain exposure to chemicals and extreme temperatures that are inherent to vehicle engines, and are an ideal and industry-specific choice for your inventory.
Choose a High-Traffic Area
You’ve probably heard of the famous real estate quote “Location, location, location.” While this often means that homes can vary in price depending on where they are located, in your case it means that location can mean the difference between a busy repair shop and one that stands empty. When looking at available properties, resist the urge to choose the one with cheap rent that’s in a not-so-great area. Instead, work with a real estate agent who specializes in small businesses and choose a shop space in a high-traffic part of the city, and that is easy to see from the surrounding roads and access.
Congratulations on Achieving Your Dream
Opening up a new business is not easy, but you’ve got what it takes. In addition to the passion for cars, the knowledge and the drive (no pun intended), now you also have some tangible tips to work on prior to celebrating the grand opening of what is sure to be a very successful automotive shop.
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